LIVE ARTS IN RESISTANCE is a dynamic series of performance showcases, artist residencies, and community town halls that address racial inequity and white supremacy in popular culture. Collectively, we contribute to a new cultural consciousness of self-determination and indigenous knowledge as integral to our resistance to systemic oppression and imperialism.

LIVE ARTS IN RESISTANCE includes dance, theater, poetry and interdisciplinary performances, curated by socially-conscious artists. Together we push the boundaries of our practices and contemplate our role and responsibility in connecting the many struggles of our respective communities both locally and globally.

LIVE ARTS IN RESISTANCE fosters risk-taking, rigor, and a radical critique on the role of political activism, cultural work and art in society. This role is historically rooted in a culture fighting for justice, equity and self-determination — the political empowerment of our people.

We seek to create a place where artists and audience members can engage in a meaningful dialogue about innovative ideas and experimental work; where artists can reflect on the process of creating progressive art and revolutionary movements; redefining aesthetics and ethics that will decolonize minds. There is a profound need to construct a culture of resistance outside of “market forces”; a culture that will defend our communities from the current reactionary political climate. With the absurdity of backward national elections, xenophobia, fascist policing and militarism that has been shaping our lives, inflamed racism, sexism and classism are being rekindled on the world stage.

We reiterate Malcolm X’s words that “Culture is an indispensable weapon in the freedom struggle”. And once again, we must SEIZE THE TIME! — to magnify our struggle, giving wings to our imagination and finding new ways to speak our truth.

LIVE ARTS IN RESISTANCE (LAIR) is a partnership between NAKA Dance Theater and EastSide Arts Alliance.

About Our Partners

A community-based artist and founding member of the EastSide Arts Alliance collective, Susanne Takehara serves as Live Arts in Resistance co-producer, Theater Manager, and Facility Operations Director, at the EastSide Cultural Center. Takehara, collaborating with Oakland performing artists, initiated an informal artist residency program at EastSide which offered artists free or low-cost rehearsal and performance space and basic technical and production support. In 2013 when NAKA Dance Theater began working directly with EastSide artists at the Cultural Center, NAKA co-director José Navarrete and Takehara formalized the residency program into an ongoing performance series, Live Arts in Resistance. As a visual artist, Takehara focuses on mosaic and stencil arts and has project managed several public and community art projects in Oakland. She has a BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago.

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EastSide Arts Alliance (ESAA) is a collective of artists and community organizers of color who live and work in East Oakland. Founded in 1999, their mission is to unite art with activism to work for community empowerment and cultural development, and to build bridges between the disenfranchised, racially and ethnically divided communities that reside in the immediate neighborhood and in the broader Bay Area. EastSide Arts Alliance has made history by being one of very few grassroots organizations, comprised of artists of color, which owns and operates an independent community cultural center.

The Live Arts in Resistance series is supported by The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation Building Demand for the Arts initiative, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, The California Arts Council, The Caw Foundation and generous individual donors.

A collaboration with

Video introduction to LAIR (1 min)