The Re-Emancipation of Social Dance

Thu Jun 20 2024 at 07:30 pm to Sat Jun 22 2024 at 10:30 pm

Christ Church Neighborhood House | Philadelphia

Intercultural Journeys
Publisher/HostIntercultural Journeys
The Re-Emancipation of Social Dance
You're invited to a house party, with five Philadelphia-based, generation-crossing, genre-defying artists as your hosts.
About this Event

The Re-Emancipation of Social Dance is an invitation to a house party, where five Philadelphia-based, generation-crossing, genre-defying artists will be your hosts. This party blends storytelling with choreography, performance, and multimedia to tell the story of social dance and its impact on people and culture. Created by Raja Feather Kelly and Yolanda Wisher, this one of a kind experience illuminates the timely power of these communal, propulsive gatherings as channels for cultural expression, freedom, and ultimately, change.

Featuring artists Germaine Ingram, Lela Aisha Jones, Nikki Powerhouse, Vitche-Boul Ra, and Mark Wong, this is one house party you won't want to miss.


Choreographer/Director is the artistic director of dance-theatre-media company the feath3r theory (founded in 2009). In 2018 the feath3r theory merged with New Brooklyn Theatre. Raja has been awarded a Creative Capital Award (2019), a National Dance Project Production Grant (2019), a Breakout Award from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (2018), Dance Magazine's inaugural Harkness Promise Award (2018), the Solange MacArthur Award for New Choreography (2016), and is a three-time Princess Grace Award winner (2017, 2018, 2019). He was born in Fort Hood, Texas and holds a B.A. in Dance and English from Connecticut College.

Raja has been named as the 2022-23 Quinn Martin Director a the University of California San Diego. In 2019–2020 Raja was the Randjelovic/Stryker Resident Commissioned Artist at New York Live Arts and is an inaugural Jerome Hill Artist Fellow. Raja has also been awarded a New York Dance Performance "Bessie" Award, a Bessie Schonberg Fellowship at The Yard, a DanceWEB Scholarship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Choreography Fellowship, a HERE Arts Fellowship, 2018 Creator-in-Residence at Kickstarter, and a Choreography Fellowship at the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU. 

 Over the past decade he has created fifteen evening-length works with his company the feath3r theory to critical acclaim. Most recently, UGLY (Black Queer Zoo) at The Bushwick Starr, and We May Never Dance Again® at The Invisible Dog in Brooklyn.  Professionally, Raja has performed with Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group, David Dorfman Dance, Kyle Abraham|Abraham.In.Motion, and zoe | juniper. He has also managed a number of dance companies: Race Dance, Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, zoe | juniper, and Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group.

Since 2016, Raja has choreographed extensively for Off-Broadway theatre in New York City, most notably for Signature Theatre, Soho Rep, and New York Theatre Workshop and Playwrights Horizons. Frequent collaborators include: Lileana Blain-Cruz, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Sarah Benson, and Lila Neugebauer. Other theatre credits include choreography for Skittles Commercial: The Musical (Town Hall), The Chronicles of Cardigan and Khente (SohoRep), Everyday Afroplay (JACK), GURLS (Princeton University, Yale Repertory Theatre), Electric Lucifer (The Kitchen), Lempicka (Williamstown Theatre Festival), The House That Will Not Stand (New York Theatre Workshop), Fireflies (Atlantic Theatre Company), If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka (Playwrights Horizons, nominated for the 2019 Lucille Lortel Award and the 2019 Chita Rivera Award for Outstanding Choreography), The Good Swimmer (BAM), and Faust (Opera Omaha). Most recent work: A Strange Loop (Playwrights Horizons), Fairview (Soho Rep, Berkeley Rep, TFANA and winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama).

Poet, musician, educator, and curator is author of Monk Eats an Afro. Wisher performs a blend of poetry and song with her band Yolanda Wisher & The Afroeaters and produced their debut album Doublehanded Suite, released in 2022. Her writing has been featured in numerous literary journals as well as The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, CBC Radio, the Academy of American Poets' Poem-a-Day series, and the Poetry Foundation's Audio Poem of the Day series. Wisher has been commissioned to create new works of poetry by ICA Philadelphia, Fabric Workshop and Museum, HealthSpark Foundation, The Public Interest Law Center, Philadelphia Peace Plaza Committee, Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, and Philadelphia Jazz Project, among others. Wisher has been a poet in residence at Hedgebrook and Aspen Words, and she has taught poetry at K-12 schools, community organizations, prisons, social service agencies, and colleges and universities. A Pew and Cave Canem Fellow, Wisher received the Leeway Foundation's Transformation Award in 2019 for her commitment to art for social change and was named a Philadelphia Cultural Treasures Artist Fellow in 2022.

The Re-Emancipation of Social Dance has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. The initial planning phase for the project was undertaken in conjunction with Philadelphia Contemporary.


Event Venue & Nearby Stays

Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N. American Street, Philadelphia, United States


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