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About Joya

A multiethnic Harlemite, Joya Powell is a Bessie Award winning Choreographer and Educator passionate about community, activism, and dances of the African Diaspora. Hailed by The New York Times as a “radiant performer,” throughout her career she has danced with choreographers such as Paloma McGregor, Katiti King, Nicole Stanton, Neta Pulvermacher, and Mar Parrilla. In 2005 Joya founded Movement of the People Dance Company, dedicated to addressing sociocultural injustices through multidisciplinary Afrofuturist immersive contemporary dance. Her work has appeared in venues such as: BAM, Lincoln Center, SummerStage, La Mama, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Dance Complex (Cambridge), Mudlark Theater (New Orleans), Movement Research at the Judson Church, The School of Contemporary Dance & Thought (Northampton), BAAD! among others. In addition to being a performance-based company, MOPDC facilitates community engagements nationally and internationally, and they hold an annual Free Day of Dance and acclaimed Winter Intensive.

Her chapters “How do you hold when you need to be held?: Dance and the embodied practice of grieving,” and “A Grooveology: Reflections on Dance within Your Dance,” are featured in Pandemic Performance: Resilience, Liveness, and Protest in Quarantine Times – Routledge, edited by Kendra Capece & Patrick Scorese and in Write Your Future, edited by Pepatián, respectively. Her research led her to teach and study in Brazil, Puerto Rico, Cuba, France, Canada and Israel. Awards and recognition include: The Outstanding Emerging Choreographer Bessie Award, Dancing While Black Fellow, Women in Motion Commissioned Artist, EtM Choreographers + Composers Residency, Angela’s Pulse’s North Star Arts Incubator, CUNY Dance Initiative AIR, The Unsettling Dramaturgy Award. She is a collaborating member of Dance Caribbean Collective, Radical Evolution Theater Collective and is a co-leader of Angela’s Pulse’s Dancing While Black’s 10th Anniversary Season. She is also an Assistant Professor of the Practice of Dance and African American Studies at Wesleyan University.