2022 Create Change Artist-In-Residence
Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn | Dance / Community Organizer
Kendra J. Ross is a proud Detroit native working as a dancer, choreographer, facilitator, and community organizer in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. As a dancer, Kendra has worked with Urban Bush Women, Andrea E. Woods/Souloworks, Ase Dance Theater Collective, Monstah Black/Motion Sickness, MBDance, Melanie Green, and as a guest artist with Oyu Oro. Kendra is currently a company member of Movement of the People Dance Company and Moving Spirits. Kendra’s choreographic work has been presented at Florida A&M University, in the off-Broadway show 7 Sins, and at Museu de Arte in Salvador, Brazil; Dixon Place; Ailey Citigroup Theater; and Actors Fund Theater. She has been an Artist in Residence at Brooklyn Studios for Dance, Bates College, and The Neighborhood Project Through 651Arts. Kendra was a BAX Space Grantee and a Visiting Artist at Atlantic Center for the Arts.
Along with sharing her art worldwide, Kendra serves as the Founder/Director of STooPS, an outdoors-based community building event that uses art as a catalyst to strengthen ties between different entities in Bed-Stuy. STooPS’ Annual Art Crawl was honored as the Best Dance of 2020. Kendra is also a Facilitator with Urban Bush Women’s BOLD (Builders, Organizers, and Leaders Through Dance) network, a passionate teaching artist, and a certified Pilates instructor.
The Sankofa Residency
The Sankofa Residency is a multi-phase project rooted in the history of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, and an Afrofuturist imagining of Bed-Stuy moving forward. Inspired by the Ghanian concept of Sankofa—looking backward in order to move forward—artist Kendra J. Ross and community members will use research, oral history, and collaborative imagining to facilitate a plan for local residents, businesses, and stakeholders to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic in a place of healing, thriving, and progress. The project will culminate in a series of interdisciplinary, immersive dance experiences, taking place on site at local partnering businesses and organizations. The performance experience will transform the space into a living gallery of the past, present, and future of the site, situated in the context of the journey of Bed-Stuy.
What role can art and culture play in shaping the future of your neighborhood or the city at large?
“Art and culture are critical in shaping my neighborhood of Bed-Stuy as an equitable, safe space. Throughout the history of this neighborhood, despite a lack of infrastructure, resources and governmental support, this community as been able to survive and transform. I know this is through the cultural spaces like Sister’s Place and Restoration Plaza, and arts and culture that people were able to gather to organize for the changes they wanted to see. I know this legacy will continue to move us through the effects of COVID.”