Over the past three years dancer/choreographers Shireen Dickson, Carlye Eckert and Jamila Holman have joined with choreographer/director DJ McDonald and Executive Director Greg Miller to present guerilla dancers and ensembles as part of the annual Dance Parade and DanceFest, the world’s largest single-day public dance event, in community centers, public parks and schools across the metro area, and in outdoor performances in collaboration with the Lincoln Square BID. The Collective’s deeper roots lie in Dancing Through the Light, which McDonald and Miller created, alongside co-producer Steven Estroff. It featured 7 different NYC based ensembles reflecting dance from 3 continents, the sub-continent and Hawai’i at numerous sites across Green-Wood Cemetery in Brrooklyn. This year the Collective emerges onto a platform within DanceFest, on stages and sites, by first presenting 3 distinct ensembles from Native American to Contemporary as the nucleus of a professional outgrowth. The aim will be to take its work further into the streets, plazas, piers, sites, neighborhoods, communities, minds and hearts of NYC.
We aim to take over the city. Not all of it, and not all at once; just to bring the artists we work with and among above the threshold of the sensible allowing them to be recognized and validated along with the largely Native American and immigrant communities from which they spring. Working together with communities we engage in resonant sites across the city, we bring a healing hand and heart to sites of historic conflict, trauma and struggle honoring past present and future as we bring dancing to the streets, parks, plazas, piers and sites of NYC.
ARTISTS OF THE COLLECTIVE:
A professional dancer trained in Horton, Dunham classical modern and fusion styles as exemplified in 2018’s Kara Walker reVERSE-gesture-reVIEW with Thomas F. DeFrantz and SLIPPAGE (video), Shireen has worked in dance and dance education for 17 years. Her art/research focuses on African-American vernacular styles including Tap, Swing, Improvisation, Hip Hop and Traditional Jazz. She is also knowledgeable in international folk styles – Irish Step, Bhangra, Polynesian and Caribbean dance.
Shireen serves as Artistic Director/Performer with The Okra Dance Company offering performances and residencies to schools, libraries and community centers, primarily in urban and under-served communities, in schools, after-school programs and on the college/professional level. Previously she worked as Education Director with the STREB Lab for Action Mechanics, as Choreographic Assistant to Dianne McIntyre, as Young Adolescent Program Coordinator at the East Harlem Tutoring Program, as a Teaching Artist with the Jazz Drama Program at the Louis Armstrong Middle School and as Arts Educator at Vanguard High School,
Dickson produced both the Parade and DanceFest in 2009 and 2010 and then created Dance Parade’s Community Engagement Program, now overseen by Carlye Eckert before joining the Collective. She iis a graduate of Goucher College, Maryland.
Carlye works as a choreographer, performer, teacher, and in arts programming in New York. She is a graduate of the Juilliard School (Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, 2009).
As a performer, Eckert has worked and collaborated with Tino Sehgal, Jonah Bokaer, Jack Ferver, Luke Murphy Dance, Yara Travieso, Lucie Baker, Esme Boyce Dance, The Equus Projects, and appeared as a guest dance artist with Aszure Barton & Artists and Keigwin+Company. She. is a member of the Brian Brooks Moving Company and is currently working with Boris Charmatz/Musee de la Danse.
Her choreographic work has been presented in Portland, Oregon at A-WOL and the West Linn Theater; in NYCi at Judson Church, Center for Performance Research, Triskelion, CAVE, CUNY, Dance New Amsterdam, West End Theater, Dixon Place, Location One, DUMBO Dance Festival, Green Space, The Peter Jay Sharp Theater at Lincoln Center, and The Juilliard School.
Ms. Eckert’s work focuses on activating experiences of community and environment, whether through choreography, dance education, or arts programming. In April 2011, she co-established the performance series, STUFFED: Dinner and Dance at Judson Church, a community program which presents dance artists and feeds hungry audiences on a quarterly basis. Carlye teaches dance at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
In 2005, Jamila began dancing at Madison Square Garden for the New York Knicks and was chosen to perform in shows in China, with John Legend and Paul McCartney. Currently, Jamila tours arenas nationwide as a choreographer and back-up dancer with R&B star Lisa Lisa of Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam. Her dance career in NYC began in 2003 with renowned Jazz choreographer Frank Hatchett and soon after was featured in his “VOP” instructional jazz dance DVD as well as assisting Hatchett in numerous dance conventions.
Growing up in Springfield, MA, Holman began her training under Hatchett’s principal dancer Kim Norrington and was promoted by choreographers at the Broadway Dance Center and Hunter College. Her training varies in styles from ballet, to jazz, tap, hip-hop and African. As a teacher she has assisted the late Hatchett at conventions such as The Dance Teachers Summit, NADAA, with the New York Knicks Cheering for Children Organization and at New York City’s most popular gyms such as Crunch and David Barton.
DJ has been immersed in dance, theater, film/video, music and visual arts, as well as management, production, curation, development, marketing/PR, touring, education and community engaged art activities for more than two decades. Initially this came about in support of his own professional contemporary dance and theater company, and later as co-producer of a professional cabaret and dinner theater, NYC’s annual Dance Parade and Festival, and as Industry Spotlight Coordinator for Asian American Film Lab. Dancing Through The Light: Greenwood Cemetery Celebrates Life, Death, and Culture Through Dance.
As a performer, he has worked with several notable choreographers, directors, companies, and projects, most recently as one of 6 principal performers in Nameless forest created by Dean Moss in collaboration with an international cast of visual, musical and technical artist. DJ continues to publish occasionally and has contributed as a writer for Village Voice and other publications including the blogs Culturebot and City Of Glass.
Having worked 14 years in management for Fortune 500 companies (Lehman Brothers, EDS, Bosch, ANA, Revlon and Cablevision, Greg has been serving as an arts administrator to non-profits since 2003 when he co-produced the Fall Collection, a mixed media festival in the Lower East Side.
Drawing on his love of dance and cultural experience in living nine years abroad, Greg founded Dance Parade, Inc. in 2006. Greg supports and oversees the Collective by bringing his ”One Parade-Many Cultures” vision to it, encouraging as many artistic and vibrant forms of movement and community activist engagement as possible. The Collective nourishes a network of those who will cross generations and cultures to unite and celebrate under the umbrella of dance.
Motivated by the healing qualities of dance, he practices Salsa, Swing, Roller and Gabrielle Roth’s 5 Rhythms, a conscious movement discipline. He was recently the General Manager of Nimbus Dance Works, Jersey City’s preeminent dance company, currently consults for non-profits and serves on the Advisory Board of Neville Dance Theater. Movement of the People Collective represents his most audacious venture.