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created by

kai hazelwood

My art making and teaching is firmly rooted within Somatic Abolition as defined and developed by Resmaa Menekem.


“Somatic Abolitionism is living, embodied anti-racist practice and cultural building, it is the resourcing of energies that are always present in your body, in the collective body, and in the world. Somatic Abolitionism is an emergent process that requires action—and repeated individual and communal practice. Through repetition, you collectively build resilience, discernment, and the ability to tolerate discomfort that comes with confronting the brutality of race.”

( 2021) 


Through my own framework called Dancing into Somatic Abolition I create methods to learn about ourselves, our bodies, and how they relate to each other. My work exists to circumvent the structures of white supremacist hetero-patriarchy which requires experimentation in form, technique, and approach. No matter where I am teaching, or the technique we’re investigating, I always bring the principles of Dancing into Somatic Abolition, to my approach:


  1. Experimentation, always. I am trying to embody something that western dance training has never done before, and it requires flexibility and experimentation. I start again and again, always refining my methodology, and reframing my inquiry until there is room enough for all of us.

  2. Bring your whole self to the studio. I empower students, collaborators, and myself, to embrace our full personhood, to show up as who we really are. Western dance relies on the standard of a cisgender, white, thin, and able body. So few of us truly fall within those incredibly narrow parameters. I welcome the realness of our lives, and our experiences in our bodies into our work as artists. For example, in troubling embodied perfectionism, I invite us to experiment with what ‘full participation’ looks like when we acknowledge and dance with instead of against chronic pain, an injury, anxiety, or the host of other conditions traditional western dance training tells us that we should hide. We are capable of such magic when we bring our whole personhood into our dancing.


In addressing issues of racialized ideals in dancing bodies I experiment with ways to illuminate the structures of how white supremacy impacts all of our bodies, and ourselves, instead of attempting to leave them outside the studio. I also work specifically to remove the harmful confines so often inflicted on BIPOC dancers, whose bodies, cultures, and ways of knowing are ignored while we try to fit ourselves into a standard our beautiful selves were never designed for. 


  1. Co-Creation. I recognize that the type of experimental embodied learning I care about cannot only come from my body as the instructor or director at the front of the studio, it requires democratizing between collaborators. It happens when we embark on a journey of co-creation, allowing the shape and needs of the room to change depending on who is in it. I prioritize identity affirming approaches where we work together to create an environment where there is room enough for each of us, and we will learn together along the route our collaboration will take.

  2. Experiential healing. I use embodied dance and movement practices as forms of personal and communal awareness building, political resistance, and healing. 

  3. Repetition. Dancers know the power of repetition, of showing up to the studio again and again to practice the same movements, knowing that while we can’t always feel our improvement from day to day, a practice over time creates the changes in our body we desire. Dancing into Somatic Abolition understands that this same patience, the ability to build a practice, is what allows dancers to commit to the slow repetition needed to create change towards social justice. We can get in our plies and simply by changing the way we approach those plies, our Somatic Abolitionist reps at the same time!


Our passion for body based practice that we have as dancers and movers makes us powerful change agents through Somatic Abolition. Through our own experimentation we can use dance and movement to create the world we want to live in.

I specialize in teaching contemporary and modern dance, improvisation, ballet, and the Hall Method’s cross training system through my Dancing into Somatic Abolition framework. 

To hire me to teach a workshop or speak email

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