M'bewe Escobar

  • Adjunct Instructor

Ninoska M’bewe Escobar specializes in Black diasporic theatre, dance and performance. She earned a B.F.A. in Dance from Montclair State University and M.A. and Ph.D. in Theatre from The University of Texas at Austin. From 2016-18 she was a Consortium for Faculty Diversity Scholar in Theatre Arts and African American Studies at Amherst College, where she taught African American theatre history, dance and global cultures, African American dance history, and case studies in Black women’s performance practices and Black Power/Black Arts Movement in the Department of Theatre and Dance. In 2018 she organized the dance symposium African American Dance: Form, Function and Style! The symposium explored the history and practice of African American dance through public talks, master dance classes, workshops and performances, and select films relevant to the history and development of Black dance aesthetics, choreography, and documentation, with keynote address presented by preeminent dance scholar Dr. Yvonne Daniel. She co-directed the Ailey/Pre-Professional Performing Arts School Program from 1998-2002, and directed New York AileyCamp from 2000-03 and Miami AileyCamp in 2010. From 2002-11, she was a lead facilitator of the humanities curriculum Revelations: An Interdisciplinary Approach, which utilizes Alvin Ailey’s signature ballet Revelations to engage students in examining societal issues impacting their lives and communities.


She has a professional background in choreography and trained with Marjorie Perces at The Clark Center for the Performing Arts and with Alvin Ailey at the American Dance Center in New York. She has taught at The Ailey School, Clark Center for the Performing Arts, the Black Theater Alliance and Rod Rogers Dance Company School in New York, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark, Greenhouse Dance Institute/Litchfield Jazz Festival and Earl Mosley Institute of the Arts in Connecticut, and the Caribbean American Dance Company/Model Cities Center for the Cultural Arts in Miami, among others. She was a principal dancer in the companies of legendary Brazilian capoeiristas Loremil Machado and Jelon Vieira, Newark Dance Theatre and Caribbean American Dance Company, and performed with Nigerian Jùjú music trailblazer King Sunny Adé, with Le Ballet National Djoliba, and with Jamaican reggae superstars Third World during their 1980s tours of the U.S. Her film and theater credits include performing in the original cast of MGM's Fame (1980) as “Phonecia,” as “Njinga” in the Brooklyn Academy of Music Nextwave Festival production of NJINGA THE QUEEN KING (1993), and in numerous concert stage productions and venues including Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Jacob’s Pillow, and the Santa Fe Dance Festival. As a choreographer, she created the dances for Reza Abdoh’s The Law of Remains (1992) and the Nuyorican Poets Café production of Pepe Carril’s Shango de Ima (1994), which won an Audelco award for Outstanding Black Theater Choreography. As a director she developed original works for the performance groups Life Force Dance and M’word!, presented at the Joyce Soho, the Theater of the Riverside Church, the Neuberger Museum of Art, and The Knitting Factory in New York, among others.