top of page

Saturday, November 4, 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?

87DE41A0-4513-4A3E-9075-B9DEA148B9AC - Mario M.jpg

I Am

Choreographed & Performed by: Mario Matias

Pronouns: he/they

Spoken Word: I Am - By Mario Matias


Based in the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations (Vancouver, Canada), Mario Matias is a Queer, Filipino-Indigenous (Igorot), choreographer, movement artist, and dance educator. He has trained in a wide array of styles such as Hip-Hop, Punking, Afro and Commercial Choreography. He has traveled to many parts of North America for dance training, and he has also lived in Australia and New Zealand to further his dance education. 


Instagram: @ibaloi.wanderer


Piece Description of I Am

'I Am' is a piece about deconstructing the shame created around intersecting identities. It is about reclaiming the beauty and joy found in identity.

IMG_0205 - Bella Boné.JPG


Choreographed & Performed by: Bella Boné

Pronouns: she/her

Music: F.U.B.U. by Solange, The-Dream, BJ The Chicago Kid 

Vocals: Interlude - For Us By Us by Solange


Upstate NY (Syracuse) native now Memphis, TN resident Bella Boné is consistently inspired to represent the influential style of hip-hop while honoring her contemporary upbringing. Bella's academic undergraduate and professional work experiences in Colorado as a model, dance educator, and respective Teaching Artist with Cleo Parker Robinson Dance have accumulated to influence Bella's personalized movement style . Her intentions as a creative choreographer are to meaningfully represent Black expressive movement from a place of truthful ease and situate movement as a means to wellness in her community. 

Instagram and TikTok: @badtothebellabone


Piece Description of Seated

Seated is a solo piece adapted from a group dance Bella previously choreographed in 2022. The reiterated work intends to speak to the ideas of finding community and solidarity within the self.

Keith Thompson - photo by Whitney Browne - Brendan McCall.jpg

The Negro Mother

Choreographed by: Keith A. Thompson in collaboration with Nicole McClam

Performed by: Nicole McClam

Pronouns: he/him/his; she/ her/ hers

Music: Max Richter

Poem: “The Negro Mother” by Langston Hughes

Production and Editing by: Dan DuPraw


Keith A. Thompson (director & choreographer) is a multifaceted contemporary dance artist currently serving as Assistant Director of the Dance program and Associate Professor within the School for Music, Dance, and Theatre at Arizona State University, as well as their Center for the Study of Race and Democracy´s inaugural faculty fellow resident artist. He danced internationally for the Trisha Brown Company (1992-2001), including serving as her Rehearsal Assistant (1998-2001); has performed with Bebe Miller Company; and is frequent performer, choreographer, and rehearsal director with Liz Lerman. As a teacher, he has taught master classes and workshops for Sasha Waltz & Dancers (Berlin), Tanzwerkstatt Europa Festival (Munich), the TsEKh Summer Dance School (Moscow), the International Dance Festival (Kyoto, Sapporo, Tokyo Japan), and the Korea Dance Festival (Seoul), as well as been on the faculty at the Florida Dance Festival, the American Dance Festival, served on the artistic panel for DTW’s Fresh Tracks (New York), as an adjudicator for the American College Dance Festival Association, and more. Since 2006, he has served as Artistic Director of danceTactics performance group, where his choreography has been featured at Harvard University, Montpellier International Dance Festival, Dance Theater Workshop Guest Artist Series 2006 (New York, NY); Dance Boom Festival at the Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, Dixon Place NYC, the 2013 DanceNOW Joe’s Pub New York Festival, the 2011 Annual Aging in America Conference, 2012 2nd Annual Feature Length Independent Choreography Festival in Brooklyn NY, Jersey Moves Festival at NJPAC in Newark NJ, Triskelion Art Center’s Split Bill Series in Brooklyn, the Edinburgh International Fringe Festival and the Hokusai International Dance and Theater Festival in Tokyo, Japan, BAM Fisher Hall Brooklyn NY, recipient of 2017 New Jersey State Council on the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship Award in Choreography. 


X: @dancetactics 

Instagram: @dancetactics 

Facebook: (dancetactics)


Film Description of The Negro Mother

Inspired by the Langston Hughes poem of the same name, “The Negro Mother” is a collaboration between performer Nicole McClam and choreographer Keith A. Thompson. The piece is about the angst of Black women, and in particular Black mothers, whose courage and strength has endured for generations. 

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.

IMG_6050 - LoveQuest !.jpeg

OTW: To Freedom

Choreographed by: Jurne Smith

Pronouns by: she/her

Performed by: Malanah Hobgood

Music: OTW : To Freedom by Del Ward and Caleb Alexander 


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. 

Instagram: @jurnesmith_


Film Description of OTW: To Freedom

OTW: To Freedom opens up a conversation concerning the subject of code switching within the context of forced assimilation within the African American community specifically, and the ways in which it has affected our mental health. Learning from a young age that to adapt or hide the essence of yourself for the sake of social safety and acceptance is a unique skill that offers debilitating long term consequences. This film uses the experiences of a dancer, whose job is to replicate and perform in a style and movement pattern that is foreign to her with a high level of success and accuracy, to mirror the experience and expectation put on African Americans where we are not represented equally to assimilate and perform towards an often unrealistic standard.

Reba Browne Headshot - Reba Browne Dance Company.png

Dhol Baje

Choreographed by: Reba Browne

Pronouns: she/her

Performed by: Ankita Ray, Indira Totaram, Tara Nanda, and Veena Vijayakumar

Song Medley: Dholi Taro (Hum dil de chuke sanam), Dholida (Love Yatri), Odhani (Made in China), Ghoomar (Padmaavat)


Reba Browne is the founder and artistic director of RBDC, with a passion for dance and all things art. She has trained under the tutelage of renowned choreographers at The Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, New Delhi and Broadway Dance Center in NYC; choreographed and performed at exciting venues nationally and internationally, and has shared her art as a dance educator across continents. Together with a group of exceptional artists, Reba brings her creative vision to RBDC, seamlessly blending traditional Indian dance styles with contemporary motifs. The repertoire creates a spellbinding journey through the beauty and diversity of India’s rich cultural heritage. 




Piece Description of Dhol Baje

"Dhol Baje" - a vibrant and energetic celebration transports you to the colorful world of Indian festivities. This lively piece weaves a narrative through graceful mudras and energetic footwork, igniting a contagious energy that invites one and all, to dance along. With its infectious Bollywood music and vibrant movements, "Dhol Baje" is a celebration of Indian culture through dance.

Bennett Jackie  - Jackie Bennett.JPG

Creating Space (2nd rendition)

Choreographed & Performed by: Jackie Bennett

Pronouns: she/her

Music: Speaking-Assata Shakur, Dr. Thema Bryant, Jackie Bennett, June Jordan. Humming "I don't feel no ways tired"- Sharon McDonald, Tawan Fields, Towanda Witherspoon

Vocals: What do I ask of this Flesh - Jackie Bennett


Jackie Bennett is an independent dance artist currently based in Durham, North Carolina. She recently earned her MFA in Dance and holds an MSW. She has had the privilege of dancing with various dance artists local to Durham, NC such as Kristin Taylor Duncan, Jasmine Powell, and Raina Lucas. She has shared her own work at various dance festivals. This is Jackie's second time sharing her work at the Move to Change Dance Festival. She desires to continue to create work that inspires and invites those often left in the margins to feel seen and celebrated. 

Instagram: @junedncr28 

Facebook: Jackie Bennett


Piece Description of Creating Space (2nd rendition)

This work was created through a focus on the additional labor of Black women and the importance and possibility of healing. It centers the quotes "Nobody is going to teach you your true history, teach you your true heroes, if they know that that knowledge will help set you free." and "It is our duty to win. We must love each other and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains."- Assata Shakur. 

robin 4_ - Robin Gee.JPG

What's Bred In the Blood and Bone

Choreographed by: Robin Gee

Pronouns: she/her

Performed by: Clarice Young, Maurice Watson, & Eli Motley

Music: Original Composition by Atiba Rorie


Special thanks to She Can We Can Grant for funding What's Bred In the Blood and Bone.


Robin Gee holds an MFA in Contemporary Dance Choreography and Performance from Sarah Lawrence College and specializes in African, Caribbean, and Modern dance techniques. She is a Professor of Dance at UNC Greensboro where she teaches African and Modern dance and has developed the school's Screendance curriculum. Ms Gee performed with several dance companies in NY including Les Ballet Bagata directed by Yousouff Koumbassa, former principal dancer with Ballets Africains de Guinea, and Marie Basse Wiles’ Maimouna Keita Dance Company with whom she toured the US and Africa. Her choreographic works have appeared in the North Carolina Dance Festival, Dumbo Arts, Philadelphia Fringe Festival, as well as resident works mounted on various colleges and universities around the world. She is the recipient of the West African Research Association's Postdoctoral Fellowship in African Research and the Central Piedmont Artist's Hub Grant for her work on dance and music in West Africa. Most recently she is the recipient of the American Association of University Women's Post Doctoral Research Award for her work on The Mande Legacy, a dance documentation project for which spent six months in Guinea, the NC Choreographers Fellowship and the Fulbright Award for her Research in Burkina Faso and the Fulbright Specialist Grant for her work in Cabo Verde, West Africa. 


She is also the founder and Director of the Greensboro Dance Film Festival, a boutique dance film festival screening films from around the world. Ms. Gee’s own dance films have currently screened in 27 film festivals worldwide. Her 2 latest films are in post-production.


FIlm Description of What’s Bred In the Blood and Bone

Inspired by the work of Ida Bell Wells, whose writing documented the episodic period of lynching’s in the 1890’s, What’s Bred in the Blood and Bone is a study of space and place, girded by the collective experiences of brown bodies. “Blood” explores “blood memory” as body memory and the ways in which our collective experiences bind and fortify us as African Americans.

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.


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