OPEN SPACE (curated and created by Johnnie Cruise Mercer) is a workshop series hosting a shifting roster of BIPOC artists in class, creation, conversation, and community. The series invites artists to occupy space together, focusing heavily on black embodiment, being, reflection, and growth. Open Space is open to all individuals, but primarily caters to those in the BIPOC community.


Thursday July 13th, 2023 (6:30-8:00 pm)

Join Alicia Raquel Morales as she guides a site-responsive workshop tied to her evolving project Crowning. A constellation of projects within a single universe—a world in which rivers walk and talk, and the city escapes as a mirror and a guide, Crowning works with reflection in order to consider one’s own spiritual story. This workshop may require outside activity; please wear appropriate clothing to move outdoors.

Alicia Raquel Morales (any and all pronouns) is a dancer, interdisciplinary artist, and cultural organizer. 

Her aesthetic is queer, quirky, spanglish and fantastical. 

Alicia grew up building altars, listening to and making up stories that straddle tangible and unseen worlds, and watching formal and informal ritual work. She is a child of street dance.

OPEN CONVERSATION w/ Kyle Marshall:  Spirit and Freedom

Saturday July 15th, 2023 (3:00-5:00 pm)

Pay What You Will

Join Johnnie as he brings together two close peers (Kyle Marshall, and Kayla Farrish) to have a conversation about their practice and how it ties to spirit and freedom. Free wine and crackers for all attendees 🙂

Kyle Marshall is a choreographer, performer, teacher and artistic director of Kyle Marshall Choreography (KMC), a dance company that sees the dancing body as a container of history, an igniter of social reform and a site of celebration. Since inception in 2014, KMC has performed at venues including: Chelsea Factory, BAM Next Wave Festival NJPAC, Entertainment Community Fund Arts Center, Little Island, and Roulette. Kyle has received choreographic and dance film commissions from the Philadelphia Museum of Art,  Baryshnikov Arts Center, “Dance on the Lawn” Montclair’s Dance Festival, Harlem Stage and THE SHED. National touring has included: Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out (Beckett, MA), FringeArts, (Philadelphia), Bickford Theater/Morris Museum (NJ) and New World Center (Miami). Recognitions have included a 2018 NY Dance and Performance Juried Bessie Award, a 2020 Dance Magazine Harkness Promise Award and a 2020 Bessie Honoree for his revival of Colored

As an educator, Kyle is currently an adjunct professor at NYU’s Open Arts Program and has been a guest artist at Rutgers University, Ailey/Fordham University, Eugene Lang/New School and Sarah Lawerence College. Kyle has engaged young artists through creative workshops at Operation Unite NY, Bloomfield College and New Jersey High Schools; Bayonne, County Prep, and Trenton Central. As a performer, Kyle was a member of the Trisha Brown Dance Company, doug elkins choreography etc., and Tiffany Mills Company. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a BFA in Dance and currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.

OPEN SHOWING with practices from Brooke Rucker

Thursday July 20th, 2023 (7:00-9:00 pm)

Join Brooke Rucker as she shares parts and excerpts of her practice/work! Artists will be given an hour to share however they would like; this showing includes conversation, and free wine/crackers.

Brooke Rucker is an American choreographer with Afro ancestry whose work draws on the principles of kinetic orality in order to communicate and unravel intersecting identities. Her works include The Body Wants to Move, In These Shoes, and If a black falls in a crowd and makes a sound, does anyone hear it?. Brooke is a 2023 Gallim Moving Artist Resident and has served two terms on Dance/NYC’s Junior Committee. She is a company member of Camille A. Brown & Dancers and has additionally worked with choreographers Annie-B. Parson, Donna Uchizono, Tendayi Kuumba, and Charles Anderson. Administratively, Brooke is the Development/Visioning Partner Associate for Urban Bush Women. You can follow her on IG @brookerucker


OPEN JAM: Johnnie Cruise Mercer/Malcolm X Betts

Saturday July 22, 2023 (7:00-9:00 pm)

Join Johnnie Cruise Mercer and Malcolm X in an evening of play and improvisation. Dive head first into each artist’s practice as they together conjure a space of play, rigor, and reflection. 

Johnnie Cruise Mercer, a 2022 Dance Magazine Harkness Promise Award Recipient, and a 2021 Princess Grace Award Recipient (Choreography), is a queer-black think-maker; a choreographer, an educator, and producer based in Brooklyn, New York. A native of Richmond, VA, Johnnie holds a BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University.

In 2021, Johnnie was nominated for two Bessies Awards in Dance and Performance: Outstanding Breakout Choreographer, and Outstanding Production for AShadowPrince. (a collaboratively created media-choreography crafted in response to the murder of George Floyd in 2020). 

As an educator, Johnnie facilitates within the New York Public School system through The Leadership Program, Movement Research’s Dance Maker’s Program, and through Ping Chong and Company’s Secret Histories Educational Program. Mercer has also been on teaching faculty/a guest educator at The American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival, PRATT Institute, NYU Tisch, Gibney, University of Massachusetts Amherst, DeSales University, Muhlenberg College, The University of Texas at Austin, Goucher College, Sarah Lawrence College, The University of Maryland, Harlem School of the Arts, and The Dance Institute of Washington.

Johnnie’s choreographic work has been seen and/or shared  by 92Y Harkness Dance Center, The Dixon Place, Danspace Project Inc, The Fusebox Festival, BAAD!, Abrons Arts Center, La Mama Experimental Theater, The Clarice Performing Arts Center’s The BlackLight Summit, and at The American Dance Festival. Most recently, Johnnie has had the honor of being a 2019-2021 Artist in Residence at Brooklyn Arts Exchange, a 2020-2021 Ping Chong and Company Creative Fellow,  a 2020-2021 AIR through New Dance Alliance’s Black Artists Space to Create Residency, and a 2022 Artist in Residence at Center for Performance Research.

Johnnie is the founding producer, and director of TheREDprojectNYC (TRPNYC), a multidisciplinary ensemble of artists dedicated to movement philosophy, and its use towards building communal spaces for black/other process, documentation, and investigation. 


Malcolm-x Betts is a New York based visual and dance artist who believes that art is a transformative vehicle that brings people and communities together. His artistic work is rooted in investigating embodiment for liberation, Black imagination, and directly engaging with challenges placed on the physical body. He has a community engagement practice allowing artistic freedom and making art accessible to everyone.