From Screen to Seen: Lessons on Cultivating Defiant Joy and Supporting Young People in a Post-Pandemic World

Wednesday, May 5th, 2021

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM EDT


A follow up to our May 2020 “Social Dance While Social Distancing” Roundtable event, this interactive discussion will center on the ways in which the “defiant joy” found through dance and arts education has helped young people persevere through this remarkable year. Panelists will share their experiences supporting young people and integrating the arts into their online lives.

Learn More About the Panelists

The event will be hosted by Mickela Mallozzi, the four-time Emmy® Award-winning Host and Executive Producer of Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi.  The panelists include psychologist Dr. Jephtha Tausig, cultural anthropologist specialized in dance & UN Senior/Regional Human Rights Fellow at UN Headquarters Dr. Derrick Leon Washington, WolfBrown Principal Researcher Dr. Dennie Palmer Wolf, PS 130M Principal Renny Fong, and Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education Program Coordinator Yaicana Peña. Dancing Classrooms Senior Teaching Artist Felix Pitre will be bringing in the defiant joy of the Lindy Hop as a dance break, and Deputy Director Eve Wolff will offer context and some themes that have emerged from our work this year teaching over 4,000 NYC public students social dance online. Learn more about our special guests below!

Mickela Mallozzi is the four-time Emmy® Award-winning Host and Executive Producer of Bare Feet with Mickela Mallozzi, a travel series highlighting the diversity of dance which airs on PBS stations nationwide and on Amazon Prime Video globally.  A professional dancer and trained musician, Mickela decided to start a journey around the world, taking her camera with her to follow dance in the lives of everyday people wherever she went.  From re-discovering her family’s heritage in Southern Italy to dancing tango on the main stage in Buenos Aires, the series covers Mickela’s adventures as she experiences the world, one dance at a time.  She has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, O Magazine, AFAR Media, Travel Channel, Dance Magazine, Forbes, National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, and more, and she has performed on various television shows including Sesame Street and The Doctor Oz Show.

Dr. Jephtha Tausig has been a licensed clinical psychologist for over 20 years in New York City and Nantucket, where she has her own practices working with children, teens, young adults, and the elderly.  She supervises at Mt. Sinai Medical Center, Columbia University, Adelphi University, and is the consulting psychologist for The Fairwinds Agency in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Her PhD was awarded with Distinction by the Clinical Psychology Program at Columbia University after she obtained a Master’s in General Psychology from New York University and two Masters’ in Clinical Psychology (from Columbia University and Teachers College). She has taught at Columbia University, The New School for Social Research, Mt. Sinai Medical Center, and received multiple awards, including Dancing Classrooms’ Humanitarian Award in 2015.

Dr. Derrick León Washington  curated the ground-breaking exhibition and program series, Rhythm & Power: Salsa in New York, at the Museum of the City of New York. He is the co-editor of the book, Rhythm & Power: Performing Salsa in Puerto Rican and Latino Communities. As an expert of expressive cultures and senior fellowship recipient from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, he is the director and curator of Urban Stomp: From Swing to Mambo. He has curated several UN projects, including multi-national webinars, assisted with development and moderated the final long plenary of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) 10th Anniversary Youth Forum 2021, and featured in a short film about the ‘I Still Believe in Our City’ campaign sponsored by UN Human Rights (OHCHR) and the NYC Commission on Human Rights.

Dr. Dennie Palmer Wolf, Principal Researcher at WolfBrown, is one of the leading arts education researchers and evaluators in the United States. She holds a doctorate from Harvard where she served as a researcher at Project Zero for more than a decade and then headed Harvard PACE. Nationally, Wolf has helped a number of city-wide and regional consortia build coordinated systems that support critical and creative learning for young people in and out of school time. Based on this work, Wolf conducted a strategic review of all aspects of arts education for the National Endowment for the Arts. She was a three-term appointee to the National Assessment Governing Board, the federal agency that measures student learning nationally. Her work has been supported by the National Endowment for Arts, the U.S. Department of Education, the Buck, Arnold, Carnegie, Mellon, Spencer, and William Penn foundations, and has appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals and books.

Renny Fong, since 2014, has served as the Principal of P.S. 130 Hernando De Soto, a 2017 National Blue Ribbon elementary school in Manhattan’s Chinatown. Prior to being Principal of P.S. 130, Renny served as a teacher there for over 15 years since 1997. A native New Yorker, Renny is also a product of the New York City public school system. Renny is a graduate of Teachers College, Columbia University (M.A. Education), Columbia College, Columbia University (B.A. Economics), and Stuyvesant High School. Renny was also a Wallace Principals Institute Fellow at Bank Street College, where he received an M.A. in Educational Leadership in 2013.

Yaicana Peña is the Program Coordinator for the Casita Maria Compass Elementary After School Program. She was born and raised in New York City. She has eleven years of experience working with youth and her specialty is establishing connections/relations with the community, especially the Spanish Speaking families. She is currently pursuing her Master’s of Science in Bilingual Childhood Education at City College. She is an educator at heart and is passionate about helping others and providing youth and their families with the support they need.

Felix Pitre has worked with Dancing Classrooms since 2009. He has studied Lindy Hop and other vernacular jazz dances with numerous instructors, national and local, including the late great Frankie Manning, Roddy Caravella, Bill Kline, Matt Bedell and Laura Jeffers. He has opened for Jennifer Hudson, and in various troupes including the Big Apple Lindy Hoppers, the Lindy Hop All-Stars and The Twilight Toe Tapping Syncopaters.

Eve Wolff is the Deputy Director of Dancing Classrooms. Prior to joining Dancing Classrooms in February 2020, Eve worked with AdvanceNYC as a Senior Project Director for 7 years, supporting nonprofit clients such as ArtsConnection, Harmony Program, Hi-Arts, the Louis Armstrong House Museum, Stella Adler Studio of Acting, and SBI/A. Philip Randolph High School. Prior to joining Advance NYC Eve spent years in the NYC performing arts and arts education sectors, including serving as the Director of Programming at Young Audiences New York.