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MADC presents Collective Thread

MODArts Dance Collective (MADC) presents Collective Thread provides a voice and a platform for artistic self-impression to those women/womxn identifying choreographers of underrepresented ethnic groups within the medium of dance (African, Latina/o/x, Asian, Arab, Native American [ALAANA], MENA, & SWANA). The goal of Collective Thread is to instill artists with the necessary tools to take on leadership roles in an effort to increase diversity, inclusion, and gender equality in the dance field. 

Jurne Smith

Lone Soldier Rising 

Choreographed by: Jurne Smith

Pronouns: She/Her

Performed by: Morgan Burgess

Music: Lone Soldier Rising x Demeanor 

Instagram Handle: @jurnesmith_      


Jurne Smith (Charlotte,NC) is a choreographer, film director, and scholar currently working in Greensboro, NC. Smith holds a BFA with Full Honors from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She was the first recipient of the Theatre of Movement Community Support Initiative Grant for her dance film Lone Soldier Rising, and continues to work as an educator and advocate to provide access to the arts in her local city through dance, lectures and creative research. Smith has choreographed and set numerous original works performed all around North Carolina, and utilizes dance to bring forth the untold stories within the African Diaspora to her audiences with the goal of broadening the understanding of what “Blackness” can be.


What words do you embody as a person?

Quiet, Sure, Life, Hope, Logic, Faith, and Love


What or who sparks joy to/for you?

The still and small portions of faith and hope that can carry a generation to choose a better future for themselves


Piece Description:

Lone Soldier Rising is one portion of a bigger artistic project entitled Mandatory Volunteer. Lone Soldier Rising is a dance film that delves into the psyche of young Josephine Boyd, an African American high schooler chosen to desegregate the all-white Grimsley High School located in Greensboro, NC. Drawing inspiration from historical and present day protests surrounding racial inequity within the United States, and from the writings of Dr. Karen Meadows in her book "Pedagogy of Survival", the dance film is a historical recounting and present-day social commentary on the place of youth in activism, resistance, and politics. The film was shot at the historical Dudley High School.

ShokoTamai & Zen Takai _ Ninja Ballet

Ninja Ballet Duet

Choreography by/Collaborated with: Shoko Tamai (Choreographer) / Zen Takai (Mentor and Collaborator) 

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Performed by: Elisa Toro Franky & Shoko Tamai 

Music: Abun-Dance by Michael Browne


Instagram Handle: @ninjaballet  @shokotamai

Facebook: Ninja Ballet

Twitter: @ninja_ballet  @shokotamai 


Shoko Tamai is a classically trained ballet dancer who has performed with leading dance companies in various venues around the world.  Since she was two years old Shoko has studied various dance styles, including ballet, classical Japanese and Chinese dance, jazz fusion, African, Middle Eastern and Indian dance.  Shoko’s period of study with Jamie H.J. Guan, martial arts trainer for the Beijing Opera, initially ignited in her a burning passion for martial arts.

Shoko has studied at the Central School of Ballet (London, UK), The American Academy of Ballet (NYC), The Paris Opera (France), and The Madrid Ballet School (Spain).  She has performed with many dance companies, including Dance Theater of Harlem, Tokyo Ballet, and Cirque du Soleil.


She has performed at venues such as London’s Royal Opera House, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, The Theatre Royal in Glasgow, Lincoln Center, and Jacob’s Pillow, among others.  Shoko has competed internationally, receiving the Solo Seal award from the Royal Academy of Dance in London, a Gold Medal in the New York Ballet Competition (American Academy of Ballet) and was a Finalist in The World Ballet Competition.


Shoko was invited to represent Ninja Ballet at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as part of the 77th International Choreographer’s Festival with Dance Forms Professional in 2019, and was nominated for a New York Innovative Theater Award for Outstanding Choreography for her work in “The Tempest”, directed by Owen Thompson, at the Plaxall Gallery in New York City.  Her work has been featured in numerous publications, including BroadwayWorld, Dance Enthusiast magazine, Metro US, and TimeOut New York.   


What words do you embody as a person?

All we have is this moment of NOW. Live Performing Arts is just like life. That's where we exchange energy flow. I call it Home. 


What or who sparks joy to/for you?

When dancers and non-dancers all dance together as oneness, as a tribe, as whole humans. That collectiveness really sparks joy for me


Piece Description:

This duet represents my spiritual growth, working with ballet and ninjutsu together to create a slow-motion that makes me feel “TIMELESS”. This is the ZONE I enter when my heart is open to channel creativity from universal energy.


I like to experiment with duality: light and dark, structure and freedom. It’s because I grew up in the strict ballet world that I have a solid foundation, but also rebel against it, constantly searching for a balance in my movement and choreography.


“This piece of art is my newest work and still a creative process for me. I composed and played with Michael Brown on a live set, choreographed and designed costumes (masculine and feminine at same time), however this is the seed to go deeper with my own choreography. I came back from Japan and was questioning why women still have to be so submissive in the year of 2021.


As a Japanese woman and ballerina, I was forbidden to speak up and showcase my strength in a powerful way in my country. I recently came back from Lebanon and I felt the same way there in the middle east just like in my homeland. Also when I was dancing with Dance Theatre of Harlem and Ballet Central, I had to be a princess and fairy but I always felt that I was running away from who I am as a person, the real me….. As a warrior more so when I got a better role and was promoted in the company to get a solo part and principal role. So I had to start creating a piece that really resonated with who I am and my roots and speak truth with my body language.


By being expressive through sword work into my choreography I can express the dark/light balance and harmony within the movement. I call it the healing of dance, 'purification of the heart' by expressing not only my purity but also darkness, anger and fear too. All that expression really heals me and through me I imagine our humanity and planet heals together.


Ninja Ballet presents ‘Abun-Dance’, a Ballet, Neo-Classical & Contemporary dance and martial arts piece which mixes original choreography work for duet by Elisa Toro Franky and Shoko Tamai. I wanted to transform negative past experiences into the fuel that will awaken me to my true feminine potential, enabling them to become strong enough to break through the obstacles that once held them down, to become the Warrior Woman within. 'Abun-Dance' is made possible by ChaShaMa's Immigrant Artist Performance Award and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.

Saraswathy Lakshmivaraham


Choreographed & Performed by: Saraswathy Lakshmivaraham 

Pronouns: She/Her

Music: Kambodhi 

Instagram Handle: @saraswathyiy

Facebook: Saraswathy Iyer


Saraswathy began her journey in dance at a tender age of 4 in Thiruvananthapuram where she grew up. After her arangetram, Saraswathy realized Mohiniyattom to be her calling and her commitment to the dance form was nurtured under the able guidance of Smt. Kalamandalam Vimala Menon. Saraswathy’s passion for dance combined with a strong foundation in carnatic music has enabled her to choreograph to modern concepts without breaking away from the traditional style of Mohiniyattom. In an effort to take the artform to a wider audience, Saraswathy co-founded the first ever organization in the Bay area exclusively encouraging Mohiniyattom, it is called the Mohini Studio.


What words do you embody as a person?

The process is more important than the performance.


What or who sparks joy to/for you?

Dancing has sparked joy to me., trying to channel the passion of dancing beyond the technical expertise or appearances, to let it become me. 


Piece Description:

It is a traditional Mohiniyattam piece that brings about the beauty , grace and expressions unique to this dance form practiced by women of Kerala. An ancient dance form, Mohiniyattam portrays themes from a woman’s perspective. 

Chien-Ying Wang_OcampoWang Dance

Gaia's Whispers

Choreographed by: Chien-Ying Wang

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Performed by: Kiana Rosa Fischer, Ying-Yu Lin, Nayaa Opong-Nyantekyi, Louiessa Ocampo, Isabella Vergara, & Chien-Ying Wang 

Music: Vincent Pierce Smith 

Vocals: Text/Narration: Kiana Rosa Fischer; Throat Singer/Didgeridoo: Seth Pincus


Facebook Handle: OcampoWang Dance


Chien-Ying Wang is Co-Artistic Director of OcampoWang Dance and received her MFA degree from The Ohio State University. Wang danced professionally with Utah’s Repertory Dance Theatre and was a finalist of Bogliasco Fellowship. She was awarded the Mixtures Artistic Creation Grant from the Consulate General of Spain. Wang was commissioned to make works for Ballet Philippines, Juedai Contemporary Dance Theater (Taiwan), Lustig Dance Theatre, RDT, OSU, Boston Conservatory at Berklee, National Taiwan University of Arts, and Beijing Normal University, China. Her choreographic works have been presented in Ailey Citigroup Theatre, Judson Memorial Church, 92nd Street Y, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, amongst others. 


What words do you embody as a person?

Persistent, resilient, emphatic, and pragmatic 


What or who sparks joy to/for you?

My family, traveling, & the creative process


Piece Description:

Gaia’s Whispers explores the Chinese philosophy of Five Elements (fire, water, wood, metal, earth) to promote greater awareness of climate change. My deep desire to understand the language of Mother Earth has propelled me to create this film. The performers and I collaborate with elemental forces and objects to call forth the voices of nature and help us become better listeners. Political language seems often to fail when aiming to inspire us to stop our activities that increase global temperatures. The bold attempt of this piece is to access the language of nature so as to speak directly to the soul. Performed across the rhythms and constraints of time and space, this work was created across all four seasons and in varied landscapes. Hoping that nature can speak to human nature, Gaia’s Whispers aims to help future generations have a healthy environment in which to live and thrive. 

Violeta De Leon Davila

They Taught You Wrong. Metanoia - A Transformative Change.

Choreographed by: Violeta De Leon Davila

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Performed by: Cynthia Frias, Tanesha Payne, Crysta Caulkins-Clouse, Violeta De Leon, Kevin Brewster, Albert Corbett, & Marcelino Silvestre Najera

Music: "Missy" by Too Many Zooz "Dark Violin Soundtrack"  & “ Intro Dark Cello” by KalterWindRecord. Envato Market. “Dramatic Solo Cello” by JaeCmusic Envato Market. Divan Gattamorta  song  "Arida" from - Paisagens Rítmicas (Edição especial). "Brasshouse Vol 7 No 69" by Too Many Zooz

Vocals: FINAL VIDEO ON END CREDITS - Music in this video:  Song: Canción Sin Miedo (Versión El Palomar) “Song Without Fear”. Artist ( lyrics and music): Vivir Quintana


Instagram Handle: @violetadeleondavila

Facebook: Violeta De Leon Davila


Violeta has recently been selected as a Featured Artist for Luminaria Contemporary Arts Festival 2021 and was awarded an artist grant from Luminaria Artist Foundation Cycle 2020. She has taught Modern Dance with passion for the last decade. Her primary teaching technique is Graham, with strong influences of  Limon, Release, and Ballet. On several occasions Violeta has performed and choreographed for Festival de Extremadura Danza Contemporánea and Encuentro Metropolitano de Danza Contemporánea. She is credited with choreographing more than 20 original Modern pieces, and has set Jazz, Lyrical and Musical Theatre pieces for various productions. She was the winner of the 2004 Contemporary Dance Choreography Contest of Northern Mexico, and is the founder of the professional independent group, Pies Descalzos (“Bare Feet”).  


In Marfa, an enclave of modern visual artists in far West Texas, she has offered workshops and private lessons, introducing Modern Dance to the Big Bend Region. From 2016-2019 she served as a Board Member of the San Antonio Dance Umbrella. In 2017 she became a Board Member of the Quenedit Dance Theatre and part of the coordinator team of ‘San Antonio Dance Festival’, an annual showcase of pre-professional dancers from south Texas and northern Mexico that also features guest performances of international professionals. Her students and choreography have earned accolades at prestigious national competitions, including the Youth American Grand Prix (YAGP). 


A native of Monterrey, México; Violeta graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Performing Contemporary Dance from Escuela Superior de Música y Danza de Monterrey, a Bachelor Degree in International Relations from Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo León and currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Arts and Cultural Administration. She is married, and the mother of two young boys.


What words do you embody as a person?

balance and ecosystem


What or who sparks joy to/for you?

Justice, kindness, dance, and love.

Piece Description:

They Taught You Wrong: Metanoia – A Transformative Change. Calls attention to the alarming rate of femicide in México and uses emotive movement to summon our collective courage to speak out against domestic violence wherever it occurs.

Jennifer Chin_JENNIFERCHINdance


Choreographed & Performed by: Jennifer Chin

Pronouns: She/Her

Music: Caroline Shaw- "In manus tuas" recorded by Clarice Jensen

Costume design by Patti Gilstrap


Instagram & Twitter Handle: @jenchindance

Facebook: Jenniferchindance


Jennifer Chin’s choreography has been presented at festivals in Mexico, Croatia, Scotland, Italy, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Arizona, and New York City. Her company, JENNIFERCHINdance, has an ongoing collaboration with WADE, operating at the intersection of performing arts, activism, and social change. In addition, Jennifer choreographs for theater and opera and is a longstanding collaborator with MultiStages. LUMINOUSbody, transformative health and fitness, is her small business offering private lessons in yoga and pilates. Jennifer has been on faculty at Montclair State University, Université du Québec á Montréal, The José Limón Foundation, The Martha Graham School, and CUNY Brooklyn College.


What words do you embody as a person?

Kindness and courage.


What or who sparks joy to/for you?

The potential of humanity and the beauty of nature.


Piece Description:

The solo ’blood’, is shaped in slow moving arcs of human exertion. Limbs languorously reach out, carve in, wrench around, evoking struggle and resilience. Thinking of bloodlines and the struggles of Asian females through many generations, the piece is dedicated to my mother and sister, both of whom lived in an orphanage at some point of their lives.

Ankita Sharma

FREE! Entertainment

Choreographed by: Ankita Sharma 

Pronouns: She/They

Performed by: Kaila Ablao

Music: Send in the Clowns by Sarah Vaughan and the Count Basie Orchestra

Vocals: "Lights" Written by Kaila Ablao; Performed by Daniel Archibald



Instagram Handle: @nki.creates


Ankita is a bold emerging artist interested in creating genre-resistant performance that holds meaning for diverse audiences. She invests in mining shades of darkness with visceral, immersive work so that audiences can reckon with the uncomfortable and leave reflecting in new ways. Her physical practices draw on contemporary dance, dance theater, and forms from both the South Asian and African diaspora. Ankita holds a B.A. in dance from Colorado College, and her work has been shown at iKADA, Ormao Dance Company, sjDANCEco Festival, DanSix, and extensively at Colorado College.


What words do you embody as a person?

Free-spirited, Perceptive, Intense, and Goofy


What or who sparks joy to/for you?

Sugar cookies, mountains, animals, and my partner


Piece Description:

Sometimes, I perform for myself. Mostly, I perform for others. Always, I am losing my grasp on why I do what I do. FREE! entertainment allows B-side voyeurism into the backend of a life of performing, all created for YOU.

Leslie Alston_ The Angels of Transformation

The Battle

Choreographed by: Leslie Alston 

Pronouns: She, Her

Performed by: The Angels of Transformation Dancers

Music: The Battle by Yolanda Adams


Instagram Handle: @angelstransform

Facebook: Angels of Transformation


The Angels of Transformation, a liturgical dance ministry was founded by Leslie Alston in 2014. She is the artistic director, dance instructor, choreographer, and is currently a certified dance educator with the NYC Department of Education over 20 years. Leslie has a B.F.A. in dance from SUNY Purchase and a Masters’ of Education in Urban Multicultural Education from The College of Mount Saint Vincent. She is also a Zumba Fitness instructor and an Energy Healer with The Noble Touch Healing Ministry. Her vision for The Angels of Transformation Dancers is simply to bring Light to the World through dance. 


What words do you embody as a person?

I AM Loving, I AM Resilient, I AM Amazing, I AM Being of Divine Light, Love and Power. 

What or who sparks joy to/for you?

Dancing sparks joy in heart and soul. 


Piece Description:

Greater is the power within you than any obstacle you may face. This piece is an encouragement to be resilient and hopeful in the face of adversity.  

Suwodi Dutta Bordoloi

Sattriya Saali Geetor Naas

Choreographed by: Ghanakanta Bora Bayanacharya

Pronouns: She/Her

Performed by: Suwodi Dutta Bordoloi

Music: Borgeet by Sri Madhav Dev

Instagram Handle:


Suwodi Dutta Bordoloi is an accomplished Sattriya dancer with over 20 years of training in the art form. She received 'Upaadhi' in the year 2000 and has been training for the last 12 years under the tutelage of Sattriya exponent - Guru ‘Ghanakanta Bora Bayanacharya’. Suwodi has performed at various national and international events that include the Melharmony Festival (University of Wisconsin Madison), IHRAF Festival (New York), RMTU Festival (Denver), Assam Convention (Calgary, Canada), etc. She has held lectures and workshops to introduce Sattriya to children in the US. She currently is a fellow with the Aseemkala Initiaitve, US.


What word do you embody as a person?



What or who sparks joy to/for you?

Music and Nature


Piece Description:

The dance piece is based on a borgeet by Sri Madhav dev - it is a poem that describes the Krishna avatar of Vishnu. In this 'abhinaya' dance piece, the dancer tells stories about Krishna as a child and pays her tribute to Krishna.

Allyson Ross_ SouthernBelleStories

2020 on 125th

Choreographed by: Allyson Ross/SouthernBelleStories in collaboration with Ballet Media Inc.

Pronouns: She/Her

Performed by: Stacie Cannon and Matia Johnson

Music: Music Score Courtesy of Ballet Media Inc.

Instagram Handles: @southernbellestories


Allyson Ross, an artist, educator, sister, daughter and friend, lives in Harlem, NYC. She was born in Norfolk, Virginia and received her formal dance training at the Dance Theatre of Harlem and the LINES Ballet School.She is also a graduate of The College of William and Mary (BA) and Harvard University (ED.M). Allyson Ross/SouthernBelleStories was created in 2017 to showcase original choreography, site specific improvisation and dance film work. In addition to her creative work, she is also an Elementary School (Dance) Educator and an artist with General Mischief Dance Theater and the Leah Glenn Dance Theater. She is grateful to be sharing a new work with MADC Collective Thread.


What words do you embody as a person?

Creative and Empathetic


What or who sparks joy to/for you?

Josephine Baker the Cat, Espresso Coffee, & Long Nature Walks


Piece Description:

2020 on 125th is a dance film. It is based off my original idea: a Black woman navigating 2020's duel pandemics. In March 2020, I remember exiting the theater from what was unbeknownst to me, my last performance before theater was put on pause. I also remember my last subway ride from the school; we were then told we would be transitioning to remote learning. I wanted to capture that feeling and moment as well as highlight a collective Black womanhood. As a Black woman, somehow these experiences felt extremely isolating. I wanted to show that feeling. In 2020, whether trapped indefinitely in a Harlem apartment or emotionally exhausted from news stories of Breonna Taylor, I wanted to use this film to highlight my personal experiences but also shed light that my experience was not unique to me. I wanted to show the nuances of how we survived 2020 on 125th.

Ann Francis Ang


Choreographed & Performed by: Ann Francis Ang

Pronouns: She/Her

Music: Passagalia in G Minor by Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber;  Senki Dala by Venetian Snares

Instagram Handle: @annfrancisang

Facebook: Ann Francis Ang


Ann Francis is a Berlin-based artist from San Francisco, CA. She received a BFA in Dance at Adelphi University and an MA in Contemporary Dance at London Contemporary Dance School, working with Alleyne Dance, Riccardo Buscarini and Igor x Moreno. Recent credits include 'Makaya' presented at the Playground Theatre in London, curated by Emma Farnell-Watson and Joshua James Smith; excerpt of Monika Dorniak's 'Metacognitive Tool' at Haus der Statistik; and Joy Alpuerto Ritter and Lukas Steltner’s ‘Moving the Forum: If I ruled the world..’ at the Humboldt Forum. 


Ann Francis has also worked as Company Administrator for TAKE Dance; Moving Towards Justice Fellow at Gibney Dance; and currently works as Company Coordinator for Alleyne Dance. 


What words do you embody as a person?

curious & hopeful 

What or who sparks joy to/for you?

my family


Piece Description:

Makaya (Tagalog translation for ‘cope’). ‘Makaya’ is a solo-work that was created in autumn of 2020, where hope and uncertainty could have felt like one in the same. This solo delves into the different coping mechanisms of grief – from denial to acceptance, in whichever order grief hits you, one goes through a physical and emotional journey that takes its time to find solace.  The work is currently divided into four short sections. Each section explores and embodies the different effects caused by grief, and how one copes at each individual stage of grief – Breath, Absorption, Oblivion, Acceptance.


Dedicated to Florinda and Al Quin Ang, my role models of strength and unconditional love.

Jamison Curcio


Choreographed & Performed by: Jamison Curcio

Pronouns: She/Her

Music: For All We Know by Donny Hathaway

Instagram Handle: @jamison_curcio


Jamison Curcio (she/her) is an interdisciplinary artist and community curator. Working at the intersections of performance art, visual art, and Black Feminism, Curcio cultivates and fosters stories of liberation and reimagining. As a community curator, Curcio interweaves the values of Black Feminism and curates virtual exhibitions that hold collaborators’ truths, invite community members to be curious, analyze their positionalities, and roles in collective liberation.


What words do you embody as a person?

Joy, Raw, Sensitive, Unapologetic, a Dreamer


What or who sparks joy to/for you?

Moments that push be to be present & boundaries 


Piece Description:

HOW WE ARE GET FREE pt. 2:  "Boundaries are the distance at which I can love me and you simultaneously." - Prentis Hemphill

Linda Steele II - HUMA_lingual Cafe for the Arts

CARRE:FOUR a movement film

Choreographed & Performed by: Linda Steele II (Concept/Choreography)

Collaborators: Marcos Vedovetto (Cinematographer/Editor), Nnan Tsehay (Writer/Spoken Word Artist), & Simon Russell (Composer/Music Artist); commissioned by Oakland Ballet Company

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Music: Simon Russell (Composer/Music Artist)

Vocals: Nnan Tsehay (Writer/Spoken Word Artist)



Linda Steele II is multidisciplinary improvisational dance artist, storyteller and language researcher.​ She has presented her work in various dance festivals and art events including the renowned Ebony Fashion Fair and abroad at Champs Meliséy in Burgundy, France. She has studied and choreographed Dance for Film with MADE in France, Inside Out Contemporary Ballet, and Oakland Ballet Company. Her work strives to highlight new perspectives on language and dance.


What words do you embody as a person?

Present and connected with my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds.


What or who sparks joy to/for you?

Witnessing harmony and beauty in Life; seeing people happy and peaceful.


Piece Description:

Inspired by Ecopsychology research, CARRE:FOUR a movement film explores the convergence of four paths—a carrefour—through portraits of the paths of Sound, Movement Language, Nature (The Natural World), and Man-made Creations (Civilizations/Cities). CARRE:FOUR aims to highlight the deeply intertwined relationship between the natural human self and the natural world while challenging the paradigm of what being human can be.

Gratitude & Support​

MADC would like to thank our donors & Patreon supporters: 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.

MODArts Dance Collective is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible; EIN: 87-2210130. Please consider assisting us in continuing to be an agent of social change and amplifying BIPOC womxn voices through movement. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation, become a Patreon patron, purchase an item from MADC's Etsy shop, or discover other ways to support the company.

MADC’s Collective Thread Dance Festival is funded, in part, through a Seed Fund for Dance grant from the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation, thanks to the support of the Mertz Gilmore Foundation.

MADC’s Collective Thread Dance Festival is made possible in part with funding from UMEZ Arts Engagement, a regrant program supported by the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation (UMEZ) and administered by LMCC.

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