THE MOVING MEMORY PROJECT Festival, Featuring Stefanie Nelson Dancegroup's A, MY NAME IS…

THE MOVING MEMORY PROJECT Festival, Featuring Stefanie Nelson Dancegroup's A, MY NAME IS…

Co-curators: choreographer Stefanie Nelson of Stefanie Nelson Dancegroup and bestselling author David Shenk (The Forgetting) present the launch of a new festival devoted to memory and forgetting. The inaugural event will feature Stefanie Nelson's A, MY NAME IS..., a dance piece inspired by a family experience with dementia, using several short films from David Shenk's Living With Alzheimer's Film Project. It will take place on January 23, 2019, at Aaron Davis Hall at The City College of New York (129 Convent Avenue at West 135th Street), with performances at 11:00 am and 6:30 pm. Both shows will be followed by a discussion with invited panelists including Meredith Wong from CaringKind's Connect2Culture program, and a reception (evening show only). Tickets are $20 and can be purchased HERE (

Nelson and Shenk's vision for this festival is to bring together artists, caregivers, and seniors, to create a community of care surrounding issues connected to memory loss, and to destigmatize the diagnosis of dementia with the ultimate goal of increasing awareness to increase funding until a cure is found. The inaugural event focuses on Alzheimer's, preceded by a series of "Memories in Motion" workshops for seniors and caregivers at the Union Settlement Senior Center in East Harlem.


The title A, MY NAME IS... refers to a children's alphabet rhyming game designed to coordinate physical and verbal skills. New York-based Nelson tells a story of memory and forgetting in a dance featuring three female performers in different stages of life - and a male figure personifying life's unpredictable circumstances. This multidisciplinary piece is a playful exploration into the absurdity of memory loss inspired by the choreographer's personal encounter with a family member's dementia. Increasingly organized phrases peak and subsequently dissolve into disorientation - a visual metaphor for memory loss. Nelson makes ample use of apple imagery to evoke the loss of beauty and innocence, the passage of time, the inexorability of gravity, and the inevitability of decay.

Watch a video trailer here:

Says Shenk: "We need this piece - desperately. I'm so grateful to Stefanie for confronting dementia with such passion and curiosity. Works like this can help the world think and talk about Alzheimer's in important new ways."

The Huffington Post praised it as "the only depiction of insanity... that makes any sense," adding: "See the work for yourself. Whatever price you pay, it's worth it.

A, MY NAME IS... is performed by Christine Bonansea, Becca Loevy, Cameron McKinney, and Emily Tellier. Additionally, Nelson brings together a team of international collaborators: the work features a stop-motion video with photos by Elisa D'Amico (Italy), original music by composers Sahand Rahbar (Iran/Canada) and Jonah Kreitner (US), with light design by Kevin Scott (US).

Nelson's piece will be intertwined with the short films UNDONE, directed by Hayley Morris, and VILLA MNEMÓSINE, directed by Ruben Salazar.

UNDONE, a stop-motion animation featuring a drifting man struggling to pull objects from the sea below him, was the winner of 2016 Living With Alzheimer's Film Competition Jury Prize.

VILLA MNEMÓSINE is a dreamlike story of a lonely woman who is concerned over some phenomena that occur in her increasingly more strange house.

More titles will be announced at a later date.

The Moving Memory Project is made possible in part with funding from the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation administered by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC.) This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the Manhattan Community Award Program (MCAP) from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer's Office through the NYC Department for the Aging.

A, MY NAME IS... is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; in part, with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; with additional support by the Barnard College Department of Dance, Exorto Danza, the Comune di Agropoli, Parco Nazionale del Cilento, Albumi e Vallo di Diano, BCC Comuni Cilentani, and Dance Italia.


Stefanie Nelson (Concept, Choreography, Set Design, Stop Motion Video) is the Founder & Artistic Director of Stefanie Nelson Dancegroup, a New York City-based contemporary performance ensemble, and Dance Italia, an annual summer dance intensive in Lucca, Italy, and a co-curator of The Moving Memory Project. Her work distills deeply personal ideas into highly kinetic, expressive, and provocative works that are rooted in cross-media collaboration with artists working in music, video, and visual arts. Described as "instinctual, untamed, and edgy," by Eva Yaa Asantewaa, Nelson's dances have been presented at some of the foremost contemporary performance venues in the United States, including Joyce SoHo, Dance Theater Workshop, LaMama Moves!, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, and Jacob's Pillow. Her newest work, 'A, MY NAME IS...' is one of only 11 projects chosen to be promoted internationally in American Dance Abroad's 2019 pitchbook. Identified as an 'Emerging Leader' in the field of Arts Administration by the New York Foundation for the Arts, she served as a panelist to award their Artists' Fellowships for Choreography. She teaches weekly dance and movement workshops to adults with disabilities at AHRC NYC and children at Hunter College Elementary School. Local NYC curations include an inclusive dance event at BAC, and How high is the ceiling in my glass castle? (and other perceived limitations) at Triskelion Arts.

David Shenk (Co-curator; Special Advisor on A, MY NAME IS...) is the award-winning and national-bestselling author of six books, including The Genius in All of Us ("deeply interesting and important" - New York Times), The Forgetting ("remarkable" - Los Angeles Times), Data Smog ("indispensable" - New York Times), and The Immortal Game ("superb" - Wall Street Journal). He is a popular lecturer, a short-film director/producer, and a contributor to National Geographic, Slate, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Nature Biotechnology, Harper's, Spy, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, NPR, and BBC. PBS's "The Forgetting," inspired by Shenk's book, won an Emmy in 2004. In 2006, the book The Forgetting was featured in Sarah Polley's Oscar-nominated film "Away From Her." Shenk has advised the President's Council on Bioethics on dementia-related issues, served as a Senior Advisor to Cure Alzheimer's Fund, and is Creator/Executive Producer of the "Living with Alzheimer's" film project. Shenk lives in Brooklyn.

Christine Bonansea (Performer) is a US-European dancer and choreographer with almost two decades of international experience in conceiving, directing/ choreographing and performing movement-based works. She creates performances, installations, and films. She is the Artistic director of Christine Bonansea Company, founded in 2010. Defined by expressive, virtuosic, improvisation-driven movement, her work inhabits an experimental, interdisciplinary, and collaborative environment in which other media - theater, video, visual art and design, spoken word, and music - play an integral part. Having studied Modern Literature at Paris' La Sorbonne, she cites writers and philosophers as major influences. Bonansea received her degree in contemporary dance in France and studied dance with such luminaries as Regine Chopinot, Catherine Diverres, Mathilde Monnier, Ralph Lemon, Anna Halprin, Nancy Stark Smith. She's also an accomplished dance teacher in both professional performative and therapeutic setting. She has had the pleasure to collaborate and perform with such artists as Catherine Galasso, Katie Duck, Sara Shelton Mann, Faustin Linyekula, Tino Sehgal, and Yoshiko Chuma. Her dances have also been developed in art residencies and commissioned by numerous venues and festivals worldwide, including Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, ODC Theater, San Francisco International Arts Festival, and The FRESH Festival (San Francisco); Headwater Theater (Portland); Atlantic Center for the Arts (Florida); Earthdance (MA), Artscape (Toronto); Whenever Wherever Festival (Tokyo); The Centre Nationale De la Danse (Paris) and at DOCK11 (Berlin).

Becca Loevy (Performer) grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado where she began her training at Synergy Dance Academy and worked as a dance teacher, choreographer, and teacher assistant. She received a B.F.A. in Dance from NYU Tisch School of the Arts and has worked with David Dorfman, Diane Madden (Trisha Brown rep), Stefanie Batten Bland, Christine Bonansea, Johannes Wieland, Crystal Pite, and others. Becca is dividing her time between Berlin - where she is a current resident at Lake Studios - and New York City, showing her own work and working with various choreographers, and teaching improv classes.

Cameron McKinney (Performer), Artistic Director of Kizuna Dance, has worked with 10 Hairy Legs, Dante Brown | Warehouse Dance, Christal Brown/INSPIRIT, Christine Bonansea, and Chafin Seymour/Seymour::dancecollective, among others. He has received many awards and honors, including a choreographic fellowship from the Alvin Ailey Foundation's New Directions Choreography Lab and an Individual Fellowship from the Asian Cultural Council. In addition to commissions for new works from the Dance Gallery Festival, the Men in Dance Festival, The Thacher School, and SUNY Brockport in 2018, he also has received commissions twice from the Joffrey Ballet School and twice from the Let's Dance International Frontiers Festival, among several others. He currently teaches at Gibney Dance, and he has taught across twelve states and four countries.

Emily Tellier is originally from North Vancouver, Canada, and now resides in Brooklyn as a freelance dance artist. She has performed in various festivals and venues including Central Park's SummerStage, 92nd St. Y, the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, New York City Center, Ladies of Hip Hop Festival, and the Vancouver International Dance Festival, to name a few. In addition to working with Stefanie Nelson Dance Group, Emily has recently premiered works in both New York and Vancouver with various companies including Joya Powell's Movement of the People Dance Company, Nicole Philippidis' 277 Dance Project, Thyrn Saxon's SAXYN/Dance Works, and Heather Laura Gray. She can also be seen in Ingrid Michaelson?s music video, Celebrate, choreographed by Stacey Tookey. Through her work as Community Action Manager at Gibney, Emily works throughout the city in domestic violence shelters and with youth outreach programs including Step It Up NYC, a youth engagement program that focuses on fusing dance and social justice.

Jonah Kreitner (Composer) is a multi-instrumentalist/composer who recorded a soon to be released album with jazz greats, Ira Coleman, Tony Purrone, and Lenny White. He currently plays the violin for the James Moody Jazz orchestra. His original compositions have been presented internationally in Israel and Italy, and in NYC at Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, City Center, the Ailey Citigroup Theater, among others. Commissions include the Nightingale Gallery and Bloomingdale School of Music. Kreitner was recently featured as a guest artist performing with Marc Broussard at City Winery and can be seen busking around the subway in NYC. Significant influences include Regina Sadowski, Massimiliano Soggiu, Ben Sutin, and Alex Wintz. A, MY NAME IS... is his third collaboration with Stefanie Nelson Dancegroup.

Sahand Rahbar (Composer) is an Iranian-Canadian multi-instrumentalist/composer who comes from an extensive improvisational background. He started with classical piano as a child and later got his hands on a guitar, bass and more recently drums, moving away from classical and into improv space. His music crosses various genres and mixes acoustic and digital components. Sahand has composed pieces for short movies, video games, and contemporary dance performances, and has been collaborating with Stefanie Nelson Dancegroup for the past six years.

Elisa D'Amico (Video photography) is a freelance dancer and multidisciplinary artist. She graduated from ArtEZ School of Arts and trained at De Stilte (both in the Netherlands), and Biennale Danza in Venice, Italy. With Milan Kampfer, Till Becker and the videomaker Francisco J. V. Martinez, she co-created the video project In-between. Recent dance collaborations include a number of projects with Italian choreographers. She is currently working with Francesco Dalmasso and Alessio Mazzaro on //Couchscore - a long-distance investigation of writing and transmitting scores, commissioned by Workspace Ricerca X / research and dramaturgy in Turin, Italy. D'Amico has been collaborating with Stefanie Nelson and Dance Italia since 2013.

Kevin Scott (Lighting Design; based on original design by Solomon Weisbard) Since 2001, he has been the Technical Director for Centralia, an improvisational performance group which incorporates experimental video, sound, and lighting. He's also spent the last decade at Hunter College Campus Schools as the Technical Director, designing and running lights and sound for 20 shows and concerts each year. Kevin has also made many movies and performed as a comedic improviser in countries around the world.


Hayley Morris (UNDONE) is a director, animator and educator based in Providence, RI. She uses traditional animation techniques such as stop-motion and hand-drawn to tell stories that unfold through layered textures, handcrafted details, and inventive storytelling. Hayley is interested in creating abstract and ethereal narratives that put the viewer into spaces that are unattainable through our traditional points of view.

Ruben Salazar (VILLA MNEMÓSINE) studied fine and audiovisual arts in his native Spain and started his artistic career as a graphic designer. In 2004, he co-founded an animation Production Company whose two shorts films were considered for Oscar nomination. He is a recipient of over eighty international film awards as producer and director.

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