Conference Schedule

Purple graphic with swirls of bubble in top right and bottom left corners. White text reads Dance/USA 2023 Conference June 13-16 Atlanta

The Dance/USA Conference Schedule

The Dance/USA 2023 Conference offered many opportunities to connect and engage with colleagues from across the dance ecosystem. Explore the schedule and learn what we talked about at the 2023 Conference! All Conference programming took place at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Atlanta.  

Quick Links

Tuesday, June 6

  • 1:00pm-4:30pm ET – Virtual Allyship Training. Join us for a two-day pre-Conference experience on June 6 and 7: a virtual Allyship Training facilitated by Service Never Sleeps. The workshop is a public, ticketed, event open to all regardless of membership status, but space is limited. This event is separate from the 2023 Conference and is not included in Conference registration. Registration is closed.

Wednesday, June 7

  • 1:00pm-4:30pm ET – Virtual Allyship Training facilitated by Service Never Sleeps. This is the second part of the two-day Training. Registration is closed.

Tuesday, June 13

  • 9:00am-7:00pm ET – Registration is open
  • 2:00pm-3:30pm ET –  Dance/USA Deaf & Disability Affinity Group Hybrid Meeting – open to Affinity Group members and those interested in joining.
  • 2:00pm-5:00pm ET – Dance/USA Fellowships to Artists 2022 Cohort Meeting
  • 4:00pm-5:30pm ETSouth Arts’ Dance Forum – open to members of the dance landscape in the South Arts region, Conference registration is not required. 
  • 7:30pm-9:30pm ET – The Dance/USA Honors & Welcoming Soiree

Wednesday, June 14

  • 8:00am-4:00pm – Decompression spaces available
  • 8:00am-4:30pm ET – Registration is open
  • 8:30am-10:00am ET – Grounding Keynote with Christal Brown – All Conference
  • 10:00am-10:30am ET – Break, SmART Bar, Coffee & Tea Service
  • 10:30am-12:00pm ET – Conference Breakout Sessions
    • Chicano Dance Form Emerges as an Agent of Change
    • Emerging Technologies in Dance: From Studio to Stage & Beyond 
    • Human Behind the Dancer: Fundamentals of Physical Literacy, Growth & Maturation
    • Crisis in Communities: How the Dance Ecosystem Can Find and Lend Support
    • Dancing Beyond the Dollars: The Impact of Dance in the Aging Population
  • 12:00pm-1:00pm ET – Lunch Break
  • 1:00pm-1:30pm ET– SmART Bar
  • 1:00pm-1:30pm – Dance Performance
  • 1:30pm-3:00pm ET – Conference Breakout Sessions
    • Beyond Categories: Resisting Tokenism & Holding Complexity
    • Creating at the Intersections: Disability, BIPOC & LGBTQ Identities
    • Reparations, Responsibility and Repair: Justice & Abundance for Black Communities
    • Mourn, Heal, Celebrate, Move LA CULTURE MANDINQUE Traditional West African Dance & Drum
  • 3:00pm-3:30pm ET – Break, SmART Bar, Coffee & Tea Service
  • 3:10pm-3:30pm ET – Dance Performance
  • 3:30pm-4:30pm ET – Reconnect, with Christal Brown –  All Conference
  • 6:30pm-8:30pm ET – Equity Project Cohort Dinner – by invitation only

Thursday, June 15

  • 8:00am-4:00pm ET – Decompression spaces available
  • 8:00am-6:00pm ET – Registration is open
  • 8:30am-10:00am ET – Grounding Keynote with Ayanna Hudson and Amber Cabral – All Conference
  • 10:00am-10:30am ET – Break, SmART Bar, Coffee & Tea Service
  • 10:30am-12:00pm ET – Conference Breakout Sessions
    • Archives as Storytelling: Learnings from Latinx Communities
    • Future-Proofing the Arts: Streaming, Artificial Intelligence & Privacy in the Digital Age
    • Tactical Guide to Achieve Engagement with Diverse Audiences
    • Meet the Dance/USA Artist Fellows
    • Advancing Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, & Accessibility (DEIA) Within the Dance Ecosystem
  • 12:00pm-1:00pm ET – Lunch Break
  • 1:00pm-1:30pm ET– SmART Bar
  • 1:00pm-1:30pm – Dance Performance
  • 1:30pm-3:00pm ET – Conference Breakout Sessions
    • Vortex-Moving Through Space Using Sagittal, Transverse & Frontal Planes
    • Listening to Movement: Inclusion with Audio Description
    • Ballethnic’s Black Memory Practice & Radical Archiving
    • Bricks & Brooms: Atlanta’s Carceral History through Black Women’s Embodiment
    • Advancing Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, & Accessibility (DEIA) Within the Dance Ecosystem
  • 3:00pm-3:30pm ET – Dance Performance
  • 3:30pm-5:00pm ETWomen of Color in the Arts (WOCA) Gathering
  • 3:30pm-5:00pm ET – Conference Breakout Session
    • Kongo As Center: Dance, Drum, & Song
  • 8:00pm ET – MAD Festival & Reception at Emory University. Tickets to this performance are included with registration and will be available at registration for registered Dance/USA 2023 Conference attendees on a first come, first served basis. 

Friday, June 16

  • 8:00am-2:00pm ET – Information Table is open
  • 8:30am-10:00am ET – All Member Meeting – All Dance/USA members are encouraged to attend.
  • 10:00am-10:30am ET – Break
  • 10:30am-12:00pm ET – Dance/USA Council & Affinity Group Member Meetings. Meetings are open to Council/Affinity Group members only.
  • 12:00pm-1:30pm ET – Lunch Break
  • 1:30pm-3:00pm – Dance/USA Council & Affinity Group Member Meetings. Meetings are open to Council/Affinity Group members only. 

Saturday, June 17

Sunday, June 18

  • 9:00am-3:30pm ET – Day of Dancer Health. All professional dancers are invited to participate  

Additional Information

CART services will be provided at all breakout sessions. ASL interpretation will be provided at general sessions. 

The views of our speakers/presenters do not necessarily reflect those of Dance/USA, our sponsors or our partners. However, Dance/USA seeks to create an environment in which disparate opinions can be expressed and discussed without harm to our fellow members, attendees, or partners. We invite you to participate in our programming with an open-mind, integrity, honesty, curiosity, and respect. Please be mindful of others when entering into discussions of sensitive topics.

If you have questions about the schedule or programming, please connect with our Leadership and Learning Department.

Conference Programming Tracks

Complementing the Conference theme EMERGE | BECOME | MOVE, the 2023 Conference programming tracks are Becoming, Emerging, and Moving (B.E.A.M).

  • Becoming will include skills-based panels and workshops that will provide you with the tools and strategies you need to advance your work.
  • Emerging will feature sessions on social justice issues, community-based topics, and questions related to issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Moving will offer you the opportunity to move! Activities and programming will include movement-based sessions, performances, and other interactive activities. 

Breakout Session Descriptions

Advancing Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA) Within the Dance Ecosystem – President Biden signed Executive Order 13985, Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government. The executive order requires the entire federal government to advance an equity and racial justice agenda across all federal programs. More than 90 federal agencies, including the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), released equity action plans outlining specific objectives and related actions to address the systemic barriers in our nation’s policies and programs that hold too many historically marginalized communities back from prosperity, dignity, and equality. The objectives of  objectives of the NEA’s equity action plan includes, among other things, addressing and reducing the gap between availability of arts programming and the participation of historically marginalized groups.   Ayanna Hudson, Chief Strategy, Programs, and Engagement Officer, at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), will update and gather feedback regarding the NEA’s equity action plan; provide guidance on how the dance ecosystem can partner with the NEA to help implement the plan; and learn about various diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) initiatives based on outcomes from the dance ecosystem. Presenter: Ayanna Hudson (she/her). Programming track: Becoming.

Archives as Storytelling: Learnings from Latinx Communities – Archiving has the power to shift the narrative about who has shaped the dance field and whose legacies are valued and uplifted. This session will focus on practical and conceptual ways to accurately and authentically preserve the stories of diverse artists and communities. The panel will center dance forms rooted in the Latinx community or that have historically had strong Latinx representation, including Mexican Folklórico, Puerto Rican Bomba and Plena, and Hustle. Featuring the voices of dancers, archivists, and community leaders, the panel will offer strategies to empower artists and organizations to harness their archives to tell their own stories. Presenters: Yesenia Lopez (she/her), Javier Sepúlveda Garibay (he/him), Abdiel (they/them), Juan Cartagena (he/him), Nanette Hernandez (she/her). Programming track: Becoming.

Ballethnic’s Black Memory Practice and Radical Archiving – This session will explore memory praxis and archiving using Ballethnic’s Archive: A Choreographer’s Memory Practice, their signature Urban Nutcracker Production, and what preservation means to the founders of a Southern Black Ballet Community. Dr. shady Radical moderates a discussion between Co-Founder and Co-directors Mr. Waverly T. Lucas II and Ms. Nena Gilreath and students of Dr. Radical’s archival study program, The Radical Archive of Preservation.  Presenters: Dr. shady Radical (she/her), Waverly T. Lucas (he/his), Nena Gilreath (she/hers), Kaniah Pearson (she/hers). Programming track: Emerging.

Beyond Categories: Resisting Tokenism and Holding Complexity –
Renowned choreographer Donna Uchizono has deeply researched and interrogated the invisibility of American-born artists of Asian descent, whose unique experience is often erased as they are conflated with Asian-born artists by presenters, funders, and audiences. Uchizono will share her own story and advocacy in conversation with artists of diverse identities, and presenters and funders who have been at the forefront of advancing cultural equity, justice, and inclusion. Using individual storytelling to shift awareness, the panel will present a call to action to tackle entrenched habits of mind and move the dance field towards a more authentically inclusive environment for all. Presenters: Donna Uchizono (she/her), Gerald Casel (he/they/siya), Dean Moss (he/they), Carla Peterson (she/her), Moira Brennan (she/her). Programming track: Becoming.

Bricks & Brooms: Atlanta’s Carceral History through Black Women’s Embodiment – Since the archives of Georgia’s carceral system were often built by the men working in the nexus of racism, capitalism, and patriarchy that perpetuated the conditions of forced labor, discourses on this history often exclude Black women’s experiences. As such, this session strives to restore erased histories and emblazon the experiences of incarcerated Black women on the cityscapes of our community as an act of resistance. Invites conference attendees — whether Georgia residents or visitors from elsewhere — to consider how working at the intersections of memory, abolitionist feminism, dance, and community interaction, can help us deepen our understanding of our relationship(s) to the carceral system in the U.S., and how those relationships are embedded in our daily navigations of cities like Atlanta. Presenter: Julie B. Johnson (she/her). Programming track: Moving

Chicano Dance Form Emerges As An Agent Of Change – A strong tradition in contemporary Latin American art is using a specific art form to reflect the current political climate and depict apparent injustices and oversights within a particular country or community. This session will explore how the presenter uses this tradition, pairs it with Folklorico footwork, and gives it all a contemporary immediacy that reflects the unspoken personal sacrifices that have strengthened our communities over hundreds of years. Presenter: Gema Sandoval (she/her). Programming track: Emerging.

Creating at the Intersections: Disability, BIPOC, and LGBTQ Identities – This panel discussion will focus on the unique barriers and experiences of dance artists and leaders who exist and create dance at the intersections of Disability, BIPOC, and/or LGBTQ identities and how they navigate the dance ecosystem and support one another to move the field forward. Presenters: Jerron Herman (he/him), Christopher Unpezverde Núñez (he/him), Mark Travis Rivera (he/him), Ellice Patterson (she/her). Programming tracks: Becoming.

Crisis in Communities: How the Dance Ecosystem Can Find and Lend Support – Disasters are as unpredictable as they are inevitable, whether an adverse weather event or public health emergency. But dance-related companies, organizations, and individual dance artists can be prepared for moments of crisis. This session will address steps that should be taken before a disaster ever occurs and in the aftermath of an unexpected event. Learn how to apply for and receive disaster public assistance as performing arts organizations, and how to increase civic engagement to support your organizations’ local communities. Presenters: Hunter Peterson, Dr. Iquail Shaheed (he/him), Mollie Haven Miller (she/her), Tony Bennett Shivers (he/him).

Dancing Beyond the Dollars: The Impact of Dance in the Aging Population – While arts research has focused heavily on the measurement of economic impact, the arts have such a profound influence that reaches beyond the dollars. This session will focus on the ways in which dance can impact our aging population. Hear about the NEA’s priority research topics related to the impact of the arts on health, wellness, cognition, and learning. Learn about recent research in dance and aging and hear about some of the programming in the field! The world’s population of people older than 60 is estimated to double by 2050. Targeted dance programming could help the world age creatively! Presenters: Sarah Morrison (she/her), Patricia Mullaney-Loss, Lucy Bowen McCauley, Erin Warner Prange. Programming track: Emerging.

Emerging Technologies in Dance: From Studio to Stage and Beyond – As COVID-19 has altered how we create, perform, and share, the pandemic also has accelerated the development of new virtual platforms that are making dance more accessible to a global audience. This session will discuss how dance artists can expand our practice through the use of emerging technologies such as extended reality (XR) and machine learning (ML), and how this convergence of dance and technology can open up new approaches to creating, teaching and appreciating dance. Join us to explore methods for leveraging the power of XR, ML and other techniques to unlock new frontiers of artistic expression. Presenters: Onur Topal-Sümer (she/her), John Crawford (he/him), Brian Magerko(he/him), Milka Trajkova(she/her), Nathalie Matychak (she/her). Programming track: Becoming.

Future-Proofing the Arts: Streaming, Artificial Intelligence, & Privacy in the Digital Age – This session will provide arts administrators, independent artists, and presenters with an understanding of the current and future trends in streaming and digital media, new gatekeepers, potential use and applications of AI tools, privacy, and other relevant topics, as well as strategies for adapting and thriving in this rapidly-evolving landscape. Presenters: Kathleya Afanador (she/her) and Marc Kirschner (he/him). Programming track: Becoming.

Human Behind the Dancer: Fundamentals of Physical Literacy, Growth & Maturation – This movement session will emphasize applying dynamic warm-up movements and principles from a perspective of strength and conditioning and physical literacy development. Activities will include ways to employ fundamental human movement patterns and demands related to human developmental needs. In addition, the session will allow for opportunities to learn, converse, and have a dialogue to promote movement literacy and various physical training techniques. Presenter: Dr. Robert Tsai, PT, DPT (he/him). Programming track: Moving.

Kongo As Center: Dance, Drum, and Song – “Kongo As Center” explores the dance traditions of descendants of the Kongo Kingdom of Central Africa and affirms the inextricable link to the embodied movement practices of Kongo descendants throughout the Diaspora. The session features live Ngoma drumming, song, and movement, a sacred trinity for the Kongo people. Through exploration of the diverse movement traditions rooted in Africa’s center, this session compels participants to be grounded and centered in their bodies, unlocking a powerful and transcendent healing experience. All bodies are welcome. Joy and UPliftment guaranteed. Presenter: Muisi-kongo Malonga (she/her). Programming track: Moving.

Listening to Movement: Inclusion with Audio Description – This session will demonstrate how audio description, enhanced by concepts from Laban/Bartenieff Movement System (LBMS), provides access to the performing arts for people who are blind or have low vision. An estimated 31 million Americans are blind or have difficulty seeing even with correction; audio description allows dance organizations to expand their accessibility, inclusion efforts, and audience engagement by using a tool that will enable an underserved segment of society to participate as audience members. Presenters: Joel Snyder (he/him), PhD; Esther Geiger, MA, CMA, RSME (she/her). Programming track: Becoming.

Meet the Dance/USA Artist Fellows – The Dance/USA Fellowships to Artists (DFA) program provides direct support to artists in recognition of the impact of their artistic practice for social change.  Seeking to uphold intersectional identity justice and with designed care for equitable accessibility, this program has been reimagined to be responsive to the field of practitioners it funds.   This session will be co-organized by Dance/USA and the Artist Fellows and offers opportunities for conference attendees to connect with the artist cohort and learn about their individual practices in dance and social change. Presenters: Haowen Wang, Laurel Lawson, Michèle Steinwald, Dance/USA Artist Fellows. Programming track: Becoming.

Mourn, Heal, Celebrate, Move: LA CULTURE MANDINGUE-Traditional West African Dance and Drum – In this Cultural Lab, Assane Kouyaté and the Kouyaté Jeli ensemble, will portray the histories of West African ethnic groups through live rhythms that compel attendees to MOVE. It will focus on traditional Manding dances, some of which were exclusive to the griot centuries ago, and drums used for centuries in African cultures to communicate, heal, celebrate, mourn, and inspire. The rhythms are like a language and a part of our spirit. Presenter: Assane Kouyaté (he/him); Facilitator: Meri Aungkh Hetp-t (she/her), Lead Musical Director: Ibrahima Dioubaté (he/him), Drummers/percussionists: Musa Sutton (he/him), Jahbri Black (he/him). Programming track: Moving. 

Reparations, Responsibility, & Repair: Justice & Abundance for Black Communities – This session invites Black folks and Non-Black stakeholders in the dance community to move! reflect! and extend! towards justice for Black communities in the arts. Specifically, attendees will map the responsibilities of the collective (ourselves, communities, and institutions) to address the history and practice of oppression, economic exploitation, and institutionalized violence towards Black folks. What actions will we take today, tomorrow, and in the next 50 years to make change happen? Through joyful play and visioning activities, attendees will leave with a stronger understanding of: (1) what just societies for Black dance communities look like; (2) the field’s challenges in response to Black folks, (3) a toolkit of strategies and action plans to work towards justice for Black artists. Presenters: Nkeiruka Oruche (she/her, they/them), Kanukai Chigamba (she/her), MK Abadoo (they/she), cat mahari. Programming track: Emerging.

Tactical Guide to Achieve Engagement with Diverse Audiences – The U.S. population has steadily diversified, yet, the average demographic of most contemporary art audiences has remained stagnant and does not reflect diverse communities. Therefore, arts and culture organizations must focus on audience diversification and engagement for long-term success. This session will provide tactics to attendees to help organizations reach a vast and reflective audience by sharing data-informed communication and grassroots methods for engaging the audience of the future. Presenters: Ceci Dadisman; Ann Marie Sorrell. Programming track: Becoming.

Vortex–Moving Through Space using Sagittal, Transverse & Frontal Planes – In this movement session, Christopher’s choreographic practice centers on movement in a circular motion supported by diaphragmatic breathing. Vortex is a concept born from the principle that the human body is 70% water and has a 95% oxygen level. Therefore, moving the body in circles makes us imagine the water and air rotating. Vortex teaches principles of proprioception to Visually Impaired and non-disabled dancers by explaining how to safely move through the space using the sagittal, transverse, and frontal planes. Presenters: Christopher Unpezverde Núñez (he/him), Alfonso Castro (he/him/his). Programming track: Moving.

Focus Session Descriptions

South Arts’ Dance Forum – South Arts has a long history of recognizing the challenges of presenting and touring dance in the South and being a source of solutions. As we begin to consider future opportunities to support dance, we want to better understand and learn. To do so in a meaningful way, we are hosting an open Dance Forum to hear from members of the field. If you are part of the dance landscape in the South Arts region – as an artist, company manager/director, presenter/programmer, funder, agent, or are involved in the field in any manner – we want to hear from you. Please join us at this free forum (conference registration is not required).

South Arts’ Dance Forum will explore the state of the field in the South and beyond, discuss current and future trends, and ask what support is necessary for a vibrant dance field in the South. We want to encourage all voices from within the dance community of South Arts’ nine-state region (AL, FL, GA, KY, LA, MS, NC, SC, and TN) to participate.

Women of Color in the Arts (WOCA) Gathering –  In the spirit of uplifting community and fostering a greater sense of belonging, this intentional gathering is specifically designed to hold space for and center the voices and visions of women of color. This is an effort to help create agency among a constituency that has been historically underrepresented and marginalized in the dance field. As an informal open forum, attendees of this session will have an opportunity to occupy space in community with one another, lift up one another’s work, reflect on the Dance/USA Conference experience, and unpack the experience of being a woman of color in a predominately White sector. While the allyship of White folks is generally appreciated, it should be emphasized that this space is exclusively designated for self-identified women of color.* Hosted and facilitated by Women of Color in the Arts (WOCA).

* WOCA uses the term “women” to encompass all those that self-identify as women or with womanhood including non-binary, transgender, cisgender women. Our intention is to uplift and address the very specific ways in which this particular group of people, and their multiple identities, are impacted by various forms of oppression, notably sexism and racism. WOCA uses the term “women of color” as an organizing tool, acknowledging the expression is a political designation, not a biological one, and born out of a solidarity movement originating from the labor of Black women.

About the Curatorial Process for the Programming at the Dance/USA 2023 Conference

Until recently, Dance/USA had an internal process for curating programming at our national Conferences. For the 2023 Conference, we embraced the opportunity to adapt and reimagine new ways of working that amplify Dance/USA’s core values of creativity, connectivity, equity, and integrity and center equity and inclusion.   

In 2022, Dance/USA launched the Conference Programming Impact Group (CPIG), a non-hierarchical coalition of Dance/USA members and non-members. The CPIG was created to increase and broaden the number of voices and perspectives involved in the Conference programming curation process. The CPIG embodies one of the goals of Dance/USA’s Strategic Plan: to operate with equity and inclusion at our core and to embrace a practice of centering new voices and perspectives in roles that will inform shifts in our programs and operations.  

For the past decade, Dance/USA has been on an equity journey rooted in amplifying the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the dance ecosystem. This journey, rooted in dismantling characteristics of white supremacy, reflects the ways in which we are transforming our convenings, programs, organization, and member community into environments that are more equitable, inclusive, and foster an authentic sense of belonging. For our 2023 Conference, we are putting our values into action.

“People think that equity needs to be loud, but it just needs to be consistent” – Dance/USA Trustee and CPIG Co-Chair Jerron Herman 

Co-chaired by Dance/USA Trustee Jerron Herman and Dance/USA member Mark Travis Rivera, the CPIG was multigenerational, and composed of individuals from the Dance/USA member community and the broader dance ecosystem. Members of the CPIG identify as BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and Disabled. The Impact Group was guided and supported by Dance/USA’s strategic partners from Unlock Creative, a Black-led mission-based business that supports and consults arts organizations. 

The CPIG received and evaluated more than 125 sessions following an open call for submissions. In addition, the Impact Group solicited additional input by inviting leaders from the broader dance community to participate in a “Long Table” discussion regarding this year’s Conference programming. 

Reflecting on the curatorial process, Herman said, “I was really scared…. I thought the way that we would actually build something in time for the Conference was a lot, but what we did and how we came to it was really meaningful and the output is really extraordinary.” Rivera commented, “I really enjoy the fact that there [are] a lot more Black and Brown presenters and [breakout session] topics that are intersectional in terms of race, gender, sexuality, immigration and disability because it is [reflective of] the world we are living in.”

Programming at Dance/USA’s 2023 National Conference is not for the dance ecosystem, instead it is reflective of the dance ecosystem.  

Dance/USA is committed to putting our values into action, and the CPIG and their work on this year’s Conference programming is reflective of that commitment. We look forward to continuing to work with the Dance/USA member community and all creative workers from across the community to envision a more just and equitable dance ecosystem.

Conference Programming Impact Group

  • Jerron Herman, Dance/USA Trustee and CPIG Co-Chair 
  • Mark Travis Rivera, Dance/USA Member and CPIG Co-Chair 
  • Krystal Collins, Dance/USA team member 
  • Carol Foster, Dance/USA member and Special Programs Associate, IABD 
  • Kayla Hamilton, Disabled Choreographer and Educator  
  • Sonya Rio-Glick, Disabled Dancer, Choreographer, and Activist  
  • Kerry Lee, Dance/USA Member and Co-Artistic Director, Atlanta Chinese Dance Company, 
  • Deonté Griffin-Quick, Consultant, Unlock Creative 
  • Ashley Walden, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Unlock Creative
Skip to content