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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Thank you to Body and Soul's guest speakers!

Eva Yaa Asantewaa (photo: selfie)

A smiling Black woman wearing headphones and a turtleneck sweater sits in front of a bookcase (partial view). Her chin rests on her left hand.

I'm taking a moment to express my deep gratitude to the many respected artists and educators who have contributed to BODY AND SOUL podcast since its revival in December 2022, sharing experience, knowledge, insights, passions, and what keeps them awake at night. These guest speakers have included:

Ziiomi Law
Lisa La Touche
María de los Ángeles Rodríguez Jiménez
devynn emory
Maxine Montilus
Kayhan Irani
Brinda Guha
Travis Knights
Judith Sánchez Ruíz
Daphne Lee
Stephanie Skura
George Emilio Sanchez
Cory Nakasue
Elena Demanyenko
Megan Curet
Samar Haddad King
Ricarrdo Valentine
Iquail Shaheed
Tamisha A. Guy
Catherine Kirk
Italy Bianca
Kate Mattingly
Thomas Ford
Stephan Koplowitz
Heather Robles
Vicky Shick
Rebecca Fitton
Dr. Nina Angela Mercer
Olaiya Olayemi
Bhumi B Patel
Melanie George
Valencia James
Alexandra Beller
Daniel Phoenix Singh
Petra Kuppers
Katrina Reid

If you haven't listened yet, dip into this treasure trove now!


or here:

Friday, April 12, 2024

BODY AND SOUL: Katrina Reid: Mercury Rx--Review, Redo, Renewal

Katrina Reid (photo: Kiya Marie Schnorr)
The headshot of Katrina Reid, a dark-skinned Black woman with very short and very blonde hair, is outside in a park, looking into the camera with a confident smile.


Listen to Katrina Reid: Mercury Rx--Review, Redo, Renewal

on my Body and Soul podcast here.


Katrina Reid (photo courtesy of the artist)

A photo of Katrina running down an empty street. Only the back of her body is visible, one leg is kicking back in a stride, and her arms are fully extended behind her. There are lush trees and verdant grass on both sides of the road, and her black shadow appears below. The sky above is blue, bright, and full of fluffy white clouds.

Katrina Reid (photo by Tia Byington-Noll)

A black-and-white photo of Katrina hanging and twisting from a ladder that is attached to a building outside. She is holding on with both hands. The camera’s focus is from above, and she has white protective markings painted on her face. Her eyes are closed and her brows are furrowed in contemplation.

Katrina Reid (she/her) is a dancer and choreographer who crafts art projects rooted in improvisation, experimentation, and storytelling. Select presentations of her work include the Queens Museum, ISSUE Project Room, the Knockdown Center, Current Sessions, DoublePlus/Gibney Dance, AUNTS, the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Florida A&M University, and Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX). As a collaborator, Katrina explores performance across dance, theater, music, ritual, and film. Most recent projects include [siccer] by Will Rawls, and the upcoming Spectral Dances by Jonathan González, as well as past works by David Thomson, Third Rail Projects, Kevin Beasley, Emily Johnson, Okwui Okpokwasili and Peter Born, Marguerite Hemmings, and Megan Byrne, among others. Learn more at

Monday, April 8, 2024

BODY AND SOUL: Petra Kuppers: How to go on a crip drift

Petra Kuppers (photo: Tamara Wade)

Petra Kuppers, a white queer disabled cis woman of size with yellow glasses, shaved head, pink lipstick and a black dotted top, smiles up to the sky, arms outstretched, embracing the world. Her mobility scooter’s handlebar is visible at the bottom of the image. She is in front of a multicolored wall: purple, pink, yellow and orange.

Listen to Petra Kuppers: How to go on a crip drift

on my Body and Soul podcast here.

Becoming Fossil in Venice (photo: Edward Smith)

Petra, with her mouth wide open, her collaborator and wife Stephanie Heit next to her, and a number of community participants all dancing in the light of Becoming Fossil, a community dance video about climate emergencies and resiliences. The screen shows a color-shifted close-up of a fossil coral.

Crip Drip Performance Meditation in Venice (photo: Edward Smith)

Petra in the light, eyes closed, with volunteers holding bags of salt crystals to hand out once the audience lines up.

Petra Kuppers (she/her) is a disability culture activist and a community performance artist. She
grounds herself in disability culture methods, and uses somatics, performance, media work, and
speculative writing to engage audiences toward more socially just and enjoyable futures. In these
pandemic years, she’s been engaged in crip drifts: working with human and more-than-human
others outdoors (or through dream journeys online), exploring interdependence, listening, being-
with, and complex joy.

Her latest academic study is Eco Soma: Pain and Joy in Speculative Performance Encounters
(University of Minnesota Press, 2022, open access). Her fourth poetry collection, Diver Beneath
the Street
, investigates true crime and ecopoetry at the level of the soil (Wayne State University
Press, February 2024). She teaches at the University of Michigan, and is a 2023 Guggenheim

Saturday, April 6, 2024

BODY AND SOUL: Daniel Phoenix Singh: True change from the roots

Daniel Phoenix Singh (photo: Metro Arts)

Daniel Phoenix Singh performing Vasanth

Daniel Phoenix Singh is seen in one of the performance poses of his syncretic blend of Bharata Naytam and Modern genres of dances. His two hands are spread open like the petals of a lotus flower, his arms are in a long diagonal, reaching into space while he is spiraling his upper body in contrast to his lower body. He is wearing dark blue pants with turquoise blue pleats on the sides. 

Listen to Daniel Phoenix Singh: True change from the roots

on my Body and Soul podcast here.


Daniel Phoenix Singh has worked in higher education, the field of dance, queer communities, South Asian communities, and in arts practice, policy, and funding at local and national levels. His identities lie at the intersection of his queer, antiracist, South Asian, immigrant, artist, and advocate roles in the various communities he inhabits. 

He acknowledges the complicity and internalization of colonial and racial oppressions in his life and works hard to approach issues from an anticolonial and antiracist perspective. He has been influenced by the work of Erode Venkatappa Ramasamy (aka Periyar |, Rabindranath Tagore, Arundhathi Roy, Toni Morrison, and particularly Justin Laing ( who work from intersectional frameworks. 

In his dance practice, Daniel was mentored by Pamela Mathews as curiosity took him from computer science to a dance major in college. He is deeply grateful to Lorry May, Harriet Moncure Williams, and Karen Bernstein for helping shape his choreographic voice. Madhavi Mudgal and Leela Samson in India have broadened his perspectives on the space Indian dance forms can occupy both within the body, in the pedagogy, and field of dance. 

He is a single parent to amazing twins who have been his foremost teachers and test his improvisational skills every day.

BODY AND SOUL: Alexander Beller: Mindful recuperation

Alexandra Beller (photo: The GingerB3ardmen)

A curly-haired red-headed white woman with green eyes and an inviting smile

Alexandra Beller (photo: Judith Stuart)
A dancer standing in a one-legged balance, holding a single egg

Listen to Alexandra Beller: Mindful recuperation

on my Body and Soul podcast here.


NOTE: For a glossary of Laban terms mentioned in this episode, click here.

Alexandra Beller, Artistic Director of Alexandra Beller/Dances, (2002-present), was a member of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company member from 1995-2001. Alexandra created over 50 original Dance Theatre works, presented at theaters throughout the US and companies in Korea, Hong Kong, Oslo, and Cyprus. She has created dance theater works for over 45 universities throughout the US.

Alexandra currently choreographs predominantly for Theater. Credits: Off Broadway: Sense and Sensibility (Sheen Center, Judson Gym, Folger Shakespeare Library, American Repertory Theatre, Portland Center Stage), (Helen Hayes Award, Lortel Nomination, IRNE Best Choreography), The Mad Ones (59E59), Bedlam’s Peter Pan (Duke Theatre), How to transcend a happy marriage (Lincoln Center Theatre), Regional: Two Gentlemen of Verona (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival), As You Like It (Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Folger Shakespeare Library), The Young Ladies of... (Taylor Mac), Chang(e) (HERE), Current: Antonio’s Song (CATF, Milwaukee Rep), Fandango for Butterflies (and Coyotes) (La MaMa, and touring), Directing/Choreographing Macbeth. She wrote and directed an adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for 92Y.

She was on faculty at Princeton 2015-2022 and teaches at The Laban Institute for Movement Studies, HB Studios, UWM grad program. Alexandra holds a BFA/Dance, MFA/Choreography, and CMA (Certified Movement Analyst).

Tuesday, April 2, 2024

BODY AND SOUL: Valencia James: Dancing ancestry

Valencia James (photo: Botond Bognar)

A dark-skinned Black woman, with shoulder-length locs looks into the camera and smiles. The sun casts a soft golden wash on her face. She is wearing a red and orange patterned dress and wooden circular earrings.

Listen to Valencia James: Dancing ancestry on my Body and Soul podcast here.

Valencia James is an interdisciplinary artist from Barbados interested in the intersection between dance, theater, technology, art installation and activism. Her works have explored remote interdisciplinary collaboration, artist-driven open-source software tools and the combination of live performance with immersive interactive technologies. Currently, she is researching the relationship between performance and play and how traditional Caribbean cultural and spiritual forms have been used by communities in active resistance and problem-solving in the face of colonial systems.

Valencia has been a 2020 Rapid Response Fellow at Eyebeam NYC and a 2021-2022 Sundance Interdisciplinary Fellow. She has presented work at the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence 2015, SIGGRAPH 2021, and the 2022 New Frontier exhibition at Sundance Film Festival. Valencia has participated in group exhibitions in Istanbul, Buenos Aires, Budapest, San Francisco and Berkeley.

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

BODY AND SOUL: Melanie George: The art of returning

Melanie George (photo by JD Urban)

The bright, cool-toned photo features Melanie George in the foreground and a blurred white door ajar in the background. Melanie, a Black woman with brown skin and coily hair, is photographed from the chest up. She is turned slightly to the left and gazing toward the camera with a playful, reserved smile. She is wearing bright red lipstick and nail polish, and her fingertips are lightly touching her sternum. Melanie is wearing a long-sleeve jumper zipped up at the center, with a white base and lively plant-like print. The print consists of multiple solid colored shapes--red, silver, navy and burgundy--each emanating from a central point with long, thin strands. She sports hexagon earrings of a thin metal material dangling an inch below her earlobes.

Listen to Melanie George: The Art of Returning on my Body and Soul podcast here.

Melanie George is Associate Curator and Scholar in Residence at Jacob’s Pillow, and guest curator for the 2024 American Dance Platform at the Joyce Theater. As a dramaturg, she has contributed to projects by Raja Feather Kelly, Helen Simoneau, Alice Sheppard, Urban Bush Women, and SW!NG OUT among others. Melanie is featured in the documentary UpRooted: The Journey of Jazz Dance and a contributing to scholar to Jazz Dance: A History of the Roots and Branches, and Rooted Jazz Dance: Africanist Aesthetics and Equity in the Twenty-First Century. Melanie is an Assistant Professor of Dance at Rutgers University and has guest lectured at Harvard University, the Yale School of Drama, and The Juilliard School. In 2021, she was named one of Dance Magazine’s 30 over 30, and is the recipient of the Outstanding Leadership Award from the National Dance Education Organization. She is a performer/dramaturg with The Jazz Continuum.

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