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“All dance saves lives. All dance makes people able to be more empathetic, makes it possible for people to see other bodies taking up space, demanding space and giving those bodies attention… I think that we just don’t do that on a regular basis in our lives. Dance forces you to do that.” — Kate Ladenheim

The New Year is always an exciting time for JUNTOS. This 2018, JUNTOS will be launching a few programs, including the addition of emerging choreographers to our groups traveling to Latin America. These choreographers have been chosen based on their current work, and the ways in which their work ethic and mission align with that of JUNTOS. Their responsibilities abroad will include setting a piece of choreography on the students, mentoring the dancers, and participating in debriefs during the first week of the journey.

Photo by Whitney Browne

Today, we are thrilled to introduce our Mexico 2018 choreographer, Kate Ladenheim.

Kate Ladenheim, a graduate of the Boston Conservatory, is a choreographer and arts producer based in Brooklyn, NY. She is the founder of The People Movers, a dance company dedicated to creating “stories about urgent social, political, and cultural happenings,” intended to make one think critically about the world we inhabit. Kate’s work has been produced across the Northeast, and she has notably been named as one of Dance Magazine’s 2018 Top 25 To Watch.

Our conversation with Kate, prior to her travels to Mexico, left us with nothing but excitement. She shared her enthusiasm for mentoring and traveling with JUNTOS, relating it back to the time she lived in Argentina at the age of eighteen. During this time, she took up Tango dancing with a friend and realized that dance helped her connect to the community, the language, and the people where she lived.

Kate (4th from left) participating in a JUNTOS Workshop, Mexico 2018

While she has not spent much of her professional career teaching, or participating in conventional outreach activities, Kate views her work as a form of social good by making politically charged pieces that challenge people to think more seriously about themselves, and where they fit into damaging systems. As an example, she shared the premise of the choreography she would be setting on the JUNTOS dancers. 

The new work is loosely based on performance theorist Em Piro’s curation of environmental phenomena called “SMOG BALLETS and other works.” One of the performances she has curated within this framework is an environmental occurrence that happens all over the world, from LA to Bogota, as the result of human interaction with the environment (find out more here). Piro’s work dives into the idea of tacit protest, as she frames the occurrence of smog in these regions as a human-environmental collaboration. Kate described it as the environment crying out for help, reaching out in a way that humans can see.

Fascinated by this sensory performance, described as “a sign of environmental damage that is also beautiful to witness,” Kate wanted to explore the physical movement that could arise from Em Piro’s research, a viewpoint that is changing the way we look at climate change. How do you get to the essence of someone’s humanity without standardized language? How do you appeal to someone’s heart and someone’s body at once?

We look forward to sharing this new rep with the JUNTOS community, yet in the meantime, we encourage you to check out Kate’s work:

  • Her company, The People Movers, will be releasing a 5 part film series online throughout the spring, which started with the launch of GLASS: Part I before the holidays. This project addresses the concept of the glass ceiling, and what happens to communities of women when they are placed underneath one. See the video below!
  • See some of this choreography live in New York on April 12th and 14th. More info here.
  • Kate recently produced and co-choreographed Transmission, a distributed, augmented reality performance and podcast series that premiered at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Listen here.
  • Follow The People Movers on Facebook, Instagram and Vimeo.

Choreographers for summer JUNTOSAbroad trips include Dante Brown of Warehouse Dance, Tanya Chianese of ka·nei·see | collective and Owen Scarlett of Owen Scarlett Productions. Look out for posts about their work, coming in the next few months!

If you are a student looking to travel with JUNTOS and work with one of these choreographers click here. Applications re-open on January 15th 2018.