Friday, October 11, 2013


Ebonie and I at the Public Art Potluck.
On Wednesday night I attended The Laundromat Project's 4th Annual Public Art Potluck, a big fun dinner celebrating the 2013 Create Change Fellows and Artists in Residence. It was a wonderful opportunity to meet and talk with the larger LP community and network, and even see familiar faces such as Katy Rubin, Executive Director of Theater of the Oppressed NYC.

At the dinner, I was privileged to deliver a reflection on my experience with the program. Afterwards, my friend and date for the night Ebonie Smith whispered to me across the dinner table, "That was so good!" It made me feel like it was a moment for my mom and dad to be there. So since they couldn't be there, and I want to share the awesomeness that is The LP, and how my dance practice is evolving in 2013, I thought I would share the full text.

Good evening. My name is Sydnie Mosley. I am a dancer, choreographer and educator born and raised in Baltimore, MD, but now after a decade, I am calling New York City home. In the time that I have spent here in NYC, first as a student and then as a dance professional, I have developed many skill sets that have led to me wearing a lot of hats in my career life. The newest of those hats is activist.

I stumbled into this world of socially engaged art making. Fresh out of grad school with a can do spirit, I like so many other modern dance choreographers, just started making work. And after successfully presenting a handful of dances in a myriad of emerging artist showcases, I had a big idea for a work that addresses a social problem that I take personally: street harassment.

Without realizing it, I was suddenly organizing, using my skills as a dance maker and educator to create solutions with the women in my neighborhood. I found myself giving talks and lectures about my process, research and experience - but I was flying by the seat of my pants.

So this year, I set out on a mission to learn as much as possible about what I have been doing for the past 3 years; to add tools to the toolbox, and be more knowledgeable about this type of work. Little did I know that the decision to pursue the Create Change Fellowship would bring me into community with some of the most creative, conscious, accountable human beings in New York City who are loving the world they are in by making art.

I have been soaking up so much that has been offered to the artists in this fellowship, from the deep investigation of cultural organizing and social practice and what this looks like out in the world (hint: Field Day), to pedagogical tools to use in the classroom such as embodying knowledge through games and activities, moments for reflection and intentional team building. We’ve delved into partnerships, public policy and social entrepreneurship and each of these workshops has helped me to better craft my best practices for work as an artist, educator and businesswoman.

Already, my teaching practice has evolved. I have shared and applied the knowledge I have gained from The Laundromat Project with the Dance/NYC Junior Committee that I sit on as that board delves into multicultural organization building, and my closest friends who share this interest in socially engaged art making have been to every LP workshop via me giving a play-by-play of my notes every two weeks.

It has been a privilege to work with each of the Create Change fellows, and to get to know The Laundromat Project’s staff, artist residents, and interns. It is within this community that I am uncovering a sense of alignment in my artistic practice. In dance technique, we talk a lot about the body being in alignment - literally referring to the proper stacking of the skeletal structure. It is with alignment that one can move with ease, quickly shift your weight, and achieve balance. The first day that I walked into a workshop with The Laundromat Project, I felt like all my bones had shifted into place. I was among a community of diverse, yet like-minded peers who were sharing with, and learning from one another -- wanting to dig deeper and know how their respective practices could give voice to their communities. I left feeling energized, balanced, ready to do anything. I felt alignment.

Thank you, to all of you who support this professional development because I believe we fellows have the tools in our belts to keep on keeping on. As I told Petrushka one night on our way home from a potluck, "I'm so happy to have found The Laundromat Project."

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