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Franchesska Berry

 Phone: 1.206.618.3347 Berry


Cultural Program Manager | International Arts Educator | Events Producer Award-winning choreographer, educator and cultural award developer with 20 + years of experience producing and managing intercultural programming for government, arts, and non-profit organizations Franchesska Berry is an eloquent performer, choreographer, and international intercultural arts, educator. Franchesska specializes in dances and traditional culture of West Africa and the African Diaspora; however, her expertise is not limited to African based forms. Franchesska's unique dance style is informed by her comprehensive background in the western classical forms of ballet, modern, jazz and improvisational dance. Franchesska strives to integrate dance modalities as if dance were derived from a single root language and her styled modalities were innovative dialects.

Franchesska developed her professorial expertise as an academic leader in international intercultural arts education, termed the Relational Model of Education. Her pedagogical approach is firmly rooted in the lineage and kinesthetic anthropology of African and African American dance and cultural history. Ms. Berry invites students into a process of a liberated understanding of African thought and history, anchored in West African cultures. Her dance-informed integrative work helps students and audiences reclaim what has been forgotten and distorted by design, and denied through colonial cancellation.  

Artistic Objective: Consolidate indigenous philosophy, scholarship and expressive practices from Africa, Australia, and Egypt in order to transmit through a relational model performance, mentorship and seek to highlight the essential value of putting the imagination and insight at the center of art which lives, breathes and transforms community.

Academic Achievements in Excellence: Franchesska earned the Distinguished Honor of Fulbright Fellow/Scholar to Cairo, Egypt at the Academy of Arts as artiste, choreographer for the Royal Ballet of Cairo and as professor, performer and lecturer of “Dance and The Relationship Model for A Multicultural Classroom” at the American University of Cairo, an American/African American critical pedagogy she fashioned into an intercultural arts program..

  • Antioch University, Seattle, WA Master’s in education & Social Sciences, June 2008 Thesis: The Philosophical Aspects of Cultural Differences Graduated Summa Cum Laud e with Distinguished Mention and Performance

  • The Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA BA in Liberal Arts, Education, June 2004 Thesis: Leadership Sustainability through Arts in Education

International Resident Scholar/Teaching Residencies

  • Acadmeyet Du Arts of Cairo, Egypt 2009

  • American University Cairo 2009

  • University Cairo Egypt 2007

  • Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar 2007-8

  • Awarded the status of distinguished leader in The Necessities of Higher Academia & Education in
    African Universities by the Dean of the University of Dakar.

  • Provided personal narrative cross-cultural lectures to introduce the National Ballet Du Senegal
    performances at the University of Washington.

  • Cairns, Queensland, Australia 2005

Grant and Award Funded Projects and Choreographies
Seattle Office of Arts & Cultures “smArt Ventures” Grant Recipient 2017 & 19
City of Seattle Parks & Recreation's “Get Moving” Grant Recipient 2017-18
Seattle Office of Arts & Cultures “Put the Arts in Park” Grant Recipient 2016-18-19
Co- Director/ Choreographer of the Reprisal in 2011-13 of Days in the Life of Dr. King’ Broadway
Center for the Performing Arts’
4Culture Special Projects Grants for New Works 2005-08 & 11-13
King County 4Culture Touring Artist Roster for 2005-22 seasons.
Full Artist Support grant from Jack Straw Studio in ’04 to produce a CD of traditional African Music
Washington State Artist Roster for the 2003-5 seasons
Broadway Center for the Performing Arts Residency Program 2001-04
King County Cultural Education Grant, 1999, 2000-03
Artist Trust Emerging Artist 2000
King County Special Arts Projects, 1998-9/2001
Artist Trust GAP Grant, 1998

Cultural Bridging & Achievements

 Creative Advantage Community Roster for Teaching Residencies 

In 2015, Franchesska was accepted to thefor its 2015-22 seasons. Franchesska was initiated due to her

major accomplishments and in  Seattle and the larger King County schools since her arrival in 1996.

She has instructed thousands of youth, possessing the rare ability to engage students across social,

race and class, backgrounds. Her engagements emphasize core values of cooperation, love, kindness,

self-esteem, and care through dance and cultural sensitivity. Her artistic achievements on stage in the

U.S. in Senegal,  Australia and in Egypt informed her selection within this cohort.

21st Century Storytelling

In 2015, Franchesska was chosen for The Seattle Public Library's 2015
Summer Learning Program STEAM program. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering
Arts and Mathematics. Franchesska's culturally based proposal “Bridging Communities through

“The Stories that Bind Us” is deeply based within Philosophical Anthropology and the Social Sciences.
International participants (Ethiopian and Somali) were taught the importance of building a family
narrative sharing of family heritage, history, and the importance in the continuation of tradition.

In 2015, The Everett College's Student LIFE Programs Board & Black Student Union celebrated in the
presentation of a Black Legacy Month Event: The Very Franchesska Berry: Living the Legacy.
The Black Student Union honored Franchesska's achievements as a distinguished scholar, cultural
theorist, gifted artiste, and ambassadress to Senegal, West Africa. Franchesska's performances are
compacted with audiovisual and interactive lectures on cultural aspects and critical pedagogy on the
first and second middle passages and historical civil rights events of the past. Concluded with a
motivational conversation and a silhouetted African dance performance.

In 2015, The Boeing Black Employee Association celebrated in presenting: Black History "In Motion"
with Franchesska Berry. The program was created to celebrate Boeing's Diverse workforce and each
employee's unique contributions to Boeing. Franchesska utilized her Griotess skill sets as storyteller
and conduit sharing the "Greatness of African Americ
an Dance" and the importance of "Symbolic
Imagery" for African American peoples which closed with a motivational conversation and a
silhouetted African dance performance.

Professional Development for Teachers in Arts Integration


In 2015, Franchesska led an active, experiential, reflective and collaborative Arts Integration program
for the Puyallup School District Culture & Art classes.

In 2011-14, Franchesska co-directed co-choreographed in developing the original and new reprisal
touring performance titled: Eleven Days in the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a twelve-movement
work that marries choreography with spoken word based on deeper research and visits both critical
moments and a deeper contextualization of King's work.

Franchesska’s six choreography's affiliated with events that include parallel a re-examination of King's
letter from a Birmingham Jail in light of current race and privilege realities, as well as other historical
moments including the impact and sacrifices of the freedom riders, Dr. King's Nobel Prize speech and
other less examined aspects of Dr. King's life, works and the many communities that enabled Dr. King
at the nascence of civil rights, power and the rise of race consciousness call to assert power and love
as a tactic to establish change. Franchesska's work in collaboration with Dr. Gordon and led by
playwright Lucas Smiraldo has reach 30,000 youth in a six-to-eight-week touring period.

In 2011, Franchesska Berry co directed, co-choreographed in developing the Broadway Center
Conservatory productions of the Jungle Book.

In 2008-10, Franchesska received recognition as a Washington State Arts Commission Folk Arts
Master Artist in African Dance where she shared her knowledge of the regional intersections between
dance, language, clothing; spirituality and emphasized the role of musical and oral traditions of West

In 2007 - present, Franchesska was awarded diplomatic recognition as a Cultural Ambassadress to
Senegal from the Minister du la Culture, Mdme. Birame Diouf. This recognition is an embodiment of
both the spirit and the significance of Franchesska's educational and cultural mission as a global
ambassadress of international intercultural learning among any and all peoples who are captured by

the dance.

2003-09, Franchesska Berry and Som La Bi Joli Ensemble produced and choreographed Keur Fouta
Dance and Drum Annual Spectaculars featuring world renowned African master drummers and

In 2003, The Boeing Corporation’s education/diversity program sponsored Franchesska and her
ensemble to tour their facilities, teach and perform for their employees and their families.

Professional Development for Teachers in Arts Integration
1998-2005, Franchesska led The Tacoma Arts Impact Summer Institute program training elementary
classroom teachers to independently teach visual and performing arts. Teachers participate in
Intensive, hands-on, 30-hour training in foundational arts concepts and skills in visual art, dance and
theater. Teachers paired with Franchesska for a 9–10-hour mentor ship during the school year. She
assisted teachers in planning, writing, teaching and assessing arts lessons.

Selected Professional Dance Performance and Choreography
Som La Bi Joli (Sweeter than Sweet) Dance Ensemble (Artistic Director) 1997-2009,
Franchesska & Ensemble Featured at: Seattle International Folk life Festival 2002-5,
Full Length Senegalese Traditional Dance and Music Spectaculars at Seattle Art Museum, Paramount
Theater Tacoma, Carco Theater 2000-07; The Otunaba African Dance Company 1994-6; The
Raymond Johnson Dance Company 1993; Ballet Sangomar 1992-4; The California Arts Project 1992-
4; Ko-Thi Dance Company 1991-3

Ensemble Performances

Hugh Masekela & Third World 1993; Ceedo Senegalese Dance Company 1990-4; Diamono Coura
Dance Company 1991; Imhotep Ensemble 1989-93; The Ethnic Dance Festival 1991-2; “The Africans
Are Coming”1991-3, Nelson Mandela Tour 1991.

Solo & Principal Roles
Tropical World Arts Carnival, International Cairns Festival; 2005, Australia
Created and featured as the African Angel in the Intiman Theater’s 2004 production of the Langston
Hughes masterpiece ‘Black Nativity’
Berkeley Jazz Festival 94-5; The Henry J. Tanner Exhibit 94; Marin Jazz Festival 93-4; Pharaoh
Sanders 1993-4; African Roots of Jazz 1993; Koncept’s Cultural Arts Gallery 92-3; The Nova –Ghost
Sect Tect 1990-5.

Guest Performances
Ballard High School 2012; Town Hall Drumming 2011; Oumou Sangare 2002-4; National Ballet du
Senegal 1999-2005; Youssou N’Dour 1993 to 2009; Baaba Maal 1991 to 2004, Prince 1990

Residencies & Conferences
DouDou N’Diaye Rose 2000 & 9; Alvin Ailey Dance Company 93-5
Abdoulaye Camara 89-2003; Dance Theatre of Harlem 1993-5.
Muntu Dance Theatre 1992; Les Ballet Africans 87-91; Dimension Dance Theater 86-93; Les Ballet
Africans 87-91; Fatala 87-91; Les Ballet Africans 87-91; Kankouran Dance Company 1989-11;
Maimounta Keita School of African Dance 1989 to present; Katherine Dunham 1987-94; Donald
McKayle 1986-91.

Dance Training (with respective instructors):
Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Betho Filho; Xiomara Rodriquez 1999-2005.
Jean-Leon Destiny 1989-96; Afro-Cuban, Judith 1989-96; Haitian
Lynn Coles 1987-89; Afro-Haitian Ronnie Marshall 1986-93; Linda Goodrich 1983-87; Modern jazz,
Leon Jackson 1983-86; Contemporary modern jazz dance, Ehud & Nurit Krauss, 1974-77; Interpretive
Modern and Jazz; Sheila Nelson, Ballet & jazz Berle Davis, 1974-76; Ailey Technique, jazz, modern
blues 1968-72.

Selected Teaching Experience:
Washington State:
Camas Prairie Elementary 2012; Cedar Crest Elementary 2012.
Cougar Mountain Junior High 2012; The Tacoma Arts Year Program 2012
Tukwila Community Center 2010 – present; Powerful Schools Program 2011 – present
Evergreen Elementary 2011; Rock Ridge Elementary 2011; Spanaway Junior High 2011
Waller Road Elementary 2010; Jenny Reed Elementary School 2010
The Evergreen High School 2006; Lakewood Elementary School 2005
Langston Hughes Center for the Performing Arts 2005.
Mountain Meadow Elementary School 3rd-4th grade 2005; Tillicum Elementary 2004
Jason Lee Middle School 2004; Tacoma School of the Arts 9-12th grade, 2002
Grant, Evergreen, and Bethel Elementary Schools 2001-2
Tillicum Middle School, 7th and 8th grade 2001-3
African American Christian Academy K-6, 2001-4
Vitality Pilates Studio (Adult Classes) 2000-2005
Spanaway Junior, 6th, 7th & 8th grade 1999-2002
Miller Community Center Adult Classes 1998-2001
Adult Classes Tri Weekly (Mount Baker) 1998-2000
Dimmit Middle School 1998-2000
Black River Middle School, 1998-1999
Madison, Denny and Aki Kurose Middle Schools with Planned Parenthood’s Checkpoint
Program, 7th and 8th grade, 1997-2000

Leschi Elementary 1996-98
Langston Hughes Cultural Arts Center (children and adults) 1996 & 2007

Selected Teaching Experience:
The East Bay Asian Youth Assn. (UC Berkeley) 1996
San Leandro Elementary 1992
John Muir Elementary 1990
Henry J. Kaiser Elementary 1989
Piedmont Middle School 1989
The Synergy School 1988-89

Theatrical & Television Performances
TV One’s Unsung Hollywood’s What’s Happening, 2014
Created and featured as the African Angel in the Intiman Theater’s 2004 production of the Langston
Hughes masterpiece ‘Black Nativity’; 2005
Artist Trust Emerging Artist; 2002
Ceremonies in Old Dark Men; 1993
What’s Happening; 1978-80
In Concert; 1976-77
Soul Train; 1974-80

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