Smashworks Advocacy Team
Director of Smashworks Advocacy
Born and raised in Tbilisi, Georgia Ana Lejava is a New York City-based dancer, choreographer, teaching artist and social entrepreneur. She received classical ballet training at the Tbilisi V. Chabukiani State Ballet Art School and the Kirov Academy of Ballet under the mentorship of Oleg Vinogradov and Marat Daukayev. She was a member of Atlantic City Ballet, and has guest performed for the Brighton Ballet Theater, Staten Island Ballet, Alabama Youth Ballet Company, and Georgian National Dance Company. Ana has been teaching and choreographing for the School of Russian American Ballet in Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Manhattan for the past four years.
Ana has a bachelor's degree in Dance and Political Science from the Birmingham-Southern College and has received BSC’s Fine Arts Society Award for Excellence in Dance. She has graduated college with Magna Cum Laude, political science and leadership studies honors. Along with her dancing career, Ana has worked for the intergovernmental and human rights organizations, including the United Nations on the human rights, cultural and social issues. She served as a Young Ambassador of Georgia to the United States for the 2016 and 2017 years, working closely with the members of the Georgian diaspora, promoting cultural exchange amongst the youth. She is happy to be leading Smashworks Dance’s Community Action efforts.
Kiva Carman-Frank, Advocacy Intern
Kiva Carman-Frank is a student, organizer, and dancer from Milwaukee, WI. She is a freshman at Marymount Manhattan College, currently double-majoring in Dance Studies and International Studies. Kiva began dancing at age 13, and graduated from the pre-professional Academy of the Milwaukee Ballet School in May, 2018. She spent summers training in Balanchine technique at The Jillana School, and Vaganova technique at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, on a scholarship funded by the U.S. Department of State’s National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y). She has performed with the Milwaukee Ballet Company, The Milwaukee Ballet School & Academy, and the nonprofit organization The Lake Arts Project, including as a leading artist of the project’s 2018 New York summer residency program. At Marymount Manhattan College, she has studied O’Donnell modern dance technique under the direction of Nancy Lushington, and Nikolais modern dance technique under the direction of Alberto de Saz.
Kiva has been organizing with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) since she was 16, collaborating with and defending the rights of people in her community, specifically immigrants and asylees, black and BIPOC folks, people facing incarceration, and her LGBTQ+ family. Most recently she worked with the ACLU of Wisconsin to promote Smart Justice, a decarceration campaign, to students and teachers in the public school system. She is a Kohl scholar, a finalist for the Watson Fellowship, and the NSLI-Y Alumni Representative for the NYC/Northeast region. She speaks advanced Spanish and intermediate Russian, and is grateful to be able to work as a foreign-language nanny in New York City. When she’s not studying, working, or dancing, you can find Kiva protesting, organizing with other visionary young people, filing asylum applications with the New Sanctuary Coalition, and reading radical political thought.
Kiva believes the future will be shaped by collaboration between political leaders and passionate citizens, most importantly young people and artists, and she is committed to working toward this future in every aspect of her life. She is excited to expand this commitment into her dance practice, by shaping a performance agenda of women’s empowerment, imagining the possibilities of dance as an international social, cultural, and political force, and exploring the potential of somatic expression and liberation with Smashworks Dance.
Dunya Habash, Advocacy Associate
Dunya Habash completed an MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies at the University of Oxford in 2017 and is currently working as a researcher at the Woolf Institute in Cambridge, UK. She also worked as a research assistant for Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford. She holds undergraduate degrees in Music and History from Birmingham-Southern College, where she embarked on her first substantive project with Syrian refugees, a documentary on Jordan's Zaatari refugee camp, 'Zaatari: Jordan's Newest City'. That work led her to the programme in Refugee Studies at Oxford and a TEDx talk in Birmingham, AL. Dunya is excited to join the Smashworks family as a senior consultant on refugee and migration issues, which combines her passion for art and advocacy in relation to pressing social issues.
Consultant on Refugee and Migration Issues works directly with the Smashworks Advocacy team and advises it on its Smashing Borders’ campaign strategy and programming. She is responsible for monitoring our advocacy efforts by providing research on issues relating to the human rights of refugees and migrants, including legal representation, detention, U.S. asylum law and policy, international refugee protection and resettlement policies, as well as academic research and polling data, describing trends in public opinion towards migrants and refugees.