Tony Duncan, Rosy Simas, and Qacung Yufrican

By Lulani Arquette

Editor’s Note: A more accessible version of this article for low-vision readers can be found on Dance/USA’s From the Green Room here. This article is one of 11 in a series examining the creative work of 31 dance artists funded by Dance/USA Fellowship to Artists, generously supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. These artists’ practices are embedded in social change as they work in multiple dance forms in communities across the country.

Man with dark hair wearing a seal skin coat in a side bending motion
Man with dark hair wearing a seal skin coat in a side bending motion
Clad in a sealskin parka, Qacung Yufrican dances along the shore of Aak’w Bay, Alaska. Dance is central to Yup’ik spiritual and social practice. Christian missionaries banned much Inuit dance in the late 19th century. In the mid-1980s, a cultural revival began to perpetuate Indigenous Alaskan practices. Photo: Konrad Frank

For Native dancers, the physical body is not only their central instrument for expression, it is the literal vessel of their ancestral genealogy, coded…


Yvonne Montoya and José Navarrete

By J. Soto

Editor’s Note: A more accessible version of this article for low-vision readers can be found on Dance/USA’s From the Green Room here. This article is one of 11 in a series examining the creative work of 31 dance artists funded by Dance/USA Fellowship to Artists, generously supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. These artists’ practices are embedded in social change as they work in multiple dance forms in communities across the country.

Group of performers on a sidewalk in front of a street mural holding up linked hands
Group of performers on a sidewalk in front of a street mural holding up linked hands
José Navarrete’s collaborative “Y Basta Ya!” (Enough!) is a work-in-progress using personal stories from members of Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA), a Bay Area community organization for Latina immigrants. The work shares stories of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and immigration. Photo: Scott Tsuchitani

In Tucson during monsoon season, the scorching heat is regularly broken by thunderous rainstorms every afternoon, but for the past week it has been…


Prumsodun Ok, Patrick Makuakāne, and Sean Dorsey

By Toby MacNutt

Editor’s Note: A more accessible version of this article for low-vision readers can be found on Dance/USA’s From the Green Room here. This article is one of 11 in a series examining the creative work of 31 dance artists funded by Dance/USA Fellowship to Artists, generously supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. These artists’ practices are embedded in social change as they work in multiple dance forms in communities across the country.

On a yellow fabric in the middle of the desert, hula performers stand with their arms raised in the air
On a yellow fabric in the middle of the desert, hula performers stand with their arms raised in the air
Patrick Makuakāne fosters a sense of kuleana, or shared, mutual responsibility, among dancers and the larger community. In 2018, his hālau — company — joined 80,000 others on the Playa at Burning Man. Makuakāne revealed the “heart capacity” he draws on to create for the community. Photo: Ron Worobec

In challenging the notion of who belongs, who is relatable and who can claim their place as a creative force in carrying the dance…


Holly Bass, Deneane Richburg, and Paloma McGregor

By Eva Yaa Asantewaa

Editor’s Note: A more accessible version of this article for low-vision readers can be found on Dance/USA’s From the Green Room here. This article is one of 11 in a series examining the creative work of 31 dance artists funded by Dance/USA Fellowship to Artists, generously supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. These artists’ practices are embedded in social change as they work in multiple dance forms in communities across the country.

Dressed in white, woman stands on concrete pylons in Bronx River and gestures across the water, one finger pointing forward
Dressed in white, woman stands on concrete pylons in Bronx River and gestures across the water, one finger pointing forward
Paloma McGregor describes “Building a Better Fishtrap” as a ritual to honor and embody the stories and spirit of the Bronx River. The collaborative, multi-year project brought together dozens of artists and community members in significant spaces around New York and beyond. Photo: Charles R. Berenguer, Jr.

Holly Bass, Deneane Richburg, and Paloma McGregor have each made innovative dance work sourced in cultures, stories and social justice concerns of the…


Creating Work with Non-traditional Populations

Naomi Goldberg Haas, Allison Orr, and Pamela Quinn

By Sima Belmar

Editor’s Note: A more accessible version of this article for low-vision readers can be found on Dance/USA’s From the Green Room here. This article is one of 11 in a series examining the creative work of 31 dance artists funded by Dance/USA Fellowship to Artists, generously supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. These artists’ practices are embedded in social change as they work in multiple dance forms in communities across the country.

Group of performers, each reaching one hand toward the sky
Group of performers, each reaching one hand toward the sky
“Revival: It’s About Time” brings together female choreographers in their 60s, 70s and 80s under Naomi Goldberg Haas’s direction, joined by 50 older adult community dancers. Danced in Claremont Park in Bronx, N.Y., in 2019, the piece celebrates power and transformation using flamenco vocabulary. Photo: Meg Goldman

· Nine dancers — middle-aged and beyond — dressed in black, some seated, some standing, perform a precisely timed exchange of multicolored balls and balloons to exuberant marching band music.

· On rain-slicked asphalt, in nighttime air lit by the headlights of sanitation vehicles, a lone crane operator spins his vehicle’s giant claw in choreographed patterns.

· Duets, trios, quartets, and quintets of dancers of all ages and ethnicities joyfully shimmy, slide, support, and swoop across Harlem housing project courtyards and community center gymnasiums, on basketball courts and on Old Broadway.

Exuberance. Energy. Joy. These qualities — along with pathos, precision, and purpose — are embodied in the choreographic works of Naomi Goldberg Haas, Allison…


Vanessa Sanchez, Danys “La Mora” Pérez Prades, and Ana María Alvarez

By Umi Vaughan, Ph.D.

Editor’s Note: A more accessible version of this article for low-vision readers can be found on Dance/USA’s From the Green Room here. This article is one of 11 in a series examining the creative work of 31 dance artists funded by Dance/USA Fellowship to Artists, generously supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. These artists’ practices are embedded in social change as they work in multiple dance forms in communities across the country.

Woman in dress walking through group of performers holding a megaphone
Woman in dress walking through group of performers holding a megaphone
In “Full Still Hungry,” Ana María Alvarez delivers the final monologue about food justice. “Food,” she said, “is not just the material I put in my body to sustain life — but a web of relationships, histories, choices, decisions that impact the world around us.” Courtesy A.M. Alvarez

Vanessa Sanchez, Danys “La Mora” Pérez Prades, and Ana María Alvarez are three dynamic artists from distinct origins and eras. Yet they attack…


Robert Gilliam, Sarah Crowell, and MurdaMommy

By Jeremy Guyton

Editor’s Note: A more accessible version of this article for low-vision readers can be found on Dance/USA’s From the Green Room here. This article is one of 11 in a series examining the creative work of 31 dance artists funded by Dance/USA Fellowship to Artists, generously supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. These artists’ practices are embedded in social change as they work in multiple dance forms in communities across the country.

Two men crouch in front of a group of children seated in a school auditorium
Two men crouch in front of a group of children seated in a school auditorium
“When I grew up in Watts, it was the height of the crack situation,” Robert Gilliam said. He uses dance to foster deep connections with students from Compton Avenue Elementary in Watts, Calif. He noted affluent white students held Black Lives Matter marches in solidarity with their teachers. Courtesy: R. Gilliam

The other morning, while scrolling through my social media feed, I came across four images visualizing the evolution from inequality to justice through the…


Assane Konte, Charya Burt and Naomi Diouf

By Rob Taylor

Editor’s Note: A more accessible version of this article for low-vision readers can be found on Dance/USA’s From the Green Room here. This article is one of 11 in a series examining the creative work of 31 dance artists funded by Dance/USA Fellowship to Artists, generously supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. These artists’ practices are embedded in social change as they work in multiple dance forms in communities across the country.

Man in white t-shirt and blue print pants teaching African dance class
Man in white t-shirt and blue print pants teaching African dance class
A master teacher, Assane Konte’s annual African Dance Conference in Washington, D.C., is a three-day intensive filled with instruction in traditional dance and drumming allowing students to immerse themselves in the complex rhythms and embodied histories of West African cultures. Photo: Lawrence Green

Assane Konte, Charya Burt, and Naomi Diouf are master artists who are immigrants to the United States. As culture-bearers within their respective communities, they…


Christopher K. Morgan, Ananya Chatterjea, and Alleluia Panis

By Lily Kharrazi

Editor’s Note: A more accessible version of this article for low-vision readers can be found on Dance/USA’s From the Green Room here. This article is one of 11 in a series examining the creative work of 31 dance artists funded by Dance/USA Fellowship to Artists, generously supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. These artists’ practices are embedded in social change as they work in multiple dance forms in communities across the country.

Three female dancers in white form a diagonal, each with one knee bent
Three female dancers in white form a diagonal, each with one knee bent
Christopher K. Morgan’s choreographic explorations delve into identity, social and cultural issues. His works draw from his background in modern dance, hula, and Hawaiian chant. Pictured are Ashley Rivette, Abby Farina and Tiffanie Carson. Photo: Jonathan Hsu

Can we value artistic difference without othering the artists who explore it? Many foreign-born or hyphenated Americans are asked the same question: “Where are…


Dancemakers Antoine Hunter and Laurel Lawson

By Jerron Herman

Image for post
Image for post
Laurel Lawson, a white woman, balances on the footplate of Alice Sheppard’s wheelchair, with arms spread wide, wheels spinning. Alice, a light-skinned Black woman, opens her arms wide to receive her in an embrace. They make eye contact and smile. A starry sky fills the background, and moonlight glints off their rims. Photo: BRITT / Jay Newman

Editor’s Note: Access the articles for blind or low-vision readers here. This article is one of 11 in a series examining the creative work of 31 dance artists funded by Dance/USA Fellowship to Artists, generously supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. These artists’ practices are embedded in social change as they work in multiple dance forms in communities across the country.

It’s clear to those within, but possibly not to those outside, that the disability and Deaf communities are not monolithic: Engaging with one is not engaging with everyone. Amid a plethora of cultural and vocabulary…

Dance/USA Fellowships to Artists

11 authors from the arts field, working in many dance forms and communities across the country.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store