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Power Shift Dialogues

The Festival POWER SHIFT: Improvisation, Activism, and Community (2020), co-curated by Cherie Hill, Hope Mohr, and Karla Quintero, invited artists, activists, and audiences to share in the practice and performance of improvisation. The full program featured voices from contemporary forms, transformative justice, racial justice, Capoeira, and more. As part of this Festival, B.L.A. presented trainings and dialogues for artists, social workers, educators, activists, nonprofit professionals that offered practical and theoretical tools for connecting embodiment to social justice work, legal advocacy, teaching, strategic visioning, and more. An online exhibit also featured a series of recorded and transcribed conversations that offered additional pathways into the practices and perspectives of Black/African American, Latinx/Latin American, Asian American, female-identifying and queer improvisers and social justice activists.  All series trainings and conversations took place online via zoom.

Featured artists/speakers

Nigel Campbell

Jaime Cortez

Liz Lerman

Paloma McGregor

Amy Miller

Michael Orange

Beatrice Thomas.


Artist interviews for the online exhibit were: 

Bjorn Majestik and Miky Hustles of Legendary Cyphers

Debby Kajiyama & José Navarrete of Naka Dance Theater

Aisha Shillingford

Taja Will

Richard Kim

Leslie Heydon

Rebecca Bryant

Headshot of Aishia Shillingford

Photo: Aisha Shillingford

Program History

  • SEPT 8, 2020: Embodiment, Strategic Movement Building, and Long Range Visioning
    An Interview with Aisha Shillingford 

  • SEPT 9, 2020: Life, Storytelling, and Activism As Improvisational Practice
    An Interview with Debby Kajiyama & José Navarrete of Naka Dance Theater

  • SEPT 15, 2020: Race in Contact Improvisation
    A Conversation with Taja Will, Richard Kim, Leslie Heydon, and Rebecca Bryant

  • SEPT 16, 2020: An In Depth Conversation with Bjorn Majestik and Miky Hustles of Legendary Cyphers

  • SEP 26, 2020: Artists as Agents of Change
    Co-facilitated by Gibney Company directors Nigel Campbell and Amy Miller

  • OCT 17, 2020: Anti-Racism Training for the Dance Community
    Facilitated by Beatrice Thomas, co-presented in partnership with Dance Mission Theater & Kambara+

  • OCT 18, 2020: A Conversation about Aesthetic Equity
    with Jaime Cortez, Liz Lerman, Paloma McGregor, & Michael Orange, moderated by Cherie Hill.

  • NOV 21 - 22, 2020: The Keystone of the Arch: Embodied 100 Years Vision
    Co-facilitated by Tammy Johnson & Yalini Dream

Power Shift public dialogues were made possible with funding from San Francisco Grants for the Arts, the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Zellerbach Family Foundation and individual donors. Beatrice Thomas’ Anti-Racism in Training for the Dance Community was co-presented with support from Dance Mission Theater and Kambara+.

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