Ayan Felix, MFA in Dance '21

Ayan investigates digital and physical space-building through movement practice to reflect on how Americans in the United States who identify as genderqueer, non-conforming or femme establish networks of Black and gender-affirming spaces in and out of their performance communities.
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Ayan Felix is an MFA in Dance student researching how physical and social improvisational practices interact in spaces that affirm Blackness and gender fluidity. Their most resourced practice is site-responsive, using improvisational styles based in modern/post-modern dance, physical theater, house and majorette training that they learned over years of experience in Texas, Pennsylvania, and now, North Carolina. They look to continue teaching and learning afro-diasporic improvisational styles following graduation. Ayan is also a facilitator working to bring somatics to community-based social justice organizations that focus on abolition.

Ayan’s research relies on multidisciplinary collaboration to choreograph worlds that blur the line of audience-participant, performance-practice and artist-organizer. By approaching dance performance capaciously as a type of social movement, Ayan seeks to understand how to produce performance spaces that are ethical and prioritize our material and immaterial needs.

They have studied at Franklin & Marshall College (2016) as well as SUCHU Dance/Jennifer Wood, Dance Afrikana, Pilot Dance Project, and Jhon R. Stronks. Their solo works have been presented at the Houston Fringe Festival, Barnstorm Dance Festival, Archway Gallery’s 2018 exhibition on Silvia Pinto Souza’s Dwellings (2018), Houston Kuumba festivals, and with Core Dance via The Field NYC facilitator training. They were a ’18-’19 Dance Source Houston resident artist. Their work has pivoted in the past 3 years to focus on social activation which allowed them to engage with the Design Studio for Social Intervention, Acorn Center for Restoration and Freedom out of Georgia, and other community-centered organizations in Durham and Houston. They are also a Duke GradEngage Fellow for Spring 2021. Their favorite seasons of the year are crawfish and fig.


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