Global Institute for Dance and Music: Translucent Borders

Translucent Borders examines ways that dancers and musicians can act as catalysts for creative engagement across geographic, cultural, and economic borders.  Since 2015, the working group has facilitated global conversations between dancers and musicians in the Middle East, Greece, Cuba, and Ghana through interviews, knowledge-sharing circles, master classes, improvisatory lab work, and collaborative performance.

Through repeated trips to these countries, Translucent Borders developed creative relationships between NYU faculty in New York and international artists/scholars. In June 2018, the project brought these global constituents to New York, giving them the opportunity to meet each other on common ground. Events included a residency with lectures and performances at the Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival in Becket, Mass., a conference at the Blue Mountain Center for the Arts in the Adirondacks, and performances at the Ashokan Center for the Arts, the Hudson Valley Festival of the Arts, the Africa Festival in Brooklyn, the Lincoln Center Atrium,  Make Music New York, and NYU’s Jack Crystal Theater. In February, 2019, a Translucent Borders workshop hosted by the NYU Abu Dhabi Institute gathered leaders in the field of trans-border arts dialogue, including scholars from NYU Abu Dhabi, NYU Shanghai, NYU Tel Aviv, NYU New York, Columbia University School of the Arts, researchers from Indiana University, Universidad El Bosque in Colombia, University of Ghana, Bethlehem Music Academy, and dance and music artists from the United States, Poland, Sweden, Lebanon, New York, and the United Arab Emirates. Constituents are presently engaged in activities that extend the life of the project through archiving and writing. The Translucent Borders website is a growing collection of the numerous interviews, articles, photos, film shorts, performances and conferences produced by the initiative over the last three years. Voice of America is contributing a series of radio interviews to the website. Filmmaker Oresti Tsonopolous recently completed a documentary on the project, focusing on the Jacobs Pillow Dance Festival residency. The film and more information can be found at

Project Members

Principal Investigator: Dr. Andy Teirstein (Dance)

Associate Arts Professor Pam Pietro, Arts Professor Sean Curran (Chair, Dance), Associate Arts Professor Cari Ann Shim Sham (Dance), Associate Arts Professor Jim Martin (Dance), Adjunct Professor Wendy Perron (Dance), Adjunct Professor Valerie Naranjo (Steinhardt), Arts Professor Deborah Kapchan (Performance Studies, Anthropology), Associate Professor Gwyneth Bravo (NYUAD), and Professor Benjamin Hary (NYUTA). Apart from the NYU participants, participating artists-scholars include Carol Baker (Dean, Columbia University School of the Arts), Amy Horowitz (Indiana University), Joanna Sherman (Theater), Livia  and Bill Vanaver (Dance), Donald Byrd (Dance), Frank London (Music), System Ali (Israel, Music), Amal Murkus (Israel, Music), Firaz Zreik (Israel, Music), Sulley Imoro (Ghana, Music), Meirigah Abubakari (Ghana, Music), Nii-Tete Yartey (Ghana, Music), Marco Ambrosini (Italy, Muysic), Emilia Amper (Sweden, Music), Magda Sobczak-Kotnarowska (Poland, Music), LaShaun Prescott (Dance, Trinidad and Tobago).

The Tisch Institute of Creative Research, Directed by Dana Whitco, is acting as project administrator and manager.