project leader
Aviva G
4600 Boradway
Manhattan (Washington Heights)
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Thank you for Making it Possible!

the project

In recent months the media has brought our attention to the terrible plight of many immigrants trying to reach new homes. For the past three years Drastic Action Company members have been steeped in immigrant stories as we develop "Dis/Location (Fort Tryon)," a multi-part project exploring the immigrant experience. The piece is rooted in Artistic Director, Aviva Geismar's, experience as the child of a Holocaust refugee and in interviews with New Yorkers from all over the world. 

The company is developing a site-specific piece for Fort Tryon Park in Manhattan’s Washington Heights neighborhood. The piece explores the themes that emerged in the interviews: the trauma of leaving home, feeling unmoored and fragile, the awkwardness of trying to fit into a new culture, and the rituals we use to create a sense of home. Geismar chose the park because it has served as a refuge for generations of immigrants who have settled in Washington Heights.

This spring, Drastic Action company members will offer free creative dance classes to two groups of middle school children at City College Academy of the Arts. This school, across the street from the park, has a strong arts curriculum and a dance studio but currently no dance program. During the creative dance classes, the students, who mostly come from immigrant families, will develop their own dances about the experience of immigrating. The project will culminate with a series of free performances in the park June 16 -18, including the kids performing their original dances and Drastic Action company members performing the site- specific piece. The project is sponsored by the Fort Tryon Park Trust and supported by Jody and John Arnhold, The PSC-CUNY Research Foundation as well as numerous private individuals. 

the steps

The creative dance classes will be based on Geismar's successful creative dance curriculum which the company implemented during five years of teaching in Germany as part of the international cultural exchange program "Dancing to Connect." Classes will begin the week of March 14th and run twice a week through June 15th. Two teaching artists will lead each class of 20 students. The students will first be introduced to the basic elements of dance (space, time and energy), and then develop their own pieces exploring the immigrant experience. They will interview their family members or write about their own immigration experiences as they develop their dance works. Concurrently, the company will be in the final stages of rehearsals for the site-specific work. The project will culminate with 3 free performances in the park -- Thursday and Friday, June 16th and 17th at 7pm and Saturday, June 18th at 5 pm. These will include the students performing their original works and the Drastic Action performing the site-specific piece. On Sunday, June 19th the company will lead a collaborative collage event at the school during which students, families and other audience members will have an opportunity to respond to the performances and share their own stories by creating a shared visual collage. 

why we're doing it

We live in a deeply segregated city where prejudice against newcomers is commonplace. The project aims to create a bridge of understanding between recent immigrants and the broader community. The project will serve the largely Dominican and economically disadvantaged community of Washington Heights. For immigrants we hope that seeing their stories reflected in performance will open the door for further exchange. For people less familiar with this journey, we hope to foster deepened understanding toward new comers in our shared city. 


Disbursement budget:

Teaching artist fee (1 teaching artist x 10 weeks x $1540/week)       $1,500

Repair of props   $52.43

Total       $1552.43

RAISED = $1,634.00
 less ioby Platform Fee  $35.00
less ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $46.57

Original budget:

SUBTOTAL = $3,000
ioby Platform Fee  $35
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $90


$3,000 will fund the fees for 2 teaching artsist to work with the students for 10 weeks.

$150/week x 10 weeks x 2 teaching artists.

Other funding is in place and/or pending for other performance and teaching expenses. 


Thank you for Making it Possible!


Dear Generous Supporters,                                                                                                     7/8/16

Thank you so much for helping Drastic Action realize our project, “Dis/Location (Fort Tryon).” On June 16-18, 450 guests lounged and enjoyed picnics in Fort Tryon Park as they meditated on the themes of the work.


For those who missed it, Drastic Action's new work explores the immigrant experience - losing one's home and fitting into a new culture - in the Company's signature dance language. Juliet Neidish wrote in Op-Edgy Arts and Performance “What made Dis/Location (Fort Tryon) work so well was the articulate and performative nature of the choreography.  The dancers, strong, individual, and equally able to hold the stage, all embodied a complete understanding of the material and how to use its movement language to put forth Geismar’s rich choreographic ideas.” You can read Juliet’s entire review at


Thirty one, mostly immigrant, middle school students participated in 13 weeks of creative dance classes and developed their own dances based on interviews with their family members about immigration. They performed their dances for the school community and in the park as part of the June 16-18 shows. Comments from the student dancers about their experiences include, "I got past being worried what others would think while I was performing."

 "I was brave enough to get on stage."

"I was able to express my feelings in dance. I expressed myself." 

We could not have done it without your support! Thank you for helping to make this project a success!

Warmest Regards,


Aviva Geismar, Artistic Director, Drastic Action



Rehearsals resumed last week in Fort Tryon Park.


This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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