Olivia Kamil Smarr (she/her) is a Black queer public theologian and spiritual movement artist. She combines traditional West African dance with contemporary Black American dance styles, and incorporates music spanning the African diaspora to show how ancestral rhythms survive in our bodies and are embedded within our spirits. Olivia Kamil explores, challenges, and creates innovative ways of spiritual engagement—conjuring revolution, power, magic, and passion through movement. She engages with a theology that views the body itself as divine and holy, embracing the connection of sensuality and spirituality. Olivia Kamil centers those with disabilities, chronic illnesses, and survivors of trauma, including religious trauma, in her work.
Olivia Kamil has performed original works at the Bing Concert Hall in Stanford, CA and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. In 2017, Olivia Kamil presented “Church Hats and Club Dresses”: Sexual Liberation and Body Politics for Black Christian Women” at the National Women’s Studies Association Annual Conference. Olivia Kamil is a former recipient of the U.S. Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship for the study of Afro-Brazilian culture and dance. She has an undergraduate degree from Stanford University, where she was an inaugural awardee of the Interdisciplinary Arts Grant for her thesis: “Sankofa, Go Back and Get It: Recovering and Reinterpreting African Cosmologies through Dance”. Olivia Kamil has a Master of Arts in Religious Studies from Chicago Theological Seminary, where she was a recipient of The Reverend Doctor Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. Legacy Scholarship, and studied spiritual embodiment through movement. She successfully defended her thesis “Revelations of Divine Love: A Womanist Embodied Mysticism” in 2021. Her research explores the intersections between movement, mysticism, and nature, from a queer womanist theological lens. Olivia Kamil is also a recipient of the 2020 Arts Religion and Culture (ARC) Emerging Leaders Fellowship. She has been a guest lecturer at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, and presented her most recent research about queer theology, ecology, and womanism at Harvard University’s Cultivating Joy and Collective Restoration Conference in 2021.
Olivia Kamil offers private sessions, workshops, movement meditations, and dance classes—including an Afro Spiritual Dance Jam series designed to help movers of all backgrounds, experiences, and ages engage with their spirituality through dance.