Jun 13, 2020
Jun 14, 2020

La MaMa Moves! Presents: Secret Journey: Stop Calling Them Dangerous Online

La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival in partnership with Movement Research
La MaMa Moves Curator: Nicky Paraiso
Concept by Yoshiko Chuma,
as part of the series Secret Journey

a black arrow pointing downward

A Panel Symposium with long-table discussions over two days. The Panel Symposium includes conversations between Yoshiko Chuma, Deniz Atlı, Los Babuinos, Ginger Dolden, Grace Hoop, Ryan Leach, Nicky Paraiso, David Roussève, Tanin Torabi and dance artists from around the world. Secret Journey: “Stop Calling Them Dangerous”includes discussions that examine stories about oppression, marginalization, prejudice and profiling.

Introductions by Mia Yoo & Anna Adams Stark

Moderated by Yoshiko Chuma, Nicky Paraiso, & Ryan Leach


This discussion will include:

Los Babuinos (Manzanilla, Venezuela)

Grace Hoop (Hong Kong)

David Roussève (Los Angeles, California)


This discussion will include:

Deniz Atlı (Ankara, Turkey)

David Roussève (Los Angeles, California)

Tanin Torabi (Tehran, Iran)

La MaMa’s Panel Symposium will enable artists to explore their ideas and translate them into a theatrical language that can communicate to diverse artists and members of the dance community. It is also a place where emerging artists learn from established artists and where artists from around the globe share work and ideas. To avoid the discussions from being overly prepared we will be introducing a simple and engaging structure for the panel wherein we will allow space for connection and honesty. In each panel discussion, an audience will have to suggest a topic for discussion. This way we will guarantee that the discussion is fresh.

Yoshiko Chuma (New York/Japan)
Cutting-edge choreographer/ director/ Instigator / movement-explorer / performer Yoshiko Chuma continues a lifetime obsession with the mythology of danger. Landing in New York in 1976, Chuma settled in lower downtown Manhattan, labelled as a dangerous place to be at the time. Devoid of the culture and inflation you see before you now, Yoshiko managed to begin her career in lower Manhattan, spanning an impressive 41 year career to date. Creating over 100 productions, including company works, commissions and site-specific events, Chuma is constantly challenging the notion of performance for both audience and participants. Crossing physical and metaphorical borders along the way, quite literally, Chuma has placed herself in dangers way for the sake of art.

She has crossed the border between East and Central Europe in the earlier 90s, crossed the border to Palestine for over 10 years since 2005, the border between Albania and Kosovo in 2007, the border to Afghanistan in 2014, the border to Maracaibo, Venezuela in 2014 among many more. Forbidden realms for some but centers of creation for Chuma, as her visits to these locations challenge preconceived ideas of danger and have brought about some of the most beautiful experiences. Chuma intentionally proposes to confuse documentation with history, recreating segments from her own documented events.  She never gives herself any boundaries or let them interfere with her work.  Making art is not her intention at all.  All of her efforts are oriented towards giving to performances that have never been seen before.  Having received no formal dance training, she pursues spontaneous and experimental techniques and methods of construction.  Her creative process begins with single movement (dance) or abstract image conveyed to her film making pattern. She once presented a crumpled piece of drowning to her team and requested a single movement that expressed similar qualities. Project after project, year after year, she upends conventional notions of dance and disrupts accepted characteristics of performance. Her performances not only stand apart from the genealogy of dance but also resist definition and confound interpretation – endless peripheral borders.

Headshot of Deniz Atlı

Turkish performance artist Deniz Atlı is working in multi-disciplinary arts fields, nourished mostly from theatre, dance, gymnastics, architecture and graphic design. After studying Interior Architecture and Environmental Design, she has completed her master’s (in Turkey) and got her PhD degree (in UK) on Architectural Lighting. She has worked with different theatre and dance companies in Ankara and İstanbul including State Theatre Company. In order to accelerate her own artistic creations and provide a shared space for artists from different fields, she founded her studio Platform Sanat and the dance company Platform Dance Theatre on 2014 in Ankara. Since then, she has been collaborating with both national and international artists, hosting companies, workshops and creating both performance and short film projects. She won best film, best director, best choreography, best performance awards with many of her short dance film productions and they have been screened in national and international platforms. She has been working with Studio Matejka in Grotowski Institute, Poland since 2017 on physical theatre projects. Also, since 2015, she has been teaching movement, dance and physical theatre in Bilkent University Theatre Department, where she met with Yoshiko. They had a delightful day and ate a delicious, giant fish. Deniz has participated in five productions of Yoshiko Chuma and School of Hard Knocks in Dock 11 (in Berlin) and LaMama Move Dance Festival (in New York) until now. Deniz keeps working on her solo and collaborative productions in interdisciplinary fields. Photo Credit Beril Gür

Headshot of Los Babuinos

We are “Los Babuinos,” an artistic company that mixes circus, dance and physical theater creating an unique language to share our feelings for performing arts. Nomads, primitives, dreamers, movement searchers, we’re willing to explore and exchange all the different ways to express art.We are two great Venezuelan artists with a long background nationaly and internationaly,  currently doing a master’s degree in physical theater at the Dimitri Theater Academy in Switzerland. We started Manzanoarte Social Arts Project in March 2018. Since then we are dedicated to be a platform for developing social activities for new generation of Venezuelan artists. We believe in Venezuelan talent and we want to value it. In 2018 we met Yoshiko Chuma in Tic Tac Art Centre, an alternative art space in Brussels, Belgium. Created by David Zambrano and Mat Voorter. During the opening week of Tic Tac  we explained to Yoshiko Chuma that we have a social art project in Venezuela and immediately she said: I want to go there! We couldn’t believe it, but in march 2019 Yoshiko Chuma came to Venezuela to perform in our social festival MANZANOARTE. Now we are in Brussels again, we got stuck because of CoronaVirus, we came to perform in some festivals and then borders closed.  After two months confinate in a friend home we came back again to David Zambrano and Mat Voorter Home to spent time with them until the borders open again.

Headshot of Ginger Dolden

Ginger Dolden is a multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, and teaching artist based in Brooklyn New York. Recently, she been seen live on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Last Call with Carson Daly and has performed at Roulette, Issue Project Room, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Ace Hotel, La MaMa, Joe’s Pub, Jalopy, Barbés, and The American Folk Art Museum. She has worked and recorded with artists including: Anthony Braxton, John Cale, Anthony Coleman, Yoshiko Chuma, Tony Conrad, Holly Miranda, Durand Jones and the Indications, The Hot Sardines and performs with The String Orchestra of Brooklyn and The Chelsea Symphony.

Headshot of Grace Hoop

A hoop dancer and an instructor, Grace Hoop was trained in Berlin from 2014 to 2016 and 2018 summer. She participated in numerous hoop conventions throughout Germany, where experiences include performing, choreographing and conducting workshops. Grace is now based in Hong Kong and she is passionate in stimulating the hoop culture. Recent projects include 《 BAUHAUS Magic Flute by Zuni Icosahedron 》, 《 Circular Reflection – The Abstract Cosmos 》 by Orleanlaiproject, 《 Secret Journey, Stranger Than Paradise 》 by Yoshiko Chuma (Berlin), impromptu performance in Sónar and Clockenflap Music and Art Festivals. In 2017, Grace received The Hoopie Awards – “Hooper of the Year Asia” by hooping.org. Grace’s hoop dance is a form of free movement with hoop manipulation. It gives unlimited opportunities for discovering new moves, inspiring others, exploring the feeling of freedom with a tremendous amount of joy.

Headshot of Chris Ignacio

Chris Ignacio is a Filipino-American theatre artist, musician, puppeteer, producer and educator. He has toured nationally and abroad since graduating from The Boston Conservatory at Berklee. He is a Culture Push Fellow for Utopian Practice, and Queens Council on the Arts: Community Engagement Commissioning grantee for his self-produced project Co-written, which involves collaborative songwriting with young people of color. Chris served as Associate Producer for the Obie Award Winning Ma-Yi Theater (KPOP), and currently works at La MaMa ETC. As a performer, Chris often shares the stage with resident theatre artists and puppeteers at La MaMa, such as Theodora Skipitares, Loco7 Dance Puppet Theatre, and Yara Arts Group. He has sung at Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub, National Sawdust and more.

Headshot of Ryan Leach

Ryan Leach (he/him) is a New York based actor, writer and comedian originally from Virginia. Film credits include We Demand (Berlinale 2016, BAM), Little Men (Sundance) and The Ducks Migration (OUTFest, Queer Lisboa). Television credits include Comedy Central’s The Other Two and At Home With Amy Sedaris on TruTV. He has performed at La MaMa, HERE Arts Center, Ars Nova, Dixon Place and the New York International Fringe Festival. His comedy can be seen at Broadway Comedy Club, MTV News, StandUp NY, Littlefield, Union Hall, The Bell House, Upright Citizens Brigade, Caveat and more. He is proud to be a co-founder of Awf Magazine — the first online LGBTQ+ satire publication. Photo by Alex Schaefer

La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club is dedicated to the artist and all aspects of the theatre. We are a creative home to artists and audiences from around the world, and a dynamic hub for risk-taking new performance. A vital part of New York City’s cultural fabric, La MaMa has a worldwide reputation for producing theatre, dance, music, and performance art that defies form and embraces all identities. Founded in 1961 by theatre legend Ellen Stewart, La MaMa is the only original Off-Off-Broadway venue still in operation. Ellen established La MaMa as a haven for underrepresented artists to experiment with new work, without the pressures of commercial success. Today, we maintain an environment of uncensored creative freedom, where artists of all backgrounds and identities can develop work that pushes the boundaries of what is possible onstage.

La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival is presented at The Ellen Stewart Theatre and the Downstairs Theatre & Lounge. This season’s programming continues to support La MaMa’s commitment to presenting diverse performance styles that challenge audience’s perception of dance, and will feature performance/installations, experimental film screenings & public symposiums which address dance artists’ engagement with the current political climate, as well as honoring diasporic histories and legacy, ancestral inspirations and inter-generational dialogue.

Movement Research is one of the world’s leading laboratories for the investigation of dance and movement-based forms. Valuing the individual artist, their creative process and their vital role within society, Movement Research is dedicated to the creation and implementation of free and low-cost programs that nurture and instigate discourse and experimentation. Movement Research strives to reflect the cultural, political and economic diversity of its moving community, including artists and audiences alike. Movement Research accomplishes its mission through a range of programs including ongoing classes and workshops; creative residencies offered for movement-based artists; annual festivals; and publications and public events providing artists with forums for discourse on a broad range of issues.

Headshot of Nicky Paraiso

Nicky Paraiso is an actor, singer, musician, writer, curator, solo performance artist. He has been a fixture of the NY downtown performance scene for the last four decades. He is Director of Programming for The Club at La MaMa, and Curator for the annual La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival, celebrating its fifteenth year in May 2020. He has worked as a performer with vanguard artists Jeff Weiss & Richard C. Martinez, Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble, Yoshiko Chuma & The School of Hard Knocks, among many others. Nicky is the recipient of a 1987 Bessie Award for Performance, a 2012 BAX Arts & Artists in Progress Arts Management Award, a 2018 TCG Fox Fellowship for Resident Actors/Round 12, and the 2019 (NY Innovative Theatre) Ellen Stewart Award for Stewardship. Nicky’s most recent full-length performance, now my hand is ready for my heart: intimate histories, directed by John Jesurun, was presented at La MaMa in March 2019. Photo: Jackie Rudin

Headshot of David Roussève

David Roussève, is a choreographer/writer/director/performer, a magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University and a Guggenheim Fellow.  His dance/theater company REALITY has performed throughout the UK, Europe, S. America, and the U.S including three commissions for the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival.  Commissions include Houston Ballet, Ballet Hispanico, Cleo Parker Robinson, Dancing Wheels, Atlanta Ballet, and Ilkhom Theater Co. of Tashkent, Uzbekistan. In 2017 David choreographed Kurt Weil’s “Lost in the Stars” for director Anne Bogart, SITI company, and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra; as well as the piece “Enough?” for the San Francisco duet company RAWdance, a work that asks whether dance can address social movements like Black Lives Matter.  In June 2018 Enough?” was performed by Lula Washington Dance Theater at the Ford Theater.  In 2018 David’s evening-length REALITY work “Halfway to Dawn” premiered at REDCAT in Los Angeles prior to national touring from 2018-2020 including the company’s return to the BAM Next Wave Festival and to Jacob’s Pillow.  David has created three short films, the most recent screening at festivals in 11 countries and receiving 10 awards including 4 for “Best Film”. Other awards include a “Bessie”, Creative Capital Fellowship, 3 Horton Awards, CalArts/Alpert Award in Dance, and 7 consecutive NEA fellowships. David was published in collections by Bantam Press and Rutledge Press, was twice a Fellow in the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriter Lab, and just completed “Twit”, a feature screenplay based on his 2014 dance/theater work “Stardust”. At UCLA Roussève is Distinguished Professor of Choreography in the department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance.  For the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture David has served as Associate Dean (2014-15), Acting Dean (2015), and Interim Dean (2015-17).

Headshot of Anna Adams Stark

Anna Adams Stark is a performer and arts administrator based in NYC. She was raised in Normal, Illinois and holds her degree from the University of Iowa. As a performer she has worked with Kim Brandt, the A.O. Movement Collective, Kendra Portier, Laurie Berg & Bessie McDonough-Thayer, Ivy Baldwin Dance, Levi Gonzalez, Tara Aisha Willis, among others. Anna was a founding producer of RoofTop Dance (2010-2013) and ROVE (2014). She has worked as a company manager and freelance stage-manager. Anna worked at Dance New Amsterdam from 2009-2013. She joined the staff at Movement Research in 2014, where she currently is the Managing Director.

Headshot of Tanin Torabi

Tanin Torabi (طنین ترابی) is an award-winning contemporary dance artist, director, and curator based in Iran. She works in the realm of performance, choreography, and film, and enjoys exploring the connection between the three. Her dance films have received numerous awards in categories like “Creative Vision Award”, “Best Artist Film”, “Best Short Film Jury Prize”, “Best Inspirational Film”, “Best Inspiring Woman in a Film”, “Best Experimental Film”, “Best Cinematography” and “Best Documentary”, to name a few, from renowned festivals and have been shown and studied in more than a hundred festivals worldwide. Torabi holds an MA in Contemporary Dance from the University of Limerick in Ireland, and a BA in Sociology. She is also the co-founder and artistic director of Seyr Festival, Tehran’s International Festival of Screen-Movement and Media Arts. Torabi has widely worked in collaboration with international, as well as Iranian artists in her works. She has choreographed and performed a number of solo dance pieces in Iran and Europe and has worked for some theatre companies as a Movement Director in Tehran. She also has performed in ensemble pieces by international choreographers during her stay in Ireland. Since 2020 she became a member of The School of Hard Knocks and has been working in close relationship with NYC based choreographer Yoshiko Chuma ever since. www.tanintorabi.art Photo credit: Milad Sanaei

La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival


La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival continues to support La MaMa’s commitment to presenting diverse performance styles that challenge audience’s perception of dance by featuring performance/installations, experimental film screenings & public symposiums which address dance artists’ engagement with the current political climate, as well as honoring diasporic histories and legacy, ancestral inspirations and inter-generational dialogue.

Online Happenings


Presented by La MaMa and CultureHub, La MaMa is exploring ways to respond creatively to a situation that is potentially changing how we gather as a community in our theatres. La MaMa is working with CultureHub to provide online streaming of select productions and events on Howlround Theatre Commons.

Special Event