Making It Through!

Sondra Loring Black skirt, Shakai Shepperd white skirt. Photo by David McIntyre.

Year: 2021-2022
DanceForce Member: Elena Mosley
Artists: Donna Barrett, Jonah Bokaer, Sondra Loring, Anna Mayta, Stephanie Monseu, Jamie Stiller
Community Partners: City of Hudson; Hudson Eye Festival; Jonah Bokaer Foundation
Audience: 1,100
County: Columbia

Making it Through! brought together performing and visual artists to tell their story of living and surviving during the 2020-2021 pandemic. Choreographers Jonah Bokaer, Sondra Loring, Donna Barrett, Jamie Stiller and Stephanie Monseu and visual artists/poetess Ifetayo Cobbins and Shanikwa Tomlinson shared their experiences in Making it Through!

Each choreographer held a series of public pop-up workshops/rehearsals, welcoming community participation and on-lookers of all ages from July to September. Visual Artists displayed their art at the performance tent and Shanikwa painted live during the performance. Photographer David McIntyre documented the collaborative process by attending rehearsals at Hudson 7th Street Public Square, top of Main Street, Parc Pocket Park and the Hudson waterfront. Production designer Jeremy Bullis held workshops with the dancers, creating costume accessories and “Covid” masks.

The public free performance was held on September 2nd at 5pm, at the Hudson Riverfront Park. Community partners were the City of Hudson providing all public spaces and the Hudson Eye Festival, which hosted several dance performances, art exhibitions and music throughout Hudson. The Hudson Eye Festival, produced by the Jonah Bokaer Foundation, provided staffing, tech support and had an outreach of thousands of followers. About 325 people attended the performance and 1290 were engaged through the various facets of the project including outdoor meetings and thirty-nine pop up rehearsals in two public Hudson Parks.

All the artists are native to Hudson or have become part of the creative art family in the Hudson Valley in recent years. The artists exhibited vitality, passion, and excellence in their fields. Artists represented members of the LGBTQ, heterosexual and BIPOC communities, with a variety of ethnicities that exemplify small town American life in Hudson. New partnerships, such as The Tenth, an independent Black Queer Magazine housed in Hudson, was excited to participate before unforeseen family issues took the lead staff member out of town. Coupled with the audiences of the diverse participating artists and their patrons, our “Making it Through” project presented informally through public rehearsals and performance to the served and underserved. Through news and social media, and the new partner base of the Hudson Eye Festival, over 8,000 were notified that Making it Through! Was happening.