Initiative towards a global conversation for Transcultural Fusion Dance
What is it?
The Gathering at the Delta Initiative is a first effort to have a global conversation for Transcultural Fusion Dance, and to collectively imagine what fair trade cultural exchange should look like. The initiative is designed by Donna Mejia, and hosted by the Earthdance Justice and Retreat Center, the Belly Dance Business Academy, and the University of Colorado, Boulder. Recently developed technology allows us to host the event in 12 languages!
- Part 1 is a Colloquium of relevant topics to be held virtually on Saturday, February 27, 2021, Sponsored by Earthdance, 10:00 am - 6:30 pm Eastern Standard Time
- Part 2 is a Digital Performance exploring emerging aesthetics of Transcultural Fusion Dance to be hosted by the Dance Department of University of Colorado, Boulder, October 8 - 10, 2021.
- Part 3 is a Global Survey of participants, to research the demographics, identities, engagement, interpretations and varied motivations for our participation in Transcultural Fusion dance. The survey and accompanying website will be launched in 12 languages July, 2021
Fusion is as old as contact between cultures. We aim to pursue a thoughtful approach to it.
Objective #1. The first generation of this one-day conference aims to provide a platform for intellectual, philosophical, educational and creative exchange between practitioners of the many fusion forms inspired by dances traditions of the MENATH Regions (Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Hellenistic cultures).
Objective #2. This colloquium is also an effort to investigate, imagine and seed new ethical practices in a community that has awakened to the harmful histories of Orientalism, colonialism, genocide and slavery. We understand that our emerging global citizenship must acknowledge interconnection, interdependence, intersectionality, and stewardship.
Objective #3. This initiative establishes a global repository and archive of our generation’s efforts: artistic, intellectual and communal. It includes (1) virtual galleries of dance works from the community, (2) catalogs of interviews with pivotal artists, musicians, producers, activists, scholars, and researchers, and (3) forum summaries from communities around the world and (4) recordings of conference events for future participants and scholars.
Objective #4. This gathering has been designed for affordability and accessibility of presenters and participants from all over the globe. It is an experiment in our emerging global citizenship. Although your design team is hosting the event from an English-speaking country, we aim to provide timely access to events that can be engaged through digital/AI translation services.
Objective #5. This initiative will launch the first global survey of the transnational / transcultural fusion dance community. We aim for this information about who we are individually, and what our lives are like, to inform us beyond stereotypes and assumptions. We know that until we have data about this global art movement, we are without tools to fully understand ourselves… and our legacy. This data will not be sold to commercial entities.
Gathering at the Delta Colloquium Schedule
Saturday, Februrary 27, 10:00 am - 6:30 pm
10:00 am - 11:00 am EST / Opening Circle, Agreements and Movement Meditation
11:30 am - 12:30 on EST / Active Allyship: Addressing the Harm of Colonial Dominance, Slavery, and Orientalist Projections in the Commercialization of Vernacular Dance
1:00 - 3:00 pm EST / Meaningful Listening, A Grounded Knowledge Panel with MENAHT artists
3:30 - 4:30 pm EST / What Would Fair Trade Cultural Exchange Look Like? (Donna Mejia)
5:00 - 6:00 pm EST / Deconstructing and Re-imagining Gender
6:15 - 6:30 pm EST / Conclusion, Comments and a Call-to-Action (GAD Design Committee)
Registration For the Full Conference: $100
We appreciate the need and importance of this work and these presenters.
The full fee we feel we are asking is $100 but there are options to pay less if needed. We have chosen the honor system to self designate what payment option feels true for you right now. We will also welcome generous donations to subsidize other attendees, or support our not-for-profit host Earthdance. We know that Covid-19 has created more need than ever so please reach out to us with any questions or concerns for attendance based on financial circumstances. Financial circumstances should not be an obstacle for accessing this event. We have work exchange (advertisement, translation, and production volunteers) and limited scholarship opportunities.
Invitation to Submit Recorded Transcultural Fusion Dance Work
You are cordially invited by the design team for the Gathering at the Delta Initiative to prepare and submit new or recently recorded fusion dance work for the [un]WRAP Digital Performance on October 4 - 10, 2021 and the Gathering at the Delta online archive! We are looking to showcase work, or selections of larger works that meet the following guidelines:
The last day to submit will be August 1, 2021.
Performances may be up to 10 minutes in length for group or solo work.
We aim to feature works that deliberately investigate and blend multiple dance forms and styles.
Inspiration sources and lineages should be noted in the video as either an announcement from the artist at the beginning of the video, or in the scrolling credits roll at the end of the video.
We request a minimum resolution of 720-1080 definition. However, we will not disqualify a dance work that is less than 720 definition.
Only .mp4 or .mov files will be accepted.
Submissions should also include a photo (.jpg format), single paragraph biography, and website/ contact information for promotional use.
Individuals may only be a choreographer and/ or performer in two submissions maximum.
Artists will maintain ownership of their artistic work but allow Gathering at the Delta to maintain a permanent display/ archive on their website if your work is selected.
By submitting work through this form you authorize the University of Colorado Boulder’s Theatre and Dance department to use the submitted materials in the [un]WRAP show and promotion.
Work will be reviewed by adjudicators who seek exemplary performances for inclusion in a digitally streamed, and ticketed show ([un]WRAP). Selected artists for the ticketed concert will be offered an honorarium of $200 USD for their selected submission. Works will be selected based on ingenuity and integrity of the forms fused while giving consideration to presenting work from as many locales and dance styles as possible. Works accepted only for the archive will not receive honorariums.
Regarding audio: please note that we do have an ASCAP and BMI license through the CU Boulder Theatre and Dance Department, but this does not universally cover “secondary broadcasts' for online streaming. If you do not have permission to use the audio contained in your submission, we may not be able to keep your submission in the online archive.
If you have questions or run into issues using the submission form please email Joanna at: Joanna.Ashleigh@gmail.com
LINK TO SUBMISSION FORM:
Donna Mejia is the first Associate Professor of transcultural fusion dance globally. She is a member of the Theatre and Dance Department at the University of Colorado, and serves as Director of Graduate Studies in Dance. Additionally, she serves as an affiliate faculty member for the Women and Gender Studies Department, and the Ethnic Studies Department. In 2020, Donna was awarded a Faculty Fellowship with the CU Boulder Center for Teaching and Learning, and is an active agent in the decolonization of both higher education and multiple dance arenas. As a transcultural fusion dance artist, Donna Mejia's distinctive aesthetic dialogs the secular dances of North Africa and the Arab World with American Hip Hop dance and sub-genres of electronic dance. Donna also teaches the Brazilian Silvestre Dance Technique and is a lauded representative after thirty years of practice. In October of 2011 she received the Fulbright Association Selma Jeanne Cohen award for International Scholarship in Dance, notably for her paper “Digital Diasporas and Transnational Dance Communities: The Effects of the Internet on Identity Formation and Collective Cultural Memory.” Donna has been guest artist in residence for 17 colleges, and received her Master of Fine Arts degree from Smith College on full fellowship. For 10 years she was a faculty member at Colorado College and Director of the Colorado College International Summer Dance Festival. For twelve years she served as Managing Director of the award-winning Harambee African Dance Ensemble of CU-Boulder under the amazing leadership of Instructor Emerita Letitia Williams. The Harambee ensemble was awarded the prestigious El Pomar Foundation grant, was featured in the March 1996 issue of Dance Magazine, performed for President Bill Clinton and Nobel Laureate Archbiship Desmond Tutu, is part of the Denver International Airport time capsule, and was hailed as the “Best of Boulder” Prior to the 2020 global pandemic she balanced her time teaching and touring internationally to teach, lecture, and perform for private sponsors, festivals and community organizations. For more information, visit her at www.donnainthedance.com
Terri Allred is the co-owner of the Belly Dance Business Academy, creator of FCBD-Style with Veil and co-producer of Reunion, an annual belly dance festival. She brings her life-long career in the sexual assault and domestic violence movement, nonprofit and small business management and degree in feminist theology to her work in the belly dance community. She has studied many forms of belly dance and is currently pursuing certification in Fly Fusion, created by Violet Kind. She lives in Rochester MN with her family and dog, Phoebe. www.bellydancebusinessacademy.com
Brittney Laleh Banaei is a second year MFA Dance Candidate and a part-time Graduate Instructor at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her secondary emphasis are Somatics and International Law. Brittney holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies from Missouri State University. Brittney’s main performance experience is with traditional Raqs Sharqi and Transnational Fusion dance. Her choreographic/research questions involve the intersection of history, politics, surveillance, and culture within dance forms of Middle East and North Africa and their respective diasporas.
Joanna Ashleigh is a Colorado native who’s been studying Middle Eastern and North African folk dances and American fusions of those styles since the mid 2000’s. Always yearning for more knowledge, she sought out and completed her degree in Dance, and minor in Arabic Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. She is also a certified Datura Style Teacher, loves creating collaborative and solo works, and can most often be found by a river in the mountains or snuggled up with a book, and a cat or four.
Amy Sigil is a Mover, Choreographer and Coach. She loves working with teams and novel ideas. She also enjoys bringing movement to people in a variety of settings to facilitate team building, self-understanding, and growth. My life's work is to share movement and research that highlights frameworks and tools for group improvisation, movement sourcing, and choreography techniques.
Jacqueline Westhead is a facilitator, performer, and author with over 25 years of experience. Her passions are steeped in her facilitation work and teaching which are a blend of expressive movement, voice, mind body wisdom and witnessing practices to cultivate awareness, connection and personal growth. Jacqueline continues to study to expand her understanding of humanity, her work, and the role it plays in our evolving world. She is motivated by the active exploration of Awareness, Curiosity and Kindness and how these support us to dismantle oppressive systems and grow our essential personal superpower of Love. If you want to learn more, she published a book called Touching the Invisible: A Field Guide for Living. You can also check out her website soundbodywisdom.com.
Sponsored by The Bellydance Business Academy * Hosted Virtually by Earthdance * Produced with LOVE by Donna Mejia, Amy Sigil, Terri Allred, Joanna Ashleigh, Brittany Banaei and Jacqueline Westhead.