Dance has the power to bring people together. The very act of breathing is a dance, and like breathing
together, dancing together can reveal a profound commonality between people - even those who are hard to reach,
even those who seem to be adversaries.
Our movement and storytelling workshops enable participants to see themselves in others, and others to see themselves in them, while at the same time seeing the differences that make them unique. A strong connection is forged between participants as they see that similar movement looks strikingly different and yet recognizable across a range of bodies. This connection is a basic building block of healthy communities. Our workshops make this connection apparent and accessible.
Over the past 15 years, Risa Jaroslow has developed techniques that engage non-dancers in a wide range of communities, from senior adults to pre-teens to people with disabilities to survivors of domestic violence.
Jaroslow bases her exercises on ideas like the origin of a person's name, their favorite recipe, or a place where they have felt at peace. Movement is derived from simple tasks that anyone can do, like making a shape around another's body or leading another person on a circuitous path.
Creating art from the material of our own lives is a revealing experience. When participants use dance as a means of self-expression and as a way to share their experiences, they see themselves and others in new ways, take leadership roles, set and achieve goals, educate others, and find a new appreciation of their own voices and stories.
Workshops meet for 1-2 hours per session, for 1-12 sessions, and conclude with a presentation by the participants for others in their community.
Past partners have included the New York Society for the Deaf, the Lower East Side Girls Club, Voices of Women, Dwa Fanm, Project Home, the Initiative for Women with Disabilities, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center, and University Heights High School.