Project History

Choose a location:
Azerbaijan, Ghana, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel/Palestine
Italy, Mexico, Serbia, North America, South Africa


Azerbaijan

In November 2010, Daniel Banks was invited to Baku, Azerbaijan, by the Ministry of Culture to present the work of Theatre Without Borders at the First International Baku Theatre Conference. While there, he was invited to give workshops to local artists and students at several institutions. In addition, the Ministry of Culture and the US Embassy in Baku co-hosted the first ever Hip Hop Theatre workshop in Azerbaijan, which Daniel led, assisted by local Hip Hop community member Teymur Tahmazov. As a result, there are currently two Hip Hop Theatre productions being planned in Azerbaijan, one at a national theatre and one at the grassroots level.



Ghana

Daniel and Adam taught on the NYU in Ghana Program in conjunction with the University of Ghana.  Adam led a Practicum on Movement, Performance, Ritual, and Healing; Daniel brought 10 students and alumni from the Hip Hop Theatre Initiative, currently in residence at NYU, to work with local artists and performers, beginning the “Reassembling the Diaspora” project.


We are All One: The Jews of Sefwi Wiawso

DNAWORKS was funded by the U.S. Embassy in Ghana to lead an oral history project with the Jewish community, some 200 strong, in Sefwi Wiawso in the Western Region of Ghana about 120 miles from Accra.  Adam and Daniel spent Purim with the community, their first celebration of this holiday, led a Purim spiel, and taught songs, as well as Passover and one other Shabbat. The oral history project is now a film, We Are All One: The Jews of Sefwi Wiawso, in which several Jewish men from Sefwi Wiawso, Ghana, recount stories of The House of Israel community and its return to ancestral Judaic beliefs and practices.


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Buduburum

Daniel and students from NYU-in-Ghana and University of Ghana, Legon, worked with students from 10 schools in Buduburam, the former UNHCR Liberian refugee camp outside Accra, leading Hip Hop Theatre workshops and helping the Drama Club of the Dominion Christian Academy (Domica) develop an HIV/AIDS prevention educational drama. Their work there culminated in a Community Arts Celebration. Daniel was also invited to create a testimonial theatre project by and with the Ga Queen Mothers of the Greater Accra Region.


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Christian Children's Storehouse

Adam and Daniel taught at the Children’s Christian Storehouse Conservatory, an after-school and weekend arts and education program that serves youth from a wide range of backgrounds – from homeless and village youth to diplomats’ children. With the NYU and University of Ghana students, DNAworks choreographed and created an end-of-term production, Kofi’s Story: From Accra-way to Broadway, that sold out the Efua T. Sutherland Drama Studio, a beautiful outdoor amphitheatre at the University of Ghana, Legon.

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Hungary

DNAWORKS has been working on a multi-year collaboration with the Regional English Language Office of the US Embassy in Budapest. In addition to drama and self-expression workshops at the Roma and Friends Camp in Balatonlelle, DNAWORKS facilitated pedagogy workshops with the teachers of the campers, Artist Roundtable conversations in Budapest, and arts and dialogue sessions at the Lauder/Joint International Jewish Youth Camp in Szarvas. Adam McKinney also taught dance classes for the Bozsik Yvette Dance Company and Mozdulatmuvészeti Stúdio.

Roma and Friends Camp

For three years, DNAWORKS has led drama and self-expression workshops at the Roma and Friends Camp in Balatonlelle, based on the Hip Hop Theatre Initiative methodology. For the past two years, DNAWORKS has also led an annual teacher training workshop with the teachers of the campers, based in critical pedagogy and alternative modes of engaging youth in the classroom.


Dance Classes with Adam McKinney

In Budapest, Adam taught classical ballet company classes for Bozsik Yvette Dance Company, one of Hungary's top contemporary companies. Classes emphasized strong technique through musicality, expressiveness, and developing one's own unique movement quality.   Adam also taught Horton dance technique & repertory classes at Mozdulatmuvészeti Stúdio (The Art of Movement Studio) in Budapest.


Artist Roundtable and Lauder/Joint Camp

Adam McKinney with Move2Heal Class

In 2009 and 2010, Adam and Daniel led Roundtable discussions with local artists in Budapest to discuss the state of performing arts in the US and Hungary.  They also led their arts and dialogue programming at the Lauder/Joint International Jewish Youth Camp in Szarvas, "Belonging Everywhere" in 2009 and HaMapah/The Map in 2010.



Indonesia

In 2008, Adam was invited by Namarina Youth Dance (Jakarta) to teach master dance classes, lead dance teacher trainings, and to choreograph a new work, Pathways, which revolves around women's journeys to their present places in society and the manner in which society creates the pathways we all take. This piece remains in Namarina's repertory.



Israel/Palestine

In 2009, DNAWORKS spent nine weeks working in Israel.


Beta Dance Troupe, Haifa

Adam McKinney and Daniel Banks created a new, devised dance work with Beta Dance Troupe (BDT), an Ethiopian Israeli dance company that performs a combination of traditional and contemporary dance in Israel and abroad. Founded in 1994, Beta Dance Troupe is one of the only companies of its kind. They rehearsed together at the Neve Yosef Community Center in Haifa, which provides social and cultural services to the residents of east Haifa and assists in providing welfare services to the community of Neve Yosef. BDT debuted the world premiere of What Are We Saying? at Neve Yosef. Devised in collaboration with Beta dancers Daniel Barhana, Mazal Dimoza, Solomon Tafte, and Sandake Meharat, the work emerges from the dancers’ personal statements on the themes of home, passage, and diaspora, and is expressed in the unique language and movements of the Ethiopian communities. DNAWORKS was thrilled to work with celebrated Israeli costume designer Maor Zabar.

The piece has since toured around Israel and to the US. To learn more about Beta Dance Troupe, please visit: www.beta-eskesta.com


Move2Heal, Tel Aviv

In collaboration with social worker and counselor for the Israeli Gay Youth Organization (IGY), Avi Blecherman of Tel Aviv, DNAWORKS facilitated a moving project using dance for community healing and creative self-expression with two young men maimed in the attack on Bar Noar. Bar Noar is the safe space for GLBTQ youth in Tel Aviv, Israel, that was attacked by a masked gunman, in which two people were killed and at least 15 injured. The 15 and 19-year old young men with whom we worked for six weeks begun to study dance – ballroom, modern, ballet, and Hip Hop – and, since the attack, are confined to wheelchairs, paralyzed from the chest down. At the time, they were rehabilitating at Sheba Hospital in Tel Aviv. Adam and Daniel led a devised dance-theatre practicum to encourage these courageous, talented young men to pursue and explore their love of dance in their current physical state, to use the arts as a means to process and heal from the violence of this attack, and to share this process with the community around them. Click here to view video from the workshops.

Watch Move2Heal on YouTube

Peace Child Israel, Nazareth

As part of a grant from the US Embassy in Tel Aviv, Daniel and Adam facilitated a day-long Hip Hop Theatre workshop in Nazareth for Peace Child Israel with high school students from a Jewish and an Arab Israeli high school. Assisted by Brandeis alumnus and PCI counselor Walaa Sbait, the youth created short performance pieces to share with each other and their teachers.

Also through the US Embassy, they led workshops at the American Corners in Acco and Old Jaffo, and for the Yoram Levinstein Acting School.


Israeli Women Creating Peace - Palestine

DNAWORKS presented their "B-LIVE Guide for Live Performance and Public Speaking" during a performance workshop they led for Palestinian and Israeli Women Creating Peace: A Joint Venture of Shorouq and NISPED poets in Palestine. The presentation of the collection of poems by Yvette Nahmia-Messinas, They All Sound Like Love Songs, Women Healing Israeli-Palestinian Relations, was performed at the Yamei Shira Bamidbar festival in Midreshet S'de Boker, Israel under the section "With An Iron Pen: Poems of Protest and Poems of Peace" in Hebrew, English and Arabic by Israeli and Palestinian participants.

NYU in Tel Aviv

Daniel and Adam visited NYU in Tel Aviv. There, they gave a movement workshop and spoke about their recent work in Israel with 8 students and staff from the program as well as invited community members.


Beit Berl College

DNAWORKS led a self-expression and collaboration workshop through movement and voice in Professor and Poet Aida Nasrallah’s “Thinking Creatively” course at Beit Berl College. "Beit Berl College is an important historical teaching college attended by Muslims and Jews, “where education is considered a means for effecting social change and advancing social justice” (Beit Berl College). Thirty Arab women, Muslim and Christian, ages 20 – 70, participated in the workshop, which took place in the outdoor common area between the dining room and the library. Nasrallah has invited DNAWORKS to return to Beit Berl University to collaborate on further projects.



Italy

La MaMa Umbria’s International Symposium for Directors

In 2009, Daniel was invited to give a week-long Hip Hop Theatre workshop at La MaMa Umbria’s International Symposium for Directors. Sponsored by La MaMa ETC, the symposium is a training program for professional directors, choreographers, playwrights and actors. Daniel conducted workshops on the Hip Hop Theatre Initiative’s methodology with participants from Singapore, Korea, Russia, Australia, Taiwan, and the U.S. Out of this workshop developed on-going partnerships with artists Anthem Salgado and Mei Ann Te.


La MaMa Spoleto Open Festival

In 2011, DNAWORKS presented HaMapah/The Map at the La MaMa Spoleto Open Festival at the brand new Spazio Teatro. La MaMa Open invited DNAWORKS because of the unique nature of HaMapah/The Map, and current issues surrounding identity, heritage, and immigration in Western Europe. Adam and Daniel also had the very moving experience of being invited to perform at the memorial service for Ellen Stewart.



Mexico

In May 2008, Daniel and two members of the DNAWORKS family, Luisa Ines Garcia and Ismael Cruz Cordova, traveled to three communities in Oaxaca State, Mexico, under the auspices of the Hip Hop Theatre Initiative and the US Embassy in Mexico City. They were invited to facilitate dialogue and collaborative art regarding police harassment and brutality, drug use and prevention, and the impact of mass immigration in the search for better jobs and wages.


Oaxaca City

In Oaxaca City, local Hip Hop activist Fuser and his community of artists discussed the history of Hip Hop, shared their skills – ranging from Rap and Emceeing to Breaking to tattooing, and collaborated with peers to begin creating interdisciplinary pieces. Together, the community identified issues and began brainstorming solutions, including writing to their government leaders.


Puerto Escondido

In Puerto Escondido, community leader Silvia Maria introduced DNAWORKS/HHTI to a group of five young leaders, as well as parents concerned about drug use and prevention in their city. In one day, these students came together to make posters about drug prevention for their schools' hallways and create a short theater piece about the coastal environment in which they are growing up and that they want to preserve.


José María Morelos

In José María Morelos, community leader Israel greeted DNAWORKS/HHTI in his rural town and introduced the team to parents and their children. Here the youth of Costa Chica centered their work around the long absences of family members searching for jobs in the North, and drug prevention. They did writing, improvisation, and visual art exercises that were shared with the older members of the community.



North America

DNAWORKS has led programming and workshops at such institutions as Wellesley College, California Institute of the Arts, Babson College, Bryn Mawr College, New York University, University of California Berkeley, University of California Riverside, DePaul University, and Rhodes College, among others.  The organization has worked with community organizations and congregations in such locations as Salt Lake City, UT; Atlanta, GA; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Tacoma, WA; Los Angeles, CA; and New York, NY.  In addition, DNAWORKS has led creativity-based trainings for such organizations as the Eldridge Street Museum, The Curriculum Initiative, The Insight Fellowship/Shusterman Foundation, the Bronfman Center at NYU, the Academy for Jewish Religion, and through the Black Theatre Network.


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International Peace Research Association (IPRA)

In June 2006, Adam and Daniel were invited to present their work at the International Peace Research Association conference in Calgary by the Coexistence Project at Brandeis University. They discussed their projects in Ghana and South African in the context of art and international exchange as a vehicle for peacemaking.



Serbia

DNAWORKS participated in the 2011 Passing The Flame Festival to mark the 20th anniversary of Teatar Dah in Belgrade, Serbia.  At the festival, DNAWORKS performed HaMapah/The Map to a standing-room-only, late-night crowd, followed by a community dialogue. Daniel also led a Hip Hop Theatre workshop assisted by Christopher Rivas, which included young members of the local community as well as professional theatre artists from around Europe, the US, and New Zealand. In addition, Daniel spoke on the “Theatre and Peacebuilding” panel about his Hip Hop Theatre work in Ghana and South Africa.



South Africa

Daniel and Adam traveled to South Africa, under the auspices of the U.S. State Department, and worked there for six weeks. Adam taught and choreographed for such companies as Agulhas Theatre Works, South African Ballet Theatre, Moving into Dance, and University of Johannesburg Dance Dept.


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Hip Hop Theatre Lab

Daniel was in residence at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg, where he directed a workshop production of the Hip Hop Theatre play Blurring Shine by U.S. writer Zakiyyah Alexander. He then created a Hip Hop Theatre Lab in which he trained young artists to make Hip Hop Theatre and to lead youth empowerment and arts workshops, which they then did at Sibikwa Community Theatre in the East Rand. He also taught two days of masterclasses at The Actors Studio and led a day-long workshop in the Langa township near Cape Town.

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Atlantis

Adam and Daniel led a self-expression and empowerment workshop through dance and art making at the Community Center in Atlantis, a Coloured township outside Cape Town. Participants aged from 9 months to 94 years collaborated in the project. We devised dance work and later paraded through the streets in an visual art-clad car which traveled from the Community Center into the streets. A dance block party concluded the day.

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ATW

Adam co-choreographed Pretending to be Something, Now Coming from Nothing with Agulhas Theatre Works of Johannesburg, South Africa.

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Phone: 212-765-4914     Fax: 866-394-6033     info@dnaworks.org