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Hands are for Holding, a Program by Gibney Dance, Continues to Combat Domestic Violence

Hands are for Holding, a Program by Gibney Dance, Continues to Combat Domestic Violence

Published on March 29, 2017
Photo by Scott Shaw.

Performance and Symposium On March 9 Addressed Bullying and Teen Dating Violence

In an ongoing effort to increase awareness of and address the issues surrounding teen dating violence, bullying and domestic violence, Gibney Dance, in partnership with the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, presented a special Hands are for Holding assembly on Thursday, March 9 at 10 a.m. at the organization’s 280 Broadway location in Lower Manhattan.

Photo credit: Scott Shaw.

The event also recognized Spectrum — America’s fastest growing TV, internet and voice company — as the new lead sponsor of Hands are for Holding, Gibney Dance’s school-based enrichment program that uses dance as a tool to engage students in the subjects of teen-dating violence and bullying. Students, elected officials and business leaders from across New York City took part in a performance, talk-back and symposium conceived to raise awareness of bullying and teen dating violence, while offering insight into creating and maintaining healthy relationships and identify additional resources available in the New York area.

Photo credit: Scott Shaw.

A cornerstone of Gibney Dance’s Community Action Program devoted to social justice causes, Hands are for Holding takes place throughout the year in New York City schools and involves short performances by professional dancers from Gibney Dance Company, followed by talk-backs with community educators. The goal is to help students identify signs of bullying and abusive relationships and provide them with preventative actions as well as information on where and how to get help should they find themselves in any kind of an abusive relationship. Dance provides a particularly resonant tool, in that students readily relate to the physical support offered to someone in a dance and the parallels with emotional support offered in a relationship. Thanks to new lead sponsor Spectrum, Gibney Dance is able to employ more dance artists than ever before to implement Hands are for Holding, which will reach even more diverse student populations in more neighborhoods throughout New York City.

Gibney Dance Community Action also provides New York City domestic violence shelters with over 365 free movement workshops each year. At these workshops Company members share activities that draw from artistic practices to address issues of choice and self-expression. Initiated in 2000 in collaboration with Sanctuary for Families, one of the country’s most prominent domestic violence agencies, the program has also partnered with agencies including Safe Horizon and Day One. Widely regarded as a model in the field, Community Action’s methods for integrating arts and social action are distributed nationally via Institute for Community Action Training, which hosts dancers annually from across the U.S., and internationally through Global Community Action Residencies, most recently in Istanbul, Turkey and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

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