Ninsoka M’bewe Escobar

Ninoska M’bewe Escobar is a graduate fellow and doctoral candidate in Performance as Public Practice. She is a recipient of a Mellon Dance Studies Seminar scholarship (2014), Research Fellowship at New York Public Library (2014) and was also The John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies Outstanding Graduate Student (2012). Escobar focuses on performance practices within African Diaspora communities, developments and contemporary practices in American dance and the trajectory of feminine innovation in twentieth and twenty-first century dance and performance. Her research considers cultural heritage and social experience in the formation of Black identity and theorizes the Black dancing body as a transmitter of auto/body/graphy. Her work on choreographer-anthropologist-social activist Pearl Primus examines her contributions and legacy as a reflection of Black experiences, politicization, and agency.

Trained at The Clark Center for the Performing Arts and Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York, Escobar has had a career as a dancer, teacher and choreographer, appearing in the original Fame (1980) and in numerous concert stage productions and venues. A former faculty and program director at The Ailey School and Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation in New York, she has taught widely and is a facilitator of the humanities curriculum Revelations: An Interdisciplinary Approach. Escobar led the performance groups Life Force Dance and M’word! from 1990 to 2006, created the dances for Reza Abdoh’s The Law of Remains (1992), and is a recipient of an Audelco award for the Nuyorican Poets Café production of Pepe Carril’s Shango de Ima (1994).