IMMIGRANTS. DANCE. ARTS. TASK FORCE
The role of this task force is to advise and assist Dance/NYC’s Immigrants. Dance. Arts. Initiative on behalf of the organization and the dance field in the metropolitan area.
Click task force members' names to access their bios:
Abou Farman, Assistant Professor, New School; New Sanctuary Movement
Art Space Sanctuary
Abou Farman (He/Him/His) is an anthropologist, writer and artist, Abou Farman is author of the books On Not Dying: Secular Immortality in the Age of Technoscience (2020, Minneapolis: Univ. Minn. Press) and Clerks of the Passage (2012, Montreal: Linda Leith Press). He is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at The New School for Social Research and founder of Art Space Sanctuary as well as the Shipibo Conibo Center of NY.
As part of the artist duo caraballo-farman, he has exhibited internationally, including at the Tate Modern, UK, and PS1/MOMA, NY, and received several grants and awards, including NYFA and Guggenheim Fellowships. He is producer and co-writer on several feature films most recently Icaros: A Vision.
Alberto Lopez, Artistic Director
Calpulli Mexican Dance Company
Alberto Lopez Herrera is a Choreographer, Wardrobe Designer & Maker, and Teaching Artist with over 30 years of experience in Mexican folk dance and story-telling. He aims to expand Calpulli Mexican Dance Company’s folk repertoire and develop productions with cross-cultural narratives. Mr. Lopez also seeks to share his knowledge of Mexican traditions in dance with younger generations via Calpulli Community.
Originally from San Antonio Chiltepec in Puebla, Mr. Lopez began his studies of Mexican folkloric dance at the age of 12 at the Centro Escolar Benito Juarez de Acatlán de Osorio. At the same time, he began to develop skills in garment making, a craft that would later compliment his dedication to dance. He completed the National Dance Institute’s intensive Teaching Artist training in New York. In the USA, Mr. Lopez was a dancer and choreographer with Grupo Folklórico de Greatneck, Don Juan Dancers, and the Ballet Folklórico Mexicano de Nueva York, working with distinguished choreographers Francisco Nevarez, Daniel Jaquez, and Noemy Hernandez.
Under his Artistic Direction, Calpulli Mexican Dance Company has performed at noted venues including Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival (Inside/Out Series), Wortham Center (Houston, TX), Humboldt State University, the Kingdom of Bahrain, Penn State Erie, and Lincoln Center Out of Doors, where Dance Critic Brian Seibert hailed Calpulli a “terrific company” after its performance. His choreographic works have been featured in noted venues and praised by critics at the NY Examiner, Queens Courier, and Houston Chronicle. A few months later, Mr. Lopez was named “Star of Queens” by the Queens Courier for his artistic accomplishments and commitment to community arts programming. He was also recognized by Time Magazine in the series “American Voices.” He provided artistic direction, choreography, wardrobe design, and cultural expertise for the productions “Di
Ana Nery Fragoso, Dance Educator and Dance Director for the NYCDOE Office of Arts and Special Projects
Ana Nery Fragoso, MFA is the New York City Department of Education Director of Dance. She grew up in the Canary Islands, Spain, where she performed and choreographed extensively. She studied at the Alvin Nikolais Dance Lab (NYC) for two years, graduated from Hunter College with a B.A. in Dance and Education and earned a M.F.A. in Choreography from Sarah Lawrence College. She has been the recipient of two grants from the Ministry of Culture in Spain and a J. Javits Fellowship award. For twelve years, Ana Nery taught at P.S. 315, a Performing Arts Elementary School in Brooklyn, where she created a dance curriculum supported by the Laban Movement Analysis framework that emphasized improvisation, technique and dance making. She was the dance specialist at the East Village Community School in Manhattan as well where she created a brand new dance program. Mrs. Fragoso was a member of the New York City Department of Education Dance Blueprint Writing Committee and since 2004, she worked as a NYCDOE dance facilitator co-designing professional development workshops for New York City Department of Education dance specialists. She worked as a dance coach for the Artful Learning Community Grant (ALC) doing action research to develop strategies for collaborative inquiry around formative assessment practices and student learning in dance for six years and was part of the Arts Achieve team, a four-year project that developed innovative dance assessment tools and strategies. In 2017 she was a member of the NYS Dance Learning Standards writing team. Mrs. Fragoso was a faculty member of the Dance Education Laboratory (DEL) at the 92nd St Y from 2007 to 2014 and is currently an Arnhold Fellowship Recipient at Teachers College Ed. D. in Dance Education.
Felicity Hogan, Director of NYFA Learning
New York Foundation for the Arts
Felicity Hogan lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Originally trained as a painter in the United Kingdom, she relocated to the United States in 1996 and has been involved in running alternative spaces for over ten years. Ms. Hogan founded Flat (2000 – 2003) located in a Manhattan apartment which became known for its diverse, multi-cultural and experimental program and attracted national and regional press together with a following of museum directors, curators and artists.
With her recent experience in the commercial sector, working freelance for private dealers and galleries at art fairs in New York, Madrid, Miami and London, she is utilizing these broad-ranging skills by focusing her career in the area of the non-profit arts organization. Ms. Hogan’s recent experience includes working for established non-profits: the Lower East Side Printshop where she was Outreach Director (2007-8), CUE Art Foundation (2007/2008) and in her recent appointment to the position of Executive Director at Artists Alliance Inc, an artist centered 501 (c) 3 operating a residency program and art gallery/project space, Cuchifritos, which are both based on the Lower East Side, New York.
Ms. Hogan has participated as Guest Critic at International Studio and Curatorial Program, Art Omi and Location One and served as guest panelist for Dumbo Arts Center’s Survivor Workshop in 2007/8 and at Dieu Donne. A member of New Leadership Alliance she recently co-presented a panel on Social Networking for ArtTable members. In addition, Ms, Hogan has served on selection panels at Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, Lower East Side Printshop and Gallery Korea, Korean Cultural Service NY. She is a member of the Curatorial Advisory Board at Bronx River Arts Center and on the Advisory Board of Culture Push.
Since the beginning of 2009 Ms. Hogan is also working as Development and Curatorial Associate for the Tuning Exhibition, "The 21st Century, The Feminine Century, and The Century of
Hussein Smko was the Adel Euro Fellow from 2016-2020. A self-trained Kurdish dancer/choreographer whose talent was spotted by Battery Dance over social media in the summer of 2014, he was subsequently trained via Skype from his home in Iraq connected with Battery Dance practitioners in their studios in New York City. He managed to get to the U.S. in early 2016 and was granted Permanent Resident Status. He began his residency with Battery Dance as the first recipient of the Adel Euro Campaign for Dancers Seeking Refuge in January of 2017. During his residency, he performed in his own choreography as well as with the ensemble in two Battery Dance Seasons, at the Battery Dance Festival and on tour during Battery Dance’s residency with the Fort Wayne Dance Collective where he also taught workshops for the community and elementary schools. He has taught for Battery Dance in New York City public schools and at the New York Public Library and USC in Los Angeles for a Spoken Word and Dance program with Iraqi journalist Riyadh Mohammed. Hussein completed his residency in October 2020 and created his own dance company entitled Project Tag.
Lotus Music & Dance
Kamala Cesar, disciple of T. Balasaraswati (Bharata Natyam, South Indian Dance), was born in Brooklyn, NY, and is Native American (Mohawk Tribe) and Filipino. She studied Bharata Natyam (the classical dance of South India) both in the United States and in India, under T. Balasaraswati, Bharata Natyam's legendary and foremost exponent. She is one of the few American disciples carrying on the style of T. Balasaraswati in this country. Ms. Cesar has participated in programs sponsored by the American Society for Eastern Arts, the Center for World Music, Asian Traditions, The American Dance Festival, and Wesleyan University. In 1986, she was a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Folk Art Apprenticeship. She has performed extensively in the United Stated, Europe, and India. Ms. Cesar is the Founder and Artistic Director of Lotus Music & Dance, a not-for-profit organization that since 1989 has been supporting multicultural programs that further the understanding, appreciation, and preservation of traditional arts and the creation of new works that evolve from traditional art forms. She has produced several cross-cultural productions, including: The New York Ramayana; Eagle Spirit—A Tribute to the Mohawk High Steelworkers; Message of Peace—An Excerpt from the Peacemaker’s Journey; World in The City; Dancing Across Cultural Borders; World Dance Passport; and Lotus—the Energy Within. Since 2002, she has produced Drums Along the Hudson: A Native American Festival and Multicultural Celebration, Manhattan's only open-air Pow Wow celebrating Native American heritage along with world cultures and their traditional dance and drumming.
Visiting Scholar, Pratt Institute; Artist, Oxana
Dr. Layla Zami is an academic and artist working with words, music, performance, and video. Born in Paris, France in 1985, Layla gains inspiration from a rich Jewish-Russian-German and Afro-Caribbean-Indian heritage. Her work orbits around matters of dance/performance; cultural memory/trauma; race/gender; diaspora/migration; and space-time. Layla recently obtained a Ph.D. in Transdisciplinary Gender Studies from Humboldt-University, Berlin, where she also received the Faculty's First Prize for Teaching Quality. She holds an M.A. from the Sciences Po Paris School of International Affairs and was a Visiting Research Scholar at Columbia University (IRWGS) and UCSD (Department of Theatre & Dance). Her projects received awards and grants from institutions such as the MLA, German Ministry of Education, French Ministry of Youth. Layla works with dancer Oxana Chi as a musician (saxophone, kalimba, sounds), poet, actress. She performed in theaters, universities, and festivals in the USA, France, Germany, India, Martinique, Turkey, Indonesia and Taiwan. With Oxana Chi, she co-realized the documentary Dancing Through Gardens, and co-curated events such as Black Herstory Night (Dixon Place) and Moving Memory International Symposium-Festival (Technical University Berlin). An NYFA Performing Arts Boot Camp Alumna, Layla is now Assistant Producer at IHRAF and serves as a member of the Dance/NYC Immigrant Artist Task Force. www.laylazami.net
Luba Cortés, Immigrant Defense Coordinator
Make the Road
Luba Cortés is a writer, organizer, and advocate born in México but raised in New York. In their organizing and writing, they explore undocumented experiences, queerness, femeness, indigenousness, and the intersectionality of it all. Luba’s expertise lies in building leadership through immigrant narratives and navigating political landscapes for national and local advocacy work. Luba has worked with national organizations such as FIRM, UWD, and currently works as the Rapid Response Coordinator at Make the Road New York, the largest participatory led immigrant rights organization in the country. Luba’s writing can be found in publications such as AM New York, Newsday, and the New York Times. Follow luba on social media @lubacortes
nora chipaumire was born in 1965 in what was then known as Umtali, Rhodesia (now Mutare, Zimbabwe). She is a product of colonial education for black native Africans - known as group B schooling - and has pursued other studies at the University of Zimbabwe (law) and at Mills College in Oakland, CA (dance). Lately, chipaumire has been touring "#PUNK 100% POP *NIGGA" (verbalized as “Hashtag Punk, One Hundred Percent Pop and Star NIGGA”), a three-part live performance album which had its world premiere at The Kitchen in NYC in October 2018. Her other recent live works include "portrait of myself as my father" (2016), "RITE RIOT" (2012) and "Miriam" (2012). She has been featured in several dance films and made her directorial debut with the short film "Afro Promo #1 King Lady" (2016). Her long-term research project "nhaka," a technology-based practice and process to her artistic work, instigates and investigates the nature of black bodies and the products of their imaginations. “nhaka bhuku 1” has been published in 2020 at the courtesy of Matadero Publishing House (Spain). nora chipaumire is a four time Bessie Award winner and was a proud recipient of the 2016 Trisha Mckenzie Memorial Award for her impact on the dance community in Zimbabwe. She was also nominated for a NAMA award as one of those exiled Zimbabweans making an impact on the arts at home and abroad in 2020. chipaumire is honored to include the acknowledgements of the arts communities in awards such as the Guggenheim Fellowship (2018), a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant (2016), a Doris Duke Artist Award (2015) and a Princeton Hodder Fellowship (2014). She is currently a Fellow at Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University (2020) and an Artist in Residence at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, LMCC (2019-2021).
Photo credit: sara lando
Artist, Writer, and Performer
Pelenakeke Brown is an interdisciplinary artist. Her practice spans art, writing, and performance. She is from Aotearoa (New Zealand) and is an Samoan/Pakeha disabled artist. Recently she has returned to Aotearoa after being based in NYC for six years.
She has worked with The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Gibney Dance Center and The Goethe Institute. She is a 2020 Eyebeam Artist-in-Residence. She has been selected as one of four choreographers for AXIS Dance Company’s upcoming Choreo-Lab.
In 2019 she received a Dance/NYC’s Disability Dance Artistry Award and was the curator for the Artists of Color Council Movement Research at Judson Church Spring season. She has performed and exhibited her work in the US and internationally. Her non-fiction creative work has been published in The James Franco Review, Hawai‘i Review, Apogee Journal, and the Movement Research Performance Journal issue. She is a founding member of Touch Compass, New Zealand's first mixed-ability dance company.
She attended the National Academy School of Fine Art, Studio Intensive Program, NY and received a BA in English literature and Pacific Studies, focusing on art and literature by Pasifika artists, from Auckland University, NZ.
Choreographer, filmmaker and dancer, Pontus Lidberg has firmly established himself as a creative and visionary artist, merging dance and film. As a choreographer for the stage, Lidberg has created works for dance companies including Paris Opera Ballet, New York City Ballet, Martha Graham Dance Company, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, Semperoper Ballet Dresden, Royal Swedish Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Le Ballet du Grand Théâtre de Genève, Acosta Danza, Balletboyz and Beijing Dance Theatre, as well as for his own concert group, Pontus Lidberg Dance. Pontus Lidberg Dance has been presented by New York City Center’s Fall For Dance Festival, the Havana International Ballet Festival, the Spoleto Festival, The Joyce Theater and the National Arts Center of Canada. His work a??Sirena?? received a Villanueva Award from UNEAC, The National Union of Writers and Artists of Cuba, as one of the best performances presented in Cuba in 2018. His dance film, a??The Raina?? received numerous awards. a??The New York Timesa?? wrote “memorably, The Rain illustrates what filmed dance can say that staged dance cannot.” His film a??Labyrinth Withina?? won Best Picture at the Dance on Camera Festival in 2012. He was nominated for a New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie) in Outstanding Visual Design, for his dance and film evening a??WITHIN (Labyrinth Within)a??—created during his 2012 tenure as Resident Artistic Director of Morphoses. Raised in Stockholm, Sweden, Lidberg trained at the Royal Swedish Ballet School. He holds an MFA in Contemporary Performing Arts from the University of Gothenburg, Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts. He is the Artistic Director of Danish Dance Theatre in Copenhagen, Denmark.
New York City Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs
Sabrina Fong is the Associate Director of Operations at the NYC Charter Revision Commission. She also serves the role as the Policy and Research Advisor at the NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), where she helps lead the office’s research and data work to inform and design immigrant inclusive policies and programs. She joined MOIA from the NYC Mayor’s Office of Operations. Prior to that, she was a NYC Urban Fellow and had also worked at the MinKwon Center for Community Action in Flushing. Sabrina graduated from the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter.