Under|stand with Dana Caspersen and SCDT

You are invited to be in a collaborative, creative, embodied process bringing communities together to open dialogues about Race issues in our personal lives and in our culture.

The project UNDER|STAND is creating a CORE GROUP OF COMMUNITY LEADERS! YOU are invited because you are one of these leaders who is interested in conversation, dialogue and developing embodied practice with an expanded community about race issues in our country. This is an opportunity to reflect in these issues with a multi racial multi ethnic community context. PLEASE CONTACT JEN at jenscdt@gmail.com for information!

The project- UNDER |STAND: a choreographic public dialogue on racism, is the brainchild of conflict mediator and choreographer Dana Caspersen. We are looking for community leaders to join a core research and development group that meets 2-3 times between January and April 2018. Dana supports local communities in using language and physical action to exchange on issues that are often hard to voice. Your voice and body are key to this dialogue, and to this process.

UNDER | STAND is a social action that brings people together to engage in physical and spoken conversations about Race. This is a PHYSICAL ENGAGEMENT MODEL where participants take part in several action modes of exchange in small and large groups. By coming together to share experience, to learn and listen and ask questions, they engage on one of the most difficult and important issues we face as humans living in the world today. This project is intended as a spark, to support a safe space to connect and hopefully, in some small way, to under | stand.

UNDER|STAND takes place in 3 phases, working within The School for Contemporary Dance and Thought and partnered with UMASS, Smith and Hampshire Colleges and hopefully, with your organization! The core group will meet in February and March, and then bring their students, constituents, families and friends to the April gathering. The core group schedule is in red, bold2 and italicized below – some exact dates/times tbd.

look at scdtnoho.com for details

Sunday Feb 4, 3-6 PM, an introduction of Under|Stand at SCDT- at STUDIO4, 25 Main St Northampton MA-

Friday March 2- SMITH COLLEGE EVENT 4:30 PM
Saturday March 3, 12-2 core group at STUDIO4

Saturday, April 28, 3-5 at STUDIO4
Sunday April 29, 3-6 PM Final event UNDER | STAND at STUDIO4


Dana’s expertise lies in creating environments and models of engagement that help people communicate on difficult topics. She has a master’s degree in conflict resolution and mediation, has worked professionally in the fields of dance and theater for 40 years, and over the last 8 years has developed choreographic public dialogue projects internationally. The work of a mediator is often proceduraI– creating physical and mental models of engagement that enable people to both speak and be heard in a beneficial ways. The project UNDER | STAND brings people together to think about and exchange on their experience around racism and to practice the courage and curiosity it takes to be willing to listen and offer within that framework. Together with her collaborators, Dana holds the process by creating a clear and highly structured framework for interaction and responding to any conflicts or questions that arise in the role of facilitator. The participants are the experts in their own experience. We are all in a process of research together.


I started with the question: How do our frameworks of belief, perception and action impact the systems of racism that we live in?

Every person in our society is deeply woven into these racist systems that have caused and are causing so much pain, inequality and violence. I am interested in better understanding the mechanisms of these systems and how they are embodied in individual and social experience. This project is looking specifically at the gaps in connection that appear between people in racist systems and what it might mean to create beneficial connection in the face of the division that racism provokes. I find that racism isolates us and countering the isolating force of racism takes active work that begins on the individual level, but requires the whole community. I seek out partners to help create brave and safe spaces where we can enable this kind of attention and practice– where we can practice building a community of robust curiosity.