EXPERIMENTS IN COALITION:
Daring Dances for Surviving and Thriving
We can keep dancing. Dancing at home, with family and friends, has always been a tool of survival for many communities, especially communities of color. There are MANY ways we can dance at home.
To help us all move through this moment together, each month Daring Dances is commissioning short online dance tutorials from Midwestern dance artists.
March 2021 Edition: MurdaMommy (Chicago, IL)
MurdaMommy is a dancer, musician, actor, and innovator in the film, fashion, and gaming industries. As a lesbian artist and a teen who experienced homelessness, she brings her life experiences into her practice and teaches the dance form Chicago Footwork to people who live on the South and West sides of Chicago. In 2019, she was recognized by SWAN Day Chicago, celebrating black women in dance.
MurdaMommy has performed across the U.S. In Chicago, she mentors and connects with all generations through performance and workshops, including programs within Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center and Stateville Correctional Center.
As a musician, her style complements her choreographic and movement approach. She is currently working on her first official E.P. She recently created the short film "I Am Queen," based on the women of Chicago footwork culture. She is also collaborating on Juke Town, an online multiplayer game where characters can practice footwork, socialize, and complete missions. For more information visit
Chicago Footwork with MurdaMommy
February 2021 Edition: Gabrielle McLeod (Detroit, MI)
Gabrielle McLeod ("Queen Gabby") is the Queen of Detroit's own footwork based dance style known as "Jit". She has worked as a performer for the Detroit Pistons "D-Town" squad, performing with various recording artists during her time there. Gabby has appeared in the music video for Dej Loaf featuring Big Sean, "Back Up". She's currently a member of Jit Happens, traveling and showcasing Detroit's flavor on various platforms. Gabby has been a part of the Slippage project, which is being shown as moving art in the Detroit Institute of Arts in Michigan and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas, which featured Jit as part of their dance exhibit. Gabby teaches Jit within Eastern Michigan University's dance program, and is recording a film to be used as a learning tool for students. In June 2017, she was brought to Paris France to showcase and teach Jit by Meech De France and Ghost Flow Movement. Gabby was also featured as a judge for the Headbangerz Brawl for World of Dance Chicago. Gabby works as a dance instructor, hoping to keep Detroit's culture enriched in the students and give them a positive place to engage in their art. She has now relocated to Los Angeles, CA, educating others about her hometown dance style. While on the west coast she has taught Detroit Jit classes at: the Kinjaz Dojo, EPIK Dance Studio in Arizona, Arizona State University, and Movement Lifestyle dance studio. Queen Gabby's goal is to make Detroit Jit a style known to many homes and atmospheres, and spread the heart of the city and culture with it.
Detroit Jit with Queen Gabby
February 2021 Edition: Thank You So Much For Coming (Detroit, MI)
Thank You So Much For Coming (TYSMFC) was formed in 2015 by Maddy Rager and Scott Crandall to create original performances that draw from their individual backgrounds in dance and theater. TYSMFC uses research, politics, and absurdity to craft bizarre, thoughtful, and often funny works. Rager and Crandall have an interdisciplinary practice of research, writing, improvisational movement, choreography, and design to generate performance. Both members attended the University of Michigan and earned BFAs in Dance (Rager) and Theater Directing (Crandall). TYSMFC has performed throughout the midwest , and at festivals including the Going Dutch Festival, RadFest, Kristi Faulkner's Women's Work, the Elgin Fringe Festival, and the Detroit Fringe Festival. TYSMFC received a 2020 Gilda Award in Live Arts, awarded by Kresge Arts in Detroit. thankyousomuchforcoming.com
TYSMFC Suggests: Lying on the Floor
January 2021 Edition: Yoni Light (Minneapolis, MN)
Yoni Light is a multidisciplinary artist. She utilizes different Art forms and expressions such as Dance, Music, and Videography, and is a co-founder of the Hip Hop dance crew called New Black City, a crew dedicated to using dance to make social change. Their motto is "changing the world 1 booty cheek at a time." Yoni has been a part of many collectives including S.H.E, New Black City and Atlantis 13. These collectives are dedicated to blackness, expression and social changes. She has collaborated with multiple artists/shows in the last year: Pavielle, TPT Artist is..., Deja Stoews; Controlled Burn, SHE, Al'twam; Abandoned Outlines, and many more. Yoni is also a 2020 recipient of The Momentum New Dance Work Grant. Yoni's work is dedicated to the art of healing, self expression and soul, and body awareness. You can find and follow her work through her Instagram (@yoni.light)
Yoni's Movement Offering:
December 2020 Edition: Nic Gareiss (Lansing, MI)
Named one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch," dancer, musician, and dance researcher Nic Gareiss has been hailed by the New York Times for his "dexterous melding of Irish and Appalachian dance" and called "the most inventive and expressive step dancer on the scene" by the Boston Herald. He reimagines movement as a sonic practice, recasting dance as a medium that appeals to both eyes and ears while queering the disciplinary boundaries between dancer and musician. Gareiss engages many percussive dance traditions, weaving together a dance technique facilitating his love of improvisation, clog and step dance footwork vocabulary, and musical collaboration. He has concertized in sixteen countries at London's Barbican Center, the Irish National Concert Hall, the Munich Philharmonic, and the Kennedy Center. In 2018-2019, Nic was joint artist-in-residence at the Traditional Dance Forum of Scotland, the University of Edinburgh Moray House School of Education, and the School of Scottish Studies. It was during his time living in Scotland that Nic first learned about First Footing, the tradition he shares here.
October 2020 Edition: Duane Lee Holland Jr. (Madison, WI)
Duane Lee Holland Jr. (MFA): Duane began his professional dance career dancing for Rennie Harris Puremovement (RHPM). He has also performed on Broadway, The Lion King, and Maurice Hines' "Hot Feet." Duane graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Iowa with a Master of Fine Arts in Dance. In August 2016, he joined The Boston Conservatory at Berklee, as their first Hip-Hop full-time faculty member. In May 2019, Duane joined UW-Madison, as their first Hip-Hop full-time faculty member.
Duane's Daring Dances for Surviving and Thriving offering is originally from The Taste of Summer Arts Studio Hip-Hop Workshop, which is a collaborative experience created by Dr. Yorel Lashley and Duane Lee Holland Jr.
Dr. Lashley is the Director of The Professional Learning and Education Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Together they crafted a 4 part class series that illuminates the context, content and citation that exists within Hip-Hop culture. They are sharing the first part of the series featuring East coast Hip-Hop movement. Enjoy!
Click here for Duane's Hip-Hop Class 1: Lite Feet - NYC
September 2020 Edition: Al Evangelista & Family (Cleveland, OH)
Al Evangelista is a performer, choreographer, and educator. He is the choreographer of hallow hollow, The Loneliness Project, Saeculum, red, and Displacement. Al's artistic practices on queer performance, diaspora, and community-engaged topics have been performed at Moss Arts Center, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, American Theatre Company, and Links Hall. He also works in theatre, documentary-based work, and improvisatory collaboration. He has performed at Steppenwolf, Adventure stage Chicago, Haven Theatre Company, Chicago Opera Theatre, Moss Arts Center, as well as, danced in works for Dance Exchange, the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, The Inconvenience, Links Hall, among others. Enormous thanks to Clare Croft and the Daring Dances team that helped produce this project.
The Evangelista family is amazing and likes to Electric Slide as much as possible.
Electric Slide with Al & the fam!
Music Credit - Infiltrators by Nathaniel Wyvern
August 2020 Edition: Miryam Johnson (Detroit, MI)
Miryam Johnson is a Detroit based Dance Artist, Educator and Organizer. With degrees from Eastern Michigan University in Dance and African American Studies, Johnson’s work explores the intersection between improvised Black movement vernacular and creating a communal connection. She’s received multi-genre dance training through The Dance Institute, while attending performing arts public schools, from Alvin's Ailey's "The Ailey Extension," and Urban Bush Women's "Summer Leadership Program." Since, she's performed as a guest artist with The Sphinx Organization, DDCdances, People Dancing, and Kristi Faulkner Dance, as well as had the honor of showing her work at The Charles H. Wright Museum, Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, The Masonic Temple, and Sidewalk Festival. She currently serves as a teaching artist with Living Arts, the Student Fellowship coordinator with Daring Dances and as a Co-Founder of Collective Sweat Detroit. A committed educator, artist and community member, Miryam believes in using her body and her art as protest.
July 2020 Edition: T. Ayo Alston (Chicago, IL)
T. Ayo Alston teaches and practices a signature theatrical style of West African drum and dance culture that captures the strength and power of women and community. Ayo is the founder, executive director, composer, and choreographer of Ayodele Drum and Dance, a performance training organization created for women to affirm their self-confidence and strength. Through Ayodele, she has performed, educated, fostered interpersonal healing, and created artistic work from a foundation of traditional African cultures fused with contemporary dance styles.
As Ayo passes on her artistic experience and excellence to others, she honors, respects, and expresses tremendous gratitude for her own teachers, including Youssouf Koumbassa, Mouminatou Camara, Baba Chuck Davis, Jawolle Willa Zollar, Rosangela Sylvestre, her mother Sarah, her sisters, women around the world, and LIFE!
June 2020 Edition: Mario Quinn (Pittsburgh, PA)
Mario Quinn is the Co-Founder / Executive Director of Level Up Studios, a creative arts studio in Pittsburgh that focuses on enriching the educational and artistic experiences of African American youths. Level Up Studios uses a range of creative disciplines, including Hip Hop Dance & Martial Arts, Creative Writing, Studio Production, and Visual Arts, to bring another dimension to learning for children and teens growing up in disadvantaged circumstances and difficult environments.
Focusing mainly on hip-hop and contemporary movement, Mario offers his clients step by step training on the latest styles within the genre. His goal is to not only help in advancing his students' talent but also encouraging confidence within their attitude and outlook on life. Currently Mario has a unique popping and animation technique, stylistically combining body control, isolations, tutting and boogaloo.
In Memoriam Edition: In loving memory of Chrystelle Trump Bond (1938-2020), Clare Croft (Ann Arbor, MI)
Clare Croft is the founder and curator of Daring Dances, as well as Associate Professor Dance & American Culture at the University of Michigan. She is one of many dance historians across the US mentored by Professor Chrystelle Trump Bond, an intrepid dance historian, a committed advocate for dance in academia, and the founder of the Dance Department at Goucher College.
A Polka for Mrs. Bond
May 2020 Edition: Anna Martine Whitehead (Chicago, IL)
Anna Martine Whitehead does performance. Her work considering a Black queer relationship to time and space has been presented throughout the United States and in a range of publications. She has developed her craft by working closely with artists, musicians, choreographers, writers, architects, geographers, and community members. She is based in Chicago, IL.
Dancing Through Darkness
Dushaan Gillum, choreographer
Sarah Dahnke, Director of Dances for Solidarity
Learn more about Dances for Solidarity at dancesforsolidarity.org
April 2020 Edition: bree gant (Detroit, MI)
bree gant is an artist. She was born and raised in Detroit, and graduated from Howard University with a BA in Film. bree documents all types of movement work, from dance to transit, with organizations like Allied Media Projects, GirlTrek, Institute for Dunham Technique Certification, The Work Department, and Reimagining Civic Commons. She directed the 2018 short film Riding With Aunt D. Dot, which screened across the country at BlackStar Film Festival, Princeton University, Facing Race Conference, and more. She is a member of The Gathering, an intergenerational collective of Black womenfolk dance artists. bree is currently staying at home, googling quickbooks tutorials, and developing a short dance film.
Click here for bree's short dance film offering of breathing and movement exercises for staying in bed.
March 2020 Edition: Leila Awadallah (Minneapolis, MN)
Leila Awadallah's movement research is rooted in the study of embodied Arabic calligraphy; where repetitive writing with the body becomes a practice towards carving out and engraving connections among home, language, and ancestral lineage.
Click here for Leila's Arabic-Rooted Contemporary Dance Online Lesson