Urban Bush Women

LLAB Ep 2: White Supremacy in Dance Education Pt II – w/ Michelle Gibson, Sydnie Mosley & Iyun Harrison

Photo credit for Sydnie: Jamie McClean @jmxclean
Photo credit for Michelle : Jonah Pester

In our previous episode of the LLAB, we spoke with three Black dancers about their experiences and challenges with navigating undergraduate dance programs. This week, we wanted to take it a step further. We expanded our dialogue to the often overlooked subject of being a Black dancer in a graduate program. Our guests, Michelle Gibson, Iyun Harrison, and Sydnie Mosley, share stories, lessons, and laughs on what it was like pursuing their Master’s of Fine Arts (MFA); they also provide advice for others interested in pursuing an MFA.

Michelle Gibson, MFA, is a cultural ambassador, choreographer, educator, and performing artist, as well as a faculty member at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts.

Iyun Harrison, MFA, is choreographer, educator and the founder and creative director of Ballet Ashani. Contribute to the GoFundMe for Iyun’s Doctoral Program Fundraiser here! gf.me/u/yqzvwn

Sydnie Mosley, MFA, is a performer, choreographer, artist-activist, and educator, and artistic director of Sydnie L. Mosley Dances (SLMDances).

This is the 2nd episode in our new fall series, The LLAB with Antuan Byers. LLAB stands for listening, learning, and building. The overall goal of this series is to create a space to share marginalized Black voices, to learn from their experiences, and dream for ways in which we can move forward.

WE ARE NOT THE FOCUS: Nel Shelby

CHRISTOPHER_NEL_RETOUCHED-3We were delighted to sit down again with Nel Shelby, dance videographer and entrepreneur, to follow up on our brief conversation from earlier this year at the Dance on Camera Festival. In this episode we delve deeper into Nel’s filmmaking process for PS DANCE!, her highly successful new documentary about dance education in public schools that has spawned a movement to bring dance to every child. (You can find our interviews with PS DANCE! viewers here.) We also learn about Nel’s intuitive, collaborative approach to making documentaries and dance films and about how she built her own company, Nel Shelby Productions, over time. Nel articulates her learnings about drawing out interviewees by being present without becoming the focus and shares a positive, optimistic attitude about the future of dance.


Nel Shelby is the founder of Nel Shelby Productions, a production company based in NYC and focused specifically on preserving and promoting dance through dance videography. (more…)