Immigration due to wars, climate change or drug gang violence has been prominent in the news during the past couple of years. Humans have, of course, migrated since the beginning of time because of conflicts, weather, curiosity, to follow love, work, or simply a desire for change. British Pakistani novelist and author of Exit West said it beautifully, “Because of the transient nature of human life, migration is the starting point for everybody.”

With the dire need to humanize our immigration system made clear by recent headlines, on October 2, 2021 from 11 am to 6 pm Judson Memorial Church and S/C Projects will present Movement Without Borders: Day of Performance to Celebrate New York Immigration Coalition, UnLocal, and Gente Unida. The event which features dancers, musicians, filmmakers, poets, and immigration advocates will take place at the Judson Memorial Church located at 55 Washington Square South in Manhattan. The event is free.

Rudy Perez – Photo by Aram Jibilian

Among the works featured on Movement Without Borders is Coverage (1970) choreographed by Los Angeles based dance artist Rudy Perez. Perez relocated to Los Angeles from NYC in the late 1970s and soon launched the Rudy Perez Performance Ensemble. In 1987, the Los Angeles Times referred to the choreographer as “the conscience of Los Angeles dance.” A couple of years ago Perez’s historic work, Coverage, was added to Stephen Petronio’s “Bloodlines“, an initiative launched in 2014 to honor an incomparable lineage of American postmodern dance masters. Coverage Revisited, performed by company member Ernesto Breton, began it’s touring with the company April 11, 2019 appearing on the same program with Merce Cunningham’s 1970 Tread and Petronio’s American Landscapes (2019).

“There was a tear coming down his face, and he had a cigarette,” Mr. Petronio said recently at his apartment in Harlem, describing the photo, which he had seen in Don McDonagh’s book “The Rise and Fall and Rise of Modern Dance.” The man was the choreographer Rudy Perez, pictured in one of his career-defining solos, “Countdown,” from 1966. A participant in Judson Dance Theater, the early-1960s collective that pioneered postmodern dance, Mr. Perez exuded, in Mr. Petronio’s eyes, a potent sense of drama. From that image alone, he wanted to know more.

“There was something emotive about it, and I was very confused about that,” Mr. Petronio said. “Because when I came up into the postmodern dance world, meeting Steve and Trisha and all those people” — the Judson founders Steve Paxton and Trisha Brown — “it was not about emotion. It was about motion and the rules of motion. So that separated him in a certain way, and I was very curious.” April 9, 2019 by Siobhan Burke for the New York Times.

Rudy Perez Performance Ensemble - Original cast of "Cheap Imitation" (1983) - Photo by Elissa Zimmerman

Rudy Perez Performance Ensemble – Original cast of “Cheap Imitation” (1983) – Photo by Elissa Zimmerman

Also included on Movement Without Borders are performances by Director of the Company PHYSICAL MOMENTUM, Francisco Cordova (Mexico); improvisation expert, teacher and choreographer Edivaldo Ernesto (Mozambique), dancer and internationally acclaimed multi-faceted artist Francesca Harper; Mozambican dancer and choreographer and artistic director of the dance company which bears his name, Horacio Macuacua; dancer, teacher and maker Jimena Paz (Argentina, USA, Europe); performance artist, choreographer, conceptual artist, dancer, spoken word artist, and teacher, Shamel Pitts | TRIBE; choreographer and performer Mariana Valencia; and multidisciplinary artist Emilio Rojas (born in Mexico City, spent his formative artistic years in Canada, and is currently based in Chicago).

Edivaldo Ernesto Francesca Harper Richard Termine FranciscoCordova_Portraits_Fotos-GabrielRamosS Horacio Macuacua Jimena Paz Baranova Marina Valencia _ credit Maria Baranova copy
Edivaldo Ernesto - Photo courtesy of Movement Without Borders

Among the speakers will be Pulitzer Prize-winning author Margo Jefferson, poet Claudia Rankine and The Racial Imaginary Institute; Gina Belafonte, Executive Director, Sankofa; visual artist Xaviera Simmons; Enrique Morones, founder of Border Angels, Founder/Director of Gente Unida; members of UnLocal with filmmaker Adelita Husni-Bey; members of New York Immigration Coalition; Roger H. Brown, former president of Berklee College of Music; Reverend Micah Bucey of Judson Memorial Church, and music producer/activist Raoul Roach.

The event will also include Adelita Husni-Bey’s film Chiron, introduced by Husni-Bey; and the border photojournalism of Tish Lampert will be presented in a new film collaboration with Emilio Rojas and poet Sibani Sen.


WHAT: Movement Without Borders: Day of Performance to Celebrate New York Immigration Coalition, UnLocal, and Gente Unida.
WHEN: October 2, 2021 from 11 am to 6 pm ET.
WHERE: Judson Memorial Church – 55 Washington Square South (between Thompson and Sullivan Streets) in Manhattan.
TICKETS: The event is free and open to the public with a suggested donation of $20. To register, click HERE.
Program subject to change.

For further information about the day’s events, the organizations, and bios of all performers and speakers, click HERE.

For information about the health and safety protocols for this event, click HERE.

A 90-minute version of this performance will take place on Sunday, October 3, at the Jersey City Theater Center as part of its Voices International Theater Festival.

Written and compiled by Jeff Slayton for a press release by Janet Stapleton.

Featured image: Ernesto Breton of Stephen Petronio Company in Coverage by Rudy Perez for Bloodlines – Photo by Mark Robinson Character Generations, Inc.