Body Politic | Jill Sigman's Dance Lab Program | Gibney
Week of July 14, 2020
Making space for

Body Politic

Body Politic
Body Politic is an intensive laboratory and learning community for people who want to forge connections between their somatic selves and social change.

Many of us find that our art-making or physical practices lie separate from our concerns about what is happening in the world. Body Politic brings those things together. This amalgam of movement workshops, activist teach-ins, cohort dialogues, how-to sessions, and independent projects addresses that separation and seeks to unite the thinking body, the moving body, and the activist body in one learning experience. It is a place to think physically, connect with colleagues and collaborators, and together interrogate the question: how do I become the change I want to see while keeping my body at the forefront of my practice?

Participants can engage with Body Politic through two tracks:

Month-Long Intensive Laboratory: July 9 – August 4, 2018. Participants receive free tuition and a $500 artist-activist stipend.
Extended Play: Includes the above dates plus continued project work through November 2018. Participants receive free tuition and a $750 artist-activist stipend.

The application for 2018 is now closed.

Body Politic is made possible through generous support from the Bay and Paul Foundations.

Photo by Bronwen Gilbert.


What does the program include?

Body Politic has multiple components, woven together in a month-long intensive laboratory experience, including Movement Workshops, Teach-Ins, How To Do Stuff, Direct Actions, and Idea Incubation.

The Thinking Behind Body Politic

Movement artists know the body to be a source of tremendous wisdom. We use body as a way to process complex concepts and emotions, to understand the world, and to access knowledge we didn’t think we had. The body provides a way to think through movement. Body Politic thus centers movement as a primary mode of learning and discovery. The curriculum melds studio investigation with other sources of input to allow participants to think in many different ways.

Body Politic is not a training program in making “political art” according to a pre-existing model. It is a place to historically evolve what art and activism can look like. We welcome surprise and new paths that challenge the dichotomies and dead ends of current political dialogues and go beyond the ways both art and activism have traditionally been conceived.

Dates, Times & Logistics

Body Politic has two options for participants: a Month-Long Intensive Laboratory from July 9 – August 4, or an Extended Play option which includes additional support throughout Fall 2018.

Who is Body Politic for?

Body Politic is for dancers, dance makers, movement artists, theater artists, social practice artists, other artists with an interest in embodied practices, activists, and emerging activists. Emphasis is made in the selection process to create a community diverse in gender, race, sexual orientation, age, economic status, and disability status.

Ideal participants:

  • Are at a point in their thinking, interests, and explorations such that this experience can really make a difference to their growth and development.
  • Have an openness to different points of view and are able to engage respectfully and fruitfully with others who think differently.
  • Are committed to creating a shared space that is respectful, trusting, and enquiring.
  • Have the ability to listen deeply— both with the body and in words
    are comfortable in a space of unknowing.
  • Can think in radically creative ways about how to apply or make use of new information.
Who is facilitating?

Body Politic was initiated and developed by Jill Sigman. The program includes numerous guest artist-activists and sessions led by organizations such as the Center for Anti-Violence Education, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Lambda Legal, and more.


Please contact Jessie Kardos, Senior Manager of Training, at

Application & Support

A special cohort of artist-activists will be chosen to create a short-term learning community. The cohort will be chosen through a competitive application process. Applications are submitted online and a maximum of ten applicants will be selected.

For all applicants who are selected, tuition for the program is fully subsidized by support from the Bay and Paul Foundations.

In addition, Body Politic cohort members will receive:

  • An artist-activist stipend of $500 for the Month-long Option and $750 for the Extended Play Option
  • Limited access to free studio space (to be scheduled in advance) during the Month-long intensive
  • Additional resources and services for Extended Play participants.

The 2018 application is now closed.