Embodying Resistance


  • Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp University of Rochester
  • Donna Davenport Hobart and William Smith Colleges




Dance, Protest, Arts Activism, Community Arts, Coalition, Community Engagement


The struggle for justice is not new, yet the impact of intentional embodiment and dance in protest is on the rise. Bringing together embodied anti-racist work and dance as a practice of resistance, this artists’ statement describes a grassroots coalition in Rochester, NY: Artists Coalition for Change Together. Co-founded in 2017 as a response to the recent election, ACCT began as an organization of progressive dance artists and collaborators who sought to generate social change through performance, direct action, community dialogues, and scholarship. Written as a dialogue between two founders of ACCT, this statement examines the history of the coalition and its acts of embodied protest. As moving bodies and art communicated resistance in direct “ACCTions,” community activism was generated. Through the lens of existing research and college courses on arts activism, the authors reference multiple reckonings in the North American cultural body, which peaked during the pandemic in 2020.

Author Biographies

Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp, University of Rochester

Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp is a dancer, educator, filmmaker, and activist.  She is an Associate Professor in Dance at the University of Rochester. For 15 years, her creative work with inFluxdance, SirensProof Films and electricGrit dance has been selected for multiple residencies and performance projects across the country. She is committed to a community engaged art practice receiving multiple grants from the Center for Community Leadership in Rochester NY. Between 2016-2021, her work toured festivals including: Assemble Festival in Detroit, MI; Southern Vermont Dance Festival; Richmond Contemporary Dance Festival; Rochester Fringe Festival; MAD Festival; Vision of Sound; and Dances at MuCCC. In 2016, she co-founded Artists Coalition for Change Together (ACCT), an organization committed to arts and change. More recently, she was the recipient of the 2020 Western NY Choreographers’ Initiative Award. Rose continues to present her creative research internationally focusing on dance as an agent of change.

Donna Davenport, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Dr. Donna Davenport, Professor of Dance at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS), is an active performer and choreographer in Upstate NY; a former Teagle Scholar; former Associate Dean of Faculty; former chairperson of the Dance Department; and a founding member of the Journal of Dance Education (JODE) editorial board and its first media editor. Her ongoing participation in diversity, equity, and inclusion commissions, task forces, working groups, and committees has spanned her career. At HWS, she coordinates the Social Justice Studies Program, which she co-founded; and currently co-chairs the organizing committee for the national Think Tank on dance in education, Dance 2050. Her publications and presentations have examined elitism, composition, improvisation, assessment, and dance for social change. With renewed insights about anti-racist pedagogies, she has become a national advocate for manifesting understanding of decolonized dance training and prioritizing equity and cultural competencies.