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Dance Rising: NYC A Hyper-Local Dance Out October 1 and 3, 2020

October 1, 2020 @ 5:00 PM - October 3, 2020 @ 5:30 PM

The Dance Rising Collective, a new collective of artists and administrators created in partnership with Kinesis Project dance theatre, The Field as fiscal sponsor and advised by Lucy Sexton of New Yorkers for Culture & Arts, presents Dance Rising: NYC, a hyper-local dance out across all five boroughs October 1 and 3 from 5:00-5:30pm. NYC professional dancers will take to the parks, windows, streets, and rooftops to dance, focusing public attention on an industry that remains largely on pause due to COVID. Everybody identifying as a professional dancer, choreographer or teacher is invited to take part. To sign up and for more information, visit www.dancerising.org/.

Melissa Riker, director of Kinesis Project dance theatre and Jill Sigman of ThinkDance, have said “After months of social isolation, economic shutdown, and pause for our industry, professional dancers are rising up. We practice a myriad of dance styles, and are of many races, gender identities, mixed abilities, and body types. We are dancing to be seen, considered, and spark crucial conversations about the future of dance in NYC.”

Dance Rising: NYC is an interconnected series of actions affirming the importance of professional dance in all of its forms, making dance visible in a re-opening landscape, and engaging with community stakeholders about partnership and possibility. Later this fall, large scale videos of the dances filmed on October 1 & 3 will be projected in public spaces throughout the city. More on this phase of the project is forthcoming.

Maura Nguyen Donohue, writer, performer, curator and CUNY Hunter Professor added “There is no shutting down dance. After months of social isolation, the effort to put New York City “on pause” cannot keep dancers from rising, and falling, and rolling and turning and holding in the gentlest stillness. We dance in the wake and the waves of multiple pandemics, and in doing so insist that our dancing communities must be supported. Behold, hold up and help us hold onto the rich diaspora that is New York City when it is dancing.”

Lucy Sexton, who leads the cultural advocacy coalition New Yorkers for Culture & Arts notes, “The city’s arts and culture are not only its economic engine, they are its heart and soul. New Yorkers are thirsting for dance, music, theater, and culture of all kinds, and we are thrilled that Dance Rising will be enlivening spaces in every corner of our city.”

This is our life’s work: NYC is the dance capital of our nation. Over 5,000 dance professionals of all sorts-performers, educators, choreographers, improvisers, studio owners, and theater employees– engage in live, body-based, dance practices that often involve physical contact and group gatherings. This is our life’s work and our economic livelihood.  
Dance is an important part of life and culture: We are vital to our communities’ wellbeing.  We offer ways to express joy and pain, process current events, and build intergenerational connections through the arts. In 2016, the dance industry accounted for $302,000,000 of revenue into NYC.
The dance ecology is fragile: 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 even outdoor festivals shut down in March. As of August 2020, an estimated 90% of the dance industry is still out of work. 
It’s time to figure this out: It’s time for dance professionals to be seen in their communities, re-connect with their neighbors, and begin important conversations about how dance and dancers will survive in a post-pandemic reality. 

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 October 1 and/or October 3. 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 October 1 and October 3. 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


Alyssa Alpine, Xianix Barrera, Maura Nguyen Donohue, Remi Harris, Joya Powell/Movement of the People Dance Company, Melissa Riker/Kinesis Project, Leslie Roybal/Flamenco Vivo, JoAnna Mendl Shaw/Equus Dance, Lucy Sexton/NY4CA, Jill Sigman/thinkdance, Amber Sloan, Sarah Cameron Sunde, Pavan Thimmaiah/PMT House of Dance, André Zachary/Renegade Performance Group

Kinesis Project dance theatre is a dance organization that creates dance performances in public spaces, facilitates educational programs and invents site-specific performances with diverse communities. Led by choreographer Melissa Riker, the company 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 Riker is Artistic Director and Choreographer of Kinesis Project dance theatre, a large-scale outdoor company that creates dance for public spaces. She is Executive Producer of the EstroGenius Festival, co-director of Women in Motion and a founding collaborator of Dance Rising. Dance Rising is a collective of dance artists and administrators that has formed in response to the severe diminishment of the dance field following the Pause of New York City.

Lucy Sexton is Executive Director of New Yorkers for Culture & Arts, a city wide coalition advocating for increased support and improved public policy for culture in every neighborhood and every borough. Lucy Sexton is also a choreographer with DANCENOISE and former head of the NY Dance and Performance Awards, The Bessies.

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 recently started New Jersey City University’s Center for the Arts, a new umbrella for the University’s arts programming. Now directing 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.
Xianix Barrera is a Bessie award nominated flamenco dancer, teacher, choreographer and producer whose work aims to highlight bold and tenacious female artists and their unapologetically robust femininity.  Female empowerment, queer themes, sexual identity and social justice color her choreographic work and create the focal point for the company she founded in 2012; Xianix Barrera Flamenco Company.  With a background in ballet, modern, jazz and percussive studies, Xianix has dedicated herself to the lifelong study of flamenco with the masters of the art form in both New York and Spain. Throughout her career she has shared the stage with revered artists such as Isabel Bayón, Raquel Heredia, Rosario Toledo, Soledad Barrio (Noche Flamenca) and Juan Ogalla on some of the most important stages in the world including The Joyce Theater, Lincoln Center, The Red Theater in Abu Dhabi and Cafe Silverio in Sevilla.

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. www.remitharris.com

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 NYCseries 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 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.

Pavan ‘PMT’ Thimmaiah is an award-winning artist who broke with tradition to realize his dream of becoming a professional dancer, leaving behind a promising career in medicine. Pavan has since enjoyed a dance career highlighted by being the first Indian American to accomplish several feats including choreographing for a major recording artist and for network TV. He has been featured in Dance Teacher Magazine, Dance Europe, The Dance Gazette, Staten Island Advance, The NY Post, Huffington Post & more. In the center of all of this is PMT House of Dance in NYC, the dance studio which he founded in 2001.Pavan has worked with popular artists such as Vanilla Ice, Macy Gray, Harry Connick Jr, Alex Feder, Matt Palmer, Apache Indian and Sean Paul. He has performed for the Conan O’Brien Show, New Year’s Eve in Times Square, Breaking Amish, NBC’s ‘Studio 6’, Comedy Central & MTV.  Currently for the Brooklyn Nets, he has choreographed NBA halftime shows since 2013.  He choreographed the first ever NY Fashion Week Runway show at the USS Intrepid for fashion designer Chi-Zhang.  As the resident choreographer for NBC’s The Today Show (2010-present), he made history – putting together the Guinness World Record Setting ‘World’s Largest Street Dance’. He is a recipient of the prestigious Clio Award for The MCA Day Beastie Boys Tribute video that he choreographed. This video went viral, garnering millions of views worldwide. PMT Dance Company, which produces theatrical productions fusing original music and various dance styles, has presented work at the Toronto National Exhibition, Montreal’s 375th Anniversary, The International Dance Festival (NYC), Madison Square Garden & in for the Bollywood Movie Awards. PMT’s ‘Struck’ was featured on Sundance Channel’s “Young Revolutionaries,” going on to perform in cities across North America. As an educator, he has helped produce several success stories including Apollo Theater Champion Kai Rivera. His teaching credits include the UC Irvine, Peridance, Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Arts, New York University, Long Island University, Alvin Ailey Extension and (of course) PMT House of Dance.

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.


October 1, 2020 @ 5:00 PM
October 3, 2020 @ 5:30 PM