Talk About Dance 2015

Sharing stories and inspiring new ideas about the power of dance to create social change

March 8, 2015 | Racism in American Dance

Racial discrimination shamefully has been present throughout America’s history. Half a century after the Civil Rights Movement, economic disparities and social injustices persist across different races and classes in virtually every sector of our society.

This TAD focuses on racism in American concert dance training and performance.The panelists will draw from their personal and professional experiences and share with us ways we can more equitably provide safe, inclusive environments for the dance students and artists whose lives we help shape.


Bithiah Carter, Moderator, Founder and President, New England Blacks in Philanthropy
Musau Dibinga, Managing Director, OrigiNation, Inc.
Janelle Gilchrist, Performing Artist, José Mateo Ballet Theatre
Marianne Harkless, Assistant Director, Benkadi Drum & Dance
Licia McLean, Co-Founder, 4Star Dance Studio
Tyra Sidberry, Former Director, Diversity & Inclusion Initiative, Third Sector New England

June 7, 2015 | Racism in American Dance: Part II

Racism and other discriminatory practices have been a conspicuous part of America’s history and remain deeply seated in our country’s psyche. Half a century after the height of the Civil Right Movement, disparities among different races and classes can still be attributed to lingering attitudes that continue to be reinforced in virtually every sector of our society. These attitudes prevail in dance training and performance environments as overtly as anywhere else.


Tyra Sidberry, Former Director of Diversity and Inclusion Initiative, Third Sector of New England
Leslie Butler Barron, Educator and life-long dancer
Eugenia Kim, Founder/Director of Penumbra:RME
Essence McGill, Co-Chair of Boston Dance Alliance Board
Stephanie Scherpf, Executive Director and Co-founder of Jean Appolon Expressions
Annawon Weeden, Educator/Presenter/Consultant of Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe

December 1, 2015 | Cultural & Spiritual Traditions in Dance

Dance is an integral part of many aspects of our lives, including the cultural and the spiritual. A panel of dance leaders will discuss the roles of tradition, heritage, and religion in their work and in the community. We will explore the diverse ways in which dance is used to create human connections, share stories, preserve history, build bridges between cultures, and more. Stories and contributions from attendees will be welcomed.


Jamie Huggins, Boston Liturgical Dance Ensemble
Edwin Johnson, Moves & Vibes and St. Mary’s Episcopal Church
Marta Moussa, Polynesian Dance Arts
Anjali Nath, Chhandika
Vanessa Osgood, National Liturgical Dance Network
Veronica Robles, Veronica Robles Cultural Center

December 2, 2015 | Dance, Health & Wellness

Dancing promotes physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being. And, staying healthy as a dancer is a unique challenge. This event brings together health and wellness practitioners and dance medicine professionals, all of whom work on the interface of dance and wellness. Panelists will discuss their work in dance medicine, physical therapy, dance/movement therapy, and dance in elder care. Attendees will learn about dance-related health and wellness resources and will then be invited to share their own stories and experiences.


Lauren Elson, M.D., Harvard Medical School & Spaulding-Wellesley Rehab Center
Keyana Jones, Lesley University Dance/Movement Therapy
Donna Newman-Bluestein, MEd, Dance for Connection & Lecturer at Lesley University
Heather Southwick, Director of Physical Therapy, Boston Ballet