Sammay Peñaflor Dizon

Sammay Peñaflor Dizon

M.F.A. in Choreographic Inquiry

SAMMAY Peñaflor Dizon (she/they/siya) is the daughter of Yolanda Peñaflor Dizon; granddaughter of Salvacion Orencillo Peñaflor and Carolina Agdeppa Dizon. Raised up in a migrant multigenerational environment in Carson, CA - SAMMAY is a Filipinx American choreographer, interdisciplinary artist, and cultural producer of Bikol, Kapampangan, and Ilokano descent. Through ritual performance, they explore the diasporic body as a site of re-membering, resisting, and reclaiming for collective healing and liberation. Their practice is rooted in the fundamental knowing that dance bridges the earth and ancestral realm. The sacred cipher becomes a passageway to transmute intergenerational trauma across cultural lines and geographical borders. Rooted in their inherent responsibility to the Divine, SAMMAY creates opportunities for intercultural and intergenerational exchange - igniting possibilities for decolonizing from a diasporic lens and embodying radical futures. By centering ancestral reverence in her work, she highlights the ongoing conversation between the material and the spiritual. Their work lives at the intersection of intergenerational healing, re-indigenization, and social justice - and is a direct call and response with their ancestors.

SAMMAY seeks to honor the tapestry of indigenous epistemologies embedded in our urban landscapes through facilitating BIPOC-centered spaces for holistic healing and embodiment. She is the founding director of intercultural arts festival Urban x Indigenous, Daluyan: Embodied Storytelling Workshop, and SAMMAY Productions in SOMA Pilipinas Cultural Heritage District. She has served as a Teaching Artist and Community Liaison for the San Francisco Ballet Dance in Schools and Communities Program; Chair of Dance for the Balay Kreative Advisory Board; and Core Member of Embodiment Project in San Francisco / Yelamu on unceded Ramaytush Ohlone Territory. In 2018, SAMMAY was the inaugural Featured Artist for the United States of Asian America Festival presented by Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center. She has been a guest artist through the USF Performing Arts and Social Justice Department, UCSB Multicultural Center, and Harvard University Department of Theater, Dance, and Media among others. She has been featured through Bindlestiff Studio, CounterPulse, Dance Mission Theater, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Yerba Buena Gardens Festival among others. Their work has received support from California Arts Council, Zellerbach Family Foundation, Rainin Foundation, and San Francisco Arts Commission among others. In 2021, SAMMAY's directorial film debut Hinga - a ritual performance and time capsule honoring the sacred grief, life force, and resiliency of the Bay Area Filipinx community during COVID-19 - premiered at CAAMFest and went on to screen at the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival and San Francisco Dance Film Festival.

I give gratitude to all of my mentors and teachers from the Bay Area to Brasil to Maharlika whose teachings I carry with me, always.

Photo Credit: Mogli Maureal

Research Interests

decolonial performance and pedagogy; the diasporic body as a site of memory, resistance, and reclamation; ritual performance for social transformation in BIPOC communities; Hip Hop praxis from a decolonial, queer, feminist lens; mental health in Filipinx and AAPI communities (Alzheimer's and dementia); embodiment as a tool for conjuring Spirit, activating ancestral memory, and healing intergenerational trauma



M.F.A. Choreographic Inquiry

Graduate Opportunity Fellow

Expected: Spring 2023

UC Berkeley

B.A. Media Studies and Sociology

Minors: Dance & Performance Studies, Global Poverty & Practice

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