Thank you for Joining us in NYC!

We are steadily growing a vibrant community of amazing individuals from across the world. Thanks to you, the 2016 Conference was a resounding success! Many thanks to our partners, Gibney Dance and the Gallatin School of New York University. 

Check out a blog post re-capping events of the day and follow us on Instagram @freebodyproject or on Facebook for news of upcoming events.   


click image for more photos from the event. 


The Dance + Social Justice Conferences highlight the groundbreaking work of organizations and individuals using dance as a resource for social justice. 

At each conference, we bring together leaders who recognize the power of the body and movement in addressing issues including human trafficking, psychosocial rehabilitation, mental health, peace building, women’s empowerment and human rights in order to learn from their expertise, bring more awareness to the importance of this field and grow a community of practitioners and supporters.

The 2016 conference offered two ways to engage:


MOVE YOUR BODY - Experience first-hand the powerful movement methodologies of three conference speakers: Amber Elizabeth Gray, Shawn Lent and Yasemin Ozumerzifon. This experiential portion of the conference is presented in partnership with Gibney Dance and their ongoing Community Action Hub programming, sharing work at the intersection of dance and social action. 

MOVE YOUR MIND - An engaging panel discussion with five guest speakers who are leaders in the field, working to positively impact our world and help individuals find paths to healing and empowerment through movement. The speaker series portion of the conference is presented in partnership with New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. 



Director, Restorative Resources Training and Consulting and Executive Director, the Kint Institute

Amber Elizabeth Gray is a longtime practitioner of body centered arts and sciences (Somatic Psychology, Life Impressions Bodywork, energy medicine, cranio-sacral therapy, yoga, and shiatsu), a board-licensed mental health professional, and an advocate of human rights. She is an award winning dance movement therapist and an authorized Continuum Movement Teacher. She is currently Director of Restorative Resources Training and Consulting, and its non-profit counterpart, Trauma Resources International, and is a clinical adviser with The Center for Victims of Torture.



Social Practice Dance Artist and Manager, Chicago Dancemakers Forum and Createquity

Shawn Renee Lent moves this world as both a program manager and a social practice dance artist, with experience from a field in Bosnia to a children’s cancer hospital in revolutionary Egypt. Her work is investigating embodied peace, diplomatic innovation, and the arts as a conduit for critical social intervention. Shawn currently serves as Program Director for Chicago Dancemakers Forum, writer and Alliance Building Lead for the think tank Createquity, contributor for the Clyde Fitch Report, and project lead for an Orthodox Jewish and Syrian refugee dance education collaboration in Chicago; Global Water Dances in Flint, MI 2017; and an inter-campus research project through SUNY Purchase on the role of dance in peace education and diplomacy. Shawn recently left her post as the EducationUSA Advising Coordinator at AMIDEAST Cairo (through the U.S. Department of State), and instructor for the full-time professional program at Cairo Contemporary Dance Center. Shawn creates dance experiences that haven’t before existed in the world, and is becoming an artist on her own terms. She is honored to have been a U.S. Fulbright Scholar Artist to Egypt 2012-2013, UN Alliance of Civilizations International Fellow, Commencement Speaker for Millikin University, and panelist/presenter at the University of Maryland, Universal Exposition Milan, Hope College and TEDx Shibin El Kom. In 2013, her blog post Am I a Dancer Who Gave Up? went viral. Shawn holds a Masters in Arts Management from Columbia College Chicago and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Youth Arts Development from Goldsmith’s College.



Senior Community Action Manager, Community Action Program, Gibney Dance 

After completing her primary education at the Royal Academy of Ballet, Yasemin moved to the US to study Dance and Psychology at Connecticut College. In order to combine her two passions, she pursued an M.A. at Columbia University in Developmental Psychology with focuses in creativity and human development. During her apprenticeshipat the New Victory Theater, she created a School Tool™ which is a resource guide designed to support the New York City Department of Education’s Blueprint for Teaching and Learning the Arts, and the New York State Learning Standards. Additionally, Yasemin has a background in conducting research which includes assisting a year long study that evaluated Guggenheim Museum’s “Learning Through Art” program. Since 2011, Yasemin has been working as a Community Action Manager at Gibney Dance which is the first program to unite dancers with survivors of domestic violence. Her role at Gibney Dance includes the areas of advocacy, trainings and the Community Action Hub, a physical space dedicated to dance and social action.



Program Director, Choices Alternative to Detention for the Center of Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES)

Ana Dopazo is the Program Director of Choices Alternative to Detention for the Center of Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services (CASES). Ana has had had the opportunity to work for CASES for 11 years providing services for young adults and youth that are court involved in Manhattan and the Bronx. She began her career working with youth as a mentor for a community program in Newark, NJ while studying Psychology at New Jersey City University. Ana has been working with youth at Choices ATD since 2009 and she strives to make a positive impact on all youth in her programs so they can live a life without any further criminal justice involvement. 



Executive and Artistic Director, Dancing in the Streets

Simon Dove is Executive and Artistic Director of Dancing in the Streets and an independent curator and educator currently co-curator of Crossing the Line, the annual trans-disciplinary fall festival in New York City. He was Professor of Practice and Director of the School of Dance at Arizona State University from 2007 to 2012.  Simon was Curator and Artistic Director of Springdance, the international festival of new developments in dance and performance in the Netherlands from 2000 to 2007. Prior to that he ran one of the first National Dance Agencies in the U.K, the Yorkshire Dance Centre in Leeds, was the founder and Artistic Director of Vivarta – the first contemporary South Asian performance festival in the U.K., contributed to national dance policy development with the Arts Council of Great Britain, and programmed an innovative arts centre in London. He has written articles for the Performance and South Asian press, devised and presented a series for BBC Radio 3 on Dance and Music, and extensively mentored students and professional artists from many countries in developing their creative practices.



WHEN // 

Wednesday, December 7th 

Move your Body: 2pm to 5pm

Move your Mind: 7pm to 8:30pm, refreshments to 9 pm



Move your Body: Gibney Dance

@ 890 Broadway, NYC

Move your Mind: Gallatin, New York University

@ 1 Washington Place, NYC