Responding to Crisis Through Dance

Responding to Crisis Through Dance

Dancers’ Response to Crisis Through Dance is an initiative for dance artists across the state of Connecticut to respond to the question, what role does dance play in times of crisis?

There are many examples in history where artists use their work to express what sometimes goes beyond words. CDA is happy to be a platform to bring individuals and communities together through dance to celebrate, to uplift, to mourn, to protect and to pose questions that help us acknowledge the immediacy and physicality of our shared humanity. 

It is in this spirit that we are delighted to offer this diverse range of works, and we thank everyone involved for contributing to this initiative.

Justice Dance Performance


Choreographers: Judy Dworin, Mellissa Craig, Raechel Manga.

Dancers: Mellissa Craig, Raechel Manga joined by the company of performers (Kathy Borteck Gersten, Leslie Bird, Robin Cullen, Haley Zdebski Fabrycki, Alexa Melonopoulos Fleury, Suzi Jensen, Heidi Klecak, Tracy Lombardo, Lisa Matias, Victoria Steele, Kathy Wyatt, Taylor Zappone)

This duet is part of a full-evening work titled (US), a piece that speaks out for the rights of immigrants and presents their lived experience through dance, a sound score of music and text, and suitcases as a thematic visual element. It was created in 2018 and performed as a site-specific work at Hartford Public Library, a main hub for immigration in the city at a time when immigrant’s rights were being increasingly challenged by the executive leadership of the federal government. The duet highlights the existing and omnipresent racial discrimination in ‘the land of the free’ and underscores the need to speak out and protest (as suggested by the ‘taking of the knee’) to realize the vision of a better America for all.


Dance Central

Dear Daddy

Choreography: Kayleigh Crocetto

Draya wrote this poem last summer at suggestion of dance teacher. Being mixed race, she wrote about her relationship with her father who is Black. She had a great deal of fear after the murder of George Floyd and began a great deal of activism. She said she wrote it because she needed people to understand.


Haley Sullivan

The Dark Place

Choreographer/Dancer: Halley Sullivan

This piece was inspired by the feeling of not being in control of the crises that are going on in the world. This piece was inspired by a variety of crises but was most inspired by the crisis in Ukraine.


MB Dance Theater

Motherless Children

Choreographer: Megan Boyd Performers: Merly De La Hoz-Cookson, Helen Roets, Megan Boyd

This video piece acknowledges the grief, loss, and anger of children being separated from their parents; children ripped from their homeland to be relocated during times of war, like in Ukraine. In light of recent events, this piece’s grief and anger also express the pain and suffering of families traumatized by schools and public shootings.


Bonita Wessman

Driveway Prayer Dance

Dancer: Bonita Weisman


River Valley Dance Project


Choreographer: Linalynn Schmelzer

Dancers: Erin Mahoney, Aaliya Arroyo, Merhi Paydar, Kalya Rodriguez, Alexa Scott, Kelsey Alexander, Haley Sullivan This dance is in response to the war in Ukraine, gun violence, and women’s rights. In this time of so many crises, we can feel like we are drowning. It is easy to be overwhelmed and not have a way to express how we are feeling. This dance embodies the fight to survive, connect, and be alive. It shows the beauty in the struggle and how we can come together to support each other as humans and nations. What hurts or heals one has an impact on all of humankind. Submersi is not about drowning, but instead the resilience it takes to keep coming up for air, to find better solutions to our problems.


Elizabeth Cook-Asal

Prayerful Movement

Choreographer: Elizabeth Cook-Asal

Mental well-being for all. Right now, as we need to be more aware than ever of mental health, we also have to identify and provide ways to acknowledge, support, and connect. Recognizing and validating all feelings, sometimes we don’t have the words. Prayerful Movement is an outlet not only for finding strength, but also to show gratitude. Mental Health IS health!


Starship Dance Studio

Peace for Ukraine

Choreographer/Dancer: Nicole Dolynuk

My inspiration comes from an article my teacher shared with me. The article describes how almost a hundred violinists from twenty-nine different countries joined together to play a piece for Ukraine. It starts off with several violinists playing their instruments in bomb shelters in Ukraine. As the daughter of immigrants from the former USSR, I have witnessed firsthand the effects that recent events have had on my loved ones. This music touched and inspired me, so the dancing came naturally, as an extension of pure emotion and feeling. I am sharing this piece that is both a cry of sorrow and a ray of hope.