Dance Rising NYC is a platform for embodied advocacy that affirms the importance of dance in all its forms, makes dance visible in a reopening landscape, and sparks crucial conversations about the future of the field in NYC.Dance Rising was formed in August 2020 in response to the pandemic by a collective of NYC dance artists and administrators, and is led by Melissa Riker, director of Kinesis Project dance theatre.
Riker said "The economic impact of the pandemic on the dance industry has been devastating. Most dance professionals lost all or a majority of their work when theaters, studios, and outdoor festivals shut down in March, and there is still no clear timeline of when it will be possible to return to teaching, rehearsing, and performing in person. Dance Rising is the dance industry's way of sharing the incredible skills of our city's beautiful artists, while reminding lawmakers and audiences that dance and dancers need their support in this time of public health crisis and closure."
A physical, visible advocacy platform that unites the dance industry and amplifies diverse voices and bodies, Dance Rising NYC focuses public attention on the field and engages with stakeholders about partnership and possibility. It also provides audiences with opportunities to enjoy safe, site-specific live performances and celebrates local artists--a potent reminder of the importance of arts and culture in NYC.
Dance Rising is based on two interconnected components that encompass live and video formats:
Hyper local dance-outs: a mass, city-wide, physically distanced action of hundreds of professional dance artists in all styles and forms, each dancing at a location of their choice on specific dates and times. More than 200 dance artists across all five boroughs participated in Dance Rising's first hyper-local dance-out, held on October 1 and 3, 2020.
Large-scale video and projections: in the coming months, screens and surfaces across the city will display footage from these dance-outs, bringing visibility to the industry at a time when live performance is on pause.
GET INVOLVED NOW
For DANCERS: Sign up + Dance
Are you a dancer, choreographer, or other dance professional in any dance form? Sign up. Get the score. Grab a friend to film you and dance indoors or outdoors on December 3 and/or December 5. Spread the word to your colleagues. https://bit.ly/SignUpDanceRising
For ORGANIZATIONS + STUDIOS: Mobilize Participants
Help the Dance Rising Team multiply participants in all dance forms to get the NYC dance industry out on the streets on December 3 and December 5. Help amplify the event with your own promotion. Our goal is to activate at least 500 dancers. The organization toolkit can be found here: https://bit.ly/DROutreachToolkit
ABOUT THE ORGANIZERS
Dance Rising is a collective of dance artists and administrators created in partnership with Kinesis Project dance theatre, withThe Field as fiscal sponsor and advised by Lucy Sexton of New Yorkers for Culture & Arts.
THE DANCE RISING COLLECTIVE
Alyssa Alpine, Maura Nguyen Donohue, Remi Harris, DJ McDonald, Joya Powell/Movement of the People Dance Company, Melissa Riker/Kinesis Project, Leslie Roybal/Flamenco Vivo, JoAnna Mendl Shaw/Equus Dance, Jill Sigman/thinkdance, Amber Sloan, Sarah Cameron Sunde, André Zachary/Renegade Performance Group
Melissa Riker is the Artistic Director and Choreographer of Kinesis Project dance theatre. An organization that creates dance performances in public spaces, facilitates educational programs and invents site-specific performances with diverse communities, Kinesis Project dance theatre is at the forefront of the international discussion of placemaking, art engagement and the cultural imperative of art in public space. Kinesis Project dance theatre invents large scale, space-changing, breath-taking experiences. Since 2005, Kinesis Project's work has been experienced in San Francisco, San Diego, Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia, Vermont, Florida and all over New York City. In 2019, the company brought dances to Seattle, Brooklyn, NY, Riverside Park South and Snug Harbor Cultural Center on Staten Island. In 2020, the company has conquered live zoom performances, virtual classes and brought dances back to public spaces via live streams from Parks in NYC, New York State and Pittsburgh. Melissa is also Executive Producer of the EstroGenius Festival, co-director of Women in Motion and a founding collaborator of Dance Rising.
Alyssa Alpine is an arts producer, curator, and administrator with twenty years of experience in New York's non-profit arts world. Since graduating from Columbia University, she's held positions at organizations large and small, like Lincoln Center, New York Live Arts, and Mexico Now. She started New Jersey City University's Center for the Arts, a new umbrella for the University's arts programming, where she was Interim Managing Director for two years. The founding director of the CUNY Dance Initiative, she brings a deep personal commitment to the performing arts community as well as in-depth understanding of how it functions.
Maura Nguyen Donohue is Associate Professor of Dance, Faculty Associate for Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College/CUNY, part of Hunter's newly formed Presidential Task Force for Advancing Racial Equity and Chair of the Humanities & Arts Curriculum Committee. She served on the Boards for Movement Research, the Congress on Research in Dance and Dance Theater Workshop and as co-chaired subcommittees for The Bessies. She has written for Women and Performance Journal, Culturebot, American Theater Journal, Dance Magazine, the Dance Insider, MR's Performance Journal and was guest editor for Critical Correspondence's "University Project." She has published academically in the collection Contemporary Directions in Asian American Dance and at Eva Yaa Asantewaa's invitation contributed Whitelashing: White Fragility in the Ivory Tower to the inaugural issue of Imagining: A Gibney Journal. She has curated for the Estrogenius Festival, La MaMa and Danspace Project. With La MaMa's Great Jones Rep Co and her own troupe MND/inmixedcompany she had been touring the world since the 1900s. She thanks the ancestors and the offspring for keeping the path clearly lit.
Remi Harris is a Barbados born and Brooklyn bred artist exploring the intersectionality between dance, new media and black female representation. Her work manifests in movement improvisation, choreography, site specific work, movement for video, installations, and art programming. Past projects were featured at Abrons Art Center, Brooklyn Studios for Dance, Danspace Project, Triskelion Arts, The Actors Fund Theater, The Brick Theater, Thalian Hall, CPR and several site-specific areas in NYC. Her video and virtual reality films have been presented at the Spark Dance Film Festival, Triskelion Dance Film Festival, and the Cucalorus Film Festival in Wilmington N.C. Curatorial work includes the Adaptable Apple series with visual artist Michelle Golden, Danspace Project's Food For Thought series and the 2019 Dance/NYC Symposium. She is currently collaborating with Mark Schmidt on the performance party piece "Yes Yes Yes" and is the Programs Manager at CPR-Center for Performance Research.
DJ McDonald has been immersed in dance, theater, film/video, music and visual arts, as well as management, production, curation, development, marketing/PR, touring, education and community outreach/activism activities for more than two decades. Initially this came about in support of his own professional contemporary dance and theater company, and later as co-producer of a professional cabaret and dinner theater, NYC's annual Dance Parade and Festival, and Battery Dance Festival and as Industry Spotlight Coordinator for Asian American Film Lab. As a performer, he has worked with several notable choreographers, directors, companies, and projects, most recently in Nameless forest, created by Dean Moss in collaboration with an international cast of visual, musical and technical artists. DJ continues to publish occasionally and has contributed as a writer for Village Voiceand other publications such as Culturebot and City of Glass.
A native Harlemite, Joya Powell is a Bessie Award winning Choreographer and Educator passionate about community, activism, and dances of the African Diaspora. Hailed by The New York Times as a "radiant performer," throughout her career she has danced with choreographers such as Paloma McGregor, Katiti King, Nicole Stanton, Neta Pulvermacher, and Marsha Parrilla. In 2005 Joya founded Movement of the People Dance Company, dedicated to creating Socially Conscious Contemporary Dance Theater. Her work has appeared in venues such as: BAM, Lincoln Center, SummerStage, La Mama, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Dance Complex (Cambridge), Mudlark Theater (New Orleans), Movement Research @ Judson Church, The School of Contemporary Dance & Thought (Northampton), BAAD! among others. Joya has taught and studied internationally in Brazil, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Israel. Awards and recognition include: The 2016 Outstanding Emerging Choreographer Bessie Award, 2016-17 Dancing While Black Fellow, Women in Motion Commissioned Artist 2017-18, EtM Choreographers + Composers Residency 2018-19. She is a collaborating member of Dance Caribbean Collective, Radical Evolution and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Wesleyan University.
Jill Sigman is an interdisciplinary artist and agent of change who choreographs with bodies and materials. She founded jill sigman/thinkdance in 1998 to think about pressing social issues through the body, and in 2016, she founded "Body Politic", a program of workshops and performance laboratories to ask salient political questions. Working with things we throw away such as "garbage" and "weeds", Sigman helps us to understand the connections between social justice, racial justice, and environmental justice and to envision a world in which we re-connect with the natural world and each other in meaningful and empathic ways. She has made work for abandoned buildings, armories, cemeteries, bus stations, drained out swimming pools, and a ledge over the Gowanus Canal. Sigman was the first Gibney Dance Community Action Artist in Residence; has been in residence at Movement Research, Guapamacátaro Interdisciplinary Residency in Art and Ecology (Mexico), The Rauschenberg Residency, MANCC, and the Tisch Initiative for Creative Research at NYU; and is a Creative Campus Fellow at Wesleyan University. She grew up in Brooklyn.
Amber Sloan is a New York City-based choreographer, performer, teacher, curator, and producer. Her work has been presented by Centro Cultural Los Talleres in Mexico City, The Yard on Martha's Vineyard, the EstroGenius Festival, Roulette Theater, Dixon Place, Soaking WET, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Spoke the Hub, 92Y, Green Space, Dance Safari, as well as a 18 year commissioning relationship with the DanceNow Festival. She is currently the 2020-2021 NJ Emerging Commissioned Choreographer for Dance on the Lawn. As a performer, Sloan has been a member of The Bang Group since 2002 and has performed in works by James Waring, Doug Elkins, Keely Garfield, Sara Hook, and Stephan Koplowitz.
Sloan teaches dance composition at the Ailey School, serves on the board of Dance Omi International Collective, and co-directs Women in Motion NYC. She holds a BFA in Dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she was honored with the 2015 Beverly Blossom/Carey Erickson Alumni Dance Award.
JoAnna Mendl Shaw is an internationally recognized choreographer and dance educator whose unique inter-species approach to movement education and choreography has influenced dancers throughout the States and in Europe. Shaw's site works for The Equus Projects bring dancers and horses into shared landscapes in works made for festivals, arts presenters, equine venues and museums. Equus has created works in 18 States and in Europe. The Equus Projects' OnSite NYC series has brought kinetic invention into urban landscapes since 2012. Shaw is the recipient of two NEA Choreographic Fellowships and 2018 and 2019 National Endowment for the Arts Interdisciplinary grants for her multi-year creation projects in the Pullman District of South Chicago.
Leslie Roybal (Program Director, Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana), has enjoyed a professional career spanning over 20 years in both contemporary dance and flamenco forms. She performed nationally and internationally with The Metropolitan Opera, Pasión y Arte, A Palos Seco Flamenco, Entreflamenco, Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana and in the New York area and New Mexico tablaos. Leslie was a dancer and Co-Director of Murray Spalding Mandalas, with whom she co-produced several seasons of Mandalas at St. Mark's Church in the Bowery, co-produced a film version of the work XIII and was at the help of a preservation project for Ms. Spalding's canon of work, which now resides in the NYPL for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. As Program Director for Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, she is dedicated to mentoring flamenco artists and spearheads the Flamenco Certamen USA; a one-of-a-kind competition for rising flamenco artists. In 2020, she expanded the Certamen offerings to include two full year programs: an Artist Development Series and the Consorcio Flamenco for professional artists.
André M. Zachery is a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist of Haitian and African American descent, and is a scholar, researcher and technologist with a BFA from Ailey/Fordham University and MFA in Performance & Interactive Media Arts from CUNY/Brooklyn College. As the artistic director of Renegade Performance Group his practice, research and community engagement artistically focuses on merging of choreography, technology and Black cultural practices through multimedia work. André is a 2016 New York Foundation for the Arts Gregory Millard Fellow in Choreography and 2019 Jerome Hill Foundation Fellow in Choreography.
André has worked on projects across artistic mediums as a choreographer, media designer and consultant with artists such as Daniel Bernard Roumain, Cynthia Hopkins, Davalois Fearon, Dance Caribbean COLLECTIVE, Arin Maya, Rags & Ribbons, The Clever Agency, Kendra Foster, and Spike Lee. As a scholar André has been a member of panels, led group talks, facilitated discussions and presented research on a myriad of topics including Afrofuturism, African Diaspora practices and philosophies, Black cultural aesthetics, technology in art and performance and on expanding the boundaries of art making within community. He has been a panelist and presented his research at institutions such as Duke University, Brooklyn College, University of Virginia and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Zachery has taught at Brooklyn College and been a guest faculty member at the dance programs of Florida State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, The Ohio State University and University of California Los Angeles.
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