UNtensive 2021

ARCOS’s virtual UNtensive: We’re Not Going Back in June 2021 was facilitated by anti-racist body-based artist agitators Kai Hazelwood and Sarah Ashkin of Practice Progress. They offered three intertwining streams, each including guest artists, through which participants crafted their own experience. Over the five day gathering participants co-learned, co-dreamed, co-manifested forward into the future we need and deserve.

Session Descriptions

Monday 6/14 – Thursday 6/17: Black Indigenous and People of Color Affinity Circle led by Kai Hazelwood
BIPOC do not need to be educated about race—our lives are education enough. Instead, we create space for BIPOC to develop personal and community safety, healing and pleasure.

Monday 6/14 – Thursday 6/17: White Working Group led by Sarah Ashkin
These groups use embodied learning to support white people in developing their personal and relational anti-racist analysis without the hazards to BIPOC that accompany white people learning in multi-racial settings.(Monday 6/14–Thursday 6/17)

Friday 6/18: Multiracial Coalition Practice led by Kai Hazelwood and Sarah Ashkin
We lay the foundation for trust and accountability in order to create new patterns of action and change.Sustained Relationships. Undoing white supremacy takes endurance. We include thoughtful follow up communication, suggestions for continued learning, and invite our partners to continuously reengage with us to build community and deepen the results of our work.

Somastorm for Listening In:

How can we focus on the different work we each need to do by working in race-based affinity spaces which center the body and anti-racist learning? These sessions will include guided movement explorations, group dialogue, and readings.

*Registration is required for all 5 sessions.


  • In order to address the lived embodied experience of race and racism, we have to tend to the body. 
  • In order to attend to our different starting places, we have to work in race-based affinity spaces. 
  • In order to tend to the pain that is the category of race, we have to attend specifically to racialized harm with an intersectional approach.
  • White people need to receive anti-racist learning, BIPOC need to receive anti-racist rest, release, and care. 
  • In order for us to build multiracial coalition, we have to attend to incremental trust building and accountability processes rooted in our felt sense.
  • In order to meaningfully address racism, we have to do so at the individual, relational, and structural levels simultaneously.  
  • Anti-racist practice is practice. 
  • Anti-racist practice is tending to our relationship to time. 
  • Anti-racist practice is tending to our relationship to space.
  • Anti-racist practice is tending to our relationship to our nervous systems.
  • Anti-racist practice is building our capacity to feel, listen, think, and respond accountably all at the same time.
Session Descriptions

Monday 6/14: Dreaming Pedagogy: Lei Methodology* led by Christopher K. Morgan
Bringing together indigenous knowledge and personal self-expression in order to create space for restoration and healing in your practice. Writing prompts will be responded to on fabric which is then woven into a lei.

*The workshop requires participants to have 2 strips of fabric and a marker. (a cut-up t-shirt can work too!)

Tuesday 6/15: Syllabus Blow Up Work Party led by Kai Hazelwood and Sarah Ashkin
Bring your syllabus, let’s blow it up! We’ll help each other clearly define our values and bring those, instead of preconceived ideas about what or how we teach, with us into the studio. 

Wednesday 6/16: What is Contemporary? What is Modern? led by Cheyenne Dunbar, Kai Hazelwood, and Sarah Ashkin
What is Contemporary Dance when decoupled from white supremacy? How can we teach rejecting old structures and instead embracing an anti-racist, anti-capitalist lens? 

Thursday 6/17: Subverting Capitalism and Systems of Discipline in Dance Education led by Miles Tokunow, Kai Hazelwood, and Sarah Ashkin
What is our relationship to time, productivity, and achievement in the Dance classroom? What strategies are available to us as educators in choreographing time, space, energy, and power such that we heal more and harm less? This will be an interactive community conversation centering spaciousness and failure.  

Friday 6/18: Creating Space for Deaf Communities in The Arts–  Led by Antoine Hunter / Purple Fire Crow and Zahna Simon
Learn how to work with Deaf communities to create space for inclusion in the arts and debunk common myths around deafness.

Somastorm for Doing Dance Education Differently

How can we imagine curricular and cultural justice for dance technique and dance studies? Designed for educators, these sessions will look at tangible ways to shift the studio or the syllabus and draw on the experience of all gathered.

*Single-class drop-ins welcome.

Values and Questions:

  • SLOWing it Down
  • Let go of answers, needing to be right, and doing it alone
  • We don’t need need white dude theory to validate our lived experiences
  • Our job is to stay lost (Halberstam).  When we are found, we are back in known territory
  • Centering Queer, Trans, Black, Brown, Indigenous Ways of Knowing
  • Democratizing discomfort in the classroom 
  • How is teaching an egocentric performance? What other types of performances can we dream which align with our values for change?
Session Descriptions

Monday 6/14: Queer Art of Failure led by Kai Hazelwood
What if the stakes were low, what if we laughed at the idea of a ‘right way’ and chose instead to stay lost, delighting in whimsy and the unknown? What if we explored our known territories with a beginner’s mind, without expectations of brilliance or depth, and danced away from discoveries ready for commodification and performance? I don’t know about you but my goal is to fail. I have no interest in succeeding at white supremacist, heteropatriarchal capitalism.

Tuesday 6/15: Asynchronous
Sexuality as Moving Meditation led by Kai Hazelwood
In a private space, we’ll explore our private spaces, what belief systems we hold about them, and how we desire to change those beliefs for the glorious liberated relationship we all deserve to have with our bodies and ourselves. This experience is an audio recording you can listen to on your own time, and away from your camera. Give your eyes a break from zoom (captions will be available for access).
Grounded Artivism led by Miss BarbieQ

Wednesday 6/16: Expanding Creativity Beyond Paradigms and Mediums led by Ehren Kee Natay
How do we blur out of medium and into expansive making? Using sound, visual and embodied practice, this workshop dreams outside of disciplinary making and into liberatory creation.  

Thursday 6/17: Asynchronous
Colonialism and Site Specific Dance Making led by Miles Tokunow and Sarah Ashkin
This prerecorded playlist will lead participants through a guided experience on a site of your choosing. Key Questions: What is underneath your feet? What is the colonial underbelly and how does it make you move? How might you move otherwise? You will need a journal, a water bottle, clothing that protects your body and feet, and  a way to play and listen to the playlist.  

Friday 6/18: Two Embodied Experiments into Play
Playdate 1 led by Cheyenne Amen 
Playdate 2 led by Andrew Suseno
Closing Gathering led by Sarah Ashkin and Kai Hazelwood
Closing circle for any participants throughout the week to share and reflect on our experience together in the Untensive

Somastorm for Creative Process/Presencing:

How do we embody social justice within our creative practices through radical care and raucous experimentation? Bring an open mindbody to different approaches on practicing creation. *These sessions will meet on Zoom M/W/F and asynchronously with guided tasks on T/Th.


  • Can we attend to our social position, our actual body, pain, capacity, privilege when we are creating? How? To what end?
  • What is responsive creating?
  • How can we come into relationship with our worth, boundaries, truths before, during and after the creative process?
  • What if art making is a process of not knowing?
  • What if creative practicing is a method for political new world making?
  • What practices can we cultivate to abolish capitalism from our creative making?


ARCOS offered the UNtensive by donation. Our guests and collaborators were paid from other funding sources; half of all donations received will be forwarded as reparations to an organization identified by UNtensive participants.

Practice Progress facilitates anti-racist learning to address and undo white supremacy. We lead our clients and participants toward sustained cultural shift in their institutions, communities, and themselves through a body centered approach.  When we bring sensation and awareness to the ways racism is living in our bodies, we have an opportunity to change our relationship to it, to know it, and eventually dismantle it. This whole-person approach invites real transformation for individuals and organizations. For more information visit practiceprogress.org.

 Kai Hazelwood (she/her) is a transdisciplinary artist, educator, event producer, and public speaker raising the profile of bi+/queer and BIPOC community issues through art projects, community events, and public speaking. She has appeared in BuzzFeed videos and speaks at community events, high schools and colleges about bi+ and BIPOC community issues. Kai is currently an adjunct professor in dance department at Chapman University teaching Modern technique through an anti-racist framework. Kai is also the founder and artistic director of Good Trouble Makers, a practice driven arts collaborative celebrating plural-sexual/bi+ identities and centering BIPOC. Good Trouble Makers are dedicated to making. Making art, making room, making change, making good trouble. Kai is co-founder of Practice Progress.

Sarah Ashkin’s (she/her) work tarries at the intersection of critical whiteness studies, site specific performance, and reparations pedagogies.  She is the co-director of GROUND SERIES dance and social justice collective and a co-founder of Practice Progress, a body-based anti-racism facilitation platform.  As a dedicated dance maker, educator, and organizer, Sarah uses dance as a multipurpose tool to dismantle and build our world for the better.  Sarah holds a Masters in Dance, Politics and Sociology from the University of Roehampton, London and is a current doctoral student in Performance Studies at University of California, Davis.

This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division
of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.