DIGITAL: Art + Action Talk: Spirituality of the Body

Dec. 1, 2020, 7:00 pm9:00 pm




with Laurel Atwell, Shamar Wayne Watt, Ogemdi Ude, and iele paloumpis, moderated by Charmaine Warren

Art + Action Talk: Spirituality of the Body introduces dance artists whose work illuminates spiritual ideas and values, where the body is the site of spiritual expression and practice.


Charmaine Warren – Artist Moderator
I am a performer, historian, consultant and dance writer. I began the online series “Black Dance Stories” in June 2020.  I am the founder/producer and artistic director for “Dance on the Lawn:” Montclair’s Dance Festival, and the Producer of DanceAfrica at BAM.  I have been a co-curator for Harlem Stage’s dance series, EMoves for 11 years, and the lead curator for Dance @ Wassaic Project Festival for nine years. I currently write on dance for The New York Amsterdam News, sometimes Dance Magazine and  other magazines and journals. My most recent articles can be found on Jazz at Lincoln Center’s website Playbill for “Spaces.” JW Marriot’s luxury hotel’s website – jwm – “Visions of Sugarplums”, on BAM’s website (“A Brief History of American Modern Dance”), and in BAM’s 150th anniversary book – BAM: The Complete Works, Edited by Steven Serafin.  I am a 2017 Bessie Award Recipient for “Outstanding Performance” as a member of Skeleton Architecture Collective.

I am also a faculty member at Empire State College’s online program Center for Distance Learning.  I am a former faculty member at Hunter College, The Ailey School and the Alvin Ailey/Fordham University dance major program, Sarah Lawrence College (Guest), Kean University, and The Joffrey Ballet School’s Jazz and Contemporary Trainee Program.  I hold a Ph.D. in History from Howard University, a Masters Degree in Dance Research, Reconstruction and Choreography from CUNY – City College, and two Bachelor’s Degrees: one in Speech & Theatre/Dance, and the other in English from Montclair State College.

I generally lecture on western dance history, the Black tradition in American dance and Jamaican dance. After performing for many years with major New York dance companies, I joined the internationally known, New York-based, dance/theater company david rousseve/REALITY in 1989 – 2000.  I teach a movement class based on a melding of modern dance, contemporary styles and yoga.  I am a yoga teacher in Montclair, New Jersey.  I began teaching Ashtanga-based yoga classes in 1998, and today Ashtanga yoga remains an integral part of all my movement classes. I have lectured and taught movement and yoga classes nationally and internationally.

I was a member of the New York Dance and Performance Awards Committee (BESSIES) for more than ten years.

Laurel Atwell has been building performances since 2008, recently presenting the trio, We Wield, as part of Gibney Dance’s DoublePlus series. We Wield was built from Laurel’s ongoing study of how interpersonal relations and non-verbal communication can break down accepted rules of engagement and construct intimate measurements of time. Collaborations are a constant: creating various worm states with Jessica Cook in Los Angeles spaces and MoMA PS1’s VW Dome; the ongoing Holding it Together with Athena Kokoronis/Domestic Performance Agency. Laurel performs regularly for other artists including Melanie Maar, Melinda Ring, Milka Djordjevich (her performance in ANTHEM earned Laurel a 2018 Outstanding Performance Bessie Nomination), and luciana achugar. As a somatic apothecary, Laurel offers supportive energetic activations via qi gong, reiki, and stick + poke tattoos.

Shamar Wayne Watt is an artist born in Kingston (Jamaica) raised in Miami and based in New York City. He has an Associate degree in psychology and a Bachelor of Fine Art in Dance. What drives Watt as an artist is; how the science of black bodies and the sonic science of blackness resonates in the world and the universe at large. He has worked as a physical/sound/vocal performer with nora chipaumire since 2015, as well as generating and performing his own work. He was nominated as one of the top 25 performers/choreographers to watch for 2019 Dance Magazine. Watt was a 2018 Bessie Nominee and In 2019, he was the recipient of the prestigious Bessie Award for Outstanding Performance in nora chipaumire’s work.

Ogemdi Ude is a Nigerian-American dance artist, educator, and doula based in Harlem. She uses movement and voice as tools for digging up personal and sociocultural narratives, and processing grief. She is interested in how we search for objective “truth” to justify grief; why we seek evidence of our relationships to that which we have lost. How do we find people, cultures, and histories that aren’t there anymore in all the bits that are? She engages the body holistically to re-member: sew together the fissures that trauma creates in our personal narratives.
Her work has been presented at Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Danspace Project, Gibney, Center for Performance Research, Movement Research at the Judson Church, Streb Lab for Action Mechanics, Lewis Center for the Arts, La Mama Courthouse, and for BAM’s DanceAfrica festival. She currently serves as Head of Movement for Drama at Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan and is adjunct faculty in the Dance MFA at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in English, Dance, and Theater from Princeton University.

iele paloumpis is a dance artist, educator, intuitive healer, and death doula. their healing work is rooted in kinesthetic awareness, Tarot, herbal medicine, and some astrological know-how – all within a trauma-informed framework that centers social justice.

Choreographic works have been shown through Brooklyn Arts Exchange, New York Live Arts, Dixon Place, the Flea Theater, Movement Research, Painted Bride Art Center, Franklin Street Works, and Taubman Arts. they’ve danced for niv Acosta, devynn emory, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, Jen McGinn, Katy Pyle, Emily Wexler, and Nina Winthrop.

iele received a BA from Hollins University in 2006 and was awarded end of life doula certifications from Mount Sinai, Valley Hospice, and Deanna Cochran’s Accompanying the Dying Program between 2014-16. iele has studied Tarot since 1996, most recently under the mentorship of Eva Yaa Asantewaa.

iele is currently developing a somatic practice addressing the needs of those who are moving through grief. | |

All Fall 2020 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

Art & Action, 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.