Marquita Sams is a choreographer, dancer, filmmaker, painter, social worker, and spiritual healer whose work is based in Afro-diasporic knowledge systems from a variety of cultures (including ancient Egypt, Nigeria, the Sea Islands, and Haiti). Through her multi-disciplinary practice, she strives to be a conduit for the power of African cosmologies.
In 2006, Sams received a BA in African and African-American Studies and Dance from Washington University in St. Louis. In 2013, she received a Masters of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she focused on the spiritual and cultural significance of the dance of the African diaspora. In 2022, Sams received a Master of Social Work from Delaware State University, where she focused on the intersection between spirituality and somatic psychotherapy. Sams is currently practicing as a mental health therapist. She has performed with dance companies all over the country including Philadanco (Philadelphia), The Slaughter Project (St. Louis), Project Motion (Memphis), Ko-Thi Dance Company (Milwaukee), Wild Space Dance Company (Milwaukee), and Hayiya Dance Theatre (Macon), and she has choreographed and performed solo work at the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Drucker Center in Chicago, the Kenilworth Arts Studios in Milwaukee, and the Tubman Museum in Macon. She has also choreographed pieces for full company performances, lectured in university dance history classes, taught dance classes and workshops to elementary school students, and led movement and meditation classes and self-care retreats for adults.
Sams was the Producer and Movement Consultant for Obi Mbu (The Primordial House) (2021), a 30-minute film which presents a choreographed dance performance exploring the movement of Black dancers illuminated with ultraviolet light as they reenact an Igbo myth of creation. She has also created other short dance films that explore sites important to Black history in the South.
In 2022, Sams received a commission from the Pittsburgh Pirates to create a permanent art installation for the Urban Garden, a unique agriculture and art space located inside PNC Park. She created an exhibition called Miracles in Motion, which features thirteen of her paintings that are displayed on planters in the space. Miracles in Motion is a multi-dimensional title that references the forceful energy that is invoked in her paintings, dance, and healing work; meditates on the movement to be found everywhere in the cosmos; and is a statement of her personal triumph over illness (she received a life-saving liver transplant in 2016).
In 2023, Sams co-directed The Four World Ages, a sweeping saga based on a Nigerian-Igbo myth that tells the history of humanity as it unfolds through four eras. This piece employs dynamic projections, innovative light design, and spatial augmented reality components that blend artificial intelligence, computer vision, motion capture technology, custom-built software, and real-time 3D rendering. The Four World Ages was presented during a dance residency at The Yard at Martha's Vineyard.
Sams is also an accomplished spiritualist. She has created a unique healing modality, also entitled Miracles in Motion, that draws from deep studies in ancient Egyptian and vodun metaphysics and incorporates energy healing, crystal healing, sound healing, oracle card reading, dream interpretation, and mediumship.