Unlocking Dance Pluralism - An Embodied Round Table

Event Type
Event Description

Led by the Dance Center’s Assistant Professor of Critical Dance Studies Dr. Ayo Walker, dance artists Emma Draves (bharatanatyam), J’Sun Howard (modern/ improvisation), Monternez Rezell (Hip-Hop), and Angela Tam (Classical Chinese Dance) invite us to embody the improvisational threads essential to their artistic practices and explore the pivotal role that breath and spontaneity plays in acknowledging, celebrating, and innovating within movement forms and traditions.

Dr. Ayo Walker is a Performance Studies Practitioner, Choreographer, and Dance and African American Studies Educator. As an anti-racist educator, her praxis is committed to substantiating the techniques, vernaculars, and genealogies and embodiment of historically marginalized and othered dance aesthetics. Her work is rooted in visibilizing the “blood memories,” “aesthetic of the cool,” and the “get down” qualities evident in Africanist and Black dance aesthetics. Employing social justice choreography representative of anti-essentialist movement that is at once exposing and undoing stereotypical assumptions historically signifying the Black body politic, her works challenge what performing Blackness is and isn’t.

Emma Draves is a dance artist and educator navigating intertextual spaces of identity. Emma draws from trainings in modern, bharatanatyam, ballet, jazz, and ethnography, to weave work of kinesthetic narrative - derived through colliding multiplicities of physical effort, idiosyncrasy, and emotional landscape.

J’Sun Howard, an award-winning Chicago-based dancemaker and poet, is a 3Arts Awardee, Links Hall Co-MISSION Fellow, a Ragdale Foundation Sybil Shearer Fellow, a Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist, among many other distinctions. He holds an MFA in Dance and a certificate in World Performance Studies from the University of Michigan.

Monternez Rezell, Artistic Director of Movement Revolution Dance Crew, takes street dance to another level by integrating the street culture into concert dance while paying tribute to the founders and originators of the Hip-Hop culture.

Angela Tam is the founding Artistic Director of Yin He Dance Company, a dancer, choreographer, and teaching artist. Angela is devoted to sharing her love of Chinese dance as a performer and educator and choreographs folkloric and contemporary work.

About the American Dancing Bodies Symposium

In 2012, a curricular revolution took place at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago recognizing the American dancing body as a rich fusion of techniques originating in Africa, Europe and the United States. More than a decade since this transformation at the Dance Center, the impact locally and nationally has been profound. The 2-day American Dancing Bodies Symposium invites dance educators, enthusiasts, practitioners, scholars, and students to explore together the intersectionality of present-day dance: what's now and what's next in dance, on the stage, in the studio, and in the classroom?

Running Time
80 minutes
Dance Styles


The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago

1306 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 369-8330