WHAT WE DO
Free Body Project recognizes dance as a powerful resource for social justice;
We support the individuals and organizations around the world using dance as their primary tool to address violence, inequality and the ramifications of trauma through film, events, and community.
DANCE + DOCUMENTARY FILM SERIES
Our ongoing series of short, dance-documentary films are created with the full participation of grassroots dance activists and non-profit organizations around the world. The films will be screened widely to raise global awareness of their work as well as the urgent social issues they move against and to highlight the often unheard voices of the dance activists themselves.
DANCE + SOCIAL JUSTICE CONFERENCES
Annual panel events bring together international leaders and change makers to bridge the fields of dance, international development and peace building. Conferences will continue to create a clear and accessible space for the field of dance and social justice while simultaneously building a community of passionate, curious and engaged practitioners and supporters.
WHY WE DO IT
Dance and movement are intertwined with human rights (to free movement and expression, to autonomy over our bodies and our cultures) and the ideals of freedom, justice, and peace.
We have seen how dancers and activists working in diverse contexts use movement to empower lives and change societies. They have demonstrated the incredible potential of movement to address mental and emotional health, release trauma, move for equality, improve educational outcomes, and build peace after violence and conflict.
Across the globe, there are few programs dedicated to mental health, especially for underserved youth and survivors of violence, a majority of whom are women. Dance and movement are accessible, relevant, joyful and particularly powerful tools for healing and empowerment.
However, without a clear field for support, the groundbreaking efforts and positive impacts of dance and social justice organizations go widely unrecognized.
We want to change that.
WHO WE ARE
FOUNDER + DIRECTOR
Sydney Skov is inspired by dancers and people working for positive change in their communities around the world. Sydney was dancing professionally when she created Free Body Project, promoting dance as a global resource for healing, empowerment and anti-violence advocacy through movement, engagement and film. The project completed its first dance-documentary film in 2013 for which Sydney was the co-director and choreographer. Sydney earned a master's degree in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University with a focus on the arts, peace building and social justice. As a Boren Fellow in India, Sydney returned to work with Kolkata Sanved, an NGO transforming the lives of trafficking and violence survivors through dance and movement therapy. Sydney recently returned from India where she was a Fulbright Researcher based in Kolkata creating a unique dance-documentary film for Free Body Project in collaboration with the dance therapy practitioners of Kolkata Sanved.
CO-DIRECTOR + PRODUCER
Janique Robillard is a freelance film director and producer. Her work spans many categories – live action and animated promotional content, broadcast commercials, educational series, narrative films, and music videos - but her passion is experimental documentary filmmaking. She is driven by her creative desire to capture unique portraits of women – from sports to international development, she is inspired by their femininity and power to ceaselessly challenge people and systems that attempt to hold women back around the world. Janique actively seeks opportunities to elevate women’s voices in film with projects like 1000 Times (a women’s MMA documentary) and her on-going collaboration with the Free Body Project series.
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Paulius Kontijevas is a full-time freelance cinematographer. Immigrating from Lithuania to the United States in 2002, most of his influences come from architecture, culture and people. He has worked on a wide variety of digital video production: from music videos to feature films, from web videos to broadcast commercials.
Chelsea Bonosky grew up in Rochester, NY, studying under the mentorship of Timothy Draper, at The Draper Center for Dance Education. She attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, apprenticed with Stephen Petronio, and worked with Sidra Bell and Curt Haworth. Chelsea was on contract for over three years with London based dance- theatre company Punchdrunk’s production, Sleep No More. Chelsea has been creating with Adam Barruch since 2008 and is currently Associate Director of Mr.Barruch’s company, Anatomiae Occultii. Chelsea is a chosen member of The Margie Gillis Legacy Project, performing as well as participating in Conflict Transformation workshops. She is also a participating member and fundraiser for Dancers Responding to AIDS, as well as God’s Love We Deliver, and a supporter /defender of Planned Parenthood.
Free Body Project began in Portland, Oregon in 2012 as a way to raise local awareness of domestic sex trafficking and gender violence using dance as advocacy.
The project was initially composed of a city-wide dance and awareness raising campaign that mobilized over 100 local dancers to perform in various public spaces during the summer of 2013. The project also consisted of a weekly movement class for survivors in partnership with Janus Youth and Polaris Dance Theatre. Lastly, it encompassed the creation of a short, experimental dance documentary film which was the beginning of the current series.
The Free Body Film was created as a statement of solidarity between dancers and anti-trafficking activists in Portland, Oregon and the dancers and activists of Kolkata Sanved working against trafficking and violence in Kolkata, India after Free Body Project Founder, Sydney Skov spent 6 months volunteering with the organization in 2011.
Free Body Project recognizes dance as an expression of human rights, particularly bodily freedom, movement and expression.