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Pioneers Go East Collective presents "Crossroads" at Judson Memorial Church (FREE)

Pioneers Go East Collective presents "Crossroads" at Judson Memorial Church (FREE)


Pioneers Go East Collective


Judson Memorial Church
55 Washington Square South (between Thompson and Sullivan Streets)
New York, NY


Thursday, November 4, 2021 - 8:00pm
Thursday, December 9, 2021 - 8:00pm
Thursday, December 16, 2021 - 8:00pm



Pioneers Go East Collective



New York, NY (October 13, 2021) – CROSSROADS is a dance, film, and cross-disciplinary performance series centering the work of queer, BIPOC, and feminist artists. Presented by Pioneers Go East Collective, the fall 2021 series will feature in-progress works by 12 artists with diverse aesthetic and conceptual approaches to dance and performance-making. 

Pioneers Go East Collective launched CROSSROADS in 2017 in partnership with Judson Memorial Church. The format provides artists with both an opportunity to present work in a low-pressure setting that encourages experimentation and a space to share their creative practices with other artists and audiences. The series is multigenerational, focusing on community to foster a network of support, exchange, and dialogue. In addition to the performances, CROSSROADS offers workshops by participating artists and Pioneers Go East collaborators.

The fall 2021 curatorial team includes guest artist/curator Hilary Brown-Istrefi (creative director of Same As Sister and a Jerome Foundation awardee), Philip Treviño (Bessie Award-winning lighting designer, co-founder of Pioneers Go East Collective), and Gian Marco Riccardo Lo Forte (NYSCA awardee and co-founder of Pioneers Go East Collective). 

Performances will take place November 4 and December 9 and 16, at 8pm, at Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South (between Thompson and Sullivan Streets), in Manhattan. Judson’s accessible entrance is at 243 Thompson Street. Use the elevator to get to the Meeting Room on Level 3. Performances are free and open to the public. Advance registration required at https://pioneersgoeast.org/upcoming.

All guests will be required to show proof of vaccination and to wear a face covering at all times while they are at Judson Church. Please note that the performers will perform maskless, but are fully vaccinated and observing New York State’s Department of Health protocols for in-person events.


CROSSROADS Fall 2021 Schedule

Thursday, November 4, 8pm 

  • Sheree Campbell
  • Yoshiko Chuma and Dane Terry
  • Valerie Green 
  • Film by Anabella Lenzu 
  • Film by Pioneers Go East Collective featuring Daniel Diaz
  • Ani Taj/Dance Cartel


Thursday, December 9, 8pm 

  • Curator: Hilary Brown-Istrefi 
  • gorno (Glenn Potter-Takata)
  • Film by Yuan Liu
  • Arien Wilkerson/Tnmot Aztro


Thursday, December 16, 8pm 

  • Film by Janessa Clark 
  • Jasmine Hearn 
  • Amanda Loulaki  
  • Lydia Mokdessi 


2021 NEXT! Workshops

With Yoshiko Chuma (December 4, 12–2pm), Joey Kipp (December 9, 12–2pm), and Jasmine Hearn (December 16, 12–2pm).

A storytelling and movement-based workshop series, NEXT! is a creative engagement program that draws from the participants’ life experiences. Designed for multigenerational participants, the workshop focuses on performance and storytelling techniques including movement practices, creative writing, and interview-based acting. The goal is to create a nurturing learning environment and build stronger bonds within the participants’ community.

NEXT! Workshops will be held at Judson Memorial Church. Workshops are free and all are welcome. Advance registration required at https://pioneersgoeast.org/upcoming.


About the Series

CROSSROADS is dance + art + film + community. 

CROSSROADS was launched in 2017 in partnership with Judson Memorial Church. This collaboration carries forward a joint commitment to providing a safe and high-visibility forum to present experimental and emerging dance performance. The series builds community and invaluable awareness through the facilitation of free public workshops and panel discussions. These activities highlight the powerful connections between the lead artists’ creative practices and social advocacy work. CROSSROADS centers the voices of queer and BIPOC artists—many of whom are immigrants or first-generation U.S. citizens—to focus on the intersection of ideas, cultures, and meanings. 

The series is curated by Pioneers Go East Collective and one of the collective’s artists-in-residence. The format provides the opportunity to present work in a low-pressure setting that encourages experimentation. At the same time, the workshops and panel discussions build frameworks to share multicultural stories and spark creative dialogue through contemporary dance-based projects focused on inclusion and advocacy. Such risk-taking is crucial to developing new work, furthering artistic practice, and promoting dialogue within communities around aesthetic diversity and personal journeys. 


About the Artists 

Yoshiko Chuma (conceptual artist, choreographer/artistic director of The School of Hard Knocks) has been a firebrand in the postmodern dance scene in New York City since the 1980s, and has consistently been producing thought-provoking work that is neither dance nor theater nor film nor any other pre-determined category. She has traveled to more than 40 countries and worked with over 2000 artists, thinkers, and collaborators of every genre since establishing her company, the School of Hard Knocks, in New York City in 1980.

Dane Terry (Yoshiko Chuma collaborator) is a multimedia story-maker, performer, and composer. He has made stories and music for all sorts of rooms and situations. He has been up to this for quite some time and intends to stay up to it. He was the writer, composer, and lead performer of the musical fiction podcast Dreamboy (Night Vale Presents, 2018). Works for stage include Jupiter’s Lifeless Moons (PSNY, 2018) and Bird In The House (La MaMa, 2015, Under The Radar Festival, 2016). Terry was the 2016 recipient of the Ethyl Eichelberger Award.

Janessa Clark is a Bessie Award-nominated choreographer, performer, and installation artist. Her practice combines dance, movement, video, language, and social engagement. She holds an MA in performance practices and research from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London where she also received distinction for her thesis “Vicious Terrain: Rupturing Choreography through Co-Authorship.” Clark also holds a BFA in choreography from the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University where she received the Undergraduate Award for Excellence for her choreographic work. She founded and directed the New York City-based dance collective Janessa Clark/KILTERBOX from 2001 to 2012; in 2012 dissolved KILTERBOX to form nomadthenewcompany, which worked from Stockholm until 2017. She now creates work under her own name. As a dancer and performer, Clark has collaborated with acclaimed artists such as Tino Sehgal, Gina Gibney/Gibney Dance, Noemie Lafrance Sens|Production, Michael Cole, Laura Peterson Choreography, Lior Lerman, and Disa Krosness, among others. She has collaborated on performative photographic/visual art projects with Alex Yudzon, Martin Cooper, Christopher Matthews, and Craig Wells. Clark’s recent accomplishments include a 2021 Bessie Award nomination for Outstanding Production for her work Communion, the 2020 Crojik’s Largesse from the Croft Residency, and a 2019 artist fellowship in St. Petersburg, Russia, through CEC ArtsLink’s prestigious Back Apartment Residency program. Prior to that she was a 2018–19 Artist in Residence at Jamaica Center for Arts and a 2018 resident at the Visionary Artist Residency in Mount Vision, NY. Clark’s choreography and installations have been presented throughout the U.S. and Europe, most notably at HERE Arts Center (NY), Danspace Project Out-of-Space (NY), SDVIG and NCCA (St. Petersburg, Russia), CounterPULSE (San Francisco), Teatro Victoria (Spain), Teatro Cicca (Spain), and Danscentrum (Stockholm). 

gorno (Glenn Potter-Takata) is an artist of Japanese descent working in video, performance, and butoh. Originally from Los Angeles, he relocated to the Bronx in 2017 to pursue an MFA at Sarah Lawrence College where he focused on multimedia performance and studied butoh under Kota Yamazaki and Mina Nishimura. “My work seeks an aesthetic that is uniquely Japanese American, deconstructing an American Japanese-diasporic experience by elevating Japanese capitalist iconography to the status of holy. In the postwar Japanese economic development, the literal imperialism of wartime Japan has been replaced with a cultural imperialism, where capitalist iconographies like Pokémon, Godzilla, and Hello Kitty are proliferated abroad as commerce. Those of us growing up abroad use these cultural exports to fill in the blank where information from our family is omitted, which I have always found unnerving, even though I am definitely one of those-types-of-people. I use this as a platform to look at the legacy of Japanese internment camps and to challenge Eurocentric thought patterns with radical declarations of diasporic absurdness.” gorno’s work has been presented at Gibney, Movement Research, and HERE Arts Center, among other venues.

Valerie Green has been an active dancer, choreographer and teacher in the New York City dance community since 1995. She created her own company, Dance Entropy, in 1998, adding a permanent company home in 2005 called Green Space.  Green has created 41 dances, including 10 evening-length works. Her choreography has been seen throughout NYC and has also toured to various venues throughout the U.S. Green has also toured to Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, France, Georgia, Greece, Guatemala, India, Italy, Poland, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, and Cuba both as VG/DE’s artistic director and as an individual teaching and performing artist. As a teacher, Green integrated classical modern technique with her own somatic-based movement practice to develop an individualized style called Dance Your Frame. She also leads movement workshops for non-dance populations rooted in the philosophy that all bodies can benefit from dance. 

Jasmine Hearn was born and raised on occupied lands now known as Houston, TX. They are an interdisciplinary artist, director, choreographer, organizer, teaching artist, and a 2021 Bessie- nominated and a 2017 Bessie Award-winning dancer and performer. For 10 years, they have developed and shared solo and ensemble dance theater performances rooted in the facilitation of creative spaces for remembering, feeling, and imagining. Hearn has creatively collaborated with multidisciplinary artists Solange Knowles, Alisha B. Wormsley, Vanessa German, Ayanah Moor, Holly Bass, Kendra Portier, Kate Watson Wallace, and Li Harris, who have produced solo and collective embodied performances at the Guggenheim Museum, the Getty Center, Venice Biennale 2019, the Ford Foundation, New York Live Arts, Danspace Project, BAAD!, Kelly Strayhorn Theater, and other internationally acclaimed art spaces. They have also had the pleasure to perform premiere and repertory pieces with companies Urban Bush Women, David Dorfman Dance, Helen Simoneau Danse, Dance Alloy Theater, and the August Wilson Dance Ensemble. Hearn’s creative embodied practice is rooted in a layering of dance, somatic, and vocal traditions and methodologies. As a teaching artist and choreographer, they are greatly influenced by many teachers and mentors including Claudette Nickens Johnson, Byronné J Hearn, Marjani Forté-Saunders, Marlies Yearby, Kathryn Leary, Staycee Pearl, Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, jhon r. stronks, Samantha Speis, Chanon Judson, Kendra Portier, Barbara Mahler, Pamela Pietro, Sheri van den Wijngaard, Joy KMT, Alisha B. Wormsley, Samita Sinha, and Li Harris. Their commitment to dance is an expansive practice that includes performance, collaboration, sound conjuring, memory-keeping, and storytelling. Hearn is working with a constellation of folx to make a dance, a book, an album, a feast, an archive, a website, a catalogue, an anthology, and a collapsible system of somatic, sound, and movement practices that has been and will be shared around the country.

Originally from Argentina, Anabella Lenzu is a dancer, choreographer, writer, and teacher with over 30 years of experience working in Argentina, Chile, Italy, London, and the US. Lenzu directs her own company, Anabella Lenzu/DanceDrama (ALDD), which since 2006 has presented 390 performances, created 14 choreographic works, and performed at 100 venues, presenting thought-provoking and historically conscious dance-theater in NYC. Lenzu is on the Bessie Awards Selection Committee. 

Yuan Liu is a Chinese-born filmmaker based in New York. She has a background in scientific research and production design. She supported the world-renowned contemporary artist Caiguoqiang (2008 Beijing Olympics, “I Want to Believe” Guggenheim Retrospective). She draws on her interdisciplinary background as inspiration for writing, directing, and producing. Yuan’s approach to cinema is a letter written to the subconscious self. She is interested in magnifying surrealism in visuals in a free form. Primarily music driven, each of her film pieces is a type of mathematical contemplation on the social cachet behind one’s individuation, and especially of those embodying a quixotic way of life.

Amanda Loulaki is a dance performance artist, programmer, curator, and educator, born and raised in the island of Crete, Greece. She spent her childhood years looking at the sea daily and wandering in the ruins of Knossos Palace of the Minoan Civilization dreaming of different ways of being. In 1990 she received a BA in education from the University of Crete, Department of Pedagogy, and in 2007 she received her MFA in dance from Hollins University. In 1994 Loulaki was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and moved to New York. The source material in her work is often biographical while presenting the body as a container of history, and the space as a container of the body. Loulaki’s work has been presented at Danspace Project, La MaMa, Dixon Place, Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center, PS 122, Joyce Soho, Dance New Amsterdam, The Kitchen, Dance Theater Workshop, 11th Biennale of Artists of Europe and the Mediterranean, BucharEast.West International Dance Festival, the Choreographic Center Archauz, Denmark, and ZVRK Festival (B&H). Loulaki was selected for The Barnard Project in 2007 at DTW and was appointed Adjunct Associate Professor at Barnard College of Columbia University during the 2007 fall semester. She has taught at the American Dance Festival, M.I.T., Dance New Amsterdam, and N.J.I.T. For the past 28 years Loulaki finds fulfillment in teaching in schools grades Pre K-8, in New York City and internationally. Since 1998, Amanda has been the programming director at Movement Research and programmed the Improvisation Festival NY from 1999-2003. As an advocate of investigative movement-based art she has been invited to attend in conferences and platforms Internationally.

Lydia Mokdessi is a Brooklyn-based artist, writer, editor, and arts worker. She has performed in works by Buck Wanner, Maida Withers, Anthony Gongora, Anna Sperber, Heather McArdle, Katie Workum, Emie Hughes, Stevie May, Londs Reuter, Jordan Morley, Stormy Budwig, Alexandra Pinel, and others. She has performed and presented work in such venues as Center for Performance Research, Roulette Intermedium, Movement Research at Judson Church, Gibney Dance, AUNTS, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Dixon Place, Vital Joint, Triskelion Arts, Fourth Arts Block, The Wild Project, and Exponential Festival. She is the editor of Culturebot and her writing has appeared in Movement Research Performance Journal, Movement Research Critical Correspondence, New York Live Arts Context Notes, American Realness Reading, Baryshnikov Arts Center BAC Stories, and Routine Magazine. She has served as guest curator for the Current Sessions and co-organizer of Community of Practice, an initiative for early-career artists and writers supported by University Settlement. Mokdessi served on the NY Dance and Performance Bessie Awards selection committee from 2017 to 2020.

Ani Taj is a choreographer, performer, and the founder and artistic director of The Dance Cartel. She choreographs contemporary musicals, plays, concerts, music videos, and art parties, and she loves to make dances inspired by Brazilian Carnival. Since launching in 2012, The Dance Cartel’s acclaimed signature experience ONTHEFLOOR has toured diverse spaces including the Ace Hotel NY, MoMA PS1, the High Line, the Brooklyn Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Velocity Dance Center (Seattle), among other venues. Taj has choreographed music videos for Yoko Ono, Reggie Watts, Vic Mensa and The Sway Machinery, and her work with the Cartel has received support from NY Live Arts Studio Series, two LMCC Creative Engagement Awards, The Orchard Project and a BAX Summer Residency. While bridging gaps between dance and music scenes, Taj keeps one foot firmly in the world of live theater, most recently as a featured dancer in Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 on Broadway. Theater choreography highlights include Runaways (New York City Center), Good Men Wanted (NYSAF), The Convent of Pleasure (Cherry Lane Mentor Project), The Nomad by Liz Swados (The Flea), Lazarus (Associate Choreographer, New York Theatre Workshop), Jesse Eisenberg’s Asuncion (Rattlestick). 

Tnmot Aztro, based in Philadelphia, is a collaborative multidisciplinary company. Sculpture, spatial design, lighting design, installation, photography, sound design, and at times seven or more movement artists including Arien Wilkerson are featured. The dance collaborators draw from distinct movement styles and traditions: modern, hip-hop, ballet, jazz, West African, postmodern, and GAGA. Tnmot Aztro mainly creates performance installations in museums, galleries, and site-specific locations. As an entity the artistic practice in making performance, sculpture, experimental film, photography and dance is rooted in repurposing or redefining meanings of “fine art” and its attachments to colonialism, white supremacy, and institutionalized racism. Tnmot Aztro conspires against “fine art” asking what it is? Who has access to it? How does art become fine? Where is the “margin” marginalized, displaced, disproportioned? And what systems were put in place to keep Black and brown—specifically Black and brown queer folk out? Their works’ thematic concepts include gender, labor, race, cultural competency, possession, viewer responsibility, sensory overload, critical thought, the body, Black abstraction, identity, media-created leadership, rhetoric, technology, control, sex, dogma, climate change, territory, zoning, and queerness. 


About Pioneers Go East Collective

New York City award-winning ensemble Pioneers Go East Collective is a laboratory collective of multimedia and performance works in residence at two historical downtown venues: La MaMa and Judson Church. Since 2014, the collective has created high-energy and interactive performances to celebrate a multigenerational collective of queer artists. By connecting with its community’s history, they deepen their understanding of social justice, civil rights, and human rights. The collective has developed 11 original works, collaborated with over 450 art-makers, and through performance, video, and curated series, the collective creates platforms of inclusion which link audiences throughout all of New York to celebrate LGBTQ and feminist artists. Under the leadership of Gian Marco Riccardo Lo Forte, Daniel Diaz, and Philip Treviño, the collective merges storytelling and interview-based documentary to expose the realities of queer identity and otherness to provoke understanding and promote social justice. Inspired by Walt Whitman’s poem “O Pioneers!”—an homage to the pioneers’ search for a brighter future—the collective is comprised of artists who explore stories of collective courage and conviction. For more information, visit PioneersGoEast.org.

Follow Pioneers Go East Collective on Facebook at /PioneersGoEast and follow on Twitter and Instagram: @PioneersGoEast.


About Judson Memorial Church

Judson Arts continues the long tradition of arts ministry at Judson Memorial Church, a spiritual force in Greenwich Village for over 120 years, devoted to creative freedom, social justice, and progressive faith. From the acclaimed Judson Poets’ Theater and Judson Dance Theater to today’s Judson Arts Wednesdays (JAW) programming, Judson embraces the necessity of art in our lives and nurtures an uncensored environment for innovative expression. 


Lydia Mokdessi. Photographer: Daniel Young

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