Sydnie L. Mosley Dances (SLMDances) is a New York City-based dance-theater collective that works in communities to organize for gender and racial justice through experiential dance performance.
SLMDances' works engage audiences in the artistic process; our dances provoke a visceral reaction to the physicality on stage, and incite conversation toward community action. The works reflect real life experiences central to our identities, and pulls focus to the stories of women and Black folks. The movement vocabulary fluidly integrates modern dance techniques and movement of the African Diaspora, while dancers frequently use their voice with spoken text and audible breath. Through dimensional compositions, specific, textured movement, humor and character development, choreographed works appeal to a sense of humanity.
SLMDances has shown work at Harlem Stage’s The Takeover, The Performance Project @ University Settlement, Dixon Place, 92nd St Y, The Chen Dance Center newsteps program, the FIGMENT Festival on Governor’s Island, RoofTopDance, The Actor's Fund Arts Center, the Harlem Arts Alliance Artz, Rootz & Rhythm Festival, Movement Research at Judson Church, Brooklyn Arts Exchange (BAX), Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance (BAAD!), Triskelion Arts, The Red Carpet Theater at Taino Towers, as a part of the New York Foundation for the Arts Boot Camp Arts Festival at Joyce SoHo, The New School for Hollaback!’s HOLLA:Revolution, Barnard College, Cornell University, Penn State, Duke University, the Exponential Finance Conference, in addition to the annual NYC anti-street harassment rally, and many other outdoor performances.
The collective situates itself amongst the Harlem arts community by creating and presenting dance uptown; partnering with other Harlem artists and businesses; and focusing community-based initiatives within Harlem. SLMDances travels for projects both domestically and internationally as relevant to the mission and interests of the collective.
Dreams bring to our consciousness that which is outside of us. Dreaming is the first step to manifesting a better reality. As Zora Neale Hurston reminds us, “The dream is the truth.” We live our dreams. Our imaginings are realities. Our actions make our imaginings so.
We honor the truth that every individual brings to the work. Each human has a unique experience to offer that is worthwhile and enriches the fabric of our dance. And to that extent, we believe that artists and other collaborators who contribute to the work should be acknowledged for that value. SLMDances embodies a “difference-celebrating culture,” as suggested by Sonya Renee Taylor, and we celebrate you!
SLMDances is a creative home for trans, cis, nonbinary, queer, disabled, fat, masculine presenting, Black women and femmes of many generations. We are dreaming of the liberation of these humans. We understand that by centering, prioritizing and freeing their story - they who fall at the inter sections of many oppressions - that we may have the tools ultimately free all human beings.
Dance is an agent of change. As an activist tool, dance uniquely positions human creativity and physicality as a catalyst for action. Movement of the body fuels cultural movement, one dance at a time. Eve Ensler states: “Dance is dangerous, joyous, sexual, holy, disruptive, and contagious and it breaks the rules. It can happen anywhere, at anytime, with anyone and everyone, and it’s free. Dance joins us and pushes us to go further and that is why it’s at the center…”
Adrienne Maree Brown teaches us that “Relationships are everything.” SLMDances understands itself in relationship to the various communities of which we are a part, or are invited into. We are rooted in, nurture and remain accountable to each of those communities, from individuals in our local experience, to our city-wide, national, and global reach. Through collaboration, these communities are involved at every level of process. We believe that mutually beneficial partnerships are the mode to serve and uplift the needs and wants of all those involved.
We value honesty in our movement, activism and organizational practices. It is the earnestness of actually falling, and getting back up again that creates the visceral nature of our work. We witness one another in this practice. We embody Aja Monet’s understanding that when we witness each other and our mother’s movements in this world, “it informs [our] own, their labor to love and live freely, their joy and their pain, their magic and madness.”
Ntozake Shange writes that, “it is possible to start a phrase with a word and end with a gesture/ that’s how i’ve lived my life/ that’s how i continue to study/ produce black art.” SLMDances understands that by devising dances of words and gestures, thoughts and actions, we are creating opportunity for peer learning, research, critical thinking, discussion, and reflection. SLMDances does not position itself as an expert on any topic it tackles, but as an entity that deeply listens and shares what it is continually discovering in every class, rehearsal and performance.
Statement on Race + Gender
Inspired by SLMDances' 2014 work CAKE, the collective developed a clear statement and approach to race and gender for our artistic work, articulated and documented during SLMDances' 2017 strategic planning process. Learn more about who our work is for and how we work to manifest that.