Ayo Walker

Position Title
Alumni - D.E. in African American Studies


Dr. Ayo Walker is a lecturer in the African American and African Studies department at UC Davis where she continues to develop her academic research in the cultural biases inherent in the development of dance as an academic discipline in the U.S. and its ongoing peripheral inclusion of black dance histories and all marked dance histories. As a performance studies practitioner specializing in black dance aesthetics, her practice as research engages with the cultural racism that results in our society valuing different dance genres hierarchically. Employing social justice choreography representative of anti-essentialist movement that is at once exposing and undoing stereotypical assumptions historically signifying the black body politic, her works challenge what performing blackness is and isn’t. Her works have been commissioned by the University of Massachusetts Amherst, PUSHfest, National Dance Education Organization (NDEO), Sacramento/Black Art of Dance (S/BAD), and Rhythmically Speaking, The Cohort 2020. When Ayo is not producing her own works with her project-based/pick up dance company, Ayo & Company, she collaborates/performs with Raissa Simpson’s San Francisco based PUSH Dance Company.

Ph.D., (2016) Performance Studies (D.E. African American Studies), University of California, Davis