A Dance of Welcome

Peace is an embodied practice. Dance is a way forward for children living in a volatile world. By creating artistic experiences with intergroup contact, Dance Peace positively disrupt norms of segregation, provides positive and immediate results in prejudice reduction and joy through embodied learning and is intended for areas with insular or divided communities, potential or actual violence, weak interfaith or cross-cultural bonds, and needed Track 3 diplomacy. Our social practice arts interventions inspire an ecology of peace, engagement and entrepreneurship.

We are starting in Chicago.

According to the UN and Amnesty International, around 13.5 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria; here in Chicago, there are currently 30 Syrian refugee families. They have been resettled near a loving but insular community of Orthodox Jews in West Rogers Park. The two communities share public space but also remain disapproving and distrustful. In this bubble-like context, our team has created a performing arts program integrated the Syrian refugees into the neighborhood.

Last spring, I donated workshops for 9 of the Syrian refugee children resettled here. Their hard work and commitment was viewed by a 400 audience at their end of the year recital. What was not necessarily viewed by the audience, is the incredible impact dance has had on these children, myself and the other volunteers. We decided the work had to continue forward and deeper into the needs of this specific neighborhood of divided and insular communities.

Project Components:

  1. Scholarship fund to integrate 10 Syrian refugees into existing, ongoing arts programs (music and dance) in Chicago each year.

  2. Workshop series and collaborative performance by 5-10 Syrian refugee and 5-10 Orthodox Jewish teens in Chicago.

  3. Community performance in spring 2017, Northwest Chicago.

  4. Training for local arts leaders and arts educators (including refugee artists).

Financé par Chicago, IL (November 2016)