MARS (Mindful Activation Release Study)  and ON DISPLAY with Heidi Latsky:

Heidi Latsky will teach a class starting with a short sampling of her MARS Method: Mindful Activation Release Study, a practice designed to activate the body in a relaxed, meditative way. Through specific breathing techniques and guided rocking of the entire body the practice brings the participant into an effortless stillness and a deep, quiet but active sense of being grounded. 

She will then move into teaching the improvisational structure for ON DISPLAY-her site specific meditative installation that disrupts the urban landscape with a mostly still human sculpture court featuring performers ranging in age, disability, race, and size. ON DISPLAY GLOBAL is her annual worldwide initiative performed on December 3rd in honor of  the UN's International Day of Persons with Disabilities 



There are 16 main ethnic groups in Liberia, my homeland. I was raised in a kind of artists’ village – the home of the National Cultural Troupe – where I learned dances and songs of all these groups. Dance and music are a part of our everyday lives and our ritual celebrations, as well as entertainment. Because dance and music are so closely intertwined for us, I’ll share and teach both a couple of dances and some songs. Everyone is welcome.  No previous experience with Liberian or other West African art forms is expected. 



Community Action provides a safe environment for building self-esteem through positive physical expression. Workshop facilitators use specialized training in working with intimate partner violence survivors to facilitate movement workshops that empower clients and help them find renewed voices that support their quests to rebuild their lives. These workshops follow a unique four-part progression that reflects the Company’s artistic process:

1    Look Inside: Reflect. Movement and creativity foster reflection and self-awareness that lead to greater self-confidence.

2    Speak Through Movement: Express. Movement and creativity encourage choice and decision-making. These activities help participants listen to their inner voices, express their feelings, and assert their identities.

3    Work Together: Collaborate. Moving and creating in a group is an enriching experience with valuable social and artistic rewards. Working together validates the experiences of every member of the group and helps to banish feelings of isolation and fear.

4    Take Care™: Dancers share state-of-the-art tools for stress reduction and self-care drawn from extensive training in dance, bodywork, and somatic practices.




Do I need to be a dancer to attend the conference? 

If you're a human with a body and like fascinating ideas, you should be there.

We all use our bodies to move and express. If you're curious about how dance connects to human rights and social justice or you're excited about the idea that the body, creativity, and dance are related to peace, justice, and freedom, then you should be here. If you like to move, you should be there. If you want to meet inspiring movers and shakers in an intimate setting, you should be there. If you're a proponent of human rights, you should be there. 

Why does the event focus on many social justice issues instead of only one? 

This growing field of dance and social justice is so fascinating in part because the individuals and organizations doing this work around the world are using different styles of movement, working with different populations of people of various experiences and backgrounds, and are confronting different problems and issues. We've highlighted a bunch of founders on our blog. 

I have yet to know of two organizations that do exactly the same thing so, in an effort to learn as much about the field as possible, we focus on inviting speakers that represent a range of experiences and disciplines to shed light on how and why dance is important in making positive impacts. 

What's going on during the experiential session? 

The experiential session is a series of three movement workshops with three different instructors. Each instructor has a different approach to movement and will guide us through a 1 hour session, followed by a 15 minute break.

Every session is designed to be accessible to anyone and everyone.  You will get to hear these three movers speak about their work during the speaker series later in the conference:

Heidi Latsky, Fatu Gayflor, and Yasemin Ozumerzifon

What will the speaker series be like?

The Speaker Series is like a TED talk for practitioners of dance + social justice as well as creative thinkers, development practitioners and peace builders. We will hear their stories, share inspiring ideas, and meet the creative minds behind this field.  

Why is there a ticket price? 

This is the first year we are charging for the Dance + Social Justice Conference. There is a ticket price in order to make this a sustainable event that can grow each year! Tickets also help us pay it forward to some incredible organizations pioneering dance and social justice work. This year we are donating 10% of the proceeds to the nonprofit, Kolkata Sanved. 

Can I learn more about Kolkata Sanved? 

Kolkata Sanved uses dance and dance therapy as psychosocial rehabilitation for survivors of human trafficking and violence in Kolkata, India and across South Asia. Learn more about their inspiring work here and learn more about the dance + documentary film FREE BODY PROJECT is creating in collaboration with the dance therapy practitioners of Kolkata Sanved, From There to Here. 


Do you have other questions? 

Please email Sydney Skov at and ask away.