FLEXN Evolution

“…[a] searing example of dance as protest”The Boston Globe

Characterized by snapping, pausing, bone-breaking, gliding, get-low, hat tricks, and real-time in-body animation, FLEXN is a form of street dance that has evolved from the Jamaican bruk-up found in dance halls and reggae clubs in Brooklyn. As both a dance and a social revolution, FLEXN testifies and bears witness to a surging movement in America that will not be turned back and cannot be ignored. With power, grace, soul, and sheer exhilaration, love and justice are explored in a variety of electrifying flex dance techniques and powerful personal narratives.

After dazzling audiences in 2015, this thrilling group of dance innovators returns to the Armory with the unquenchable energy and blazing focus of a new art form coming into the world. They bring to the Drill Hall a constantly evolving style and vocabulary that continually reflects the new virtuosity and new urgency demanded by the times.

FLEXN Conversations: “A New Vision for Justice in America”

In the wake of the first one hundred days of the new Administration, the Park Avenue Armory, in collaboration with Common Justice, has gathered visionary public figures, social justice advocates, community leaders, and youth from across the country to participate in a series of urgent, pointed, and creative conversations entitled “A New Vision for Justice in America”. Each performance begins with an onstage conversation, moderated by Reggie (Regg Roc) Gray and Peter Sellars, in which participants debate imaginative and implementable solutions to some of the most critical societal issues explored in FLEXN: the criminal justice system, mass incarceration, gun violence, police brutality, racial inequity, school to prison pipeline, and youth disenfranchisement.

About Common Justice
Common Justice

Common Justice develops and advances solutions to violence that transform the lives of those harmed and foster racial equity without relying on incarceration. Locally, we operate the first alternative-to-incarceration and victim service program in the United States that focuses on violent felonies in the adult courts. Nationally, we leverage the lessons from our direct service to transform the justice system through partnerships, advocacy, and elevating the experience and power of those most impacted. Rigorous and hopeful, we build practical strategies to hold people accountable for harm, break cycles of violence, and secure safety, healing and justice for survivors and their communities.

“Envisioning the Future from the Past”
Thursday, May 18

Joo-Hyun Kang, Director, Communities United for Police Reform
Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Professor of History, Race and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School & Suzanne Young Murray Professor at the Raxxdcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies
Donnell Penny, Case Coordinator, Common Justice

Read Participant Bios
Joo-Hyun Kang

Joo-Hyun Kang is the Director of Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), a multi-sector campaign bringing community organizing, direct action, litigation, civic engagement, policy advocacy, research and strategic communications together to end discriminatory and abusive policing practices in New York City. CPR and CPR member organizations have helped to change the local dialogue regarding policing, won landmark police accountability legislation and trained New Yorkers in all 5 boroughs on their rights in interactions with law enforcement and how to observe and document police misconduct (CopWatch). Joo-Hyun is a long-time organizer and activist in racial/gender/LGBT/immigrant rights struggles.

Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Khalil Gibran Muhammad is professor of history, race and public policy at Harvard Kennedy School and is the former Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. His scholarship examines the broad intersections of race, democracy, inequality and criminal justice in modern U.S. History. He is the author of the award-winning The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America, and contributor to a 2014 National Research Council study, The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences. He is on the boards of the Vera Institute of Justice and Cure Violence.

Donnell Penny

Donnell Penny is a Case Coordinator at Common Justice, where he works with young people responsible for violent crime who are taking part in a restorative justice-based alternative to incarceration and victim service program. Donnell joined Common Justice in March 2014 as an assistant coordinator and expanded his work to lead its MOVE (Men Opposing Violence Everywhere) groups and its engagement of program graduates before joining the team as a Case Coordinator. A Brooklyn native, Donnell has held a variety of positions in social services, including working as a youth counselor and a home health aide. Donnell brings to the project a strong commitment to restorative justice, violence intervention, and advancing the well-being of his peers and his community.  He is also a proud graduate of Common Justice.

“Imagining, Organizing & Reforming for a More Just Future”(Student Matinee)
Friday, May 19

Iman Abdul, student activist & Educational Consultancy Intern, INTEGRATENYC4ME
Frantzy Luzincourt, student activist & Political Strategist intern, INTEGRATENYC4ME
Richard Roderick, Program Coordinator, Justice-in-Education Initiative & Community Outreach Fellow, Columbia University
Additional participants to be announced.

“A New Era of Prosecutors”
Friday, May 19

Kim Foxx, State’s Attorney for Cook County, Chicago
Eric Gonzalez, Acting District Attorney, Brooklyn
Rashad Robinson, Executive Director, Color Of Change
Additional participants to be announced.

Read Participant Bios
Kim Foxx

Kimberly M. Foxx is the first African American woman to lead the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office—the second largest prosecutor’s office in the country. Kim was elected on Dec. 1, 2016 on a message of reform, restoring trust, and being responsive to the community that resonated throughout the county. She previously served as Chief of Staff for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, where she was the lead architect of the county’s criminal justice reform agenda to address racial disparities in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. Kim holds a B.A. in Political Science and a J.D. from Southern Illinois University.

Eric Gonzalez

Eric Gonzalez began his legal career with the Kings County District Attorney’s office in 1995 as an assistant district attorney and was promoted to Counsel to the District Attorney in March 2014. In October 2014, District Attorney Ken Thompson promoted Mr. Gonzalez to Chief Assistant District Attorney, the first Latino to hold that position in Brooklyn. Mr. Gonzalez grew up in East New York and Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He graduated from Cornell University in 1992 and received his J.D. in 1995 from the University of Michigan Law School. He was sworn in as Acting District Attorney in October 2016 after the passing of DA Thompson.

Rashad Robinson

Rashad Robinson is the Executive Director of Color Of Change, the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. Powered by over one million members, Color Of Change pushes decision makers in the corporate and public sectors to create a less hostile and more human world for Black people and all people. Under Rashad’s leadership, Color Of Change designs and deploys powerful campaigns and initiatives that leverage strategic research, online organizing and media savvy to create meaningful systemic change and increase the power that Black people have over their lives, communities and country.

“Justice Beyond Prisons”
Saturday, May 20

Michelle Alexander, writer, civil rights lawyer, advocate, and legal scholar
Melody Lee, Co-founder & Director of Strategy and Campaigns, Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice
Danielle Sered, Director, Common Justice

Read Participant Bios
Michelle Alexander

Michelle Alexander is a highly acclaimed civil rights lawyer, advocate, legal scholar, and best-selling author. Her award-winning book, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, helped to spark a national debate about the crisis of mass incarceration in the United States, and inspired racial justice organizing and advocacy efforts nationwide. Numerous commentators have dubbed The New Jim Crow “the bible of a social movement,” and the book has become a staple of university curriculums, advocacy trainings, reading groups, and faith-based study circles. Alexander has been featured on national radio and television media outlets, including, among others, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, The Bill Moyers Journal, the Tavis Smiley Show, MSNBC, C-Span, and Democracy Now! She has also written for numerous publications including, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, The Los Angeles Times, and The Huffington Post.

Melody Lee

Melody Lee is co-founder and Director of Strategy and Campaigns at the Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice. From 2012–2015, Lee worked at the Drug Policy Alliance, serving numerous roles, including Policy Coordinator in the New York Policy Office. Lee was a core member of the campaign team that passed New York’s medical marijuana bill, and she played a critical leadership role in the campaign to end NYPD’s racially biased marijuana arrest practice. Lee is one of the co-founders of the #CLOSErikers campaign and one of the nation’s leading experts in Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) where she was one of the key organizers of the National Convening on LEAD hosted by the White House in 2015.

Danielle Sered

Danielle Sered envisioned, launched, and directs Common Justice. She leads the project’s efforts locally and nationally to develop and advance practical and groundbreaking solutions to violence that advance racial equity, meet the needs of those harmed, and do not rely on incarceration. She has presented at the Aspen Ideas Festival, the Atlantic Magazine Summit on Race and Justice, and the Bipartisan Summit on Criminal Justice Reform, and is the author of The Other Side of Harm: Addressing Disparities in our Responses to Violence and of Accounting for Violence: How to Increase Safety and Reduce Our Failed Reliance on Mass Incarceration.

“Envisioning Just Cities”
Sunday, May 21

Eric Cumberbatch, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office to Prevent Gun Violence
Kassandra Frederique, New York State Director, Drug Policy Alliance
George Galvis, Executive Director, Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice, Oakland
Phillip Atiba Goff, Inaugural Franklin A. Thomas Professor in Policing Equity, John Jay College of Criminal Justice & Co-founder and President, Center for Policing Equity

Read Participant Bios
Eric Cumberbatch

Eric Cumberbatch is the Executive Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office to Prevent Gun Violence, an office that serves to coordinate and amplify the city’s anti-gun violence initiatives across government, communities and justice partners. Prior to this role, he served as the Executive Director of Community Engagement within the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, tasked with oversight of the NYC Crisis Management System, a joint initiative of the Mayor’s Office and the New York City Council with the purpose of reducing gun violence via intervention and prevention services in 17 communities that account for the majority of shooting incidents in the city. Mr. Cumberbatch holds a Master’s Degree in Education from NW Missouri State University and a Bachelor of Science from Delaware State University.

Kassandra Frederique

Kassandra Frederique is New York State Director at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). In addition to working for policy solutions to reduce the harms associated with drug use, Frederique works with communities throughout the state to address and resolve the collateral consequences of the War on Drugs—state violence. As a co-author of Blueprint for a Public Health and Safety Approach to Drug Policy and as technical advisor to Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick’s The Ithaca Plan, Frederique cultivates and mobilizes powerful coalitions in communities devastated by drug misuse and drug criminalization to develop municipal strategies to foster healthier and safer communities.

George Galvis

George Galvis is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURJ). Galvis is a tireless advocate for at-risk youth, prisoners and formerly imprisoned individuals with children. He developed traditional rites of passage programs as healthy alternatives to gang violence using culturally and spiritually based approaches to supporting and strengthening individuals, families and communities. As a board member of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, Galvis helped create All of Us or None, a grassroots movement of formerly incarcerated activists fighting for the rights of those formerly and currently incarcerated and their families. He holds both a Bachelor of Arts in Ethnic Studies and a Master’s in City Planning (abt) from UC Berkeley where he was a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and Public Policy & International Affairs (PPIA) Fellow.

Phillip Atiba Goff

Phillip Atiba Goff is the inaugural Franklin A. Thomas Professor in Policing Equity at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He is the co-founder and president of the Center for Policing Equity, and an expert in contemporary forms of racial bias and discrimination, as well as the intersections of race and gender. Dr. Goff serves as one of four Principal Investigators for the CPE’s National Justice Database, the first national database on racial disparities in police stops and use of force. Dr. Goff was a witness for the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and has presented before Members of Congress and Congressional Panels, Senate Press Briefings, and White House Advisory Councils.

Originally commissioned by Park Avenue Armory

A Collaboration of Reggie (Regg Roc) Gray, Peter Sellars,
and members of the FLEXN Community
Ben Zamora, Light Sculpture & Lighting Designer
Angela Wendt, Costume Design
Epic B, Music Mix

Image: Clementine Crochet

Return to Arts at the Armory Listing  


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May 18–21

Thursday–Saturday at 8:00pm
Sunday at 3:00pm

Wade Thompson Drill Hall
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This performance is approximately two hours with no intermission.

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