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Skirball Cultural Center

Ancestors' Voices: A Community Workshop

Public Programs | Performance

Five people of different ages, ethnicities, and genders dancing together in an exercise studio

Courtesy of Donna Sternberg & Dancers

This participatory workshop led by Donna Sternberg & Dancers introduces simple body exercises to help heal ancestral trauma and understand how it manifests in our bodies.

This is a past program

This program took place on
Sunday, February 25, 2024

About the Program

This is a participatory community workshop where we examine inherited ancestral trauma and how it manifests in our bodies through guided movement exercises, writing, drawing, and sharing. According to Duke University, intergenerational trauma affects individuals mentally, emotionally, and physically. Tactics historically necessary for survival may in the present adversely affect one’s sense of self-worth, agency, connection, and belonging as well as mental health and neurological functioning. In times of turbulence, like today’s rise of antisemitism, the external environment may trigger genes to function in different ways. It can be life-changing to examine and recognize the effects of generational trauma and to be empowered to change or override what is no longer beneficial.

The body, not the thinking brain, is where we experience most of our trauma and where we process most of what happens to us. It is also where we do most of our healing, including our emotional and psychological healing. The body exercises in the workshop, beginning with simples ones such as deep and slow breathing, can easily be done outside the workshops and can be utilized in everyday life. The workshop will provide an opportunity for healing and uplifting, to join in community to imagine a world that we would like to create.

No prior movement experience necessary. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes that you can move in.

About Donna Sternberg

Donna Sternberg has professionally premiered over ninety works since 1975 throughout the United States, Europe, Canada, and Mexico; frequently collaborating with artists of other disciplines including composers, visual artists, poets, actors, and digital media as well as scientists. After dancing in the companies of Donald Byrd, Mary Jane Eisenberg, Yen Lu Wong, and Dance/LA, she founded Donna Sternberg & Dancers, a contemporary dance company based in Santa Monica, CA, in 1985. Her choreography has been critically acclaimed for its “exceptional ability to communicate through pure movement” (Los Angeles Times). She has choreographed nine full-evening works, most have been inspired by science. Ms. Sternberg has been commissioned to create works for the California Science Center, SIGGRAPH, Dance Moving Forward Festival, California Choreographer’s Festival, Catlin Gabel School in Oregon, Valley College, and the Alleluia Dance Theatre. 

Mother holding young daughter dancing and smiling outside during a festival

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