by Naima Prevots; Introduction by Susan J. Erenrich
5 November 2020
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In this Grassroots Leadership and the Arts for Social Change Corner, Dancer and Dance educator and historian, Naima Prevots reflects back on her work with the Henry Street Settlement House, the CAREL Arts and Humanities Curriculum Development Program for Young Children, Pearl Primus, and others through the lens of the arts for social change.
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Naima Prevots has worked in the arts and education worlds in many capacities: as dance critic, administrator, teacher, choreographer, performer, educator, writer, historian, panelist. In 1952 as a sophomore at Brandeis University, she was chosen as one of two students to perform with Merce Cunningham at the school’s first Creative Arts Festival and this prompted a return to New York, transfer to Brooklyn College, and study with Martha Graham, Jose Limon, Hanya Holm, Alwin Nikolais. Study with Marie Marchowsky, a former Graham dancer led to membership in her company and performances at Henry Street Settlement House Playhouse. A professor at American University for almost 40 years, she is the author of Dancing in the Sun; Hollywood Choreographers, 1915-1937; American Pageantry: A Movement for Art and Democracy; and Dance for Export: Cultural Diplomacy and the Cold War. Read complete bio below.
Susan (Susie) J. Erenrich is a social movement history documentarian. She uses the arts for social change to tell stories about transformational leadership, resilience, and societal shifts as a result of mobilization efforts by ordinary citizens. Her career in nonprofit/arts management, civic engagement, community organizing and community service spans more than four decades. She has diversified teaching experience at universities, public schools and community-based programs for at-risk, low-income populations; has edited and produced historical audio recordings and anthologies; and has extensive performance, choreography and production experience. Susie holds a Ph.D. in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. She is the editor of The Cost Of Freedom: Voicing A Movement After Kent State 1970; Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: An Anthology of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and Grassroots Leadership & the Arts for Social Change (a volume in ILA’s BLB series). She is the producer/host of Wasn’t That A Time: Stories & Songs That Moved The Nation, a live community radio broadcast on WERA.FM. Listen on-demand or live every Friday from 1:00 – 2:00 PM Eastern time.