Thursday, May 04, 2017

Home in the Time of Brooklyn Participants

Ashley Brockington

Ashley Brockington

Ashley Brockington creates short form performance pieces centered around her experience as a black woman in the USA.  She created a cycle of plays called Black Girl Ugly that grappled with the issue of self-esteem.  She is currently working on a new piece thanks to the BAX Space Grant Program.  Follow Ashley on Twitter and Instagram at nappysnatch and on Facebook at Ashley D Brockington.

Brother(hood) Dance!

Brother(hood) Dance!

Brother(hood) Dance! is an interdisciplinary duo that seeks to inform its audiences on the socio-political and environmental injustices from a global perspective, bringing clarity to the same-gender-loving African-American experience in the 21st century. Brother(hood) Dance! was formed in April 2014 by Orlando Zane Hunter, Jr. and Ricarrdo Valentine.  Follow Brother(hood) Dance! on Facebook at Brotherhood Dance and on Instagram at Bhood.Dance.

Christopher Burris

Christopher Burris

Christopher Burris is an artist/educator. He’s taught for NYFA, is currently an adjunct professor at Pace University, and a trainer with Ovation Communications. Christopher directed THE BROTHERS SIZE for Luna Stage, and readings/workshops for The New Group, Labyrinth, EST, National Black Theater, and The New Black Fest among many others. AEA. SDC Associate. Follow Christopher on Twitter and Tumblr at misterburris.

Aisha Cousins

Aisha Cousins

Aisha Cousins writes performance art scores (flexible, do-it-yourself instructions for live art projects) that engage black audiences in exploring their contrasting histories and aesthetics (ideas of beauty), while processing their shared sociological shifts (changes in society). Her work has been performed on the streets of historically black neighborhoods from BedStuy to Brixton, as well as with institutions such as Weeksville Heritage Center, Project Row Houses, MoCADA, MoMA PS1, and Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program.  Follow Aisha on Twitter at aishacousins.

Melanie Greene

Melanie Greene

Melanie Greene is a movement artist swimming in the sea of the minority. She has shared work throughout NYC and was a 2015/16 New York Live Arts Fresh Tracks artist, 2015 Gibney Dance boo-koo Space Grant recipient, and 2016 Actors Fund Summer Push Grant recipient.  Follow Melanie on the web at, on Twitter at MethodsDance, on Instagram at laniereene, and on Facebook at

Audrey Elaine Hailes

Audrey Elaine Hailes

Audrey Elaine Hailes is a dance-theatre artist raised in Washington DC. Committed to public performance as a necessary tool for wellness and revolution, she received a BFA in Experimental Theatre from NYU and is a 2013 Laundromat Create Change Fellow. Audrey is a teaching artist, performer with the Dance Cartel and co-host of the women-run radio show Hip Hop and Her Family. Her work was recently commissioned by Gibney Dance and Dance Theatre Etc.

remi harris

remi harris

remi harris is a multi-media dance and performance artist. She is currently a company member of Dance Cat-alyst and Racoco/Rx. She works on her own creative projects under her choreographic venture dancesbyremi, is the Co-Director of Brooklyn Studios for Dance, teaches in the tri-state area, and advocates for dance as a member of several dance organizations. Follow remi on the web at

Chanon Judson

Chanon Judson

Chanon Judson began her journey with Urban Bush Women in 2001, serving as company member, rehearsal director, Director for UBW2 and now deepens her practice as the Associate Artistic Director and BOLD Coordinator (Builders Organizers and Leaders through Dance).
Chanon has been passionately engaged in arts education, serving as Site Director for Ailey Camp and founder of Preschool Rock! And Other Cool Stuff.

Glenda Lezeau

Glenda Lezeau

Glenda Lezeau. I started playing piano at the tender age of 3. I have two missions: I want to push a movement of inspirational music because I truly believe that music is powerful enough to affect us subconsciously and impact social justice movements. I also want to promote Haitian music to people outside of Haiti to shed a different light on the beautiful culture of the country my family is from.

Johari Mayfield

Johari Mayfield

Johari Mayfield is an accomplished dancer, choreographer, movement specialist, and ACE certified personal trainer. As a choreographer, her work has been presented at several different venues in NYC and abroad. Johari’s outreach initiatives include empowering survivors of sexual exploitation and female survivors of domestic violence in self-care and life-management.

Monica O. Montgomery

Monica O. Montgomery

Monica O. Montgomery is an international speaker, museum director and cultural consultant, curating media and museums to be in service to society. She recently keynoted TedX Charlottesville and is a winner of the 2016 Arts Entrepreneurship Award from Fractured Atlas. She leads, Museum Hue in building cultural equity and diverse representation for people of color in art, culture, and creative economy; and is the founding director of Museum of Impact the world’s first mobile social justice museum, inspiring action at the intersection of art, activism, self and society.  Follow Monica on Twitter and Instagram at monica_muses.

Maxine Montilus

Maxine Montilus

Maxine Montilus is a Brooklyn-born Haitian-American dancer, choreographer and educator.  She has performed with Ase Dance Theatre Collective, Balasole Dance Company, KaNu Dance Theater and Tamara LaDonna Moving Spirits. Maxine also performed with SpeakDance Collective in the Festival of Art and Folklore in Santiago de Cuba in April 2016, and is a member of Dance Caribbean COLLECTIVE.  Follow Maxine on the web at and on Twitter at MaxineMontilus. 


I’m Nehemoyia, a Brooklyn based performance artist. My main concern is that Black Spirituality matters in addition to the physical life, which should not need a disclaimer. But in this country, and within this paradigm, does. My purpose is to collect the bones. To look to African indigenous knowledge systems for radical technologies pushing us toward greater consciousness, decolonized spirituality, and more equitable systems. My mission is to reevaluate the importance and relevance of this knowledge to our survival.  Follow Nehemoyia on Instagram and Twitter at Nehemoyia.

Najee Omar

Najee Omar

Najee Omar is a Brooklyn-based writer, performance artist, and educator using poetry to engage communities. A Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop fellow, his readings and features include Russell Simmons’ All Def Poetry, BAM, and colleges across the United States. Najee has a degree in Trolling from the University of Black Twitter.  Follow Najee on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at najeeomar.

Brian Polite

Brian Polite

Brian Polite has appeared on stages as a poet and dancer at venues such as SOB’s, The Atrium at Lincoln Center, BAM Cafe, Joe’s Pub, Irving Plaza, Symphony Space, and Aaron Davis Hall. Brian is currently a member of Ase Dance Theatre Collective, co-founder of Afro Mosaic Soul Dance Collective, and one third of the Rhythm Conclave.

Anthony Wash Rosado

Anthony Wash Rosado

As an AfroBoricua multidisciplinary artist and educator Anthony Wash Rosado is here to ensure resource for marginalized artists, platforms for inter-community conflict resolution, and be an example of a strong Revolutionary Queer man of Taino and African descent for youth who need one.

Kendra Ross

Kendra Ross

Kendra Ross is a dancer, teaching artist, and community worker from Detroit, MI who now lives in Bedford-Stuyvesant. As a performer, Kendra has traveled the world dancing for Urban Bush Women, DJ Kid Koala, MBDance, Monstah Black, and Ase Dance Theater Collective. Kendra is also the Founder/Director of a BedStuy-based art platform called STooPS.

Tunu Thom

Tunu Thom

Tunu Thom is an actor, dance maker, bead designer, writer and producer. A founding member of Ifetayo Youth Ensemble, Tunu has taught and performed both nationally and internationally as an independent artist. She is the founder/CEO of Artist Mommy Life, a company that builds tandem systems for art development and family structures.  Follow Tunu on the web at

Candace Thompson

Candace Thompson

Candace Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago, is a dancer/choreographer/cultural producer fluent in several forms including Modern, Contemporary, Caribbean, Afro -Diaspora, and specialises in Soca Dance. Candace is the founder of Dance Caribbean COLLECTIVE, an initiative to create space for Caribbean dance work in NYC and produces her own work, ContempoCaribe. Follow Candace on the web at and

Katherine Toukhy

Katherine Toukhy

Katherine Toukhy is a visual artist creatively interpreting personal political experiences at the intersections of Arab, African, and American identities in the context of post 9/11. She is a commissioned artist with The Laundromat Project and a Brooklyn Arts Council grant recipient and hails from the Egyptian Coptic diaspora in the U.S.  Follow Katherine on Facebook at Katherine Toukhy and on Instagram at kathoray.

Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste

Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste

Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste is a Bessie-nominated composer, designer and performer, living and working in Brooklyn, NY.  His work, through the lens of precarious labor, complicates notions of industry, identity, and environment and the implications of the intersections of such phenomena.  He is a founding member of performance collective, Wildcat!, and frequently collaborates with performers and fine artists, often under the alias CROWNS.  Follow Jeremy on Instagram at crovvns and on Facebook at Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste.

Kirya Traber

Kirya Traber

Kirya Traber is an actress, playwright, and cultural worker. She is currently an Artist in Residence at Lincoln Center Education, and is on faculty at the School of Drama at the New School. Kirya writes and performs for the stage, and facilitates collaborative art making in local communities, and within the juvenile justice system. Follow Kirya on the web at, on Instagram at KiryaT, on Facebook at KiryaTraber and Twitter at kiryatraber.

Ni’Ja Whitson

Ni’Ja Whitson

An award-winning interdisciplinary artist, performer and writer, Ni’Ja Whitson (MFA), has been referred to as “majestic” and “powerful” by the New York Times.  Recent awards include a Hedgebrook residency, LMCC Process Space Residency, Bogliasco Fellowship, Brooklyn Arts Exchange Artist Residency, two-time Creative Capital “On Our Radar” award including being in its inaugural group. Whitson is founder/artistic director of The NWA Project.

Nia Ostrow Witherspoon

Nia Ostrow Witherspoon

Nia Ostrow Witherspoon (Smith BA/Stanford PhD) is a multidisciplinary artist investigating the metaphysics of black liberation, gender/sexuality, and Afro-indigenous religion. Working primarily in the mediums of theatre/performance, vocal and sound composition, and creative scholarship, Witherspoon’s work has traveled both nationally and internationally to venues ranging from theatres and universities to activist organizations and non-profits.

DeeArah Wright

DeeArah Wright

DeeArah Wright is an intuitive explorer, mama, and mover.  Her lifework reflects passion for connection, self-determination, and collaborative greatness. DeeArah has activated this passion through diverse endeavors, such as performing arts, education, and community engagement.  Her current plate of adventures include writing, cooperative business, and she is Co-Director at JACK.  Follow DeeArah on Twitter at DeeArah, on Instagram at deearahw, and on Facebook at DeeArah Wright.

Photo Credits:  Melanie Green by Larry Rosalez; Kirya Traber by Arianne Benford.
Posted by 651 ARTS on 05/04 at 11:52 PM

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Home in the Time of Brooklyn

Brooklyn artists—we welcome you to our inquiry driven, intentionally designed community think-tank beginning this October: Home in the Time of Brooklyn!

Facilitated by 651 ARTS, in partnership with Okwui Okpokwasili and Maria Bauman, and centering on the voices of artists ages 25-40, this think-tank will build on the discoveries of our 2014-2015 think-tank Love in the Time of Brooklyn, and interrogate the question: How do we collectively cultivate a home for Brooklyn-made artists of African descent?

As a cultural mecca, Brooklyn is an ever evolving city, and so are our artistic practices and the communities that support our work. Using this as a framework, we will come together during the think-tank to examine how to collectively nurture our needs and desires for an artistic haven in Brooklyn.

From October to May, Brooklyn-based artists of African descent will join us for four bi-monthly Home in the Time of Brooklyn think-tank gatherings that will culminate in a Festival of Ideas in May 2017, to which we will invite the broader Brooklyn cultural community.  This public engagement will be self-determined by workshop participants based on the goals, reflections and strategies generated by the group.

We ask that participants commit to attending all four think-tank sessions and participating in the Festival of Ideas. We also invite participants to join us for three community connection events curated by local organizations to support the deepening of our roots in the Brooklyn cultural community.  Over the course of this process, we will share our creative work with one another and the broader 651 ARTS community during our think-tank sessions and through various online channels. We will also discuss additional resource sharing opportunities to compensate participants for their contribution to this process.

Schedule of Events

Dates are subject to change. Confirmed participants will be notified of the final schedule, including locations during the October 19 Think-Tank Session. All locations will be in Brooklyn.

  • Think-Tank Session 1: Wednesday, October 19, 2016 | 6:00-8:30pm Actor’s Fund Art Center, 160 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201
  • Community Connection (optional): November 2016
  • Think-Tank Session 2: Saturday, December 17 | 1:00-3:00pm - BRIC, 647 Fulton St, Brooklyn, NY 11217
  • Community Connection (optional): January 2017
  • Think-Tank Session 3: Sunday, February 26, 2017 | 1:00-3:00pm - South Oxford Space, The Great Room, 138 S Oxford St, Brooklyn, NY 11217
  • Community Connection (optional): March 2017
  • Think-Tank Session 4: Saturday, April 15, 2017 | 1:00-3:00pm
  • Festival of Ideas: Saturday, May 6, 2017 | 1:00-3:00pm - JACK, 505 1/2 Waverly Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11238

About the Facilitators: Okwui Okpokwasili

Okwui Okpokwasili is a New York-based writer, performer and choreographer. In partnership with collaborator Peter Born, Okpokwasili creates multidisciplinary projects. Their first New York production, Pent-Up: A Revenge Dance premiered at Performance Space 122 and received a 2010 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for Outstanding Production; an immersive installation version was featured in the 2008 Prelude Festival. Their second collaboration, Bronx Gothic, won a 2014 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for Outstanding Production and continues to tour nationally and internationally. In June of 2014, they presented an installation entitled Bronx Gothic: The Oval as part of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s River to River Festival.  Their current project in development is Poor People’s TV Room, an early iteration of which was presented by Lincoln Center in the David Rubinstein Atrium in June 2014.

As a performer, Okpokwasili frequently collaborates with award-winning director Ralph Lemon, including How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere?; Come home Charley Patton (for which she also won a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award) and, most recently, Scaffold Room. She has appeared as an actor in many productions, including Nora Chipaumire’s Miriam; Julie Taymor’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Kristin Marting’s Sounding; Young Jean Lee’s LEAR; Richard Foreman’s Maria del Bosco; Richard Maxwell’s Cowboys and Indians; and Joan Dark (The Goodman Theater/The Linz European Capital of Culture). Film credits include Malorie’s Final Score, Knut Åsdam’s Abyss, The Interpreter, The Hoax and I Am Legend.

Okpokwasili‘s residencies and awards include The French American Cultural Exchange (2006-2007); Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography Choreographic Fellowship (2012); Baryshnikov Arts Center Artist-in-Residence (2013), New York Live Arts Studio Series (2013); Under Construction at the Park Avenue Armory (2013); New York Foundation for the Arts’ Fellowship in Choreography (2013); Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Extended Life Program (2014-15); The Foundation for Contemporary Arts’ artist grant in dance (2014), BRIClab (2015), Columbia University (2015) and the Rauschenberg Residency (2015).

Maria Bauman

Maria Bauman is a dance artist and community organizer. Her choreography for her company MBDance is based on her sense of physical and emotional power, desire for equity, and fascination with intimacy. Bauman brings the same tenets to organizing to undo racism in the arts and beyond with ACRE (Artists Co-creating Real Equity), the body she co-founded with Sarita Covington and Nathan Trice. Her MBDance work has been showcased across the country and in Singapore. She was Associate Artistic Director of Urban Bush Women and danced with that company for many years, and has also danced with Paloma McGregor, jillsigman/thinkdance, Nia Love and many others. Currently Bauman is creating a new work titled dying and dying and dying. For more information go here.

Bauman is also an active facilitator and teacher, planning and implementing arts-based community engagement projects around the country. Based on extensive training in areas including Brain-Compatible Dance Education and Intentional Dialogue Facilitation, she has created curricula for use in NYC transition high schools, with people on parole in Brooklyn, for adult dancers seeking to build community across difference in Memphis, and with college students in Henan, China.

Posted by 651 ARTS on 09/28 at 11:30 AM

Friday, January 15, 2016

New Media & Arts Fellowship

651 ARTS is proud to announce the New Media & Arts Fellowship (NMAF) program is back!  NMAF 2018 will be led by Sydnie L. Mosley and we are delighted to partner with St. Joseph High School, where we will work with enthusiastic sophomores, juniors, and seniors interested in arts and culture. We are also excited to partner with BOMB Magazine, MoCADA, and Made in Brownsville.

This year’s students will participate in field trips to Brooklyn and Manhattan cultural institutions to experience theater, music, visual art, dance and more. In our weekly workshops, students will learn to critically dialogue and write about their experiences and use technology, media, and design projects to express their thoughts. All workshops will be held at St. Joseph High School — 80 Willoughby Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201 — on Wednesdays from 4:00-6:00pm.

Lead funding for the New Media & Arts Fellowship is provided by the Pinkerton Foundation, Con Edison, and the New York Department of Cultural Affairs.

Follow the Fellows

Be sure to follow the Fellows on social media and their blog. The fellows will create and share content throughout the semester with their thoughts on art and culture in Brooklyn!

Tag - #NMAF18
Facebook – NMAF
Twitter – @NMAFbklyn
Instagram - @NMAFbk
Tumblr –

And check out the 2017 NMAF YouTube Series, The Close Up, produced by last season’s phenomenal fellows.

Posted by 651 ARTS on 01/15 at 01:00 AM

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Civil Rights Now Response Received

Your answer has been received!  You can see what other people are saying by following 651 ARTS on Twitter or Facebook.  You can also search for the Twitter hashtag #MVMT63.

Posted by Robert W. Henderson, Jr. on 03/13 at 05:25 PM

Thursday, April 19, 2012

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Friday, October 08, 2010

Artists On Stage

Germaine Acogny is Senegalese and French in origin and founded her first dance studio in Dakar in 1968. Thanks to the influence of the body movements she inherited from her grandmother, a Yoruba priest, and to her study of traditional African and Occidental dances (classic and modern), Acogny has given birth to her own dancing technique. Between 1977 and 1982 she was director of Mudra Afrique (Dakar), created by Maurice Béjart and the president L.S. Senghor. Once Mudra Afrique closed, she moved to Brussels to work with Maurice Béjart’s company and organized international African dance workshops, which had great success among the European audience. She repeated this experience later in Africa. In 1980, she wrote a book titled African Dance, which has been translated into three languages. In 1995, she decided to go back to Senegal, with the aim of creating an International Centre for Traditional and Contemporary African Dances. The center would serve as a meeting point for dancers coming from Africa and from all over the world, and a place of education that would guide dancers towards a contemporary african dance. Acogny’s L’Ecole des Sables has become a cradle where young dancers benefit from professional training, are given a solid foundation in their lives as artists, with a philosophy of openness towards international dance. In 2008, Acogny collaborated with Jawole Zollar on L’ecailles de la Memoire, which was performed by Urban Bush Women and Compagnie Jant-Bi. Acogny dances, choreographs and teaches all over the world, and has become a true emissary of African dance and culture.

Carmen de Lavallade first appeared in New York City with the Lester Horton Dance Theater and subsequently made her Broadway debut with Alvin Ailey in “House of Flowers” (1954). She has appeared in a number of films, including “Carmen Jones;” “Odds Against Tomorrow” with Harry Belafonte; Adam Sandler’s “Big Daddy;” and John Sayles’s “Lone Star.” As a dancer, she had ballets created for her by Lester Horton, Geoffrey Holder, Alvin Ailey, Glen Tetley and Agnes de Mille. She was principle dancer with the Metropolitan Opera in “Aida” and “Samson and Delilah,” a guest artist with the American Ballet Theatre, and the production of John Butler’s “Carmina Burana” at the New York City Center Opera. At Yale, she taught movement for actors and became a member of the Yale Repertory Company and the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard. She has choreographed for the Dance Theatre of Harlem, Philadanco, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and the productions of “Porgy and Bess” and “Die Meistersinger” at the Metropolitan Opera.  Carmen received the Dance Magazine Award in 1964, an honorary doctorate of Fine Arts from the Juilliard School, the Duke Ellington Fellowship Award, and the Dance USA Award in 2010. Presently she is a founding member of Paradigm, a repertory concert company for dancers over fifty.

Dianne McIntyre, originally from Cleveland, OH, is known for her choreographic works in concert dance and theatre.  Her mentors include Elaine Gibb, Virginia Dryansky, dance faculty of The Ohio State University and Gus Solomons Jr.  Her company, Sounds in Motion, toured internationally. She ran a popular dance studio/school, under the same name, in Harlem in the 1970s and 80s.  McIntyre’s choreography has been performed by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ailey II, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, Philadanco, Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dancing Wheels, Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theatre, and numerous college ensembles. She has taught at American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival and Jacobs Pillow.  She has also choreographed for Broadway, London’s West End and over 20 regional US theatres.  McIntyre’s “dance-driven dramas”, developed from her interviews and historical research, have been produced at Theater of the First Amendment, Cleveland Play House and Baltimore Center Stage and include I Could Stop on a Dime and Get Ten Cents Change, Open the Door, Virginia!, and Peaches, Plums and Pontifications.  Composer Olu Dara is a longtime collaborator in her tradition of work with live music – often jazz.  Her film/television credits:  Beloved, Langston Hughes: The Dream Keeper, for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf and Miss Evers Boys (Emmy nomination). Awards include:  John S. Guggenheim Fellowship, three Bessies (NY Dance and Performance Award), Helen Hayes Award (DC Theatre), Cleveland Arts Prize, ADF Balasarawati/Joy Ann Dewey Beinecke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching, two AUDELCOs (NY Black Theatre), Honorary Doctor of Fine Art from SUNY Purchase, Creative Workforce Fellowship through Ohio’s Cuyahoga County Art and Culture and numerous grants and commissions. New and upcoming:  Why I Had to Dance — a choreopoem by Ntozake Shange, The Best Location a multi-arts work with Oberlin College faculty/artists, Closure Mary Weems’ play for Karamu Theatre, and new dances for Eleone Dance Theatre, Dallas Black Dance Theatre and University of Michigan dancers.

Bebe Miller, a native New Yorker, has been making dances for over twenty-five years, and has created over forty original works for companies here and abroad. Her interest in finding a physical language for the human experience is a connecting thread throughout her work; in order to further this process through group inquiry she formed Bebe Miller Company in 1985. After two decades of national and international touring, the company is now structured as a “virtual company,” with dancers, collaborating artists and designers living in various locations around the U.S. In recent years, she has been investigating a mix of theatrical narrative, performance and media to expand this language, notably in Necessary Beauty, Landing/Place and Three, the award-winning collaborative film created with choreographer Ralph Lemon and filmmaker Isaac Julien.  Collaboration being fundamental to her working process, she has long standing collaborative partnerships with the dancers who share her studio practice as well as composers, designers, visual artists, writers and directors. Bebe Miller has created original works for Boston Ballet, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Philadanco, and Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. She has also received commissions from Phoenix Dance Company in Leeds, England; PATH Dance Company of Johannesburg, RSA; and Sbrit Dance Company, Asmara, Eritrea. Bebe Miller’s choreography has been performed internationally in Europe, the Caribbean and Africa, and nationally in venues ranging from Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Series, Walker Center for the Arts, Wexner Center for the Arts to numerous colleges and universities. She has been honored with four “Bessies” (New York Dance and Performance Awards), a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, an American Choreographer’s Award and Artist Fellowships from the Ohio Arts Council and New York Foundation for the Arts. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Danspace Project, Bearnstow and Dance Theater Workshop. Bebe Miller is a Distinguished Professor in Ohio State University’s College of Arts and Humanities where she has taught since 2000, and received an Honorary Doctorate from Ursinus College in 2009.

Jawole Willa Jo Zollar was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri.  She trained with Joseph Stevenson, a student of the legendary Katherine Dunham, and received a B.A. in dance from the University of Missouri at Kansas City and an M.F.A. in dance from Florida State University.  In 1980 she moved to New York City to study with Dianne McIntyre at Sounds in Motion and founded Urban Bush Women in 1984.  In addition to thirty-three works for UBW, Jawole has created choreography for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Arizona, Philadanco, University of Maryland, University of Florida, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company and others.  Her many positions as a teacher and speaker include Worlds of Thought Resident Scholar at Mankato State University (1993-94), Regents Lecturer in the Departments of Dance and World Arts and Culture at UCLA (1995-96), Visiting Artist at Ohio State University (1996), and the Abramowitz Memorial Lecturer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1998).  She was named Alumna of the Year by University of Missouri (1993) and Florida State University (1997), and awarded an Honorary Doctorate from Columbia College, Chicago (2002).  In 2005 she was cited by The Kennedy Center of Performing Arts as a Master of African American choreography. In 2006 she was recognized with a New York Dance & Performance Award, a “Bessie”, for her choreography of the Pearl Primus-inspired dance, “Walking With Pearl…Southern Diaries.”  Most recently she was named a Guggenheim Fellow and an United States Artists Wynn Fellow, a distinction that carries a cash award of $50,000. Her company was selected by the U.S. Department of State to tour South America in 2010 to inaugurate an international cultural diplomacy program called DanceMotion USA. She is a former board member of Dance/USA, the national dance service organization based in Washington, DC. Zollar has received the Martin Luther King Distinguished Service Award from Florida State University, where she holds a tenured position as the Nancy Smith Fichter Professor in the Department of Dance.  Zollar also directs the annual Urban Bush Women Summer Leadership Institute, an intensive training program in dance and community engagement for artists with leadership potential interested in developing a community focus in their art-making.  The Institute relocated to New Orleans from Brooklyn in 2009 at the request of artists in New Orleans looking for support for their rebuilding process after Hurricane Katrina.


Posted by Aaron Brown on 10/08 at 06:14 AM

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thank You For Joining

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Photo Credits


Support 651 ARTS:  Carmen De Lavallade by Tom Caravaglia
On Stage:  Ronald K. Brown by Rob Rich
Education:  Moving Words by Anna Glass
Africa:  Africa Exchange Program by John Hogg
Artists:  Artist Development Initiative by Matt Velez

On Stage

Page Banner:  Angelique Kidjo by Julie Lemberger
Jimmy “Duck” Holmes by Lou Bopp
Ralph Lemon by Frank Oudeman
Ronald K. Brown by Basil Childers
Sonia Sanchez courtesy of Beacon Press
Somi by Matthew Furman
Hugh Masekela courtesy of Gallo Records (SA)
April Yvette Thompson by Joseph Moran
Lynn Nottage by Susan Johann
Nora Chipaumire (head shot) by Antoine Tempe
Nora Chipaumire (lying down with flowers) by Mkrtich Malkhasyan


Page Banner:  Kenyan children by Anna Glass

Support Us

Page BannerFLY curtain call with Dianne McIntyre, Bebe Miller, Germaine Acogny, Carmen De Lavallade, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar by Antoine Tempe

About Us

Mission Page Banner:  Bebe Miller by Victor Jouvert
History Page Banner:  T-Model Ford by Victor Jouvert
Venue Page Banner:  BAM Harvey Theater (No Credit)
Press Page BannerFagaala by Thomas Dorn
Board of Directors Page Banner:  Germaine Acogny by Antoine Tempe
Collaborators Page BannerIn This Place/Michelle Hurst by Victor Jouvert
Staff Page Banner:  Georgiana Pickett by Staff
Contact Us and Join Our Mailing List Pages Banner:  BlueNefertiti by Victor Jouvert

Posted by Robert W. Henderson, Jr. on 04/16 at 02:54 PM

Thursday, April 15, 2010

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Posted by 651 ARTS on 04/15 at 10:17 PM
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Saturday, March 20, 2010


For General Press Inquiries please contact:
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651 ARTS Press


651 ARTS and MoCADA join forces and announce Depelsha McGruder as new CEO
For press inquiries regarding the joined organization contact Joy Collective - .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Multidisciplinary Performance Together/Far Apart: Love Hustle Highlights Artists in Love and in Process
651 ARTS Launches First Four-City U.S. Tour with Cuban Jazz Musician YISSY & BandAncha
651 ARTS announces Spring Season 2015


651 ARTS announces Fall Season 2014
651 ARTS, in association with The Joyce, present Companhia Urbana de Dança
Live & Outspoken 2014


651 ARTS presents New York premiere of Exit/Exist
The Circle Unbroken is a Hard Bop, Revival” - [PDF]
651 ARTS presents a revival of The Circle Unbroken is a Hard Bop
651 ARTS announces Fall Season 2013


651 ARTS Receives NEA Arts in Media Grant
Special Edition of Live & Outspoken with Blair Underwood and Carmen de Lavallade
World Premiere of Carmen de Lavallade:  My Life in Dance…
651 ARTS Launches New Media & Arts Fellowship


651 ARTS Announces Season 2012
Shay Wafer Appointed Executive Director of 651 ARTS
Live & Outspoken Series 2011


Ronald K. Brown/Evidence:  25 YEARS
FLY:  Five First Ladies of Dance—The National Tour
lions will roar, swans will fly, angels will wrestle heaven, rains will break:  gukurahundi
Live & Outspoken Series 2010


FLY:  Five First Ladies of Dance
Spring Music Series
In This Place


Mississippi Delta Heritage Project

Posted by Ernesto Santos on 03/20 at 10:24 AM
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Executive Director
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PURPOSE Productions - Marketing
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Friday, March 19, 2010

Support Us

Summary of Support US

For 25 years, 651 ARTS has been dedicated to supporting and celebrating the multi-faceted work of contemporary performing artists of the African Diaspora.

This year, as we celebrate our 25th anniversary, we encourage you to consider making a donation of $25, $250, $2,500 or a gift for any amount significant to you.

Supporting 651 ARTS signifies your dedication to the best contemporary arts grounded in the African world experience. A contribution to 651 ARTS not only ensures the presentation of powerful, thought provoking programs but when you give you’ll have access to choice seating, private receptions with featured artists of the season and so much more! With 651 ARTS, you will learn, grow, and most importantly, discover new worlds—all without leaving Brooklyn.

Thank you for joining us in celebrating 25 years of innovative programming from around the world, right here in our own backyard!

Posted by Ernesto Santos on 03/19 at 04:12 PM
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Contact Us

651 ARTS
1000 Dean Street, Suite 232
Brooklyn, NY 11238

P:  718.304.1045

Email:  .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Press & Marketing Inquiries




Posted by Ernesto Santos on 03/19 at 03:31 PM
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Collaboration is at the heart of what 651 ARTS has done for over 20 years. We consider the relationships that we have built over the years to be crucial to our continued work in supporting and celebrating performance of the African Diaspora. The following organizations are key members of the 651 family with whom we work with consistently.

ActiveCultures/Bill Bragin
BTQ Financial
BOMB Magazine
boomBOOM NYC/Brice Rosenbloom
Broke and Hungry Records/Jeff Konkel
Brooklyn Academy of Music
Cat Head/Roger Stolle
Creative Outlet Dance Theater/Jamel Gaines
Dance Theater Workshop/Carla Peterson
Danspace Project/Judy Hussie-Taylor and Abby Harris Holmes
The Delta Center for Culture and Learning/Luther Brown
Downtown Brooklyn Partnership
L’Ecole Des Sables, Toubab Dialow, Senegal
Edward R. Murrow High School/James Duncan
French Institute Alliance Française/Lili Chopra
Tom Fontana
Godown Arts Center, Nairobi Kenya
Harlem Arts Alliance
Harlem Stage/Brad Learmonth
Hip Hop Theater Festival/Clyde Valentin and Kamilah Forbes
The Irondale Center
Ishyo Arts Center, Kigali, Rwanda
James Beard Foundation
JCI Graphics/Carl Navarro
The Kennedy Center/Michael Kaiser
The Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts
          at Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus
Chef François Kwaku-Dongo
The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center at The Graduate Center/CUNY
New Africa Live
Paul Robeson High School and Bailey’s Café/Stefanie Siegel
Studia Designs/Andre Pennycooke and Daryl Long
Sundance Institute/Christopher Hibma
Theatre Without Borders/Roberta Levitow

Posted by Ernesto Santos on 03/19 at 03:30 PM
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