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2022 Move to Change 3:30pm Program


Logo Credit: Shaun Tubbs; An AAPI cis identifying man standing on his left leg while pushing his extended right leg away with both arms facing upstage of the audience. A Black American cis identifying woman is kneeling while reaching with both of her arms in Eagle Pose, and her torso is leaning towards her thighs facing downstage of the audience.

Move to Change uses dance as a form of social justice and arts activism through the lens of BIPOC choreographers and dance filmmakers. The goal of Move to Change is to create cultural and gender affirming spaces for artists of color (African, Latina/o/x, Asian, Arab, Native American [ALAANA]), MENA (Middle East & North Africa), & SWANA (South West Asia & North Africa) to educate, empower, and illuminate issues that reflects their histories and cultures through their unique and rich movement aesthetics. This year’s themes are Joy embodied in Black & Brown Bodies and Love interpreted through the lens of BIPOC choreographers & dance filmmakers.

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Los Portales del Corazón

Director & Choreographer: Vanessa Hernández Cruz 

Cinematographer & Editor: Letxia Cordova

Pronouns: Vanessa (She/Her/Ella)  Letxia (She/Her)

Performed by: Vanessa Hernández Cruz 

Music: Original Music & Sound by Damian Nguyen “A Step Within”


IG: @GalaxiesDance (Vanessa); @Letx_ia_ (Letxia); @Sanjuroboe (Damian)


Special Acknowledgements & Thanks To:

Reseda Parks

Tarzana Community & Cultural Center

This film was made possible by a commission from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.

Many thanks to DCA's Performing Arts Division, the Los Angeles Dance Worker Coalition, and City of Los Angeles Council District 2 and Council District 3 for their generous support.


Vanessa Hernández Cruz (she, her, ella) is an interdependent Chicana Disabled dance artist & Disability Justice activist. She is from the unceded lands of the Tongva & Kizh lands colonially known as Los Angeles, California. She graduated from CSU Long Beach with her Bachelor of Arts in Dance Science.
 Through her dance films & choreographic work, Vanessa presents the audience with thought-provoking pieces that ignite the imagination and explores disability aesthetics in contemporary forms and experimentation. She is shifting the dance field away from the inspirational-porn perspective of disability and moving it into a humanistic perspective. 


Dance Film Description: How do we find home when at times our own bodies don't always feel like home? This dance work dives into this exploration of home as well as an embodied exploration of the artist's identity & ancestral ambiguity of being 2nd generation Mexican American and Disabled. The concept of portals provides a gateway to escapism; whether those portals exist physically or exist in our minds.

Brown Skin Girl 

Choreographed by: Marina Thomas

Pronouns: She/her/hers 

Performed by: Asha Wilburn, Ashley Baylor, Amani Odom, Angelique Johnson, Lauren Martin, Lauren Hodge, & Chauntel Browden 

Music: Beyonce - Brown Skin Girl, Already, and My Power


IG: @bellydance_mar


Special Thanks:

On behalf of Move And Radiate, Inc., I would like to thank all of our family, friends and community members who helped M.A.R get to New York. They attended classes, personally donated and helped fundraise since we have found out the great news. We are so grateful for their love and support. We could not have done this without them! 


Marina Thomas is a first-generation Coptic Egyptian woman – born and raised in Los Angeles. Marina is the CEO and Founder of Move And Radiate, Inc. - a company that takes pride in positively impacting its community through movement and mindset development. Marina has been working on cutting against societal grains by addressing the oppression of women and persons of color as well as racism. She creates a space that welcomes and celebrates all body types, ethnicities and levels of experience and she does so by teaching belly dance fitness and choreography classes in her community. 


Piece Description: Brown Skin Girl was created to change the narrative of belly dancing in today's world. BSG is about representation and inclusivity as well as self-love and confidence. This piece embraces all women of color. It showcases women of different body shapes/sizes, complexion, dance experience and cultures. It unites and empowers women through movement. This choreography was designed for the viewer to see themselves in the dancers and/or think "I can do this too" no matter their background or how they look.

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Created by: Liz Miller

Pronouns: She/her

Performed by: (In order of appearance) Karma Swann, D Amaadi Coleman, Dev’nay Kess, Kay Francis Harvey Bonham

Music: ‘Untitled’ by Logicoma 

Wearable hair sculptures by Liz Miller


IG: @liz_miller_productions 


Liz Miller is a second-generation fine artist. Dance/ Performance art is part of her repertoire; she performs locally and internationally  (various Canadian cities from 2002-2005, Monrovia, Liberia in 2001, and in Vizianagaram, India in 2015). Her fine art has been shown nationwide but also internationally in Japan, Indonesia, and England. She has a B. A. in Art and Design from Towson University and an MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art. She has been a teaching artist for the last eighteen years and currently is an art teacher for Baltimore County Public schools. She creates hair sculptures, performance art, and film. Her films capture black bodies cleansing and blessing previously traumatic space for black and brown bodies. She has been a guest speaker at Johns Hopkins University and Maryland Institute College of Art.


Dance Film Description: UBUNTU is a South African noun meaning ‘humanity’. More specifically it references an African philosophy ‘I am because we are’.


This film catalogues the transformation of six public sites having notable ties to slavery or present day racism in the city of Baltimore. As performers move within these smoke-filled spaces, their black bodies adorned with hair sculptures, which function as sacred objects, they tap into the energy of our ancestors while simultaneously urging us toward an emancipated future:  a freedom which comes from unlocking what’s embedded within and eschewing the traditional pathway of seeking freedom from the colonizer. 


Each performer wears a handmade hair sculpture representing the power to transcend, cleanse, and heal.  Through the ritual, the performer's DNA is deposited upon the pieces themselves,the headdresses transform from sculpture to artifact. the bond is sealed, and these spaces of historical trauma are cleansed.


Entire film is 26 mins. Available in full at


Choreographed & Performed by: Denise Fimiano

Music: REMIX - "discorso all'umanità" Charlie Chaplin - Tarantella Calabrese


IG: @denise_denichic_fimiano


Dancer, choreographer, teacher.

Active in the Urban scene for 15 years.

Co-founder of the Officina Danza dance school for 10 years in the Italian territory, Valle d'Aosta.

Dancer for various international artists such as Lindsey Stirling and dj Jad (article 31)

Deepens his studies around the world (New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Germany, France, Japan)

He gets numerous national and international achievements in Freestyle battles.

She addresses important issues through her dance, creating an artistic activism through her dance

his only Humanity - Origin selected and staged abroad, in 2019 in New York, 2020 in Philadelphia, Taiwan. He collaborates artistically with humanitarian associations.


Piece Description: The Humanity project aims to highlight the need for humanity, for a feeling of mutual love that the world needs today.

Being human that me­ans overcoming those behaviors that redu­ce us very much like robotic machines; in the society in whi­ch we live, competit­ion, performance, pe­rfection make us lit­tle inclined to acce­pt errors, defects, frustrations, physic­al imperfections, ev­erything that defines a man or a woman.

Removing greed, hat­red, violence, allows us to nurture love, to feel more and to think less, avoidi­ng closing ourselves and being manipulat­ed by this system of things.

Humanity identifies each of us, I ident­ify myself by connec­ting to my origin, to my living memory of the past, transmit­ting the story and recognizing the meani­ng of one's own hist­ory.

The project wants to convey the need to be free from any me­chanism induced by society and to express oneself without fe­ar, telling oneself, one's own history, recognizing who we are, our origin, and it is precisely our identity that makes us human beings.

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Awakening Sankofa 

Choreographed by: Milanda McGinnis

Collaborator: Alexandra Joye Warren 

Pronouns: She/her (Milanda); She/her (Alexandra)

Performed by: Samantha McKinney, Milanda McGinnis

Music: Hippos in Space - Weedie Braimah


IG: @soulflower_wellness  @joyemovement


Dance Film Description: Awakening Sankofa explores themes of love, rejection, hope, and reconciliation playing out through the dancers’ relationships to each other. On a small scale, it is a love letter from a daughter to a mother, on a larger scale Awakening Sankofa will affirm and amplify the voice of a Black queer woman who longs for safe travels in the Diaspora. is a woman’s desire to return to a homeland that does not fully allow her lifestyle. Awakening Sankofa is a call to be seen and uplifted as a whole and valuable member of the community. 

"Toujou Selebre Nou" (Always Celebrate Us")

Choreographed by: Shelli "She•Rooted" Ligonde

Pronouns: She/Her

Performed by: Nicholas Bryant, Dominic Epps, Jessy Pierre, Marcus “Zebra” Smith, Leyona Oyama, Imani Wilburg, & Shelli "She•Rooted" Ligonde

Music: “The Look of Love, Part 1” x Slum Village, “Wonderful” x Burna Boy, “Brown Sugar” x D’Angelo, & “Black Is” x The Last Poets


IG: @she.ill.2


From age two through her college career at UMass-Amherst & Queensborough CC, Shelli committed to rigorous dance training. Shelli embodies her love for the dance field with experience in classical and African Diasporic dance. Born a first generation Haitian-American, her strong attachment to a country she hadn’t seen until adulthood offers a unique perspective on what it means to be rooted if not physically. Presently, Shelli instructs dance and stretch-focused classes influenced by Afro-Caribbean and modern dance where she shares her passion for dance and promotes the use of movement as a therapeutic tool. She also regularly performs live, choreographs, and pursues a diverse array of creative endeavors.


Piece Description: This piece speaks to the black community’s individual and communal defiance against the oppressive powers that seek to drown us in misery by way of radical joy and love. “Tojou Selebre Nou” is a celebration of the many, often messy ways in which we embody joy and love. Joy is found in a moment of taking in nature or the voice of our partner. Love is found in the butterflies fluttering around our stomachs or the blood-soaked sword upon which we stake our lives. Though black and brown people deserve to openly express their joy and love, this piece is also a reminder of the ever-present fear that exists for our black and brown loved ones traversing a world dominated by those that wish to see our downfall.

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Choreographed & Performed by: Rathi Varma

Pronouns: She/her

Music: Tadow by Masego and FKJ   2. Stunnin by Curtis Waters 3. Such a whole by JVLA (have only used the instrumental part) 4. Disco Love Story by DankTiks 5.Savage by Megan Thee Stallion


IG: @rathivarma


Special Thanks:

Film created under the mentorship and guidance of Anabella Lenzu


Rathi, born and raised in Mumbai, India started dancing at the age of 15 alongside pursuing her Diploma in Visual Arts and working as an Illustrator. In 2018, she moved to New York to pursue her career in Dance professionally at Peridance Centre. Since 2019, she's had the opportunity to perform with various choreographers namely Anabella Lenzu, Matthew Westerby and Apollonia Holzer to name a few. Apart from being a company member with Chutzpah Dance, Rathi is a part time Teaching Artist with DMF Youth Inc, a non profit organization. 


Dance FIlm Description: Imperfect confronts the idea of external validation that has paralysed the reality of our situation through toxic positivity and detached interactions. The film stems from my struggle of coping with self acceptance in an environment that idolizes a utopian vision.


Choreographed & Performed by: Mayu Nakaya

Pronouns: she/her

Music: Sleepless by Andy Stott, aqua by Ryuichi Sakamoto, Numb by Andy Stott


IG: @mayudance157


Mayu Nakaya, New York resident, Japanese dancer, and choreographer.

She is a member of the Helen Simoneau Danse, sarAika Movement Collective, Yu.S.Artistry, and Open Dance Ensemble. In Addition, she has presented her works at several showcases. 

She started ballet when she was three years old. After then, she learned contemporary dance and choreography gaining a lot of performing experience at Tokyo Metropolitan High School of Arts, the University of Tsukuba, The Ailey School (2019-2021).

She participated in dance competitions in Japan and Seoul, dancing her choreographies; she had many top prizes and first-place awards.


Piece Description: About human senses in present society.

The phenomenon of human numbness.

We seem to know, but we don’t know.

It seems to be transmitted, but it is not. 

It seems close, but it is not.

Skin without warmth.

A feeling of itching, even though we don’t feel any discomfort.

In proportion to the development of modern society, feel nostalgic for the "old" way of doing things.

What is “love”?

"Apathetic" the origin of this word is "Apathy" which came from the Greek "pathos," meaning passion, with the prefix "a-," meaning no passion.

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Choreographed by: Derick McKoy, Jr.

Pronouns: He/Him

Performed by: Maya Addie, Tyler Choquette, Mika Greene, and Shaina McGregor

Music: My Queen is Yaa Asantewaa and My Queen is Harriet Tubman by Sons of Kemet 

Vocals: Rosa Parks and Maya Angelou

Costume Designer: Erica Johnston

Lighting Design: Derick McKoy, Jr.


IG: @dmckoyy; @mckoydanceproject


Derick McKoy, Jr. (Miami, Florida) is a graduate of the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program in Dance. Derick has performed with Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Nimbus Dance in Jersey City, Jeremy McQueen’s The Black Iris Project, and on the hit tv show POSE on FX. He furthered his training at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Arts Umbrella, BalletX, Ballet Hispanico, Springboard Danse Montreal, under scholarships, as well as NW Dance Project’s LAUNCH. As a choreographer, Derick is an award-winning voice revered for his storytelling through movement. His works have been presented at several performance venues across the country. He currently helms his own project dance company called McKoy Dance Project || MDP, based in Brooklyn, NY.


Piece Description: Originally premiered at the Nimbus Arts Festival, Hush is a dynamically empowering and electrifying work that features four dancers as they navigate through the lives of Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Rosa Parks, and Alice Paul. These iconic historical figures helped shape a strong legacy that forever altered the country, affecting many futures yet to come. This work honors their contributions.

The True Root that Lies Beyond Thy Self

Choreographed & Performed by: Gelline Guevarra

Pronouns: She/Her

Music: 1) Little Spring by Tomasz Bednarczyk 2) Cruising by Bendik Giske

Vocals: Dear Self (Tagalog spoken poetry) by Angel SWP


IG: @jiggilin


Gelline Guevarra is an artist from Sacramento, CA. She has danced professionally with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company 2, BBmoves and TwoPoint4 Dance Theatre. In 2018, she debuted her first work under her own company, GGProjects. Gelline had the privilege to present her work at the Austin Dance Festival, MODArts, and Dance Bloc NYC. Ms. Guevarra received her Bachelors of Arts in Dance and in Deaf Studies at Sacramento State University. Both of these feed her passion for creating movement and working with other individuals. She also had the opportunity to extensively train at intensives with Diavolo, Visceral Dance Chicago, Elisa Monte Dance and Bates Dance Festival. 


Piece Description: This work explores the concept of rediscovering self love while also having a fear of being ostracized by both the Filipino and LGBTQA+ communities. 

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do not put me in a vase

Choreographed & Performed by: Nia Calloway

Pronouns: she/her

Music: Nia Calloway

Vocals: Nia Calloway "do not put me in a vase"


IG: @niacallowaypoet


Nia Calloway is a multi-disciplinary artist and astrologer who traverses the worlds of theatre, poetry, music, dance, and the healing arts. Through the combination of written word, sound experimentation, and explorative movement, she aims to create spaces of healing and introspection for her audience. Driven by the desire to relate the natural world, supernatural phenomena, the cosmos, and time to our bodies, Nia’s art serves to heal and reorient our collective stories around female bodies, QBIPOC bodies, and especially Black femme bodies. 


Dance Film Description: The patriarchal destruction of marginalized bodies is comparable to the destruction and uprooting of a garden. We take beautiful thriving flowers and plants from their home soil and place them in pretty vases where their lives are cut short. From the point of view of a Black woman who has recovered from an eating disorder, I allude to the fact that we destroy and uproot the body of the Earth because we think we are making something nice, same goes for our bodies. The interpretive movement responds to the words and imagery in the poem, as l embody the life of an uprooted flower that eventually wilts, dies, and becomes reborn.

143, Sections 1-2

Choreographed by: Leah Tubbs

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Performed by: Veronica Cheeseboro, Shoshana Mozlin, Sharayah Spruill. Courtney Stewart, Leah Tubbs, & Imani Vieira

Music: Natalie Cole & Anita Baker


IG: @modarts_dance    

Facebook: MODArts Dance Collective


Birmingham, AL native & Harlem resident Leah Tubbs studied dance at Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA) and the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. She has had the great opportunity to work as a professional artist with numerous dance companies, as well as currently holding the roles of teaching artist and arts educator. Leah and her husband, Shaun, established MODArts Dance Collective, Inc. (MADC) in 2011 to hold space for BIPOC artists and communities through its choreographic work, festivals, concerts, workshops, and residencies. 


Piece Description: 143 examines the milestones of romantic love through the lens of a Black woman. Section 1 celebrates the feelings of saying “I love you” for the first time, and Section 2 explores the emotions that arise when you feel that you have met ‘the one.’ 143 celebrates BIPOC love as a form of resistance while engulfing radical joy to uplift and inspire the communities that MADC serves. 

Gratitude and Thanks

MADC would like to thank our donors & Patreon supporters for our 2022 season: Anonymous (3), Sharon Banks, Paul Brill, William-Michael Cooper, Zoe Correa, Mallory Creveling, Megan Curet, Lindi Duesenberg, Sherema Fleming, Joy Hanks, Sarah Horne, Bri Jenkins, Rachel Kuczynski, Karen & Brian Lowy, Jeffery Martin, Susan Mende, Leila Mire, Jessica Mosher, Sophie Parens, Tanya Patton, Joya Powell, Chatiera Ray, Tammeca Rochester, Nathaniel Rutledge, Harriette Smiley, Laronica Southerland, Charis Travlos, Laura Tubbs, & Monse Valdez. We are grateful to have received funding this year from IABD COHI | MOVE Collective Cohort, Dance/NYC Dance Advancement  Fund Runner-Up, Lower Manhattan Cultural Center (LMCC) Creative Engagement Grant, Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ) Arts Engagement Grant, UMEZ Mertz Gilmore Seed Fund for Dance, 2022/23 The Performance Project @ University Settlement Artist-in-Residence, & 2022 BET/125TH ST BID/APOLLO Harlem Entrepreneurial Microgrant. We are thankful to be receiving subsidized studio rates as a company-in-residence at Hi-ARTS.


The goal for our 2022 end of year fundraising campaign is to raise 20K through individual donations that will go towards our operating costs which includes staffing (Leadership Team) and consultant costs (Marketing, Grant Writer, and Accounting/Bookkeeping) to continue to expand and amplify the reach of MADC. MODArts Dance Collective is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible; EIN: 87-2210130. Please consider contributing to MADC by December 31, 2022 here.

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