The A/P/A Institute at NYU welcomes acclaimed dancer, choreographer, and scholar Jack Gray (Ngati Porou, Ngapuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngati Kahungunu) as its Spring 2016 Artist-in-Residence. Aotearoa (New Zealand)-based Gray will share transnational dance projects that call attention to the value of Indigenous knowledges embedded within language, text, and physical embodiments, and the possibilities that the creative arts present for Indigenous empowerment. He introduces his perspective on collaborative research and “community activation,” which will frame this semester-long residency. Gray will be joined by cultural worker and documentarian Mi’Jan Celie Tho-Biaz (Visiting Scholar, Columbia University) and Giarna Te Kanawa (ORA Gallery) for an evening of critical engagement and storytelling.
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Jack Gray (Ngati Porou, Ngapuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngati Kahungunu) is an acclaimed dancer, choreographer, and scholar. Born in Auckland, New Zealand, Gray first connected to his cultural roots through traditional Māori dance, Kapa Haka, and later discovered contemporary dance. In 2000, he founded the Atamira Dance Company, an all Māori contemporary dance theatre, which has since become one of the nation’s premiere dance companies. Gray is committed to developing Indigenous epistemologies as a crossover into mainstream practices of dance and theatre. Since 2012, he has fostered an intercultural network of communities in the United States, activating cultural awareness and promoting strategies for Indigenous empowerment. He has collaborated with Dancing Earth Creations (New Mexico), Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum (Hawai‘i), University of California, Riverside, and University of California, Berkeley, among many organizations and institutions. He is the Spring 2016 Artist-in-Residence at the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU.
Mi’Jan Celie Tho-Biaz, Ed.D., is a cultural worker, Visiting Scholar at Columbia University, and an inaugural leadership development member of the Aspen Institute’s Franklin Project. Tho-Biaz has extensive practice in the fields of arts education and creative leadership, as well as 15 years of experience in multicultural education and curriculum design.
Photo of Jack Gray by Jinki Cambronero.