Nightlife and Community Care: Collective Sociality on the Dance Floor
Outdoor panel, screening, and dance party led by Kavita Kulkarni
With warmup jams provided by Rimarkable
Discourse by Deborah Conton, Kimberly Knox, and Brian Polite
And a screening of Come As You Are by Amy Secada
Presented with the Trust for Governors Island
July 13, 2019
Nolan Park, Governors Island
What potential does a dance floor hold for fostering alternative forms of social life and kinship? This event will explore this question through music, discussion, and a screening of dancer Amy Secada's 2017 Come As You Are—a documentary short about the social and cultural impact of the legendary Loft parties in New York City in the 1970s and 80s. Dancers Deborah Conton and Brian Polie, and nightlife producer Kimberly Knox, will be present to discuss how the social ethos of spaces like the Loft has evolved in the twenty-first century. The event will take place outdoors in Nolan Park, taking advantage of the summer weather and the beautiful surroundings of Governors Island.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS
6 to 7:15p—Dance music played for passersby to enjoy
7:15 to 8:00p—Panel discussion on the dance floor as a space of care, moderated by Kavita Kulkarni, featuring Brian Polite of AfroMosaic Soul; Deborah Conton of New Dance Alliance, Center for Performance Research, and AfroMosaic Soul; and Kimberly Knox, producer of Ubiquita Worldwide.
8:00p—Screening of Come As You Are (43 minutes)
9p—Return ferries begin
ABOUT THE PARTICIPANTS
Deborah Conton is an Atlanta-born Brooklyn resident who continues to spread healing work via dance, spirituality, and writing. Her journey has led her to create workshops with Collage Dance Collective in Memphis, performing with the CUNY Dance Initiative program, Lehman College, Movement Research artist for the Fall/Winter 2018 series, Girls Be Heard, BHGHNY (Boys Hope Girls Hope New York), BAAD!, Under The Radar Festival, Yeah! That's What She Said, New York City's SummerStage 2018, Joe's Pub, and Sisterhood Summit (an annual event which focuses healing through the arts for Women of Color). She is currently an artist-in-residence at The Center For Performance Research in Williamsburg.
Kimberly Knox is a multi-disciplinary producer, visionary, cultural curator and marketing savant with over 20 years experience in various facets of entertainment, media and marketing. She is co-founder of the heralded NYC based nightlife/ female DJ brand UBIQUITA: a lifestyle focused branding and consulting firm specializing in management, business development, and production. Leveraging her vast network of global relationships in entertainment and sustainability with her active business development ventures in coffee, luxury real estate, and cannabis, she enters into a new phase of tastemaker-driven experience and content creation that fuses the worlds of media and social responsibility.
Brian Polite was plucked from NYC’s underground club scene to dance on stage by Adia Tamar Whitaker in 2004. This led to dancing under the direction of various choreographers like Camille A. Brown and Nita Liem. He has facilitated dance workshops at Pratt Institute, Sara Lawrence College, and Oberlin College; presented lecture demonstrations on House Dance; and been a panelist at the 2018 Dance NYC Symposium and 2013 EMP Pop Conference at NYU. Polite is currently a member of Ase Dance Theatre Collective and co-founder of Afro Mosaic Soul Dance Collective.
Amy Secada is a multi-disciplinary visionary artist specializing in neo-ritual audiovisual works and performance art. Secada combines her skills as a Dancer, Songwriter, Couture Costume Designer, Filmmaker, Vocalist, and Choreographer to produce transcendental art dedicated to spread awareness of environmental issues and Indigenous cultural and social rights. Known for her cinematic tribal bass soundscapes, gravity-defying Capoeira infused dance and otherworldly avant garde costumes, Secada tours internationally performing, teaching and inspiring. Her work has been presented in over 20 countries, she has danced for Nike Women, Hershey's, Madonna, Fergie and choreographed for America's Best Dance Crew. Secada currently lives between Los Angeles and Brazil directing her dance company, Kinetic Junglist Movement, and creating art with every breath.
Kavita Kulkarni is a writer, researcher, and educator based in Brooklyn, NY. She recently graduated with her PhD from the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at NYU, where she is completed a dissertation on spaces of participatory culture and social dance in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. She was a Critical Studies Fellow of the Whitney Independent Study Program for 2017–2018, and is a Shandaken: Governors Island resident for 2018–2019.
Pictured: Ian Friday, his mother, and a guest at the first anniversary of the Sunday Tea Party, 1995, courtesy Ian Friday