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On behalf of the NDP Advisor Cohort, we are pleased to share the 2023 National Dance Project (NDP) Production Grant Finalists.
The NDP Production Grant annually provides a framework of funding to support the creation/development and U.S.* touring/sharing of new dance projects. We welcome applications that exemplify the aesthetic and cultural diversity of today’s dance field, uplift various career stages, and offer intentional experiences to engage communities across the country that often nurture a sphere of change. Grantees will receive:
While there are 40 NDP Finalists, ultimately only 20 projects will receive an NDP Production Grant. However, with support from our funders, we continue to provide $10,000 in unrestricted funding to those projects that remain NDP Finalists as an acknowledgment of their efforts within this grant process and an expression of our belief in their artistic impact. We also see these Finalist Awards as an opportunity to deepen our investment in creative process, elevate new notions of dance-making, and increase support within the larger dance ecology.
*NEFA defines U.S. as all 50 of the United States, as well as Washington D.C., American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
** NEFA continues to embrace an expanded definition of touring to include virtual sharing. We understand that there are new opportunities and interest for artists and companies to share their projects virtually, reaching a more global audience, and have remained flexible to support this kind of expansion and hybrid model.
This year we received 167 eligible preliminary applications for the NDP Production Grant. They each were assessed and evaluated by 12 NDP Advisors using program criteria to guide their collective decision-making and future selection of 40 new dance projects as NDP Finalists. In April, NDP Advisors convened virtually in a grant panel review process where they engaged in rigorous discussions that prioritized program criteria, elevated diverse perspectives of dance-making and lived experiences, as well as tackled new and old fieldwide issues based on themes uplifted in applications. Through deep inquiry, the NDP Advisors observed the desire to push collective leadership, understand access as an aesthetic, create new styles of movement, increase living archives as a form of preservation, uplift the various modalities of storytelling within an identified community, and expand ideas of how dance is presented/experienced. The submissions were undoubtedly reflective of the time we are in as a society and continue to offer apparatuses for living truthfully by/and disrupting various systems.
Some additional information from this year’s applicant pool include:
As the NDP Finalists prepare to submit their full proposal on June 14th, they will work with an NDP Advisor who will provide guidance and feedback on but not limited to: narrative responses (including comments from the preliminary panel meeting), the project budget, in-person and/or virtual tour planning strategies, and work sample selections. They will also have access to support from the NDP Team as needed. In July, NDP Advisors will convene again virtually to determine the 20 new dance projects that will receive an NDP Production Grant and the 20 new dance projects that will receive Finalist Awards.
The NDP program, its practices, and evolving processes would not be possible without the support and care provided by the NDP Team: Cheri Opperman, Senior Grants Manager, and Kristin Gregory, Program Manager. Thank you both for your steadfast commitment to our work year-round and the leadership you exude to enhance NDP.
In addition, the NDP Team would like extend extreme gratitude to Jane Preston, Deputy Director of Programs, and Elizabeth Timmerman, Interim Technology & Data Manager, for their positive energy and being thought partners before, during, and after the process.
NEFA's National Dance Project is generously supported with lead funding from the Doris Duke Foundation and the Mellon Foundation, with funding for special initiatives from the Boston Foundation, and the Aliad Fund at the Boston Foundation.
Please Note: As one extension of NEFA’s land acknowledgment practice, we believe it is important to provide space for artists/companies to uplift the original caretakers of the lands they reside and/or create on. You will notice that this may be represented differently for each NDP Finalist. We respect the varied choices made by artists/companies in honoring and recognizing the original caretakers of the land(s), as well as the relationships that exist and are being fostered through these projects. In addition, the project descriptions below represent the current understanding of the project by the artist/company and are subject to change as part of the full proposal submission.
RUPTURE | San Francisco, CA
&theruptureisnow is an experimental process-based work instigated by jose e. abad in co-authorship with Stephanie Hewett, Styles Alexander, Gabriele Christian, and Clarissa Rivera Dyas. This project is a three-hour choreographic experiment comprised of Kickback, Performance, and Function and blurs the lines between Black sociality, spectatorship and performance. This work examines Black gatherings that center collective rest, play, and somatic experimentation as resistance. It prioritizes strengthening and developing intergenerational networks of care for Queer Black performance artists across the diaspora and will premiere in the Bay Area in April 2024 and tour for two years to Black American urban centers that the RUPTURE collective considers home.
Land Acknowledgement: Ramaytush-Ohlone land.
Baye & Asa | Brooklyn, NY
4|2|3 focuses on the generational impacts of Climate Change using the Riddle of the Sphinx as an allegorical structure. This ancient riddle asks, “What has 4 legs in the morning, 2 legs at noon, and 3 legs in the evening.” The answer is Man: he crawls on all fours as a baby, stands on two legs throughout his life, and uses a cane in old age. Using the riddle as our framework, we will work with three generations of performers on a piece that examines the intergenerational cooperation necessary to acknowledge this moment of existential crisis. 4|2|3 reflects on humanity’s industrial history, and how we must build a new world on foundations that are less oppressive, less extractive, and more sustainable.
The piece is divided into three sections. Section 4 features two children from 8-11 years old, section 2 is for five performers in their 20s-40s, and section 3 is a solo for one older performer.
Land Acknowledgement: Munsee Lenape.
Nejla Yatkin | Chicago, IL
A Dance Without A Name — Ouroboros is an evening-length interactive theatrical solo dance presented in the round including live music and ASL translation. The dance piece resurrects and centers the ancient healing symbol of Ouroboros through personal story telling, dance (contemporary and Middle Eastern dance), song (cabaret style, sung live by Nejla), live finger cymbal/zill play, multiple languages (English, German, Turkish, and ASL), as well as audience participation.
From the moment the audience enters the space which is set up like a nomadic tent, they are greeted with rosewater, Turkish delights, and taken through a journey to feel the life-affirming power of the ancient ritual of a gathering circle to dance, sing, and share stories. The solo dance takes the audience on a journey of memory, place, our current paradoxes, and the cyclical and entrapping nature of time and culture. At the end of the evening the audience is invited to join in to feel the life affirming power of dance.
Land Acknowledgement: The Chicago area is located on ancestral lands of indigenous tribes, such as the Council of the Three Fires--comprised of the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi Nations--as well as the Miami, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Sac, Fox, Kickapoo, and Illinois Nations.
Big Dance Theater | Brooklyn, NY
Big Dance Theater is currently focused on a large-scale production: All Together Now! (ATN!). This project is being co-commissioned by the Perlman Arts Center (PAC) in New York, the American Dance Festival in North Carolina, NCCAKRON, OH, and Spoleto Festival in South Carolina. In 2022/23, alongside the work of Annie-B Parson, this project will commission and produce two BIPOC artists, prioritizing Big Dance Theater's commitment to sharing resources. The Perelman originally commissioned a new work by Annie-B Parson, and BDT is thrilled to share the commission and produce a triple bill with directors Tendayi Kuumba and Donna Uchizono. ATN! is a large-scale theater work created in three parts by three choreographers. The production as a whole explores what it means to move together in time and space, and the velocity of group action and actions.
Land Acknowledgement: Big Dance rehearses and performs in the unceded homeland of the Lenape people.
Ananya Dance Theatre | Minneapolis, MN
Choreographer Ananya Chatterjea, with dancers and collaborators of Ananya Dance Theatre, will create ANTARANGA, an original full-length dance theater work set to premiere in September 2024, at The O'Shaughnessy Women of Substance series, St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN. The work is seeded by the Urdu concept humsafar: “fellow traveler” or “those who journey together.” ANTARANGA will investigate clashes of history and memory; relationships and intimacies bent by shifting terrains of time, context, and energy; and world views re-chiseled by these re-formations. In ANTARANGA, traveling together requires that the structures of BIPOC and transnational feminist solidarities be invigorated with complex, intersectional understandings of being, in specific relationship to the Black and brown femmes of Ananya Dance Theatre. A community-embedded creation process will include site-specific public workshops where participants create ritual-based messages of love and care for an ancestor or descendent.
Land Acknowledgement: We are located on and pay tribute to Mni Sota Makoce, the unceded homelands of the Dakota Oyate and the Ojibwe peoples. We stand in solidarity with Native and Black communities, whose land and labor are crucial in sustaining this land on which we dance.
Ladies of Hip-Hop | Jersey City, NJ
The Black Dancing Bodies Project (BDB), launched by Ladies of Hip-Hop founder Michele Byrd-McPhee (2018), celebrates Black women in street/club dance culture. It addresses erasure, miscoding, and exclusion of Black women’s work and voices. BDB collects, preserves, and tells the stories of Black women through dance, interviews and photo documentation; presented from stage to the streets. In BDB, Black women reclaim their narratives.
Awarded a Works & Process residency (2021), LOHH Dance Collective began building works exploring the lived cultural experiences of Black girlhood, Black womanhood, and how they live at the intersection of race, class, gender, sexuality, and politics through the lens of Hip-Hop culture. LOHH’s W&P residency (2022) revisited the power, beauty, and interdisciplinary nature of the choreopoem (a term coined in 1975 by writer Ntozake Shange) and spawned SpeakMyMind, introspective poems immersed in the music and movement of street, club, and African dance.
Land Acknowledgement: Munsee Lenape.
inkBoat | San Francisco, CA
inkBoat physical theater & dance and Wudang West Cultural Center will collaborate on Clouds from a Crumbling Giant, or Clouds, a community-engaged dance project that combines the traditional practices of Daoist internal arts with inkBoat’s theater and performance-devising traditions, rooted in the Japanese avant-garde performing arts.
Working with David Wei of Wudang West, inkBoat will engage the elderly and Disabled participants of San Francisco Community Living Campaign (SFCLC) to create Clouds — a fully staged hour-long work featuring three professional dancers from inkBoat, several community participants from SFCLC, and five musicians. Members of the SFCLC group will be invited to join a weekly session over the course of two years where they work with Shinichi to exchange perspectives that shape the choreography. Directed by Shinichi Iova Koga, Clouds will premiere as three performances at ODC Theater, Spring 2025 before being adapted for flexible touring to theaters/community spaces.
Land Acknowledgement: Ramaytush Ohlone.
Bridge Live Arts | San Francisco, CA
Co-choreographed by Rebecca Fitton, Cherie Hill, and Hope Mohr, an intergenerational, multi-racial team, Dancing Distributed Leadership (Dancing DL) investigates how our commitments to equity and shared power translate into the studio and onto the stage. This collaborative dance project explores shared leadership through choreography, performance, and community engagement. The work explores balancing individual voice, deep listening, collective authorship, and an embodied study of different experiences.
The premiere of Dancing DL emerges from years of intentional work to move away from a hierarchical, founder-led structure and toward an emerging new model grounded in a collective vision. Public sharing will include live and virtual evening-length performances paired with audience dialogues; public conversation and movement workshops on shared leadership in dance; open rehearsals; writings; and an online project archive.
Land Acknowledgement: Ohlone, Ramaytush, Muwekma.
Ayako Kato/Art Union Humanscape (AK/AUH) | Chicago, IL
ETHOS IV advocates for freedom, dignity of life, and restoration of human relationships with Nature. This multi-year project extends the Japanese traditional aesthetic state of being: fūryū, “wind flow” universally. ETHOS Episodes are physical inquiries about ethical ways of being and how a shared humanity can be perceptible through dance movement, practicing 7As: Awareness, Acknowledgement, Affirmation, Allowance, Action, Acceptance, and Affinity. ETHOS IV: Cycle/De-growth/Rebirth (2024) is a new episode which follows To the Shore (2019), Inception (2021), and LUCA/Res Communis (2022). It fuses the duality between reality and gravitated dream, and expresses the beauty of diversity rooted in the symbiotic way of Nature, acknowledging the land and its history, and affirming our ancestors and a common origin of life. ETHOS IV: Cycle/De-growth/Rebirth is a holistic, experiential, outdoor and indoor theatrical performance with projection by dance filmmaker Wills Glasspiegel.
Land Acknowledgement: The Council of Three Fires, the Anishinaabeg, Odawak, and Bodéwadmik, as well as Hoocąk, Jiwere, Nutachi, Baxoje; Kiash Matchitiwuk, Meshkwahkîha, Asâkîwaki; Myaamiaki, Waayaahtanwaki, Peeyankihšiaki; Kiikaapoi; Inoka, and Mesquakie.
Kyle Marshall Choreography | Brooklyn, NY
This year Kyle Marshall Choreography, a company that sees the dancing body as a container of history, is embarking on an ambitious trilogy of dances embodying the music and legacy of the proudly Black, gay minimalist composer Julius Eastman (1940–1990). Our NDP proposal is to support the creation, development and touring of the cornerstone of our Eastman Project, a radically Queer, 60-minute embodiment of Julius Eastman’s jubilant minimalist composition, Femenine.
The full vision of the dance will include, along with original lighting, costume, and visual design, collaboration with chamber ensembles to perform Eastman’s music live. A cast of six diverse performers will embody themes of vulnerability, Queer love, softness, and communal joy. Through Femenine, we aim to push the boundaries of physical artistry, build bridges between contemporary music and dance, and cultivate nuanced conversations with communities across the country on Black and Queer history and cultural influence.
Land Acknowledgement: Lenape people // Lenapehoking.
Adia Tamar Whitaker | Brooklyn, NY
Adia Tamar Whitaker will collaborate with her company, Àṣẹ Dance Theater Collective and San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department to create Following The Road to Ose Tura, a dance project passed from Efeya Sampson to Adia before Efeya transitioned into the ancestral realm.
Land Acknowledgement: Canarsie, Munsee Lenape.
Dance Exchange | Takoma Park, MD
Future Fields is a multi-year, cross-disciplinary performance and community engagement project that cultivates communal exploration of climate change and agriculture. Led by Dance Exchange Executive Artistic Director Cassie Meador and project Co-Directors Dr. Jamē McCray and Christina Catanese, the project takes place in rural, suburban, and urban communities with partner organizations and farms across the U.S. Future Fields offers an opportunity for artists, farmers, scientists, and audiences to bring together the strength of our diverse experiences, to invest in dancemaking and storytelling as future-making practices, and to catalyze climate action.
Land Acknowledgement: Dance Exchange respectfully acknowledges that we are located on the occupied ancestral lands of the Nacotchtank (Anacostan) People and the Piscataway People whose presence, leadership, and care has stewarded this land throughout the generations.
Prehistoric Body Theater | Surakarta, Indonesia
Prehistoric Body Theater is deep-time animal dance, an embodied celebration of our evolutionary ancestry as revealed by the fossil record. The work is co-created with an all-Indonesian ensemble, synergizing Indonesian dance and ritual perspectives, butoh-lineage stagecraft, and choreographic biomimicry guided by mentor paleontologists. Ghosts of Hell Creek is a mainstage dance-theater production, crafted like a mesmerizing clay-textured diorama, activated by full-body clay costumery, intricate lighting, and an immersive soundtrack undulating with experimental gamelan motifs. The work's narrative is a eulogy for Acheroraptor, the last feathered raptor dinosaur to prowl the Hell Creek jungles of prehistoric Montana 66 million years ago, before its annihilation in the wake of an apocalyptic asteroid impact. The work then celebrates the miraculous survival of humanity’s ancient primate ancestor Purgatorius, who rose from the ashes and thrived on the first fruit as the world was born anew.
Land Acknowledgement: Our headquarters, the “Prehistoric Nest” is located in Surakarta, Central Java, homeland of the Javanese people, the Keraton Solo, and the ancient home of the Sangiran people who first walked these lands over a million years ago.
Kayla Hamiliton | Bronx, NY
How to Bend Down/How to Pick it Up is an immersive, site specific, multidisciplinary installation and dance performance exploring the growth, use, and medicalization of cotton as a historical thread between Blackness and Disability in the U.S.
The piece utilizes an elaborate multimedia design, multiple Audio Descriptors, a multi vantage-point stage, and a performance structure that can reconfigure every night based on the performers’ changing needs. Moving through the funhouse mirrored, public gaze that sensationalizes, commodifies and pathologies Black and Disabled people — How to Bend Down/How to Pick it Up offers a spatiotemporal, spiritual, and somatic archiving and reclamation of the ways Black Disabled folks adapt, assemble, and love one another.
Land Acknowledgement: The land currently known as The Bronx is the native land of Lenapehoking.
Jenn Freeman | Queens, NY
IS IT THURSDAY YET? is a stimulating hybrid of theatricality and clinical analysis, exploring autistic choreographer and dancer Jenn Freeman’s neurodivergent brain in motion. Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in her adulthood at age 33, Freeman’s work seeks to foster the understanding of autism for herself and others. Directed by Tony Award® winner Sonya Tayeh, IS IT THURSDAY YET? will be performed with original live music by artist-composer Holland Andrews and utilizes recordings from Freeman’s autism diagnosis sessions, embracing child-like surrealism, the vibrant, colorful and tactile scenic design is inspired by Freeman’s sensory sensitivities to texture, color, light, and function. Footage from her childhood along with clinical terminology will be woven into the story serving as a narrative. Juxtaposing the rigidity of clinical diagnostic language up against Freeman’s actual human experience of being autistic serves as a rich and emotional journey told through dance.
Land Acknowledgement: We acknowledge that the developmental process of Is It Thursday Yet? has been conducted upon the homelands of the Munsee Lenape, Indigenous peoples.
PUSH Physical Theatre, Inc | Rochester, NY
PUSH Physical Theatre will create, premiere, further develop and revise, and prepare for touring a new devised dance work inspired by The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The work will utilize multi-disciplinary art forms including physical theatre’s nonverbal storytelling techniques, spoken word, 3D imaging, and other technologies to explore age-old questions of morality and human behavior in the 21st century. Using social media as part of performance creation, audiences and PUSH representatives will interact with the play’s characters before as well as following performances, with the intention to expand the traditional stage. The devised work will premiere as part of the 2023 Davis-Waldorf Performing Arts Series at the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma.
Land Acknowledgement: We are in the ancestral and unceded territory of the Onöndowa’ga, or “the people of the Great Hill," known in English as Seneca people.
dani tirrell | Washington, DC
Leviticus or Love and to walk amongst HUMANS: A dance in two parts (Book I and Book II) is an exploration of prayer, sin, movement as a spiritual awakening, love, and loss. This new dance project will be created inside of a space that centers a spiritual connection with Black Queer, trans, cis, and non-binary bodies. This multi-part dance work is set to traditional and contemporary gospel music that will be reimagined and inspired by Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace gospel album and documentary.
Land Acknowledgement: Washington D.C. sits on the ancestral lands of the Anacostans (also documented as Nacotchtank), and the neighboring Piscataway and Pamunkey peoples.
Monica Bill Barnes & Company | New York, NY
Many Happy Returns, created by Monica Bill Barnes (MBB) and Robbie Saenz de Viteri (RS), continues the company’s mission to “bring dance where it doesn’t belong” with a dance-theater version of a memory play. Using movement (choreographed by MBB) and language (written by RS), we create a shared character — a woman, in the middle years of her life, fighting, celebrating, denying, and embracing the everyday passing of time. She dances alone, jump cutting from one side of a duet to another using MBB’s fast paced, comedic choreography to populate the stage while her voice (performed by RS) wanders through awkward self-reflection and fleeting memories. Occasionally these memories invoke other dancers that move with her through a former version of her life. A lingering dissonance pervades, but it is a celebration, a reunion of some kind. So there’s a beach ball, a toast, and a sing-a-long, as we attempt to laugh at the constant question of whether we keep changing or if we remain the same.
Land Acknowledgement: We work in Lenapehoking, on the lands of who we now call the Munsee, Canarsee, and Mespeatches people. There’s a history of environmental harm here that began with the displacement and violence against these people and continues today.
Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE | Brooklyn, NY
Renowned choreographer Ronald K. Brown will create a 40-minute work to the late jazz virtuoso drummer Max Roach's breakout work Percussion Bittersweet in celebration of Roach's 100th birthday. The work will be set on both Malpaso and Ronald K. Brown/EVIDENCE and performed by a combined ensemble of both companies. Roach, who like Brown, grew up in the Bed-Stuy section of Brooklyn, created Percussion Bittersweet in 1961 after a visit to Cuba and a commitment to utilize his art as an instrument for activism in the U.S. Brown will utilize his blended style of African, Cuban, and contemporary dance to create a celebration of Roach's legacy @100.
Land Acknowledgement: Land of the Lenape.
Jasmine Hearn | Houston, TX
Memory Fleet: A Return to Matr is a migrating performance and archive that preserves the living memories of eight Black matriarchs of the North and South sides of Houston, TX. Their shared stories will be the source for original sound scores, choreographies, and garments that will be experienced as a site-specific performance, album, feast, online archive, anthological catalog, and a mercurial system of somatic, embodied sound and dance practice.
Land Acknowledgement: The Ocean — the plants and animals and the Ishak, Karankawa, Sana, Coahuiltecan, and Akokisa peoples.
Keshet Dance Company | Albuquerque, NM
Movement for Mercy (MfM) is a contemporary dance performance intended to examine (and change) the U.S. juvenile carceral system/s. Co-created & performed by a team of collaborating dance artists from Keshet Dance Co, incarcerated young adults from Keshet's M3 Program (Movement + Mentorship = Metamorphosis), and Youth Leaders from Keshet’s Arts & Justice Youth Leadership Council, MfM is created through a durational process inside & outside of prison walls. Through the process we are aware of how the physical space & lived experience of freedom vs. incarceration influences the collaborative process & product. The process is intentionally slow, and leaves room for both emotional care & logistical realities of dancemaking in prison. The MfM production & touring model will focus on deep levels of community partnerships which can be nurtured and developed, instigating long-term relationships to foster and support further efforts to re-imagine the NM and U.S. juvenile justice systems.
Land Acknowledgement: Pueblo, Ancestral Pueblo, Navajo, Apache.
LB Productions | Chicago, IL
New Ghost is a multimedia dance exhibition by footwork artist Jamal “Litebulb” Oliver that explores the history and development of Chicago footwork through an examination of one foundational footwork move called “the Ghost.” In this installation dance piece which includes photography, lighting design, film projection, original music, and footwork, Litebulb encounters legends of footwork — some living, some deceased — who bring him on a movement journey exploring the development, impact, and innovation of “the Ghost.”
The show is being developed in three phases:
This project represents Bulb’s mission to uncover and document both the forgotten history of footwork and honor how moves like the Ghost continue to be part of a living, breathing artform that continues to innovate and adjust.
Land Acknowledgement: The area around what is now Chicago, IL, was originally the home of the Peoria, Potawatomi, Myaamia, Očhéthi Šakówiŋ, Kaskaskia, and Kiikaapoi (Kickapoo) peoples.
little house dance | Portland, ME
Noisefloor is an audiovisual encounter that seeks to guide audiences through the intersection between objective and experiential worlds. Featuring the talents of 21 collaborators from the worlds of music (string ensemble Palaver strings, composer Courtney Swain) and dance (little house dance, choreographer Heather Stewart), this experience uses architecture and acoustics to transform the traditional proscenium theater into an atmospheric cave. Visual void one moment and cavernous echo chamber the next, the production redirects audiovisual focus throughout the theater, drawing upon the non-linear structure of dream logic to ping-pong sensory perception throughout the performance hall.
Land Acknowledgement: Wabanaki.
DaEun Jung | Los Angeles, CA
NORRI (놀이) is an evening-length group dance project inspired by the principle, form, and mode of Korean folk dance as a communal performance practice. NORRI, meaning “play” in Korean, creates an inclusive platform to experiment with collaborative pattern compositions while celebrating both collective accomplishments and individual grooves.
In NORRI, classical Korean dance vocabulary—originating from simple steps and gestures—is re-stylized by dancers of different cultural and movement backgrounds. Spontaneous Pansori (Korean traditional folk opera) phrases and continuous pulse of electronic sound guide or challenge dancers’ complex and playful kinesthetic exploration.
With its practice and creation, NORRI stirs dialogues on connectedness that acknowledges the singularity of each individual in the blended nature of our larger country.
Land Acknowledgement: We work on the land of the Chumash, Tongva, and Kizh Peoples.
Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener | Margaretville, NY
Open Machine is an interdisciplinary durational dance performance which unfolds in the interstitial space between the virtual and the real, choreography and improvisation. Like links in a chain or spiraling levels of a video game, it builds upon itself as the audience moves from within the theater to the outdoor, natural environment. At each stage information is gathered methodically, then sorted and repurposed through video installations and audio-visual scores which are then enacted by performers. These methods mimic surveillance systems, games of social hierarchy, personality tests, and our cultural obsession with identifying and categorizing humans. Through digital, haptic, and analog interfaces the show spins out the audience's desires and subjectivities, creating portals for involvement with and activation of the performance itself. How might we collaboratively reimagine identities, social interaction, decision-making, and our influence on our increasingly mediated world?
Land Acknowledgement: Haudenosaunee.
Kayla Farrish/Decent Structures Arts | Brooklyn, NY
Jumping portals and seams spanning reality and cinema, Put Away the Fire, dear, uproots power and history across generations of the American landscape, rupturing “The Master Narrative” to dismantle American Cinema of the 1930s-60s. Immersing into the worlds of six characters in a dance-theater live-performance film, a Black Woman contrasts her archetype of disappearance, with potent will. Various characters shift the lens and redirect storylines across eras of thriller, film-noir, romance, and musical. Remixing dance-theater, storytelling, cinema’s gaze, voice, and music, disintegrating archetype as they live their inaccessible range of humanness. Disrupting erasure as a Black American Woman from the South, my radical dreaming carves an immersive eye through a live film time-hopping from my grandmother's perspective, to my trapped house between real and myth, onwards to fantastical cinematic plots. We boldly take the pen, release the flame, setting fire to the structures that be.
Land Acknowledgement: Munsee Lenape.
Viver Brasil | Los Angeles, CA
Rezas & Folhas, choreographed by Viver Brasil's Co-Artistic Director Vera Passos seeks to act as ritualized intervention against the reality of climate change in Brazil and the world. It seeks to uplift our sacred connection to earth — and the Black and Indigenous knowledge systems that preserve this wisdom — as key to our collective reimagining of alternate life-affirming futures.
Land Acknowledgement: Chumash & Tongva.
Nava Dance Theatre | San Francisco, CA
Rogue Gestures is a dance and live music production exploring the agency of South Asian women who immigrated to the U.S. following the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act. We use Bharatanatyam, experimental movement, and different musical genres to question the meaning of assimilation in America. This inquiry sources community interviews, historical texts, and poetry to explore the intersections of labor, agency, and belonging in our South Asian ancestry. Performances will consist of solo, duet, and ensemble choreography by Nadhi Thekkek with music direction by Kalaisan Kalaichelvan and Roopa Mahadevan. Thekkek and collaborators will collect oral histories, building the source material from her community. Through these interviews they examine how these women challenged conventional gender roles and explore how their lived experiences have informed hyphenated identities today.
Land Acknowledgement: Our mailing address and locations where we rehearse are on Yelamu, the land of Chochenyo and Ramaytush speaking Ohlone people.
CONTRA-TIEMPO | Los Angeles, CA
Two fierce movers and award-winning dance artists, women of color, mothers, activists and community leaders, holly johnston and Ana Maria Alvarez, unite to use their respective ancestral technologies of dance, music, and imagery to make a new work, Roots of Loving Us. Through collective crafting, conversations, and storytelling the work embodies origin stories of persons and families created through biological uprooting, unchosen separation and the re-rooting of bodies that change the DNA of family trees. In this 60-minute multimodal choreographic work envisioned by holly and Ana Maria, performed by the artists of CONTRA-TIEMPO, we center ourselves around descendants of adoption, bioadaptive families, warrior women and mothers whose birthing bodies do not include full-term pregnancies — these are stories of lives changed by the choice to love forever.
Land Acknowledgement: CONTRA-TIEMPO is located on the unceded territory of the Gabrieliño Tongva people.
Jesse Factor | Pittsburgh, PA
Show Queen is an imaginative solo piece centered on the codes and conventions of the Broadway Diva as Queer icon. Through a series of three interconnected danced solos with an emphasis on visual spectacle, Pittsburgh-based dance artist Jesse Factor takes the audience through the experience of listening, longing, and fantasizing to multiple Original Broadway cast albums as a child. Conceived by Factor with long-time collaborators, composer Andy Hasenpflug, and media artist Scott Andrew, Show Queen features oral histories with elderqueers, regarding experiences of connecting with the Broadway musical as a source of both empowerment and shame. Through this evening-length work featuring Factor’s signature stark and sensual physicality, Andrew’s otherworldly video projections, and Hasenpflug’s layered and pulsating grooves, Show Queen will expand/transform a love of the Broadway musical from shameful secret and ridicule into an empowering and vital source of energy and self-declaration.
Land Acknowledgement: Factor resides on the unseated lands of the Osage, Shawnee, and the Monongahela Culture, an Iroquoian Native American cultural manifestation named for the Monongahela River, whose valley contains the majority of this culture's sites.
Hope Boykin | New York, NY
States of Hope is a dance play choreographed and written by Hope Boykin for a cast of seven dancers. The work centers on a transparent excavation of Boykin's life, relationships, and career in dance, with spoken words serving as the blueprint for the choreography. Narrated live by Boykin herself, a complex mixture of movement, text, and sound score will reveal the arduous work of self-discovery and reshaping a personal narrative. With original music composed by Ali Jackson, States of Hope will not only tell Boykin's own story but will allow audiences to see themselves in her journey.
Land Acknowledgement: The Lenape island of Manhahtaan (Mannahatta), acknowledging that the island is stolen land and is part of a history of erasure of many Indigenous communities.
DNAWORKS | Fort Worth, TX
DNAWORKS is currently developing a multidisciplinary adaptation of Joseph Conrad's 1909 novella THE SECRET SHARER (TSS). TSS is a devised ensemble performance integrating dance, music, sound, text, and projections. Considered an early Queer text, THE SECRET SHARER explores fragility, tenderness, and intimacy in times of personal duress and societal discrimination. In response to the persistence of hate crimes and LGBTQQ2SPIAA+ youth suicides worldwide, THE SECRET SHARER provides a Queer-centered space for resiliency and healing, with audience members sharing their own stories during the performance, interspersed at critical moments in the narrative.
Land Acknowledgement: DNAWORKS is located on the unceded homelands of multiple Native American nations, including Cherokee, Muscogee, Seminole, Kickapoo, Shawnee, Caddo, and Wichita, who were forcibly removed by settler colonialism and from which non-Native people now benefit.
Jody Kuehner / Cherdonna Shinatra | Seattle, WA
Threesome is Queer interdisciplinary dance spectacle where three larger-than-life personalities will collide inside one anxiety-riddled brain. Created by Seattle-based artist Jody Kuehner aka Cherdonna Shinatra with Philadelphia artists John Jarboe aka Jarbeaux and Dito van Reigersberg aka Martha Graham Cracker, Threesome’s mission is to break down the human-based fear response of anxiety, which consists of three parts: the top, middle, and bottom brain. Each persona will each take on a different role: Cherdonna as the bottom (limbic/emotional) brain, Martha as the middle (perceptive) brain, and Jarbeaux as the top (thinking/decision-making) brain. Premiering in Seattle in 2024 and slated to travel to Philadelphia and St. Petersburg, Florida, Threesome will use dance, drag, camp, absurdity, song, and stunning costumes to externalize the inner workings of this complex three-way relationship in the queerest way possible to help audiences laugh, cry, and leave feeling lighter.
Land Acknowledgement: Suquamish, Stillaguamish, Duwamish, Snoqualmie, Muckleshoot.
Morgan Thorson | Minneapolis, MN
Untitled Night is an outdoor nocturnal dance event made for extreme climates. Drawing its inspiration from the firmament of nightscape and the dynamic winter of the Upper Midwest, Untitled Night is devised as a group collaborative practice and choreography, created by a collective body of six Queer interdisciplinary collaborators. Instigated by research in Queer ecology and dark sky advocacy, Untitled Night activates connections to land and celestial bodies, summoning consideration of aliveness and environmental precarity. Spirited to break through communal denial of climate crisis, Untitled Night’s choreography edges between advocacy and bereavement for Winter Nights.
In the face of significant personal or communal loss, we are moved to make gentle marks of remembrance; Untitled Night is a mark made for night and winter, and for movement as necessity, because outdoor dancing at temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit is itself an exercise in survival.
Land Acknowledgement: Dakota, Ojibwe.
Blue13 Dance Company | Los Angeles, CA
Blue13 Dance Company’s Vishwas is an inquiry on South Asian and Indian American feminine intersectionality, agency, and duty, inspired by the life and work of 15th century Indian saint-poet, Meera Bai. A child of immigrant parents, choreographer Achinta S. McDaniel provocatively interprets Meera Bai's story to reveal the South Asian woman’s historical burden to uphold tradition while negotiating power and self-worth.
Blue13 rejects contemporary dance being equated with whiteness, and challenges audiences to discover the power and rhythm of the Indian diaspora as an essential part of the canon. Vishwas is also a rejection of the Indian dancer as monolith. The piece critiques normative depictions of feminine beauty and Indianness, while subverting expectations of classical Kathak. Further disturbing the term “classical,” Vishwas is set to South Asian American composer Reena Esmail’s composition, which interweaves western orchestral instrumentation with Hindustani raags and tabla.
Land Acknowledgement: Blue13 acknowledges the land on which we live, work, and gather is the traditional territory and unceded land of the Tongva, Chumash, and Kizh peoples.
Jay Carlon | Los Angeles, CA
WAKE is a solo dance piece by Queer, first-generation Filipinx-American dancer, choreographer, and community organizer, Jay Carlon. The work explores themes of post-colonial identity, ancestry, and the complexities of the Filipinx diaspora. In collaboration with sound artist Micaela Tobin and installation artist Carlo Maghirang, the performance creates a ritualistic space where mundane, yet culturally significant, objects are given new meaning and made sacred. WAKE seeks to connect with AAPI communities and create a space for audiences to confront the effects of colonialism, systemic oppression, and racial capitalism. This performance-ritual provides communities born in the wake of the U.S. empire an opportunity to grieve, heal, and find solace in the collective. The accompanying community activation program, TALAGA, offers opportunities for audiences to gather and engage intimately with the creative team's themes and practices.
Land Acknowledgement: Tongva (Gabrieleño).
Christal Brown/INSPIRIT | Middlebury, VT
What We Ask of Flesh (WWAOF) is a dance work by choreographer Christal Brown inspired by the writings of poet Remica Bingham-Risher. Aligning Bingham-Risher’s text with personal narratives, soundscapes by Farai Malianga, and the clarifying eye of dramaturg Arielle Brown, WWAOF is a physical examination and expansive exploration of the capacity of human life.
After the passing of her mentor, Blondell Cummings, and her mother, Jacqueline Brown — her closest remaining connection to Source — Brown became enamored with the residue of human experience. Defining the Flesh as the barrier between the world and the soul, WWAOF explores what the body holds, relinquishes, and collects to create an identity over time. It is about navigating the spaces between our internal and external existence, while protecting our truest selves. WWAOF merges Brown’s athletic and eclectic movement vocabulary, eight years of research and the illustrative poetry of Bingham-Risher to achieve a glimpse of a soul.
Land Acknowledgement: The Abenaki and the Wabanaki Confederacy.
Culture Mill | Saxapahaw, NC
When We were Queens… by choreographer Murielle Elizéon and composer Shana Tucker retraces individual and generational histories and explores a shared ancestry of diaspora and violence. Presenting two solos as a diptych, When We were Queens… joins the pairs’ stories in an embodied, poetic conversation. In visual art, diptychs present a complimentary pair that illuminate each other’s wholeness while made of two distinct parts, at times joined by a hinge. When We were Queens… investigates how Elizéon and Tucker are “hinged” together by resonant experiences as women from the African diaspora. When We were Queens… considers the body as a repository of history and the complexities of ancestral heritage. Collaborating with partners at each place the work is in-residence, the work's development engages community as part of the creative process, offering cost-free multidisciplinary, embodied workshops for BIPOC women as well as diverse groups in relationship to age, race, and gender.
Land Acknowledgement: Sissapahaw, Eno, Shakori, and the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation.
Yayoi Kambara | San Francisco, CA
Yayoi Kambara partners her research with Dance Mission Theater’s Grrrl Brigade to produce YES!, a performance experience targeted to teens and young adults about navigating consent and learning embodied skills through the creative process and performance. Narrated and guided live by the drag queen Black Benatar (aka Mx. Beatrice Thomas), the audience follows the story of young people at a lunchtime setting, portrayed by professional dancers, interacting between each other through dialogue and movement in a choose your own adventure interactive performance. As the team explores consent topics with Grrrl Brigade and Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA) students during the creative process, students and project creators learn from each other to create YES! and performed by KAMBARA+ dance company.
Land Acknowledgement: YES! is primarily made in Ramaytush, Muwekma, Ohlone, and Tamien territories.
SOLE Defined | Capitol Heights, MD
Zaz: The Big Easy is a kinetic and sonic synthesis of African Diasporic Percussive Dance exploring the realities of Hurricane Katrina as a physical storm and metaphor of storms humans experience when silenced, marginalized, and oppressed, yet still preserver through community, spirit, and traditions. This work focuses on bringing awareness to the realities of the destructive natural disaster hitting North America, serving as a living archive of Black history through embodied storying telling and celebrating the resilience of those I have spent the past ten-plus years knowing. This Black cultural experience utilizes tap dance, stepping, body percussion, sand dance, original music, audience participation, vocal arrangements, and digital media to create an immersive sensory performance shifting traditional audience viewing practices beyond sight and hearing.
Land Acknowledgement: Passcottaway, Powhatan, and Pamunkey.
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