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Now in its 25th year, the National Dance Project (NDP) remains committed to supporting the creation/development and U.S.* touring of new dance works. With our unique package of support, we annually provide 20 new dance projects by choreographers and companies with funding that centers an artist’s/company’s agency to create, share, and engage on their own terms.
The NDP Production Grant includes:
In March, we received 206 preliminary applications (a new record for the program) that were eligible for the NDP Production Grant. Though we were excited to see so many proposed projects appear at this stage in the process, we also grappled with the tension between wanting to support more projects that could be shared in communities across the country and our current resources. However, with the support and partnership of our funders, we can remain responsive to field needs in an expanded way.
This year, we are proud to share that the NDP Finalist pool consists of 40 new dance projects. Also, this year, the finalist projects that are not awarded an NDP Production Grant will receive a $10,000 Finalist Award. These funds represent more than an acknowledgment of reaching the NDP Finalist status by making a true investment in new dance projects and the creative process. The Finalist Awards are unrestricted and can be used to support the continued creation/development of the proposed new dance project and/or sustainability needs.
While we know the landscape for creating and touring/sharing dance post-pandemic will look different, NEFA and the NDP Advisors recognize that artists are visioning pathways out of the pandemic for us. Artists are establishing new sustainable models to thrive and leading important efforts to combat inequities in the field on every level. It is because of them that we believe the recovery of the national dance field will grow both creatively and ethically over the next several years.
*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.
As NEFA strives to be more transparent about our grantmaking practices, we hope that the information shared below supports a deeper understanding of the decision-making process. We pride ourselves in creating a space/facilitating a process that diminishes biases and offers opportunities to learn, grow, appreciate, and better serve artists and the communities they live and work in.
Each year, the two-stage NDP Production Grant application review and selection process is guided by a rotating group of 12 Advisors who are leaders in the dance field as well as their home communities. Collectively, they are responsible for selecting the projects that will receive the NDP Production Grant and serve as a policy and accountability council for NDP’s overall process.
Immediately following the preliminary application deadline, the NDP Team works diligently to assess and confirm eligibility status for all NDP Production Grant submissions. Though a tedious part of the process, it is critical to supporting Advisors in their first-round independent review and assessment of the applications in which they submit initial scores and written feedback via our online portal system. This advance work by the Advisors serves as a starting place to determine those applications that will be more deeply discussed during the panel meetings, and also supports NEFA’s practice to provide feedback from the panel’s review to those applicants who do not advance to the next round of any grant process. It is our intention that those feedback conversations help to strengthen an applicant’s grant writing skills and work sample selections, which can be used for other funding opportunities and even future NDP grant application submissions.
Due to the continued impacts of COVID-19, NDP Advisors safely convened virtually in April for a week-long grant review process. It was during this time that NDP Advisors engaged in rich dialogue that assessed applications based on funding criteria, NEFA’s values, and needs within the field. Application discussions** were timed and adhered to the following format:
All scores are then entered anonymously into Qualtrics, a web-based statistical survey platform, to provide an average score for each discussed application. The Advisors then use those scores as a guide for final deliberations that will result in the selection of projects that will move forward as NDP Finalists.
**Given that the Advisors are all active members of the dance field, there are possibilities where conflicts could arise. Though NEFA defines conflict of interest for an Advisor as one that directly supports them personally in a financial way, if an Advisor feels their conflict would prevent them from providing an objective assessment of the project, we accept their desire to be recused from all discussions and voting related to that application. Scores are still aggregated and averaged accordingly.
While the NDP Team provides various levels of support to the process, we do not influence how each Advisor chooses to score an application. It is our role to provide guidance on the process, make sure the discussions stay focused on the funding criteria, listen for and address any biases that could emerge, and identify larger policy and field-wide topics for future discussion. The NDP Finalist cohort is reached only after several robust conversations, multiple rounds of voting, and group consensus about the projects the Advisors wish to advance forward. In addition, we provide Advisors with tools that support our multi-tier process and our best efforts to equitably distribute funds that reflect the various diversities within the dance field. With this, it is also important to note that the integrity and rigor of this process does not support a quota approach to the allotment of funds based on race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, culture, language, forms & aesthetics, geography, and/or career stage. We support a process that reduces tokenism and amplifies the cultural and aesthetic diversities of today’s dance field.
This year’s 40 NDP Finalists all demonstrate a commitment to advancing equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility through their work on stage, off stage, and in community. The projects affirm that “dance is community” through their various creative practices and uplift the intersectionality that exists between dance and racial, social, and environmental justice.
From now through June 7, each NDP Finalist will work with an NDP Advisor and the NDP Team to put together a strong full proposal in which applicants will provide additional information for the Advisors to review. In July, Advisors will convene again virtually to determine the 20 projects that will receive the full NDP Production Grant package of support.
A special thank you to the NDP Team: Cheri Opperman, Grants Manager, and Kristin Gregory, Program Manager. For the second year in a row, you have worked diligently to steward our virtual process with noteworthy prowess and grace. In addition, the NDP Team would like to thank Jane Preston, Deputy Director of Programs, and Abby Southwell, Technology & Data Director, for their invaluable support. We appreciate you!
NEFA's National Dance Project is generously supported with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. 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 land and the relationships that exist and are being fostered through these projects. In addition, 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.
Jamal Jackson Dance Company’s 846 is a retelling of Rite of Spring. Jamal Jackson Dance Company's Rite of Spring will ask two important questions: Why must our nation rely on the sacrifice of Black bodies to survive? Are you comfortable with a vastly different looking America, if we stopped sacrificing Black people in order to maintain it? We have plans to bring 846 to Triskelion Arts, Borough Hall Brooklyn, St. Louis, Battery Dance, DANCE NOW, and Bethlehem International Dance Festival in Palestine.
Land Acknowledgment: Land of the Munsee Lenape People (Brooklyn, NY)
The ASL Dance Theatre Reimagining of Andrew Lippa’s WILD PARTY aims to create a world in which authentically-represented Deaf and signing dancers lead the audience on a musical, textural, gestural journey through the seedy underbelly of the Deaf community during the Prohibition Era of the roaring 1920’s. The scope of this project encompasses a ZOOM workshop, live choreographic sessions, live musical accompaniment, haptics, real time subtitling, and an emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion, particularly within the Deaf dance community.
Land Acknowledgment: The Native lands upon which my project will be developed were stewarded by both the Canarsie and Munsee Lenape tribes and I acknowledge their forceful displacement and commit to devoting intentional time, resources, and energy in the restoration of these unceded lands to their original caretakers. (Brooklyn, NY)
APPARATUS OF REPAIR is an arts driven investment in restorative justice as an alternative to incarceration. It is the culminating work of The Decarceration Trilogy (2017-2023), led by and engaging people directly impacted by incarceration via three site-specific productions over five years. REPAIR transforms from an intimate community process of restorative justice circles into an outdoor public performance, danced in the air. It will tour to five U.S. locations.
Land Acknowledgment: Unceded land of the Ramaytush Ohlone People (San Francisco, CA)
Everett will create Bliss Body, a multimedia dance-theater production that examines positive states of being. With mind/body connection as a springboard, research for Bliss Body will seek thought-provoking and moving connections in neuroscience and brain chemistry, meditation, psychology, the humanities and the arts. Dance, theater, and video will be collaged to create a transcendent experience that leaves audiences with a deeper understanding of, and connection to, their own bliss. A perfect antidote to the isolation the pandemic has wrought.
Land Acknowledgment: Land of the Narragansett and Wampanoag Peoples (Providence, RI)
In collaboration with historian Dr. Estevan Rael-Gálvez, BOUND/UNBOUND: Moving Shadows of Slavery is a choreo-archive examining Native slavery in the U.S. Southwest. Dancing Earth commissions choreographer Sarah Hogland-Gurulé (descendant of this enslavement) to translate three decades of research into contemporary dance, contextualized within multi-sensory experiences that include aspen branch gathering, story-sharing dinners with locally grown foods, oral history soundscapes, documentary imagery, and an exhibition of post-1848 archival material.
Land Acknowledgment: DANCING EARTH with hubs rooted in local Native community relationships in Oga Po'geh – Tewa homelands, and Yelamu – Ramaytush Ohlone homelands, for more info of complex history of this project’s location please view this as composed by local community members: https://dancingearth.org/land-acknowledgment-santa-fe. This specific project will grow in diasporic locations of, and in collaboration with community members from ancestral lineages of the impacted intersecting regions, as far north as Ute and Jicarilla Apache; west to Dine and eventually towards Pacific homelands of Tongva, Acjachamem, Pangasinan/Kampampangan, Pomo; south to Acoma Pueblo, and southeast into Yana Wana, Chihuahua, and Zapotec homelands/peoples. (Santa Fe, NM)
Rejecting finite points/products, The Conversation Series: Stitching the Geopolitical Quilt to Re-Body Belonging is an ongoing and always shifting dance-quilt, confronting and celebrating heritage, resiliency, justice, and hope. This collaborative, immersive work, performed by a male duet, preferences the value of bodies coexisting – sharing weight and responsibility, dancing to become better ancestors. Activating technologies of the body, tools, and toys in a non-colonizing fashion, this work centers belonging as a way to disrupt the erasure of silenced stories and forge paths towards justice/equitable landscapes. The project’s first iteration will take place March 2022 in Michigan.
Land Acknowledgment: Land of the Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Ute Nations (Boulder, CO)
A Deepest Blue uses an origin myth shared by Cambodia and Japan to imagine a descent into the primordial ocean. The multidisciplinary dance project brings together Khmer classical dance, gagaku court music, Japanese Buddhist drumming and chanting, and holographic animation–weaving between science and spirituality–to question the place and responsibility of humanity in the global climate crisis. Rehearsals will take place in Cambodia and Japan, and via Skype, before a world premiere in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Land Acknowledgment: I humbly and respectfully acknowledge that I was born and raised on Kizh-Tongva land, and A Deepest Blue will premiere on Ramaytush, Ohlone, Chochenyo, and Muwekma lands. (Phnom Penh, Cambodia)
A TAP Celebration of jazz and hip-hop by tracing the interpretation of Black American Music through the lens of hip-hop sampling. Hip-hop and jazz are inextricably linked. Each genre is built on a foundational groove with a heavy emphasis on improvisation, and subtle nods to the music and themes of preceding generations. Tap Dance Improvisation at the highest levels also pays homage to those who have come before, through the quoting steps or styles, and yet still within the flow of one's own original expression. The project is being created for live (outdoor) performances/touring, lecture demonstrations, and other educational exchanges with both dance and music departments.
Land Acknowledgment: Land of the Munsee Lenape People (Jersey City, NJ)
Disposable Bodies is a performance that examines the treatment of bodies–both human and nonhuman–as disposable. The work questions: whose body is valuable, and whose body is not? Combining movement, installation, sound, sculpture, and live video, Disposable Bodies will premiere at Taller Puertorriqueño in Philadelphia on June 26 of 2022.
Land Acknowledgment: The traditional lands where I live and work in Philadelphia belong to the Lenape also known as Lenni Lenape People displaced in the late 17 and 18th Centuries from this area. (Philadelphia, PA)
Call to Remember is a shared offering of improvisation, experimentation, and conjuring exploring Black pedagogy, artistry, and activism in dance. Launching a multiyear collaboration, nationally-renowned dancers–Leslie Parker, Amara T. Smith, mayfield brooks, and Vie Boheme–come together in Minneapolis and New York City to create a work that prioritizes Blackness and remembrance as a means to cultivate community. Divination tools: imagine home is the first iteration of a three-part creation process spanning 2021 into 2023 for Call to Remember.
Land Acknowledgment: Land of the Wahpekute People (St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN)
Embarqued, an installation-based dance-theater work, centers around a performative shipmast that invites reflection and reveals post-colonial foundations and mythology. Interrogating existing relationships to memorials, we call up our African ancestral stories integral to making our history united, enabling us to viscerally and holistically connect our country both forwards and backwards in space and time and through soil itself.
Land Acknowledgment: Company SBB is based on the border of what is currently The Village and SoHo neighborhoods in Manhahtaan (Mannahatta) of the Lenapehoking. We acknowledge and pay respect to Lenape People and ancestors past, present, and future. We also honor this unique area that were agricultural and burial spaces of freed African Americans. Company SBB feels honored to sit upon such complex and thick heritage. (New York, NY)
Directed by Melecio Estrella, BANDALOOP’s FIELD is a large scale, outdoor, public, vertical dance theater piece that deepens and challenges our perspective on the art, ancestry and industry of textiles. FIELD brings together performing artists, climate scientists, regenerative textile artists, and creative riggers to turn an urban wall into a performance space, interlacing ancestral weaving mythologies and traditional techniques of fabric creation with expressions of the ecological and social impacts of a globalized textile industry.
Land Acknowledgment: Land of the Chochenyo Ohlone People (Oakland, CA)
FREEmind, FREEstyle is a riveting, visceral immersion into Hip Hop and street dance culture. The work embodies our timeless struggle to break free from the oppressive forces that conspire to restrict our movement, and explores how we find freedom through the dance cultures that ground us. The full-length production centers the voices and stories of the Black and Latinx communities and brings culture to the concert stage in the form of cyphers, competitive exchange (known as battles), and raw freestyle movement. It explores the depths of a wide range of street dances such as Hip Hop, House, Whacking, Popping, and Krump as vehicles of expression.
Land Acknowledgment: Land of the Tongva People (Sun Valley, CA)
Haint Blu is a new ensemble dance-theater piece which aims to use performance as a source of healing. Named for the color that Southern families paint their front porches to ward off bad spirits, Haint Blu takes audiences through memory, magic, and movement into stillness and rest. The project will tour to venues nationwide in a series of site-specific performances, tailored through residencies and community engagement activities to each of our partner communities.
Land Acknowledgment: Land of the Munsee Lenape People (Brooklyn, NY)
MK Abadoo's newest work, Hoptown, is an immersive dance gathering that envelops audiences in the sistering methodologies of Black girls and women thriving over generations. It is inspired by the lives of two women from MK’s ancestral hometown of Hopkinsville "Hoptown," Kentucky: her mother, Regina Bowden, and Black feminist writer, bell hooks. An intergenerational and evening-length journey designed to mirror the path of 2017’s total solar eclipse (uniquely visible from Hopkinsville, KY), this project partners with southern youth and elder-centered organizations to collectively develop a performative guide for Black girls blooming in any time or place.
Land Acknowledgment: Land of the Piscataway, Nentego (Nanticoke), Susquehannock, Powhatan, Monacan, O-ga-xpa Ma-zhoⁿ (O-ga-xpa), S'atsoyaha (Yuchi), Shawandassee Tula (Shawanwaki/Shawnee), ᏣᎳᎫᏪᏘᏱ Tsalaguwetiyi (Cherokee, East), and 𐓏𐒰𐓓𐒰𐓓𐒷 𐒼𐓂𐓊𐒻 𐓆𐒻𐒿𐒷 𐓀𐒰^𐓓𐒰^ (Osage). (Columbia, MD and Hopkinsville, KY)
I Didn’t Come to Stay is a work of tap and percussive dance, samba, house, and live music, exploring tap’s lineage and connections to other Afro-diasporic forms. Embracing these shared roots across the diaspora, the piece will reflect on racial and cultural identity, while also celebrating the joy, strength, depth, and virtuosity of Black dance and music. Touring to dance and concert venues, it will underscore tap as both dance and music, and expand audiences for the art form. In-person and online community engagement will be central to this work’s development and touring, with public workshops, discussions, open rehearsals, and jam sessions accompanying performances of the new piece.
Land Acknowledgment: Land of the Munsee Lenape and Wappinger Peoples (Harlem, NY); Land of the Canarsie and Munsee Lenape Peoples (Brooklyn, NY)
IKKAI means once: a transplanted pilgrimage is an evening length immersive dance project choreographed by Yayoi Kambara. It weaves together modern dance, Japanese American (JA) obon folk dance (Bon-odori), and a musical score with taiko drums, guiding audiences through a first-person narrative exploring the unjust incarceration of JAs, struggles for reparations and healing, and current/future solidarities with communities facing the violence of xenophobic policies. IKKAI’s first performances will be at the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin, and Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco in 2023, and is projected to tour to community spaces across the country.
Land Acknowledgment: IKKAI means once: a transplanted pilgrimage is primarily made in Muwekma, Ohlone, Tamien territories (San Francisco, CA). We will also be filming in the unceded territories of the Newe (Western Shoshone), Eastern Mono/Monache, and Numu (Northern Painte) Peoples.
inCOPnegro is a dance-theater project exploring the dual identities of Black police officers in Northeast Ohio. The project aims to peel back the officers' lives working for a system built to oppress Black People while simultaneously existing in a workplace that oppresses them because of their Blackness. Choreographer Dominic Moore-Dunson wants to pull over Black police officers to ask “how do Black People grow up in a world living with law enforcement?”
Land Acknowledgment: Land of the Erie and Kaskaskia Peoples (Akron, OH)
Indigenous Liberation will be a colorful artistic showcase of Native American song and dance, professionally choreographed and presented by champion pow wow dancers and singers from tribes all over North America. The project activities will consist of detailed formulation and production of a format that educates through cultural storytelling. Performers from different tribes will provide both individual and group choreographed dances. The ultimate goal is to provide an enlightening interaction with the audience that goes further than the performance.
Land Acknowledgment: Land of the Navajo Nation (Gilbert, AZ)
Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre (YSDT) will hold the final development and pre-production phase for a new evening-length work, Last Ward, to premiere at Gibney in NYC, in spring 2022. Last Ward is a powerful, collaborative work with a cast of seven artists, an original score, and script (in Arabic with English subtitles) that shares one (Arab) man’s journey toward death in a hospital room. The premiere will include virtual program options, and will be accompanied by master classes/talkbacks, followed by U.S. touring.
Land Acknowledgment: Land of the Munsee Lenape and Canarsie Peoples (Brooklyn, NY)
MESTIZX is a full-evening length work by Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Company, made in collaboration with the company’s Artistic Director and Choreographer Joaquín Encinias, Dramaturg Marisol Encinias, and Theater Director Alejandro Rodriguez. MESTIZX is inspired by the work of Mestizo/a artists and activists of previous decades. It explores 21st century Mestizo/a identity through flamenco, addressing issues of belonging and inequality. MESTIZX premieres Fall 2022, then tours in cities of the U.S. Southwest and in Madrid, Spain.
Land Acknowledgment: Traditional homeland of the Pueblo of Sandia. The original peoples of New Mexico, Pueblo, Navajo and Apache, since time immemorial have deep connections to the land and have made significant contributions to the broader community statewide. (Albuquerque, NM)
For LINES’ 40th anniversary, Alonzo King will create a new contemporary ballet in collaboration with jazz pianist Jason Moran and Grammy Award-winning vocalist Lisa Fischer. The work will explore the spiritual convergence of music and movement, each artist drawing from their own rich histories. The work will premiere in San Francisco in May 2022, and tour through Spring 2023, reaching a total audience of 60,000. Throughout the creation and tour, community members will be invited to attend, engage, and participate in events and activities.
Land Acknowledgment: Land of the Muwekma, Ohlone, and Ramaytush Peoples (San Francisco, CA)
This project will highlight the life and impact of Hazel Scott both in her own time and in the context in which it will be presented today. Dance Theatre of Harlem and Tiffany Rea-Fisher will, over the course of approximately 1.5 years, bring this project from initial creation to premiere. Partners including Chautauqua Institute, Dartmouth, and Washington Performing Arts (the premiere's presenter) will all assist through artistic space, creative time, and support for this project's virtual/digital accessibility for now and in the future.
Land Acknowledgment: The land on which the Dance Theatre of Harlem is located was the land of the Munsee Lenape, who spoke either Wappinger or dialects of Munsee, depending on the source. The Chautauqua Institution is on the land of the Haudenosaunee (alternatively, Ho-de-no-sau-nee-ga) Confederacy, likely speaking Erie in that specific area. It is unclear the specific tribe/nation beyond the Confederacy at that spot. Finally, the Dartmouth College site was the land of the Wabanaki, part of the Dawnland Confederacy, who likely spoke Abenaki. (New York, NY)
NOTHINGBEING is a collaborative dance performance project by Portland-based choreographer Takahiro Yamamoto in collaboration with artists Samita Sinha, David Thomson, and Anna Martine Whitehead. This dance project investigates ways to embody and expose the presence of nothingness. The activities begin in October 2021 and include independent philosophical research by Yamamoto, three one-week group rehearsal residencies with work-in-progress showings, Yamamoto’s research trip to Japan, a public virtual symposium, and a live performance premiere at Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA).
Land Acknowledgment: The traditional and unceded lands of Multnomah, Clackamas, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and Cowitz. (Portland, OR)
Obi gbawara’m//My Heart Shattered or What Happens After I Die? uses Afro-Urban dance, Igbo traditions (Ọdịnanị and Ọmenala), live music, ceremony, township theater-style storytelling, and short-form video to reactivate heartbreak and grief rituals as a pathway for individual and collective liberation.
Land Acknowledgment: Land of the Ohlone, Muwekma, and Chochenyo Peoples (Oakland, CA)
BRKFST Dance Company will partner with the Minnesota Orchestra to create an original dance work, Opus 60/40: the rigorous, innovative, response of Minneapolis breaking choreographers to systemic oppression, social isolation, and violent upheavals experienced in 2020. This two-part, evening-length performance, set to Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge Op.133 and a contemporary piece – composed for this groundbreaking work by Black, transdisciplinary composer Yaz Lancaster – will tour to three prominent East Coast symphonies. This work, paired with student workshops and community engagement while on tour, reflect this company’s commitment to using art as a means of inciting humane society.
Land Acknowledgment: Land of the Dakhóta (Dakota) and Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe) Peoples (St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN)
PARABLE OF PORTALS (POP) contains modular immersive performance experiences that can occur in “traditional” venues, virtual spaces/the Metaverse and, most importantly, the streets. POP dreams Octavia E. Butler’s contributions into audio-visual-movement manuscripts that embrace mixed reality performative possibilities of dance and 3D animation. Real bodies/avatar forms, “Live” performances that travel between community-engaged places in my neighborhood and community-owned decentralized platforms on the blockchain.
All land is sacred.
I live and be
on Tongva land
who are and have been
the caretakers of this area.
For that I am grateful.
(Los Angeles, CA)
The Dancing Wheels Company, America’s first physically integrated dance company, and choreographer Mark Tomasic will be creating a new work that that is of increasing concern in society today: the journey of dementia and its toll on the caregivers. Mark has firsthand knowledge of the topic, and we are confident that he will be able to take on this highly poignant theme given his personal history with it, and we are excited to lend Dancing Wheels’ unique and diverse talents to add another dimension to the work.
Land Acknowledgment: Land of the “Hopewell”, “Whittlesey Tradition”, Kaskaskia, Shawnee, Wyandotte, Ottawa, Seneca, Delaware, Miami, Sac, Kickapoo, Fox or Meskwaki, Cat or Erie, and “Assistaeronon” or “Fire Nation” (Cleveland, OH)
PROPHET is a multi-year project manifesting as a Performance Work, an Ethnographic Memoir, an Experimental Film, and a (limited edition) Vinyl Album release, discussing the life-journey of the Emcee/Lyricists – alchemists and ministers of Hip Hop culture whose pivotal journey share a timely, mystic, and universal story of transcendence, ingenuity, and wisdom. Premiering at Abrons Arts Center and 651 Arts, PROPHET will continue development over residencies at Kelly Strayhorn Theatre, The National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron, and Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC).
Land Acknowledgment: Land of the Tongva and Hahamogna Peoples (Pasadena, CA), and Lenape People (New York, NY)
Raíces et Révolution is a new collaboration between Cuban choreographer, Susana Arenas Pedroso, and Guinean arts organization, Duniya Dance and Drum Company, presented through Dance Mission Theater’s (DMT) newly-formed College of African Diasporic Arts. Together, we’ll create and tour a dance and music performance about the multi-faceted cultural/political relationship between Guinea, West Africa, and Cuba.
Land Acknowledgment: Raíces et Révolution is being created in Yelamu or the traditional lands of the Ramaytush Ohlone (San Francisco, CA)
Religion Kitendi uses haute couture fashion to examine the prevailing legacy of the slave trade and European colonization of Africa. It does this by invoking Congolese sapeurs, dandily dressed men and women who endeavor to survive economic hardship and political turmoil by feeling good in their attire. There is an ironic humor in the sorrowful trend of people spending large sums of hard-earned money to seek joy and hope in kitendi (clothes). But these acts bring affirmative feelings of prosperity, and with them a sense of healing and belonging.
Land Acknowledgment: Oakland, CA
A live dance and music performance, concert film, and album, by Vershawn Sanders-Ward, musicians avery r. young and de deacon board, and filmmaker Jovan Landry. Performed on urban farms in Chicago’s Black communities, is an outgrowth of the collaborators’ dance film under god & moonlight which explored the relationship of Black bodies to the land. These new artistic offerings present a creative approach to healing this pain-filled relationship by reviving time-honored cultural traditions that uplift the spiritual health of Black Diaspora community.
Land Acknowledgment: Every community owes its existence and vitality to generations from around the world who contributed their hopes, dreams, and energy to making the history that led to the moment we are now in. Some were brought here against their will, some were drawn to leave their distant homes in hope of a better life, and some have lived on this land for more generations than can be counted. Truth and acknowledgment are critical to building mutual respect and connection across all barriers of heritage and difference. We begin this effort to acknowledge what has been buried by honoring the truth. We pay respects to their elders past and present. Please take a moment to consider the many legacies of violence, displacement, migration, and settlement that we are also a part of bringing us together here today. We invite you to use www.Native-Land.ca to identify the lands which you are on. As we center ourselves toward the work let us remember those for whom equity was not an option. (Used with permission by The International Association of Blacks in Dance.) (Chicago, IL)
She’s Auspicious is a solo work in the Indian dance form Bharatanatyam. It examines the contradiction in Indian culture between worship and reverence toward the Goddess and the treatment of the Woman in Society. Through this paradox, it addresses the Patriarchy that exists globally. This piece marks a pivotal shift in my artistic process as I move from the “depictive” to the “experiential”, challenging assumptions of femininity in myth and society, my role as a performer, and performance viewing of a form that exists within the context of beauty and harmony.
Land Acknowledgment: Land of the Chumash, Tongva, and Kizh Peoples (Los Angeles, CA)
she who lives on the road to war is an immersive installation and dance performance project created by Native choreographer Rosy Simas (Seneca) in response to our global loss and the collective need to grieve, to condole, and to come together in peace and reconciliation. It is both a physical space for rest and refuge, and a performative work of Native futurities that imagines a world of relational balance with nature and with each other.
Land Acknowledgment: she who lives on the road to war is being developed in and will premiere on the unceded territory of the Dakota in Mni Sota Makoce. This work is also being developed in relationship to Onöndowa’ga (Seneca) lands, other Haudenosaunee territories, and unceded Haudenosaunee lands in what is now called New York and Ontario. (St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN)
Space Carcasses is an interdisciplinary performance that juxtaposes, superimposes, and amplifies the relationship between spaces that echo with Afrodiasporic forced migrations. Through a reunification of these spaces with technology as the facilitator and the body as a bridge, Space Carcasses will record, re-contextualize, and re-remember how space, place, history, and lineage are linked together.
Land Acknowledgment: Land of the Timucua and Seminole Peoples (Gainesville, FL)
TÁTAOTAO is a new dance work that creates a sacred space as a portrait of the world we want to live in. This project will involve Matao artists from Låguas and the Diaspora coming together to put their life stories in conversation with their ancestral stories of Creation, migration, and magic. The weaving of these experiences, timelines, and lineages reveal the innate ancestral intelligence Indigenous people activate to navigate the turbulent waters of systemic oppression. Chanted dance evokes a ceremonial consciousness that invites the community into deeper awareness of our interconnectedness with all life. In this moment we invite healing for all as we dance with the life force of Creation.
Land Acknowledgment: Migai Ma'åse nu i Manaotao Matao, Tongva yan dxʷdəwʔabš. In Neni Hamyo'. This work is being developed in relationship to three bio-cultural regions Låguas, Tongva Territory, and dxʷdəwʔabš Territory. Låguas is also momentarily known as 'The Mariånas Islands" and/or Guåhan (Guam) and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariånas Islands and Matao/CHamoru/Chamorro people are the indigenous peoples of this place. Tongva Territory is momentarily known as Los Angeles and is the ancestral home of the Tongva peoples. dxʷdəwʔabš Territory is momentarily known as 'Seattle' and ancestrally understood as the home of the dxʷdəwʔabš (Duwamish) and is also culturally significant to the Suquamish, Puyallup, Muckleshoot, and Tulalip Nations. The core thirteen artists developing this work live in and/or are ancestrally connected to these lands. We affirm the inherent dignity, self-determination, and integrity of the ancestors, guardians, and life ways of the land in which we work. (Seattle, WA)
Tracing Sacred Steps is an evening-length work that blends modern dance, social justice practice, figure skating, and Ring Shout. It features an all-Black cast of eight professional skating artists from around the U.S. and a MN-based actor/vocalist. It will premiere in spring 2022 at Highland Ice Arena in St. Paul, MN, for an audience of 500+, with potential tours to Jacob’s Pillow, the Yard, and the Painted Bride. The performance cultivates relationships with local Black communities, surrounding the performances with multiple engagement events.
Land Acknowledgment: Land of the Wahpekute and Očhéthi Šakówiŋ Peoples (St. Paul/Minneapolis, MN). Minnesota is home to seven Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) and four Dakota nations. We are able to do our work because of the people that have and continue to protect and care for these lands.
UNDERcurrents probes the seam between catastrophic history and quotidian memory, through two primary thematic elements: water and doors. The point of departure for captive Africans into the middle passage is described as “the door of no return”. Conjuring the continual resonance of this world making and breaking threshold, this presentation will be structured as an immersive and participatory audience experience through a performance installation unfolding in a set of conjoined rooms.
Land Acknowledgment: Land of the Land of the Munsee Lenape People (New York, NY), and the Apalachee Nation, the Muscogee Creek Nation, the Miccosuke and the Seminole People (Tallahassee, Florida)
15th century Indian poet Meera Bai inspires Blue13 Dance Company’s Vishwas, an inquiry on South Asian and Indian American feminine identity, agency, and duty. Choreographer Achinta S. McDaniel creates a provocative interpretation of Bai’s story to reveal a womxn’s burden to uphold tradition while negotiating power and self-worth. Vishwas re-envisions contemporary dance through a rhythmic diasporic lens, disturbing normative depictions of feminine beauty and Indianness, while subverting inherited notions of American concert dance. Further disturbing the term “classical”, South Asian American composer Reena Esmail interweaves western orchestral composition with Hindustani raags and tabla.
Land Acknowledgment: Ancestral and unceded territory of the Tongva People, also known as the Kizh and the Gabrielino People (Los Angeles, CA)
The Women Gather will be a ritual of healing. It will be directed by Wendy Jehlen and performed by an ensemble of women dancers/vocalists/body percussionists. The music will be generated by the women on stage. Composer Shaw Pong Liu will create a soundscape entirely of the body. An environment/home/installation will be created by Marlene Santana, an artist based in São Paulo, Brazil, and Boston-based sculptor Isabel Andrews. The work will be created in Brazil, Benin, Botswana, Boston, and New York City, and was commissioned by and will premiere at Gibney Dance.
Land Acknowledgment: Land of the Munsee Lanape, Massachusett, Pawtucket, Wappinger, Fon, Yoruba, and Guarani Kayowa Peoples (Somerville, MA)
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