the modern dance awareness society

dance dance everywhere

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dreams of the animal machine

help support our dance work at the Port Authority bus station!

Dear friends, family and lovely supporters,
I am super excited to invite you to our performances this month! Below are the dates and times and a link to our fundraising campaign to help with production costs if you would like to support our work.

thank you and looking forward to seeing you there!

.Mar 10 —
Apr 1, 2023
Port Authority 40th St. 2nd floor
625 8th Ave
New York, NY 10018


Mondays: 6pm-8pm
Fridays: 5pm-7pm 
Saturday, 3/11 3pm-5pm 
Saturday, 3/18 3pm-7pm 
Saturday, 3/25 3pm-5pm 
Saturday, 4/1 2pm-4pm

Dancers include Caroline Alter, Rachel Cohen, Clara Monk, Regina Nejman, Giorgia Picano, Monica Vale and Jill Woodward

the modern dance awareness society, in collaboration with The Missioncreep, create a whimsical, futuristic, sonic and visual experience. In their production, Dreams Of The Animal Machine, animal psychology is imagined through the lens of an “animal machine”. The animal machine is represented by silver robot animal heads and silver mannequins in a room with silver elements which convey a futuristic, dream-like atmosphere. This environment will function as a conduit for an exploration through music and dance as we fantasize about our world and its inhabitants. The study of animal behavior is a cornerstone of psychology for several reasons. Ethology, or the study of animals in their natural habitats, sheds light on how animals interact with each other and their environments, and why they behave the way they do. By studying animal behavior, humans can also learn more about their own behavior – a field known as comparative psychology. By imagining and fantasizing about our own unique ethology, Dreams of The Animal Machine is an abstract and imaginative projection of the future possibilities of the behavior and interaction of animals and humans.

The Missioncreep generates industrial electro soundscapes, which include mischievous and often upbeat, downtempo glitchy disco. There is no software involved in his musical creations, only hardware. By layering textures, broken beats and found sounds, singing through a vocoder, and running a guitar through a guitar synth, he creates a wide ranging emotional palette.

About the Artists

the modern dance awareness society is a collaborative, improvisational, site-specific dance project begun in 1998 by Despina Sophia Stamos. To date, tmdas has produced 28 works that have been performed in spaces outside of dance venues. tmdas invites dance colleagues to work collaboratively on short term site projects. Despina Sophia Stamos is a dancer/choreographer/ Pilates instructor living/teaching/making in NYC since 1989. Her work has been presented at venues such as Dance Theater Workshop,PS122, PS1 and in Brazil, Greece, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Puerto Rico and Italy.

The Missioncreep has performed throughout New York City and beyond, and in a wide variety of venues: Re-Vision (bar) in the LES, Pine Box Rock Shop (music venue) in Bushwick, and the Eye Witness (gallery) in the Garment District. He has done benefits for Industrial Workers of The World (labor union) and Das Handler (art handlers’ magazine). Recently, The Missioncreep performed live on JokerJoker TV in Athens, Georgia, where he is originally from. The International Digital Art Festival in Berlin included his music videos in 2020.

The Missioncreep is a project by the multi-media artist Benjamin Ferguson ( as a means of addressing human rights issues around the world, and as an extension of his work as a painter and experimental video artist. Musick is a method of keeping a creative momentum incorporating an intuitive process which explores the subconscious. Alfred Hitchcock once proclaimed, “I believe in surprise. I believe in suspense”, and it is precisely this mindset which informs Benjamin Ferguson’s productions. 

For more information on The Missioncreep visit their website and follow them on Instagram.

Work made possible by Chashama, Materials for the Arts, the Port Authority and angels like you.

Despina Sophia Stamos / the modern dance awareness society is a sponsored artist with The Performance Zone Inc (dba The Field), a not-for-profit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization serving the performing arts community. Contributions to The Field earmarked for Despina Sophia Stamos / the modern dance awareness society are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. For more information about The Field, or for our national charities registration, contact: The Field, 75 Maiden Lane, Suite 906 New York, NY 10038, phone: 212-691-6969. A copy of our latest financial report may be obtained from The Field or from the Office of Attorney General, Charities Bureau, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271.

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picnic and dance

tmdas in collaboration with Regina Nejman & Company presents 

Neighbors 5

created and performed despina and regina

music live and recorded julian rozzell

Continuing a long term exploration of site specific works, Despina Stamos and Regina Nejman, have created a series of concise duets inspired by their own shared proximity and distance. 

Ms. Stamos, a dancer of Greek heritage, and Ms. Nejman who grew up in Brazil, negotiate a common ground as they explore the various spaces that have brought them together.

Join them as they create an energetic conversation  through movement that will be performed both live and online. 

As these are lunchtime performances, please feel free to bring your lunch.

June 28+29th


Anita’s way 134 west 42nd 

the modern dance awareness society is a collaborative, improvisational, site-specific dance project begun in 1998 by despina sophia stamos and wen-shuan yang. To date, tmdas has produced 28 works that have been performed in spaces outside of dance venues. tmdas invites dance colleagues to work collaboratively on short term site projects. Many thanks to Regina Nejman of Regina Nejman & Company for co-creating this season’s Neighbors 5, Chashama for their support and Julian Rozzell for his music.


Regina Nejman grew up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and is based in NYC where she has been creating her own choreography since 1993 and created Regina Nejman & Company in 1997. Her work has been presented by LaMama Moves, Jacob’s Pillow, Dixon Place, Joyce SoHo, Symphony Space, The 2002 and 2005 New York International Fringe Festival (where Regina received the Outstanding Choreography Award for the premiere of The Velocity of Things), DTW, Danspace Project, Merce Cunningham Studio, Dança em Foco, and other venues. Her Company toured to Brazil in 2006 and 2007 (Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo) where the company received standing ovations. She has received support from The Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Greenwall Foundation, Puffin Foundation, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council/Creative Engagement 2020 and MCAF; Meet the Composer; space grants from 92nd StY, Queens Museum of Art/ToPaz, Abrons Arts, Joyce Theater Artist-in-Residence and DTW Outer/Space. Regina received commissions from Princeton University Program in Theater and Dance twice, New Jersey City University, The Yard, and a Dixon Place Mondo Cane Commission. In 2012, Regina created Architecture Runway through a space grant @chashama’s ‘Anita’s Way’. Regina taught dance at Princeton University, Wesleyan University, Harvard Summer Dance, NYU Common Hour Class, LaGuardia Performing Arts High School among others. Regina is a Teaching Artist at CAE and a per diem dance teacher at NYCDOE. Jennifer Dunning of The New York Times described Regina as “a modern dance choreographer with a piquant imagination and visual sense to match” and “teeming with life”. Deborah Jowitt of the Village Voice described “the intriguing dance sequences” and Tobi Tobias mentioned “postmodern tactics can benefit from an infusion of the color, pulse, and spirit Nejman absorbed in her native Brazil. Regina received her BA from SUNY/ Empire State College and her MFA in Dance at Hunter College. In 2020, Regina dived into filmmaking, inspired by the work of Maia Deren, creating Pandemic which premiered at Dixon Place TV on November of  the same year. In April 2022, Regina premiered her thesis project Slaying the Dragon/ dances created during the time of the pandemic combining both mediums in an immersive gallery-type walk-through performance at Hunter College.



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Despina Sophia Stamos is a dancer/choreographer/ Pilates instructor ( living/teaching/making in NYC since 1989. Her work has been presented at such venues as Dance Theater Workshop, PS122, PS1 and in Brazil, Greece, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Puerto Rico and Italy.

From 2006- present, Stamos collaborates with refugees and local dancers in Athens, Greece in a project titled passTRESpass. Since passTRESpass 2016 , we have annually produced a transnational dance dialogue performed with and for refugees in New York City and Athens, live-streamed at Anita’s Way in the bustling heart of Times Square.

Stamos performed with Chen and Dancers, Hikari Baba Dancers, Anahi Galante, Fly by Night, the National Caravan Theater, Felix Ruckert, Simone Forti, Zendora Dance Theater, Aspasia Yaga, Wendy Osserman Dance Theater, Blum Dance Theater, Marija Krtolica, Vanessa Walters, the Daisy Spurs, Time Lapse Dance, Abigail Levine, Daria Fain, Mikerline Dance Company and the Missile Dick Chicks.

In 2019, Stamos co-created “Displaced Herstories and the Persistence of Bodily Memory” with Marija Krtolica and Florence Benichou, a dance inquiry into hysteria and performance.

She continues to dance with the Hungry March Band and the Stamos is founding member of the modern dance awareness society ( and a cofounder of Chashama.



Julian Rozzell is a resident of New York City, residing in Brooklyn, NY. An accomplished actor, he recently performed in Shakespeare in the Park’s production of Merry Wives at The Public Theater. Most recently he was in the TONY nominated Skin of our Teeth at Lincoln Center. Julian enjoys performing and is proud to be the “soundsmith” in NEIGHBORS.


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performing again

Despina Sophia Stamos arrived in the US in 1970 from a quiet, farming village, on an island in Greece. To live between two cultures, the conservative traditional Greek, and the perceived “freedoms” of America, is to teeter between the two.

tiptoeing a tightrope

straddling an ocean

Two distinct experiences of understanding the world, often in conflict.

push and pull-a foot in each

balancing on both but as they diverge

tumbling into the liminal space between.

From the falls, into the seam, the magic of discovery

between here and here…

performed by Despina Sophia Stamos and guest artists Bianca Falco and Marija Krtolica

soundtrack compilation DSS

set collaboration with cast

The work is an exploration of the space and tensions betwixt two distinct cultures coexisting in one body. Performers will source memory, kinetic impulse and the performance site to create short interactive vignettes throughout the duration. Interactions upon consent only.

Set to the compiled soundscores of passTRESpass, a decade long project, with displaced people in Athens, Greece.

A dance performance situated in the liminal space between two concrete caverns

Anita’s Way

thursday and friday 6/3+4

5-630 pm

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passTRESpass 2019

On Saturday, September 28, we performed at The Yellow Days Festival at the School of Fine Arts in Athens with a cast of 12 displaced from Iran, Afghanistan, Cameroon, 4 Greek dancers and our collaborating team, Maria, Bianca and myself. Our total performers this year was 21!

We were joined by an amazing band of traditional musicians from Iran to complete our program.

Your donations during this period have made it possible to share an additional stipend for all the participants of the project! Thank you wholeheartedly

This summer, as the new government came into power, they flexed their right wing muscles by closing all the self organized refugee housing projects, emptying these spaces of families with children, who were stuffed into caged buses and sent to detention centers before being forced into the horrific camps that specialize in dehumanizing the already traumatized. The police in their militarized glory, guarded the walled off empty buildings but left the heroine dealers, pimps and human traffickers free to continue their market.

Despina Stamos and Bianca Falco

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passTRESpass2019 begins!

Bianca Falco and I arrived in Athens on Monday morning to begin passTRESpass2019. We met with our wonderful collaborator Maria Juliana Byck and our beautiful dancers/refugees to distribute the stipends we fundraised and were delighted that they were interested in continuing the dance. Jamilla and Mina are doing well as well as Abdoul and the toddlers.

We are excited to begin the workshop process today. We are pleased to meet in person the new participants from the last production of proximity. Everyone is interested in making new work!

We will be rehearsing Monday Wednesday and Friday from 5-7 at the Steki Metanaston.

Tentative performance September 27-28 at The Yellow Days festival at the School of Fine Arts.

Stay tuned for more details!

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tmdas 2019 gala dance party in the sky

a Gala Reception

May 2, 7-11pm

1 Bryant Pank 48th floor

benefiting the modern dance awareness society ‘s
passTRESpass 2019
a four week dance/theater workshop and performance with refugees from Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq in Athens, Greece

Enjoy the sensual sounds of singer Claudia Valentina as the sun sets.

View the City from rare heights while enjoying drinks and tasty bites.

Bid on wonderful art work by Haideen Anderson Kennedy, Patty Hefley, Lesley Powell, David Normal, Benjamin Ferguson, Gisella Sorrentino, Recycle and Pray and more tba.

Indulge in dance and healthy bodywork offered by Gibney Dance, Brooklyn Heights Pilates, Geoff Kuffner Thai massage, Pilates with Bianca Falco and Despina Stamos, yoga with Barbara Gentile and more!

See your friends and dance, dance, dance!

buy tickets!

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Dancing across Borders : A Benefit for Refugees

Please Join us May 13, 12-4pm for Dancing Across Borders: A Benefit for Refugees at Home and Abroad.

On May 13th, the modern dance awareness society and Dance Afghanistan join forces to host a fundraising event to support refugees at home and abroad. 100% of proceeds from the event will go towards supporting “proximity” dance project Athens refugee cast, Refugee Accommodation and Solidarity Space City Plaza, and Dance Afghanistan story translation project by refugees.

The event will be an afternoon of outdoors and indoors dance-based performances, film projections, presentations, and poetry. The day aims to highlight cultural integration issue, raise awareness about refugees and migration, and promote the role of the arts in capacity building.

The day’s performances and activities will run in two locations near Times Square:

12-1:45pm Activites
@ Anita’s Way, 135 W 42nd St, New York

These activities will feature film screenings of Jill Woodward’s “bodies of resilience”, “passTRESpass”, and preview of “journey without a map”. The modern dance awareness society will also be restaging “proximity,” a transnational dance dialogue, with performers Daphne Pantazopoulou(Athens), Wen-Shuan Yang, Abdul Nazari and residents of Refugee Accommodation and Solidarity Space City Plaza via Skype from Athens.

2-4pm Activities
@ Nearby dance loft between 6th and Broadway on W44th, specific address sent upon ticket reservation

Activities at the dance loft will feature light fare, traditional Greek and Afghan dance performances, and Afghan poetry readings. The event will conclude with a presentation of the research conducted in Greece by the Generation Outside Network concerning the quality of life for long-term Afghan refugees, followed by a Q&A discussion.

Ticket reservations (free) are required for both Anita’s Way and nearby dance loft activities. Though events are free, your generous donation will go a long way towards supporting the refugee community!

ticket link :

All donations are tax deductible thanks to Fractured Atlas’ fiscal sponsorship of Dance Afghanistan project. All donations will thus be processed by Dance Afghanistan and distributed among the modern dance awareness society, Refugee Accommodation and Solidarity Space City Plaza, and Dance Afghanistan story translation project by refugees.


Athens 2016

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After a tumultuous beginning, passTRESpassAthens 2016 culminated in a wonderful workshop and performance of proximity as part of Outopias, an exhibition curated by Thanos Vovolis at the Benaki museum.

OutTopias, Benaki Museum Athens, Greece
September 24, 2016
passTRESpass Athens
The purpose of the work is to pose questions regarding how we negotiate boundaries on the different levels; human relationships, physical space, and cultural practices. Participants explore movement vocabulary with an emphasis on excavating and physicalizing particular psycho-geographies – personal stories and communal histories. As we are confronted with each other’s cultures, how can we successfully co-exist and flourish? What do we carry with us? What do we leave behind and how does that effect our environment?
As kinetic organisms moving about on a planet shrinking from population density and technological advances, we are colliding faster and harder; realities intersecting, borders shift. As the ground shifts, how do we make sense of where the pieces fall? How do we choose to rearrange them?
Thanks to Embros Theater, City Plaza and Benaki Museum for their support.
Despina Sophia Stamos
Panagiotis Andronikidis
Irene Siegel
sound and editing Maria Juliana Byck
camera Leon Taylor

Stay tuned for part 2, dis*place*ment, November 19 & 20 at 2pm at Anita’s Way, Times Square. dis*place*ment is a transcontinental dance conversation with the artists from City Plaza. All tickets proceeds will go to the cast in Athens.

upcoming finale

upcoming finale












Landing in Athens with Irene Siegel on August 24, we are immediately informed that an attack had occurred in a neighboring refugee center. Two gas canisters and a Molotov cocktail were thrown into the ground floor at 5:30 am, by fascist nationalists, causing a fire that burned the storage room. Luckily, no one was hurt.

img_0942 Many families were moved to the City Plaza Hotel, presently home to 400 people half of which are children. This event was frightening and further traumatizing to the people many who were there because their own worlds were crushed by bombs, DASH fanatics, smugglers and harrowing journeys.



City Plaza

Irene immediately translated for Arabic speaking  Syrian Kurds.

She was extremely invaluable providing much needed communication bridge. Slowly, we connected with various groups within the center.





Mohammad and our unaccompanied minors.

Mohammad and our unaccompanied minors.



Mohammad, a 14 year old traveling with his 16 year old brother Basir shows interest in our dance proposal. He brings his friends. They are beautiful performers. They are children who have made it to safety.




girlsyoga and girls







For cultural reasons, the girls and women do not participate. We dance with them at the women’s gathering every Tuesday and Thursday from 7-10pm. Yoga for women at 7 all week. Joined by 16 yr old Alishba, whose grandfather was killed by the Taliban in Pakistan, Nisreen and Evine, two Syrian sisters, 16 and 14, Slava 13, Raida 10, occasionally Lava 14.


Nur's journey

Nur’s journey

Nur, a young mother from Homs, shows us her neighborhood on Google maps, satellite view. She traces with her fingers the different areas around her home belonging to different warring factions. She zooms into the bombed building remains a few doors from her own family’s home, while cradling her infant.