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$4,053 raised of $4,000 goal
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Funded on March 02, 2018
    • 101% contributed

As a dancemaker and educator, I embrace the moments that take place on stages and in studios when we feel a sense of trust, community, and the power of the human spirit. I am also a mover who has always been drawn to the pulse of Jazz dance. Over the past few years, I have been focused on creating a dance pedagogy, specifically one that builds a movement process and vocabulary in the Jazz dance genre that draws on the ritual and spirit of African culture. From my own experience as a woman of African descent, I believe that the inclusion of African cultural values (e.g. ritual, community, and embodiment practice) are necessary within my practice and pedagogy. I also have found that Jazz dance and its rhythmic patterns of the body radiate something inside the human essence for all who encounter it. With this campaign, I am raising funds to support a public demonstration of this pedagogy, consisting of video documentation of the process with students, followed by a live dance performance. Through my research, I am working to create and document a studio-based environment that is designed to inspire a dancer’s growth and self-attunement through the Jazz dance aesthetic shaped by African cultural influences as a means to nurture self-embodied awareness and encourage the dancer’s fluency.

About This Project

This project came about because of the personal and artistic discovery period during my studies in the MFA program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. My focus while there has been to embrace and identify the ethos, or spirit, of dance revealed in American jazz culture that thrives because of the lineage of the African diaspora. As a dance educator, I believe my role is like a creative ancestor in a way, who helps align students with their own identity, human qualities, and experiences that bring them to experience their craft with deep authenticity and purpose. The passion and tradition that drive this approach are rooted in African culture and values, revealing how nurturing rituals of trust and self-exploration in both the studio and the rehearsal process can inspire a sense of connection that forms/strengthens community and feeds the outer expressivity in movement.

This work also has an important component in performance for the audience. For instance, an important African value is to commune in a circle. In this case, the audience completes this experience for the dancers in this work, helping to embody and convey messages of encouragement, exploration, love, and the notion of self-celebration.

The fiber of this project has the potential to provide profoundly transformative experiences not only for those involved as students/dancers with the research study, but also to the field of Jazz dance and pedagogy as a whole. An emphasis on deepening the natural expressive patterns found in Jazz dance by developing a process study that aids in the fluency of the dance artist is something that will inspire dance educators in the field. This project not only observes and identifies the symbiotic relationship of African diasporic ethos to that of the American jazz dance aesthetic, but it also explores how African cultural values strengthen the process of the work, and in turn, improves the culture of the community in the typical dance class environment and the rehearsal process.

Your contributions will directly support a public demonstration consisting of two components: first, video footage revealing the explorative methods of the research and documenting personal interviews from artists in the process; secondly, a contemporary jazz performance presentation, presented by current and alumni Western Michigan University dance students and a select group of Chicago professional dance artists who will show the culmination of the process introduced in the video footage. Two viewings of this performance will take place: first at the Western Michigan University Department of Dance in Kalamazoo, Michigan on February 24; the second at Links Hall in Chicago, Illinois on March 5.

By supporting this project, you are supporting this message and the notion that no matter what stage you are in your career or life, coming together with openness and authenticity can create great beauty and change the way that we as people consider others in this life.

Specifically, your donations will help fund the artist fees, housing, and travel expenses, as well as payment for the Chicago performance space, production staff, videographer, marketing materials, and costuming that needs to be devised for the show.

The premiere of this work includes the participating artists:

Lizzie MacKenzie (Owner of Extension Dance Co./ Zilliewear Dancewear)
Maura Naughton (Artist of Cocodaco Dance Co.)
Sinclair Davis (WMU Alumna)
Sarah Mills (WMU Alumna)

Western Michigan University Students:
Kelly Anderson
Marisa Bianan
Alyssa Boone
Kiera Brown
Tara Charvat
Maura Grace
Grace Hilarides
Janet Luijte
Hayley Midea
Kennedy Phelps
Marissa Quivey
Kirsten Smits
Anna Volkman

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $25
    Shout out/Thank you on social media. ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    Above, plus a personal invitation to attend a rehearsal (limited to 4). ($50.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $75
    DVD video of the process-study experience and one ticket to the "Encounter" show of your choice (limited to 10). ($35.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $150
    A show poster signed by Monique and cast, DVD video of the process-study experience, two tickets to the "Encounter" show of your choice (limited to 5), and sponsor acknowledgement. ($65.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $300
    A 90-minute workshop/class with Monique (limited to 3), two tickets to the “Encounter” show of your choice (limited to 5), a signed poster, DVD video, one “Encounter” memorabilia t-shirt, and sponsorship acknowledgement. ($100.00 is tax deductible.)

Monique Haley

McCormick Family Foundation Awardee

Monique Haley is a graduate of The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in performing arts, specializing in jazz dance. Monique completed nine memorable years with the prestigious River North Chicago Dance Company …

View Monique Haley's profile
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    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Sharon Garber

    • Jeremy Kershaw

    • Rose Walker

    • Jenni Reinke

    • Rhonda Cadogan

    • sherry zunker

    • kia smith

    • Kim Ryan

    • Pamela Crutchfield

    • Eric Strother

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Tammy Charvat

    • Sonja Parjer

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Joyce Bellamy

    • Kelly Ballema

    • Sydney Suwannarat

    • Robert Mckee

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Shaconna Haley

    • Deb Norton

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3AP Presenting Partner:

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 Additional support provided by: 

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