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June 20 @ 7:30 pm - June 22 @ 9:00 pm

Neighborhood House

20 N American Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106 United States

Re-Emancipation of Social Dance



Intercultural Journeys is Producing a Groundbreaking New Dance-Theater Work that Highlights a Communal Black Art Form

On Juneteenth weekend, Intercultural Journeys will debut The Re-Emancipation of Social Dance, an interactive dance party throughout five “living rooms.”


Created by star choreographer and director Raja Feather Kelly, whose show Lempicka just opened on Broadway, and curator and former Philadelphia Poet Laureate Yolanda Wisher, this multidimensional, one-of-a-kind experience spotlights the timely power of these communal, propulsive gatherings as channels for personal and cultural expression, freedom, and joy.


Held June 20, 21, and 22 at Neighborhood House in Old City, this participatory dance-theater performance celebrates the ways Black Philadelphians have choreographed freedom, community, and culture through dance parties in homes, clubs, and other gathering places. It’s a one-of-a-kind party that illuminates social dance’s impact on people and culture, especially in Philadelphia.


June 20 at 7:30 p.m.

June 21 at 7:30 p.m.

June 22 at 7:30 p.m.

The performance features five genre-defying Philadelphia dancers:

Germaine Ingram, Lela Aisha Jones, Nikki Powerhouse, Vitche-Boul Ra, Mark “Metal” Wong


In each living room-style space, a dancer will share testimonials and movement grounded in their relationship to social dance and community. The dancers’ stories will intersect in poignant and surprising ways, and their movements will invite those watching to reflect on their own relationship to dance and the body.

“This event honors the passion of community, the importance of legacy, and the abounding creativity of Philadelphians who taught us to use social dance as a form for resistance and joy,” says director Raja Feather Kelly. “Each of the innovative dance leaders in this interactive performance will embody their personal experiences and ancestry to create five unique experiences that flow together to remind us that we all live and move in our bodies, and that the body is full of liberatory potential.”


The most ambitious undertaking by Intercultural Journeys in its two decade history, this project is supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. Founded in 2002 by four Philadelphians, Intercultural Journeys seeks to create an inclusive and respectful world with more curiosity, empathy, and connection. Each season, the organization produces vibrant performances that offer a window into diverse cultures, fostering engagement and productive dialogue around difficult, challenging, or conflict-laden issues.


“The Re-Emancipation of Social Dance is a magical, immersive mix of under-sung cultural history and expansive visioning of possibility— it’s exactly the sweet spot for Intercultural Journeys’ projects,” says Carly Rapaport-Stein, Executive Director of Intercultural Journeys. “We are thrilled to be producing this unique work with Raja and Yolanda, singular artists whose collaboration on this project is creating a compelling, vibrant happening that we’re honored to help bring to life.”


Social dance has a deep, nuanced history in Philadelphia, shaped by migration, labor, neighborhood boundaries, and family and gender dynamics. The phrase refers to forms of dance in Black communities in the U.S. that have been performed from house parties to clubs to the streets. According to dancer Germaine Ingram, Black communities used social dance “to defy the stranglehold that conventions of race and gender conspired to impose on their lives.”


“From ancient times to our current moment, from Africa to Philly, Black people have claimed space and found liberation and joy in the shared experience of dance,” says co-creator Yolanda Wisher. “With this performance, we seek to honor the cultural traditions and sacred energies that are embedded in our community.”


Tickets are available now. This project includes a seven-episode podcast about each featured artist’s experience with social dance. Episodes drop weekly through mid-May and a documentary film about social dance will be available in early June.


**Please email sarah@broadstreetcomms.com for press tickets**


Press may also request to attend a rehearsal in May or June


Christ Church Neighborhood House, 20 N. American Street, 4th Floor, Philadelphia


Learn more.


Major support for The Re-Emancipation of Social Dance has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from The Leeway Foundation and Red Typewriter Studio.


June 20 @ 7:30 pm
June 22 @ 9:00 pm


Neighborhood House
20 N American Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106 United States
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