Liminal Bodies

Photos of participants dancing in LIMINAL BODIES workshop at ComeUnion Fall Festival 2019

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Photo credit: Harry Shunyao Zhang

LIMINAL BODIES is a workshop that combines dance improvisation, healing practices, and political education to prompt us to consider our bodies’ relationships to power and empire. Through short movement prompts, participants attune their listening to identify assimilated and conditioned bodily habits, unwind colonial notions of how to relate to the body, and explore natural technologiesExercises are designed to address the bodily impacts of socio-political crises and oppression and center anti-colonial practices. The workshop is designed with participation in mind, so I make room for communication and care among participants.

As facilitator, I lead participants through a range of dance and theater modalities including Authentic Movement, Butoh, Qi Gong, contemplative dance, releasing techniques, and political theater exercises. I talk through natural systems that operate through interdependency, fostering collective nourishment by design, and therefore, which destabilize colonial practices of depletion, isolation, and disempowerment. Participants respond to prompts and images I offer, considering their body’s relationship to power and empire. As they develop deep listening, they can identify and reconsider assimilated and conditioned habits in their own bodies and ways of moving. As we consider colonization in the body, we also tap into embodied and ancestral technologies and knowing.

Physical activities are adapted to meet every participant’s mobility needs. All levels of experience and familiarity with dance are welcome and accommodated. 

Invested in the well-being of communities that disproportionately face violence, I’ve offered LIMINAL BODIES in a variety of contexts and communities: schools, art spaces, activist spaces, and community centers. As an artist, I’ve have the opportunity to partner with community organizations to offer free sessions to self-identified people of color in social justice and the arts, formerly incarcerated women living together in rehabilitative housing, young Black, low-income mothers in an economic empowerment program, and LGBTQI community members.

This workshop has been offered at:

  • The Field’s Activate Equity 2020 
  • Project Row Houses’ Young Mothers Program
  • Angela House in Houston, TX
  • The Montrose Center in Houston, TX
  • Abrons Art Center through the School of Making Thinking 
  • Movement Research’s 2017 Sunday Process Lab and Fall 2019 Festival ComeUnion
  • Brown University
  • Princeton University
  • Tufts University
  • University of California – Riverside
  • University of the Arts
  • Web of Change 2017 conference

Thoughts from participants
I appreciate the space to process the world with my body, and not just my brain. I am grateful for the reminder that I contain the power of my ancestors as well as the power of those who will come after me. – J.J.

It brought about a sense of present focus that sustained through the following week. – Cassie

I remember reveling in slowness, remaining in a meditative state, and I was very grateful for that — it felt like an active healing process. – Tara

If you are interested in hosting a “Liminal Bodies” workshop, please direct email inquiries to zzzag.m (at)

• May 19, 2017

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