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Healing Through The Arts, March 31-April 2, 2015

DNAWORKS: Dialogue + Healing through the Arts. Founded in 2006 by Adam McKinney, M.A. and Daniel Banks, Ph.D., DNAWORKS is an arts and service organization dedicated to furthering artistic expression and dialogue, focusing on issues of identity, culture, class and heritage. We catalyze performance and action through the arts in the intersecting communities in which we live. In our work, art=ritual=healing=community. We believe that this philosophy and practice lead to a more peaceful world.

DNAWORKS has led programming and workshops at such notable institutions as Wellesley College, California Institute of the Arts, Babson College, Bryn Mawr College, New York University, Skidmore College, University of California Berkeley, DePaul University, University of Ghana Legon, and the Black Theatre Network, among others, and has worked with community organizations and congregations in Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Toronto, Tacoma, Los Angeles, New York City, Budapest, Szarvas and Balatonlelle, Hungary, and Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa. In addition, they have led trainings for such organizations as the Museum at Eldridge Street and the Academy for Jewish Religion.

One of DNAWORKS’ programs, DNAWORKSHOP, was a monthly multi-generational meeting in NYC for artist-activists designed to nurture exchange, communication, and the sharing of creative ideas and practices.

At the end of 2009, DNAWORKS spent nine weeks in the Middle East working in Israel and Palestine. They created a new dance work with Beta Dance Troupe, an Ethiopian Dance Company in Haifa, and led workshops with Israeli Arab and Jewish youth, as well as with Israelis and Palestinians. For three consecutive summers, beginning in 2009, they worked in Hungary under the auspices of the U.S. Embassy in Budapest to lead drama workshops and teacher trainings at the Roma and Friends Tolerance Camp.

THE HIP HOP THEATRE INITIATIVE, a program of DNAWORKS, was designed to integrate the rigors of theatre making with the performance elements and politics of the global, youth-driven, activist culture. HHTI trains practitioners in critical thinking, leading arts workshops in communities, and facilitating dialogue about the social issues pertaining to Hip Hop. This work has been invited to college campuses and community groups across the U.S., as well as in the Buduburam refugee camp in Ghana, townships in South Africa, the Market Theatre in Johannesburg, neglected neighborhoods and towns in Mexico, and the La MaMa International Symposium for Directors in Spoleto, Italy.

THE BORDERS PROJECT is another community-based DNAWORKS initiative that confronts border and immigration issues, policies, and laws while providing communities access to accurate information about the histories and effects of borders, how they are constructed, who profits, who suffers, and why. The first two installations of THE BORDERS PROJECT include a summer residency at Centrum Center for the Arts (Port Townsend, WA) and a site-specific dance on the border wall in Bethlehem that separates Palestine and Israel.

DNAWORKS has received grants from the U.S. Embassies in Budapest, Tel Aviv, Accra, and Johannesburg, and the Trust for Mutual Understanding. In 2010, DNAWORKS received the Presidential Pathfinder Award from the Black Theatre Network.









 5 pm

Workshop: Hip Hop Theatre

Fannin S. Belcher Theatre, Davis Fine Arts



7:30 pm

HaMapah, The Map  multi-media performance

Fannin S. Belcher Theatre, Davis Fine Arts



7 pm

Workshop: “We the Griot”

Fannin S. Belcher Theatre, Davis Fine Arts

Daniel Banks, Ph.D.,is a theatre director, choreographer, educator, and dialogue facilitator. He has worked extensively in the U.S. and abroad, having directed at such notable venues as the National Theatre of Uganda (Kampala), the Belarussian National Drama Theatre (Minsk), The Market Theatre (Johannesburg, South Africa), the Hip Hop Theatre Festival (New York and Washington, D.C.), the Oval House (London), Playhouse Square (Cleveland), Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (NYC), and served as choreographer/movement director for productions at New York Shakespeare Festival/Shakespeare in the Park, Singapore Repertory Theatre, La Monnaie/De Munt (Brussels), Landestheater (Saltzburg), Aaron Davis Hall (Harlem), and for Maurice Sendak/The Night Kitchen. Daniel has served on the faculties of the Department of Undergraduate Drama, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University and the MFA in Contemporary Performance at Naropa University, and is the founder and director of the Hip Hop Theatre Initiative (a project of DNAWORKS) that uses Hip Hop Theatre as a vehichle for youth empowerment and leadership training. HHTI has worked on campuses and in communities across the U.S. and in Ghana, South Africa, Hungary, Israel, and Mexico. He currently teaches in the M.A. in Applied Theatre at City University of New York and is a long-time advisor in the Gallatin School for Individualized Studies.

Daniel is an Ariane de Rothschild Fellow and a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group Career Development Program for Directors. He is Co-Director of Theatre Without Borders, on the Editorial Board of No Passport Press, and on the Advisory Boards of the Hip Hop Education Center, NYU, and the Downtown Urban Arts Festival. He has guest lectured extensively across the country and has been a Guest Artist at Williams College, City College of New York, Marymount Manhattan College, and the National Theatre Conservatory, Denver. He holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from NYU. Publications include “Unperforming ‘Race’: Strategies for Re-imagining Identity” in A Boal Companion: Dialogues on Theatre and Cultural Politics (Routledge, 2006), “Youth Leading Youth: Hip Hop and Hiplife Theatre in Ghana and South Africa” in Acting Together: Performance and the Creative Transformation of Conflict, a project of Brandeis University and Theatre Without Borders (New Village Press), and “The Question of Cultural Diplomacy: Acting Ethically” in Theatre Topics (Fall 2011). He is editor of the critical anthology Say Word! Voices from 

Adam McKinney, M.A., is a classically trained dancer and former member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Béjart Ballet Lausanne, and Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet. Adam has taught master dance classes in the U.S., Hungary, Indonesia, England, Ghana, South Africa, and Israel, and has organized programs on social justice and the Arts with a long list of organizational partners, including Ghana’s National School for the Deaf, Ghana State Mental Hospital, and City Ballet Theater, Milwaukee, WI.

In 2006, Adam served as a US Embassy Culture Connect Envoy in South Africa and co-choreographed Pretending to be Something, Now Coming from Nothing with Agulhas Theatre Works, a mixed abilities contemporary dance company in South Africa. 

Adam’s awards include Career Transition for Dancers grants, the NYU President’s Service Award for his work with the Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center (NYC), a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant and Gallatin (NYU) Jewish Arts grants for work with Ethiopian communities in Israel, and the Bronfman Jewish Artist Fellowship for his genealogical dance work HaMapah/The Map.

His choreographed works have been performed in Indonesia, Italy, Serbia, Hungary, South Africa, Israel, and Spain. Named one of the most influential African-Americans in Milwaukee by St. Vincent DePaul in 2000, Adam holds an M.A. in Dance Studies with concentrations in Race and Trauma theories. He worked as Assistant Choreographer at Santa Fe Opera and is currently Chair of the Dance Department at the New Mexico School for the Arts, Santa Fe.


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