praise mother

54 3Arts supporters
$6,150 raised of $6,000 goal
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Funded on June 03, 2023
    • 102% contributed

It has been a childhood dream to create and cultivate my own majorette squad while conjuring dreams for communal liberation and support. praise mother is a community initiative and dance theater project highlighting stories of relationships between Black matriarchs and their kin. Using Black American dance vocabularies, we create spaces for performance and reflection where Black single mothers and those raised by them can share their experiences and unpack and heal together. With funds from this campaign, we plan to incubate and develop the third iteration of the performance project that will become an interactive stage work and dance-for-camera.

About This Project

The origins of this project come from deeply personal but relatable experiences about family dynamics and their enduring influences. Through liturgical dance, poetry, and letter writing, I’ve researched generational trauma from parent to child, studying how the way we’re raised shapes the people we become from infancy to adolescence to adulthood. I also grew up dreaming of joining a majorette squad and performing with an HBCU marching band during college. Now I have created the PRAISE MOTHER SQUAD not only to perform, but to hold space for each other in processing and unpacking day-to-day life as Black beings.

As a Black queer femme living on Chicago’s South Side, community building is imperative in this work so it was a no-brainer to engage with witnesses and audiences of the performances and subsequent support groups to come. With support from this 3AP campaign, the PRAISE MOTHER SQUAD will continue developing choreography and improvisational scores in the Black American dance vocabularies known as liturgical praise dance and the HBCU-developed majorette style (also known as j-sette.) We will also be collaborating with Chicago DJs, musicians, videographers, and dramaturgs to flesh out and create the world we’d like to build. Past PRAISE MOTHER SQUAD collaborators include Naomi Baty, Keyierra Collins, Brianna Alexis Heath, Felicia Holman, Deja Hood, Mekeba Malik, Suede Moccasins, Darling Shear, & Professor-Wrecks. We will also partner with the room, located in Greater Grand Crossing, for community engagement pop-ups for our South Side neighbors.

With this campaign, we plan to incubate and develop the third iteration of this project that will become an interactive stage work and dance-for-camera over the course of six months. Through autobiographical and psychological research, consistent movement practice, and proactive documentation, the PRAISE MOTHER SQUAD will introduce our first evening-length production to witnesses in a theater setting. Other iterations have been site-specific or excerpted so with the help of your tax deductible contributions, we hope we can develop something special that can be seen in its full glory by the Summer/Fall of 2024. We want this to be an ongoing piece of work that folks can return to in order to seek understanding and new possibilities.

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $10
    A shoutout on social media. ($10.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $25
    Above, plus your name listed on the production program. ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    Above, plus a PRAISE MOTHER SQUAD postcard and personalized Thank You video from Aaliyah Christina. ($45.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    Above, plus your name listed in the dance-for-camera acknowledgement credits & two tickets to the stage production. ($55.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $250
    Above, plus access to a curated video playlist used by PRAISE MOTHER SQUAD to study technique along with three additional tickets to the stage production (five in total). ($145.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    Above, plus a signed, limited edition chapbook with original poems by Aaliyah featured in the different phases of PRAISE MOTHER, and exclusive access to PRAISE MOTHER rehearsal archives. ($330.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $1000
    Above, plus sponsorship status of PRAISE MOTHER in all of our printed and/or published materials. ($670.00 is tax deductible.)

Aaliyah Christina

Make a Wave Artist

Born in Ruston, Louisiana and raised across Louisiana, Maryland, and Texas, Aaliyah Christina creates and supports performance work as an administrator, curator, movement artist, and writer. She improvises dances and writes poetic-prose about relationship/power dynamics, mental health, and Blackness as …

View Aaliyah Christina's profile
  • Update 1: 3ARTS MATCHED!
    Posted on May 01, 2023
     A dancer dressed in all black jumpsuit and gold gloves holds her hands up to her mouth to shout


    Image captured by Ricardo Adame

    First and foremost, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

    To all of the donors so far, to all of the supporters who aren't able to donate but have shared across platforms, to the anonymous friends who showed up, to everyone who believes in this work and would like to see if come to fruition! We've made it so 3ARTS has matched the first third of donations that were contributed. I am just $1,923 away from reaching my goal. It means SO much to me to see those who have showed up in this way because I know it's been a rough time for a lot of us both financially and emotionally. I can't wait to meet you all on the other side of this campaign and the development process to present what we have cooking in the PRAISE MOTHER SQUAD. 

    I believe we can make it in 30 DAYS so please share with others you believe will benefit from this work!  

    Update 2: In-Process @ Chicago Performance Lab
    Posted on August 09, 2023
     Two dark-skinned Black dancers improvise in front of floor to ceiling windows showcasing the Chicago skyline


    Image captured by Aaliyah Christina

    With deep gratitude and creative energy abound, I would like to update all of you who have contributed on the status of PRAISE MOTHER.

    Two members of the PRAISE MOTHER SQUADKeyierra Collins & Deja Hood, are in-residence at the University of Chicago with me designing the next phase of PRAISE MOTHER as promised. We continue to focus on building the dream world we deserve as daughters, siblings, friends, and lovers. New choreography has been crafted, improvisational scores have been improvised, tears have been shed, and jubilant laughter has erupted from our bellies. We have a few more weeks left in this process and expect to introduce a few guests to the work and continue mapping out the final production slated for next year. 

    Thank you to everyone who helped us reach our goal two months ago! We cannot express enough how much this means to us. We will continue to keep you updated on our goings-on. Be on the lookout for the distribution of Thank You Rewards soon!


    Aaliyah Christina

    Update 3: Catch up with the PRAISE MOTHER SQUAD!
    Posted on April 25, 2024
     Deja Hood (at the foreground) & Keyierra Collins (in the background) perform at rehearse, play, jubilate at Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative. Aaliyah Christina sits on a stool and speaks into a mic (blurred in the background).


    Photo taken by Joshua Taylor

    Since January, the project has been well underway with a residency at Chicago Cultural Center's Dance Studio! We wanna invite all of our supporters and contributors to a private work-in-progress (WIP) during rehearsal next month on Thursday, May 16 at 7pm

    We've been building and working really hard to craft a vulnerable space with each other and grow towards sharing that with more folks. It has been both emotionally and physically grueling and we are excited and humbled to be able to open up the space to share -- with anyone who's willing and able -- all of the things we have crafted over the last few months. These moments are stepping stones to more long-term goals that we haven't even foreseen, yet. 


    You get a special chance to see new choreography, meet new members of the SQUAD, and receive a gift for your ongoing support for the PRAISE MOTHER project & mission. With your RSVP, you confirm your gift to be given at the WIP. Each RSVP comes with a plus one. We appreciate all of your support thus far!

    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • LaShanna Moore

    • Bweza Itaagi

    • Courtney Mackedanz

    • Roman Susan Art Foundation NFP

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • F L

    • Charlique Rolle

    • Carole McCurdy

    • Winifred Haun

    • Stephanie Pacheco

    • Christy Uchida

    • Quenna Barrett

    • Marilyn Carteno

    • Chicago Dancemakers Forum

    • Ayanna London

    • Ginger Farley

    • Amanda Maraist

    • erin kilmurray

    • Kinnari Vora

    • Nora Sharp

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Benjamin McKnight III

    • Mario LaMothe

    • Jada Cunningham

    • Sara Ziglar

    • Aisha Jean-Baptiste

    • Nicole Johnson-Barnes

    • Lizzie Leopold

    • Rahila Naomi Stadem Coats

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Allison Pasquesi

    • J'Sun Howard

    • Lisa Rademacher

    • Nandi King

    • Tuli Bera

    • Treesa Respass

    • Shanda Mallory

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Suzy Grant

    • Dorian Sylvain

    • Brenda Pious

    • Bryan Saner

    • Cat Mahari

    • Timothy "Solomon" Bowser

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Jane Jerardi

    • Joey Grant

    • Mario LaMothe

    • Anna Martine Whitehead

    • Nejla Yatkin

    • Monica Brown

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Sandra Eaton

make it work


3AP Presenting Partner:

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 Additional support provided by: 

Department of Cultural Affairs logo  Illinois Arts Council