top of page

Friday, November 3,2023
Move to Change Dance
Festival Program


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 theme is the word 'community' and how groups of people with a common goal or interest can shift the paradigm of a neighborhood. The presenting works answer one or more of the following questions: 1. What communities am I a part of? 2. What is/are the common goal(s) within the community? 3. What is my role in the community? 4. How can I continue to move the community forward?

1E8E3F4A-2467-4462-B6A9-94E17FAD3F97 - Pavitra Jayakanth.jpeg

Mahakali Keerthanam

Choreographed by: Pavitra Jayakanth

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Performed by: Pavitra Jayakanth, Jahnavi Sundaram, Nikita Brahmma, Nikita Radakichenane, & Shraeyah Nandini Rajeshwaran

Music: Mahakali Keerthanam; Composer: Shri Madurai R Muralidharan


Pavitra Jayakanth, an artist with extensive training in Bharatanatyam, blends two decades of experience with other diverse dance styles. She's a celebrated performer at prestigious events, including the American Tap Dance Festival and the Erasing Borders Festival at Alvin Ailey Theater. She's a recognized guest panelist at Columbia and Barnard University, acknowledged by media outlets like PBS, NBC, The Guardian and more. Prāṇa Arts, a vibrant home for both seasoned professionals and emerging freelance performing artists. Our mission is to enrich the performing art landscape while honoring the rich tapestry of Indian traditions and culture. Founded by Pavitra, our team draws its skeleton from her extensive training and expertise encompassing both classical and modern Indian dance. 

Instagram: @jaypavitra 


Piece description of Mahakali Keerthanam

"Mahakali Keerthanam," composed by Madurai R. Muralidharan, is a mesmerizing Bharatanatyam composition that brilliantly showcases the diverse incarnations of the goddess Devi. Through this evocative piece, it beautifully portrays the essence of women in power and the multifaceted roles they embody in life. The song celebrates the strength and versatility of women, through the various depictions of the goddess, capturing the many facets of their existence with grace and artistry. Composed in ragam gowla and tala adhi, performed by Jahnavi Sundaram, Nikita Radakichenane, Nikita Brahmma, Shraeyah Nandhini Rajeshwaran & Pavitra Jayakanth.

DSC04594 - Tina Bararian.JPG

Flight 752

Choreographed & Performed by: Tina Bararian

Pronouns: she/her


Tina Bararian is an award-winning modern dancer, choreographer, actor, and film director, holding degrees in Film Studies from York University and Dance Performance from George Brown College. After obtaining her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance at York University, Tina relocated to New York City to further her studies at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. In 2023, she established her own dance company in New York and premiered her first piece, 'Not Here,' at Spoke The Hub residency, where she received the People's Choice Artist award.Tina is the visionary curator and founder of "Dancers Of Iran," a global artistic project and platform dedicated to showcasing dancers of Iranian descent.


Piece description of Flight 752

During moments of distress, the only sounds you perceive in your mind are the beating of your heart and the rhythm of your breath. Although your surroundings may be filled with chaos, your mind remains in a state of profound silence.The downing of flight 752 by the Islamic Republic Of Iran is my source of inspiration for this piece. All 176 passengers were killed in the horrific event and all that was left of them was their torn luggage. All people on board were Iranian immigrants who had built their lives overseas in hopes of a better future. 

choreographer_collaborator headshots - Maxine Flasher-Duzgunes.jpg

eco-locate: a dance film triptych 

Choreographed by: Maxine Flasher-Düzgüneş

Pronouns: she/her

Performed by: Ilektra Arsenidou & Giada Palmisano

Music: David Caparó


Special thanks to the Djerassi Resident Artist Program.


Maxine Flasher-Düzgüneş is Turkish-American poet, dance artist, and filmmaker engaging with the disciplines of choreography and visual art as tools for grasping poetic language. She has served as resident artist at Djerassi Resident Artist Program, Stapleton School for the Performing Arts, and The Center at Eagle Hill in Hardwick, Massachusetts and has been commissioned for World Stage Design (Canada) and 92NY’s Future Dance Festival (New York). She currently dances with eMotion Arts, Joe Landini Dance, MovingGround, and pateldanceworks, teaches in the California Poets in the Schools program, and directs Roco Dance’s youth-modern company BodyLanguage. 


Instagram: @poeticabythebay 


Film description of eco-locate: a dance film triptych 

eco-locate: a dance film triptych explores the concept of echolocation - the locating of objects via reflected sound - and how it can be applied to a physical communication network. It features an unusual connection between two dancers and the invisible threads that link their inter-being to the surrounding environment. At the heart of this relation lies a critical investigation of how poetics can serve as a thread in understanding where the body belongs in the vastly changing ecosphere. 

GS Janet photo.jpg
Osamu headshot - janet aisawa.jpg

Poston, AZ

Choreographed & Performed by: Janet Aisawa and Osamu Uehara

Pronouns: she/ her; he/ him

Music Mix: Osamu Uehara Music: "Take Me Out to the Ball Game"-Albert von Tilzer,/Frankie Masters Orchestra, "Tokyo Shoe Shine Boy"-Tasuku Sano, "Good-by Mama, I'm Off to Yokohama"- J. Fred Coots/ Teddy Powell Orchestra , "American Patrol"-Frank White Meacham/Glen Miller Orchestra

Text:The Ringle and Munson Reports, Speakers: Tom Siegman, Paul Holbrook Interviews: Thelma Koymatsu, Mary Aisawa, Ed Tokeshi, Pauline Yoshioka, Shiro Aisawa, Dick Kitsuse

Costumes: Osamu Uehara

Photos: National Archives


Osamu Uehara, BA, Cornell University in Music/Theatre/Physics/Mathematics; MFA, NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in Dance. He has staged full length productions of ballets for many choreographers. Trained as a musician and schooled in lighting and theatrical design, he also handles the costuming, music editing and technical needs of several companies. 


Janet Aisawa is a choreographer and dancer, creating several evening length performances. She is interested in making work with social justice and environmental themes. She is working on a film where she made a dress from garbage from the sea. She currently dances for Beth Soll. 



Piece Description of Poston, AZ

In 1940, the State Department commissioned Curtis B. Munson to evaluate the loyalties and sympathies of Japanese Americans. He found there to be no threat as was corroborated by Lt. Comm. K.D. Ringle’s report the following year. In spite of the findings, Executive Order 9066 went into effect evacuating over 120,000 Japanese American women, men, and children into 10 concentration camps in Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah. Poston was one of these camps located in the desert on the Colorado River Indian Reservation.

Headshot - rathi varma.jpg

Dear Bread

Choreographed & Performed by: Rathi Varma

Pronouns: she/her

Youtube channel audio credit: HealthNormal, Dr, Eric Berg DC and Dr Gus

Voiceover Artist: Dusty Porter


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. Her work Table for Two, Imperfect, and What Will be, Will be was presented at Spoke The Hub, Flushing Town Hall, BAAD, Arts on Site, and Balance Arts Centre. Apart from being a company member with Time Lapse Dance, Matthew Westerby Company and Treehouse Shakers, Rathi is a lead Teaching Artist with DMF Youth Inc. 


Instagram: @rathivarma 


Piece Description of Dear Bread

Food trends have maneuvered our way of looking at food labels thus creating an illusion of what is good and bad. There are so many mixed messages about what to eat for good health and so many of these trends add to that confusion. Bread, a food product that has long been a part of all our lives, is controversial when it comes to the nutrition it provides. Dear bread is a reflection of our society's evolving relationship with bread - from being a historical cultural symbol to it's controversial status in diet narratives.

LCPcolor.creditBrentNicastro(3) - LI CHIAO-PING.jpg
Provenance Collaborators Photos - ELISABETH ROSKOPF.jpg
Provenance Collaborators Photos - CHRISTAL WAGNER.jpg

Provenance: A Letter to My Daughter

Collaborators: Li Chiao-Ping (Director and Choreographer); Elisabeth Roskopf (Performer and Text); and Christal Wagner (Cinematographer and Editor) 

Pronouns: she/her/they

Performed by: Elisabeth Roskopf

Music: "Falling and Calling", Hidekazu Wakabayashi; "With Love", Haebaragi, sung by Francesca Hong, accompanied by her father Jinkuk Hong

Text written and spoken by: Elisabeth Roskopf


Named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to watch”, Li Chiao-Ping is a multi-hyphenate artist, a 7-time NEA grant awardee, and a MAP Fund grant recipient, who creates layered works that combine multiple art forms to explore themes of culture and identity. Li Chiao-Ping earned her graduate degree from UCLA, was Director of the Hollins College Dance Program (1989-1993), and Chair of the UW-Madison Dance Department (2011-2014). Li’s work has been shown in major venues/festivals in the U.S. and abroad, including Jacob’s Pillow, Bates, ADF, Kennedy Center, Walker Art Center, Dance Place, Danspace Project, DTW, Theater Artaud, CounterPulse, and in Canada, Mexico, Taiwan, Argentina, and more. 


Instagram: @lichiaoping @lcpdance @elisabethroskopf @waitingforutah


Film Description of "Provenance: A Letter to My Daughter"

"Provenance: A Letter to My Daughter" is a short dance film about a transnational adoptee's personal experiences struggling with identity, belonging, and inclusion growing up in the Midwest of America. Directed and choreographed by Li Chiao-Ping, dancer Elisabeth Roskopf's exquisite movement and personal story reclaiming her heritage are captured beautifully by cinematographer and editor Christal Wagner.

Headshot stephen - Stephen Hill.jpg


Choreographed by: Stephen Hill 

Pronouns: he/him/his

Performed by: Lyndsey Arorash, Stephen Hill, Alaynia La Porte, Brittany Lane, Judea Lowe, Dakota Price, & Trevor Ricardo Spencer Jr.

Music: Give Me The Night - Hot 8 Brass Band


This work was first commissioned for the groundswell series site specific dance festival July 2023 in Brooklyn, NY. Special thanks to Maddy Sher. 


Stephen Hill is from Harlem. He earned a Dance B.A. from Lehman College and has trained at Peridance, Cumbe, & Ailey. He’s previously danced for ModArts Dance Collective, Forces Of Nature Dance Theater, and Sesame Carnival Flyers. As a choreographer he’s collaborated with BURDE, Ma’s Playhouse theater and the West Indian Arts Project. Hill is the founding artistic director of the ChoreoJoey Project, an arts collective committed to the preservation and use of jazz and West African dance in harmony with narration, poetry, and storytelling. Hill’s work often premieres at Dixon Place and has been presented nationwide. 




Piece Description of VOISINS

Neighbors join together for the local 2nd line.

Vanessa headshot_photo by Maya Umemoto gorman_ - Vanessa Cruz.jpg

City of Glitches

Choreographed by: Vanessa Hernández Cruz

Pronouns: she/her/ella

Performed by: Vanessa Hernández Cruz, Lu Chen, Charlie Boyd Brown, India Harville, April Biggs, & Orli Resnik

Music: "I Could Have Stopped It" Ólafur Arnalds & "It All Ends With the Coming Sky" by Bvdub


Special thank you to Pieter Performance Space & MODArts Dance Collective! Thank you to the beautiful Disabled dance artists in this film for their artistry and ingenuity!!


Vanessa Hernández Cruz (she, her, ella) is a Los Angeles based interdependent Chicana disabled dance artist, visual artist, & Disability Justice activist. Over the past few years Vanessa’s work has been shown nationally & internationally. She had two exciting dance solos that premiered this past summer: “Metal, Plastic, Skin” debuting at The Odyssey Theatre’s Dance Festival and “Exhale Static, Inhale Fumes” with her debut at The REDCAT’s NOW Festival. Through her dance films & choreographic work, Vanessa presents the audience with thought-provoking pieces that ignite the imagination & explores disability aesthetics in contemporary forms and experimentation. 


Instagram: @galaxiesdance 

Facetune_11-04-2023-09-29-16 copy - Belleza.jpg

Ne Me Quitte Pas

Choreographed by: Belleza

Pronouns: she/her

Performed by: Alekzeta Cantu & Belleza

Music: Ne Me Quitte Pas Performed by Nina Simone


Recently graduated from Southern Methodist University, Belleza has a BFA in Dance Performance and a BS in Applied Physiology and Health Management. In her time at SMU she performed major works by Carter Alexander, Martha Graham, Matthew Neenan, Zach Law Ingram, Brandi Coleman, Michele Gibson, and Kimberly Cooper. In the spring of 2021, Belleza founded Finding Compassion, a virtual choreography festival, with her business partner Shelby Green. Belleza now resides in New York, NY where she is training with the Limón Dance Company and performing as a company artist with MODArts Dance Collective. You can read more at or @bellezamitch


Piece Description of Ne Me Quitte Pas

Ne Me Quitte Pas follows two women in their stories as victims of domestic abuse and the camaraderie found between women that lifts us back up and encourages us to break silence. The dance opens to show their individual stories where the women come together to demonstrate their mutual support. In a place where shame, guilt, anger, and sadness is felt, they show each other how strong they really are and the piece ends in a moment of reflection and slight peace in which they always know they have each other to receive support from when speaking up.



Choreographed & Performed by: Leah Tubbs

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Music: Try a Little Tenderness, Otis Redding


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. 


Instagram: @modarts_dance    

Facebook: MODArts Dance Collective


Piece Description of Moments

This solo work is inspired by the below quote:


“But many of us seek community solely to escape the fear of being alone. Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.” – bell hooks, an American author, theorist, educator, and social critic

Gratitude and Thanks

MADC would like to thank our 2023 donors: Dr. & Mrs. Amamoo, Sharon Banks, William-Michael Cooper, Sherema Fleming, Malaika Holder, Rev. & Mrs. Lee, Karen & Brian Lowy, Tanya Patton, Adriana Ray, Nathaniel Rutledge, Brittany Wilson, & Harriette Smiley. We are grateful to have received funding this year from IABD COHI | MOVE Collective Cohort (2021-24), West Harlem Development Corporation (WHDC), Lower Manhattan Cultural Center (LMCC) Creative Engagement Grant, & 2022/23 The Performance Project @ University Settlement Artist-in-Residence. We are thankful to be receiving subsidized studio rates as a company-in-residence at Hi-ARTS. Thank you to our cultural partner, Go Hard Dance Studio, for sharing their space and for being an agent of change in Harlem through providing accessible dance training to budding artists ages 3 to adults.


Please save the date for this month's Giving Tuesday on Tuesday, November 28. MADC is looking to raise $3,000 to go towards the production costs of our March 2024 Collective Thread Dance Festival that includes teaching artists’ stipends ($1,000) to facilitate the free residency program and middle & high school student sponsorship to view one of the evening concerts on Friday, March 22 & Saturday, March 23 ($2,000). Please consider making a contribution to MODArts Dance Collective (MADC). Any help is always greatly appreciated. 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 here.

bottom of page