Art + Action Talk: Dancing Futures: Bronx Artists Represent

Apr. 6, 7:00 pm9:00 pm




Featuring artists making work in The Bronx: Nicole L. Martin (host), Kayla Farrish, Nina Angela Mercer, Niya Nicholson, Candace Tabbs, and Maleek Washington. Curated by Jane Gabriels, Ph.D.

co-presented in collaboration with Pepatián: Bronx Arts ColLABorative

A conversation amongst dance artists and writers of performance who speak about how artists accompany each other: what is the experience of this collaboration in creative processes, and how can it offer new insights into the works?


Nicole L. Martin – Host
Nicole L. Martin, Ph.D. is director of Inclusive Excellence and Diversity Education (IEDE) at the University of Kentucky. Her work focuses on building campus-wide anti-discrimination educational initiatives rooted in the theoretical and methodological frames of performance studies, critical race studies, black feminisms, critical pedagogy, and critical ethnography. Prior to joining IEDE, Nicole worked as Director of Academic Affairs and lecturer for the Lewis Honors College, and as a faculty instructional consultant in the University of Kentucky’s teaching and learning center (CELT) to advance inclusive pedagogy in the classroom. Nicole is also an Assistant Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies (Adjunct Series) and a faculty affiliate for the African American and Africana Studies program.

Kayla Farrish is an emerging company combining filmmaking, photography, and dance. Her company has been commissioned by Gibney (2020-2021), Danspace Project Inc (2019), Pepatian and BAAD! (2018), and beyond. Farrish has been supported by creative residencies including Gibney New Voices, Barysnikov Arts Center (2020), Keshet Makers Space Experience, BAX Space Grant (2019), Pepatian Dance Your Future (2018), and Chez Bushwick (2017). Pieces sprouted outwards including Black Bodies Sonata, The New Frontier (my dear America) live production and film, With grit From, Grace, Spectacle Film and Live Production, and anticipated Martyr’s Fiction. Kayla has performed at venues like Judson Church, Danspace Project Inc, Jacob’s Pillow, BAAD!, film festivals, and beyond.

Nina Angela Mercer is a cultural worker. Her plays include GUTTA BEAUTIFUL(The Warehouose Theatre, The Woolly Mammoth for DC’s Fringe, Abrons Arts Center, Little Carib Theatre); ITAGUA MEJI: A Road & A Prayer (Brecht Forum, Alternate Roots, Rutgers University Newark and New Brunswick, The Nuyorican Poets Café); GYPSY & THE BULLY DOOR(The Warehouse Theatre, the former Dumbo Sky); CHARISMA AT THE CROSSROADS (Dorothy Young Arts Center); SPARROW(The Langston Hughes House); and A COMPULSION FOR BREATHING (The Schomburg Center and Target Margin Theater). Her writing is published in The Killens Review of Arts & Letters; Black Renaissance Noire; Voices Magazine #SayHerName Edition; Continuum: The Journal of African Diaspora Drama, Theatre, and Performance; Break Beat Poets Vol 2: Black Girl Magic (Haymarket Press, 2018); Are You Entertained? Black Popular Culture in the 21st Century (Duke University Press, 2020); Performance Research (Taylor and Francis, 2020); and the upcoming Represent! New Plays for Multicultural Young People (Bloomsbury Press, 2021). Nina’s video poem collaboration with director Toshi Sakai, “Invocation for Josè Antonio Aponte,” traveled nationally and internationally with the exhibition Visionary Aponte: Art and Black Freedom. She is the Writing Director for the Beyond Identity program at City College.

Niya Nicholson is a nonprofit fundraising professional, business development strategist, and creative entrepreneur dedicated to intersectional, equitable, and sustainable social justice work within the arts and cultural sector and beyond. A native New Yorker raised in Harlem, Niya was exposed to the transformative power of the arts at a young age and honed her dance talent at the esteemed Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. In 2014, she obtained her B.A. from Vassar College. For the past five years, Niya has served the arts field as a mission-driven fundraiser and social justice advocate. Niya joined MOVE|NYC| Foundation Inc. upon organization launch in 2015 first as a volunteer administrator and has since served as Managing Director of the organization. Niya’s prior development positions include acting as Director of Development for the José Limón Dance Foundation and previously as Development Manager for Gibney. With her expertise, Niya provides development consultant services to national and international artists, performing arts and arts education nonprofits, in addition to racial justice, environmental, and wellness-based entities. In addition, Niya is a third year member of Dance/NYC’s Symposium and Sexual Harassment committees and a second year Board of Director of MICHIYAYA Dance.

Candace Tabbs – Dancer, Choreographer and Fitness Professional, Candace Tabbs has had the pleasure of working with artists such as Ralph Lemon, Jamie Jackson, Donna Uchizono, Oren Barnoy, and Ephrat Asherie and teaching and performing with Joya Powell/Movement of the People Dance Company and Dances for a Variable Population. She has performed at venues such as BAM Opera House and Lincoln Center, as well as internationally in Toronto, Canada and Amsterdam, Netherlands. Most recently, she received a 2019 Pepatián Dance Your Future Residency and premiered her first evening-length work “coming toward” at BAAD!, and received the 2020 Keshet Makers Space Experience residency. Candace is a facilitator in movement-based practices including choreography, improvisation, movement as self-care and movement as social justice for movers and thinkers of all ages and abilities.

Maleek Washington – A native New Yorker from the Bronx, Maleek Washington is a performer, choreographer, and teaching artist. Washington began his dance training at Harlem School of the Arts, Broadway Dance Center, and LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts. He attended Boston Conservatory on a full scholarship and began his professional career with Commonwealth Ballet, CityDance Ensemble, and Kyle Abraham’s A.I.M. for four seasons. Following, Washington performed with Punch Drunk’s Sleep No More as the first African American male performer. He is currently in his fourth season with Camille A. Brown & Dancers. Learn more at

Art + Action Talk, curated by Eva Yaa Asantewaa, is Gibney’s online talk show for discerning fans of dance, the creative process and all the ways art plays a vital role in society.

All Winter & Spring 2021 Season events will be held online via Zoom. Gibney’s Box Office can be reached via email. For ticketing inquiries or requests, please email Marketing & Audience Services Manager, Kimiko Tanabe, at

Gibney encourages people with disabilities to attend online offerings, and we welcome the opportunity to make this event more accessible. If you have any questions or access needs, please email us at or call us at 212-677-8560 (voice only) at least 24 hours in advance of the event you plan to attend. If you are hoping to attend an event and would like us to engage the services of an ASL interpreter or audio descriptor, please let us know with as much notice as possible, and we’ll do our best to make it happen.

Above Photos of Artists (in order from left to right, top to bottom): Nicole L. Martin by Alex Cutadean, Nina Angela Mercer by Erskine Isaac, Candace Tabbs by Charles McCain, Kayla Farrish by Stephanie Crousillat, Niya Nicholson by Lelund Thompson, and Maleek Washington by Stephanie Crousillat. Event Preview Photo of Candace Tabbs by Marisol Díaz-Gordon.