A. Nia Austin-Edwards (ANAE) has built a life around the practice of support through writing, performing, creating, marketing, listening, caring, and more. As THE KwanzaaKid – a child named after, born during, and annually celebrating Kwanzaa – the principles of unity (Umoja), self-determination (Kujichagulia), working collectively with a responsibility to greater community (Ujima), cooperative economics amongst that community (Ujamaa), and creating purposefully and faithfully (Kuumba, Nia, Imani) are the foundation of all that Nia does.
ANAE’s performing career began in a mother’s womb, developed in Atlanta, GA, at Total Dance / Dancical Productions, Inc., and was further formalized through Tri-Cities Visual and Performing Arts Magnet High School and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Nia has gone on to work with a variety of phenomenal dance artists such as Gus Solomons, Jr., Deborah Jowitt, Ronald K. Brown, Sean Curran, Adia Tamar Whitaker, Camille A. Brown, Stefanie Batten Bland, Jesse Phillips-Fein, Paloma McGregor, and Marjani Forte-Saunders. ANAE has also presented choreography through Movement Research at South Oxford Space, at Triskelion Arts, and in a self-produced evening at BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange. Nia was a Dance/USA John R. Munger Research Fellow from 2014-2015 and an Editor & Contributor for The Dance Enthusiast from 2013-2016.
Since transitioning from Marketing & Communications Director at BAX in 2013, PURPOSE Productions has had the pleasure of supporting dance artists such as Adia Tamar Whitaker and Marjani Forte, theater artists such as Melanie Jones and Latonia Phipps, organizations such as 651 ARTS and STooPS, initiatives such as Dancing While Black and Camille A. Brown’s The Gathering, among others. PURPOSE Productions has also hosted workshops in a variety of subjects from marketing to their signature #LiberatedLifedstyle practice.
Timothy Prolific Edwaujonte (formerly Veit Jones) is a poet, educator, and organizer whose creative work operates in the continuum of the Black Arts Movement, using a multi-disciplinary approach rooted in Hip-Hop culture as an Afro-Indigenous folkloric praxis. Prolific has performed poetry at venues including Cornell University, Columbia University, Rikers Island, STooPS, the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, SOB’s, and the Weeksville Heritage Center. Timothy has been published in African Voices, The Inquisitive Eater, 12th Street, the graphic novel Gunplay, the Penmanship Book anthology 30/30 Vol. 2, The Ferguson Moment, and YRB Magazine. He appeared as a cultural critic on the MNet show “Headliners,” is the former co-host of Sweet Success Sundaes – a show about entrepreneurship on Bondfire Radio, and managed the Queens-bred emcee SoSoon (and co-executive produced his debut album “The Bandwagon”). Through his former publishing company, Andre Maurice Press/Indelible Books, he edited and released Blackout Arts Collective’s One Mic: A Lyrics on Lockdown Anthology and Peuo Tuy’s Khmer Girl. Tim was a Riggio Writing and Democracy Fellow at The New School, and is a fellow at The Watering Hole. He is the author of Prolific, Musaic: 40 Days, 40 Nights, the forthcoming ethnographic book of poetry titled Water + Blood.
One of the driving forces in Edwaujonte’s life is a dedication to supporting individuals and communities through visionary partnerships. As part of the Blackout Arts Collective, Prolific learned how to use art to pursue social justice, which often entailed organizing showcases, teaching classes and workshops in schools, community centers, and prisons. Working at WiT Media for two years allowed him to learn the ins and outs of arts/cultural/lifestyle marketing, web design, advertising sales, and project management. He joined the team at PURPOSE Productions in the fall of 2013, where he applies the sum of his collective experiences to our sojourners.
As an educator, Timothy has worked at a teaching artist at Harlem Village Academies, Unity Preparatory Charter School (through EM Movement Techniques), TRUCE Media and Arts at the Harlem Children’s Zone (where he served as Managing Editor of Harlem Overheard, a magazine of student work). Prolific is currently teaching Kuumba/Integrated Arts at the Ember Charter School for Mindful Education, and is the co-founder of the Rebel Waters publishing and performance collaborative.
He is from Uniondale (Long Island), and lives in Bed-Stuy.
Sydnie L. Mosley is an award winning artist-activist and educator who is interested in creative work that is both artistically sound and socially aware. She produces experiential dance works with her all-women company SLMDances. Through her choreographic work, the company works in communities to organize for gender and racial justice. Her evening length dances The Window Sex Project and BodyBusiness, their creative processes and performance experiences are a model for dance-activism. Her dances have been performed extensively throughout New York City and she was listed by TheRoot.com as one of twenty-five “Up and Coming: Young Minority Artists and Entrepreneurs.”
Currently, SLMDances is engaged in a multi-year residency through Lincoln Center Education as the Manhattan Community Artists in Residence toward the development of their newest work, PURPLE. In February 2017, Sydnie was recognized by NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray for using her talents in dance to fuel social change. Other recognitions and funding include: LMCC Creative Engagement funding to support The Window Sex Project: Community Workshops (2017), CUNY Dance Initiative (2016 + 2017 Artist in Residence), Dancing While Black Artist Fellowship (2015-2016), and The Field Leadership Fund (2015-2017). Sydnie produced her evening length work BodyBusiness with The Performance Project @ University Settlement (Artist in Residence 2015-2016). She is a 2013 alumna of the Create Change Fellowship with The Laundromat Project, and the Gibney Dance Institute for Community Action Training. In 2011, she became the inaugural Barnard Center for Research on Women Alumnae Fellow. She earned her MFA in Dance Choreography from the University of Iowa, and earned her BA in Dance and Africana Studies from Barnard College at Columbia University.
A versatile dancer, Sydnie is a part of the 2017 Bessie Award winning cast of the skeleton architecture, the future of our worlds curated by Eva Yaa Asantewaa. In 2016, she collaborated with Aisha Cousins on Gainin’ On Ya. Sydnie danced with Christal Brown’s INSPIRIT, a dance company(2010-2013) and continues to appear as a guest artist forBrooklyn Ballet since 2009. Jennifer Dunning of The New York Times writes of her performance in David Parker’s Nut/Cracked Redux, “I won’t soon forget… the woman who stood in the center of a sea of floor-bound bodies, allowing her arms to bloom up and open luxuriously in a gracious, centuries-old convention with radiant pride and pleasure.”
As a dance educator, Sydnie teaches modern, jazz and West African dance, amongst other styles. She teaches babies (really!), K-12, undergraduates, non-dancers and professionals alike, with the motto: if you can move, you can dance! She has been an Adjunct Lecturer with the Barnard College Dance Department, and in 2012 designed the College’s Dance in the City, Pre-College Program which she continues to teach.
Sydnie’s skills extend beyond the creative. Her research and writing explores modern dance, movement in the African Diaspora, spirituality, and feminism, such as her work: “Dancing Black Christianity: Revealing African American and Ghanaian Cultural Identity through Movement in Christian Worship.” She has also contributed writing to Girls Like Us Magazine, The Dance Enthusiast and Dance Magazine.
She applies her diverse skill set in the arts and culture field as a consultant and has collaborated with PURPOSE Productions, 651ARTS, Betty’s Daughter Arts Collaborative, Well Read Black Girl and Hollaback!. She is an advocate for the dance field currently serving on the Dance/NYC Advisory Board, after a four year tenure on the Dance/NYC Junior Committee which represents the interests of dance professionals in New York City ages 21-30. She served as Vice Chair 2014-2015.
Sydnie resides in Harlem, New York City. When she isn’t dancing, she is writing, listening to music, and cooking.