“My interaction with my community on Staten Island is mostly through the teens with whom I work. What started as a volunteer project at Curtis High School, a public school on Staten Island, has grown into a teen dance group, an ongoing project that is now supported by Dance Theater Workshop's Public Imaginations Program. When Creative Time approached me to do a project on my community, these teens and their lives offered the perfect case study. In creating this piece I aimed to reflect the bits and pieces of their lives the way I perceive and receive them. These teens and their voices reflect the hope and future of Staten Island and New York; voices that, in my view, are mostly ignored and remain unseen. In this culture we often fear teens, we talk at them and don't listen enough. These young people have a lot to say and give. In addition I wanted to reflect the adult voices, always talking.

In my piece, the Curtis High School students do of the singing and music, besides the track of music by Vernon Reid. The students were recorded during rehearsals in classrooms, outside in hallways, outside the school, in the basement of their homes, and in public performances. The band music is from Ezra's rock band, Curtis Jazz Ensemble, and the Curtis Guitar Ensemble. During my recording period I was working with 172 high school students. I recorded most of them without their knowing it. My thanks go out to them.”

Gabri Christa
North Shore
Staten Island, New York

Christa in the studio


As a performer, Gabri Christa has danced and choreographed with Danza Contemporanea de Cuba and DanzAbierta, of which she was one of the founders. In the USA she has been a member of Bill T. Jones Dance Company. Her series of short social dance films, entitled "The Breach" can be viewed at Some of her most recent writings on dance will appear in “Caribbean Dance”. In New York, her work has been presented at Dance Theater Workshop, Dia center for the Arts, Context, Aaron Davis Hall, Judson Church, and Snug Harbor Cultural Center. She is a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow (1999) and has received choreography and production grants from several other sources which include the Jerome Foundation, Dance Theater Workshop’s Suitcase Fund, Pittsburgh Dance Council, National Performance Network Creation Fund, Arts International US Fund for American Artists at American Festivals, and the Dutch Ministry of Culture.

Gabri Christa landed in New York from Puerto Rico via Cuba, the Netherlands, and Curaçao, in the Dutch Caribbean where she was born and raised. Her critically acclaimed choreography has been performed throughout Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United States. A graduate of the College for the Arts, the School for New Dance Development, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Gabri Christa also holds a MFA from the University of Washington. As an educator she has taught dance and lectured among others at the University of Washington, Manhattanville College, Fordham University, The University of Michigan, University of Utah, Ballet Hispanico's School of Dance, and Curtis High School on Staten Island.

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