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The PURPLE Universe

Image by Léonard Cotte

PURPLE is a multi-project universe that illuminates the power of deep sisterhood for social change through storytelling and movement. This sisterhood is how we thrive: we invest in one another, we honor and celebrate each other's brilliance, and we hold ourselves accountable to experiencing radical joy. 

Each project is its own galaxy with its own moving storytellers, but these galaxies are guided by a common set of stars. The works are:



based in oral & embodied herstories

center sacred ritual(s)

honor feedback loops

honor collective decision-making

and are inspired by the work & processes of our beloved ancestor Ntozake Shange.

PURPLE research is based in archives and stars, bodies and stories. Each galaxy embodies sankofa as it literally and figuratively honors and adorns our backspace as we intentionally craft our way forward into the cosmos.


My own visit to the Purple rehearsal lured me into the work’s lore: elders as royalty, breath as affirmation, intimacy as sacred and purple space as plastic and supportive. 

— Candace Thompson-Zachery, Manager Justice, Equity, & Inclusion Dance/NYC and Dancer, Choreographer, Curator

Explore the PURPLE Galaxies

Sp​otlight in PURPLE: engage with our virtual experience

Ensemble Work: peek into the creative development of our evening length choreopoem


Community Engagement: learn more about the elder communities we are connected to and our approach to building community relationships


Student Work: learn more about residencies with high schools and colleges


Solos: check out this process for creating performance on veteran performers

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Funding Credits

The PURPLE Universe has been researched, created, and developed with support from Lincoln Center Education Community Artist in Residence Program, Gibney's Solo for Solo with generous contributions from SHS Foundation, Hi-ARTS Sky Lab Residency, Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation, and Harlem Stage, through its WaterWorks Emerging Artists program, supported by the Jerome Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Mertz-Gilmore Foundation and their Late Stage Stipend grant, Black Spatial Relics Microgrant, Barnard Center for Research on Women, Changing the Narrative, Amherst College Theater and Dance Department Guest Artist Residency, Greenwich Academy Guest Artist Residency, Black Art Futures Fund, Dance/NYC Coronavirus Dance Relief Fund, NEFA National Theater Project, Howard Gilman Foundation Mosaic Fund, and made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with City Council and administered by LMCC.


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