Long Table: Does Dance Matter to America? - Gibney
Week of April 8, 2020
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Long Table: Does Dance Matter to America?

Woman dancing underneath a spotlight. Her hair flies in the air.

Zooming out from an immediate community of dancers and dance lovers, does dance matter to America? What potential exists for dance to serve a purpose in the lives of “non-dancers,” and how can we meet it? Join guest host Danni Gee to talk about bridging the gap and using this discipline in ways that matter. 

Guest Host: Danni Gee
Core Participants: Ayodele Casel, Maura Nguyen Donohue, Brinda Guha, Joya Powell, Aynsley Vandenbroucke

This event will be filmed for archival purposes.

Long Table conversations adopt performance artist Lois Weaver’s non-hierarchical Long Table format, encouraging informal conversation around topics of concern to the community. Learn more here about Long Tables and how they work.


Danni Gee has over 30 years experience in the Arts and Entertainment industry. As a professional dancer, she toured as a soloist with the Philadelphia Dance Company and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. As a vocalist, she has performed with artists such Gloria Gaynor, and Cher and her own indie rock band, Suga Bush, and with Danni as the lead singer and songwriter, they perform regularly at renowned venues in NYC. Danni, however, has always kept one foot in the dance world. Danni accepted the position of Dance Curator for CityParks SummerStage in 2006. In her 13 seasons as Curator, she has engaged such established companies as Parsons Dance, Dance Brazil, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Kibbutz Contemporary Company, Martha Graham Dance Company, Limon Dance Company, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater as well as many emerging choreographers and teaching artists. She has commissioned several new works for the organization and presented many World and New York premieres. Danni, who is also a Music Programming Associate at SummerStage, assisting with the booking of domestic and international music artists, is also involved with the curation of citywide SummerStage dance workshops and panels, and family programming.

Ayodele Casel, an actor, choreographer, and tap dancer is the the 2017 recipient of the “Hoofer Award”. She premiered her one-woman show “While I Have The Floor” at the Spoleto Arts Festival to rave reviews. A frequent New York City Center collaborator, Ayodele served as choreographer for Carole King and Maurice Sendak’s musical “Really Rosie” for its Encores! Off Center under the direction of Leigh Silverman, a soloist for Jeanine Tesori’s “Jamboree”, a soloist at Fall For Dance, and a soloist for “¡Adelante Cuba!” as part of Latin Jazz great Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. Ayodele will be leading New York City Center’s “On The Move” in Spring 2019 and she is currently Artist In Residence at Harvard University. Hailed by the legendary Gregory Hines as “one of the top young tap dancers in the world,” and by The New York Times as “A tap dancer of unquestionable radiance”, Casel has steadfast become an internationally sought after artist and powerful voice for the art form.

Brinda Guha has primarily trained in Indian Classical Kathak, as well as Manipuri and Flamenco, and has now developed her own movement vocabulary entitled Contemporary Indian dance. She teaches, choreographs and performs with her ensemble Kalamandir Dance Co. She has choreographed for the NABC opening ceremony at MSG, is represented by CESD Talent Agency, and self-produced her full-length production which earned her the Artist in Residence position at Dixon Place for 2018 and now the 2019 Dancewave Residency. Recently, Brinda dances with a percussive dance trio featuring Flamenco, Tap, and Kathak called Soles of Duende. Soles embarks on their second artist residency at Gibney for the 2020 New Voices: Spotlight Series. Her ultimate dream of having art meet activism was realized when she created a seasonal benefit for Planned Parenthood called WISE FRUIT.

A native Harlemite, Joya Powell is a choreographer and educator passionate about community, activism, and dances of the African Diaspora. Hailed by The New York Times as a “radiant performer,” she has danced with choreographers such as Paloma McGregor, Katiti King, Neta Pulvermacher, and Marsha Parrilla. In 2005 Joya founded Movement of the People Dance Company dedicated to creating Socially Conscious Contemporary Dance Theater. Her work has appeared in venues such as: BAM, Lincoln Center, Central Park’s SummerStage, La Mama, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Dance Complex (Cambridge), The Mudlark Theater (New Orleans), Movement Research @ Judson Church, and BAAD!. She has choreographed such Off Broadway plays as: Fit for a Queen by Betty Shamieh (The Classical Theatre of Harlem) and JOB by Thomas Bradshaw (The FLEA Theater). Joya has been a Guest Artist at various colleges, conferences and festivals; she has taught and studied in Brazil, Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Israel. Awards and recognition include: The 2016 Outstanding Emerging Choreographer Bessie Award, 2016-17 Dancing While Black Fellow, 2018-19 EtM Choreographer + Composer Residency, Women in Motion Commissioned Artist 2017-18. Joya is a collaborating member of Dance Caribbean Collective, and is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Wesleyan University.

Photo of Joya Powell by Yi-Chun Wu.


Gibney 280 Broadway is accessible via elevator from the main entrance at 53A Chambers Street.

We welcome the opportunity to make this event more accessible. Please refrain from wearing scented products, so that people with chemical sensitivities can join us. Please request ASL interpreting, audio description, or open captioning 30 days before the event or submit other requests by completing our Access Requests and Inquiries Form or calling 646.837.6809 (Voice only).

280 Broadway
Gibney Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center
Enter at 53A Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007
646 837 6809

890 Broadway
Fifth Floor
New York, NY 10003
212 677 8560