4th Annual Smashworks Social

A huge thank you to our supporters and donors who made our 4th Annual Smashworks Social a success! We passed our fundraising goal, and had a blast sharing our mission with you. With well over thirty friends in attendance, this was our largest “intimate” event yet! All donations will directly fund dancers’ salaries and our new Smashworks Advocacy Initiative. Guests enjoyed rooftop views, wine and hors d’oeuvres, a #movethevote Photo Booth with take home polaroids, and an intimate performance tour featuring excerpts from “Refusing to be disposed,” McQueen’s Master’s Thesis solo with original projection and paint.

THANK YOU!

Stephanie Jauch

Lily Hann

Ana Sulakvelidze

Ekaterina Nezhelskaya

Alexandra Weiner

Lisa Malanga

Anna Zekan

Alexa Davila

Annie Buttarazzi

Taseen Ferdous

Junting Wei

Ia Merkviladze

Justin Dollinger

Amanda Dollinger

Kendra Williams

Myke Thayer

Medea Asatiani

Danielle Albertina

Jet Roberts

Jeffrey King

Stephanie Yoshida

John Acosta

Dennis Slater

Michael Espiritu

Ziyao Yu

Céalagh Fitzpatrick

Julie Hendrickson

Rachel Schatz

Mario Cacciola

Tommy Kirkland

George Barchini

Kurt Gosselin

Lidewei Verbelen

Hannah Naomi


We have big plans as we move forward with Smashing Borders, our first campaign dedicated to empowering refugee and immigrant youth through accessible dance education and performance.

With your help, we can make this happen! 

If you're interested in continuing your support of the arts and our mission, please consider a recurring donation (even just $10 a month!). Your support will help us launch our education outreach program, and allow us to continue creating innovative and thought-provoking work. You can set up a recurring donation every month through our Fractured Atlas page - and all donations are tax-deductible:

https://www.fracturedatlas.org/site/FiscalSponsorship/profile?id=14639

Any amount makes a difference!

Thank you for your support! 

Warmly,

Ashley and Ana

A Letter from Ana Lejava, Director of Smashworks Advocacy

I am an immigrant dancer from Georgia, a product of post-soviet nationalism, and abstract realism; I am the generation born after the fall of a Berlin wall and one that idealized the American sense of freedom, diversity,  individualism, and activism. I grew up doing homework on candlelight, training in the frozen studios with the broken windows and no heating. I saw poverty and struggle since early age, and lived through two wars and never, but despite the challenges growing up, dance gave me the conviction and strength to look beyond the upsetting realities, imagine the better world and to dream about change. Decade ago dance brought me to the States. Without any knowledge of English language,, I was able to assimilate with American culture and make a new home for myself through the powerful and universal language of dance. It has become my passion to use dance as a vehicle for individual transformation and positive change in the society, especially addressing such social justice and human rights issues like immigration, a topic directly impacting mine and my friends’ lives. For the past two years, I have been trying to find the outlets and resources to actualize my social entrepreneurship pursuits, building a network of like-minded artists. It was meant to be that exactly at this moment in life, I was reconnected with my college classmate and a friend, artistic director and founder of Smashwork’s Dance Collective  Ashley McQueen. After sharing our ideas and objectives, we found mutual vision and the purpose. We believe that Dance as an art, carries more responsibility and weight than just a form of entertainment or artistic pursuit, and it our calling to be the social entrepreneurs, driving change with specific causes using our skill set. I could not have wished for better timing for this opportunity to present itself, and I can't think of a better person and the team to work work on this cause.

Introducing: SMASHWORKS ADVOCACY

A letter from Artistic Director and Founder Ashley McQueen:

Growing up in Alabama, I was always a passionate artist fueled by the injustices of the government system. Getting into heated debates at the lunch table in fourth grade, I advocated for a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body, and equal rights for the LGBT community.

Since moving to New York, I have utilized Smashworks Dance as my creative outlet, and a platform to promote dialogue about complicated issues.

Over the past two years, I tried organizing events and collaborating with other groups: our first Smashworks Film Festival was a curated dance film showing, a free opportunity for artists to have their work screened and promoted, that donated all profits to Planned Parenthood, and our performance of “For Which It Stands” took donations for Dancers Responding to AIDs. I desired to initiate even more direct community outreach, but didn’t have the resources or even know where to start.

Since finishing my MFA in Dance through Hollins University, I began questioning my greater purpose and wondering how I can create political work that actually makes change outside the theater. How can I integrate political action and artistic expression? How can we as artists truly give back to the community?

I first met Ana almost five years ago during our time at Birmingham-Southern College. We serendipitously reunited last year when she attended our political-satire performance “For Which It Stands.” When we finally sat down and reconnected, our mutual desire for political action and arts advocacy was overwhelming, and three weeks later the Smashworks Advocacy Initiative was founded. In hearing Ana’s experiences, I knew that our first campaign must focus on shifting U.S. immigration policies and empowering those who struggle within this system. 

Smashworks is a diverse company of movers, featuring women from Mexico, Italy, France, Canada, Georgia, and the U.S. We are proud to represent a variety of backgrounds and heritages. I am proud to work alongside such strong and passionate artists, and look forward to expanding this advocacy branch to include campaigns that focus on other pressing topics, such as gender equality, women’s healthcare, LGBT rights, Black Lives Matter, and more.