2020 Program Topic:
Wednesday November 11
All periods of change require a collective leap of imagination. In recent years, the Trump administration and racist Right have enflamed culture wars to advance white supremacist rule and racist violence. But at the same time, artists, athletes, culture-bearers, cultural organizers, and narrative strategists have moved millions to embrace radical racial justice narratives and ideas. Black and Indigenous people and other people of color working in the culture expand our desire for racial justice and sense of possibility. How are people innovating and advancing racial justice narratives? How do we think about the cultural battleground now in this time of uprisings? Race Forward is proud to present this plenary of leading cultural organizers, thinkers, and influencers.
The dominating narrative highlights figment deficits of our bodily autonomy, thriving community, and collective solidarity. The personal and collective freedom of our bodies and communities, and the availability of resources to further that freedom, is notably tied to patterns of racial injustices. As BIPOC navigate interpersonal and systemic oppressions related to racism, misogynoir, erasure and gentrification hesitancy builds in our bodies and communities to be audacious, vocal, and visible in our dissent and collective edification. We uplift that BIPOC bodies, communities and historically occupied land, has, must, and can interdependently craft the components of our revolution by releasing what seeks to harm us and resourcing that which is our medicine.
The archetype of synergetic somatics is as rhythmic and collective as a Saturday morning episode of "Soul Train"; we use rhythm to group, strategize, unify, and move regardless of the white supremacist gaze and norm. Using simple elements of physical movement, rhythm, and sound participants will co-conspire to identify where and how the greatest wounds are collectively experienced. Participants will be supported in embodying the pathways to explicitly name and curate strategies aligned with the movement building concepts of medicine, resourcing, and resonance for BIPOC liberation. While rotating through Medicine, Resourcing, and Resonance stations participants will co-design and report their remedy to our collective wounds by responding to three pre-determined prompts. At the conclusion of the session all program participants will have embodied replicable and adaptable components of the synergetic somatic design to recreate in their own movement building practices.
Thursday November 12
How do we create art with our students that is culturally relevant, joyful, celebrates their identities, and encourages rigorous learning through an equity lens? Through an interactive, inquiry-based format, participants will engage in an exploration of what culturally responsive and equitable pedagogy can look like for arts organizations. We’ll share some of our practices at National Dance Institute (NDI) around building an equitable classroom culture while creating evocative dance narratives in ways that both honor those whose stories we're telling and ensure cultural relevance for our students. NDI runs programs in elementary schools across NYC, programs for children with disabilities and international programs in China and Lebanon. We will share some of our learnings from working with these diverse communities and how we set up our classrooms so that students of all races, genders, abilities, and other identities feel seen and celebrated. After leading you in a sample NDI dance class for all bodies and abilities, we will discuss how we connect the dance narratives we tell to our students’ lives. Through small group work we will have an opportunity to design mini lessons around a theme, bringing in some of the tools practiced in this workshop and brainstorming ways to create culturally relevant and responsible connections for our students.