The company advocates for environmental sustainability and social justice through an artistic lens. NMDP strives to enliven the passion surrounding important subject matter since 2008. Rooted in cause-driven work, NMDP engages the community in many ways throughout the year including all ages, abilities, and backgrounds with special events, residencies, and programming. Incorporating the use of a unique gestural vocabulary, live text, originally composed music, projected media, and theatrical movement driven by social justice creates an invigorating experience for those who witness and participate in the company’s work. In accordance with this deep meaning, Artistic Director Nicole Mahncke makes every effort to inspire progressive solutions to the questions that her work suggests through cultural and community engagement. With a company consisting of performers and teaching artists, the company hosts educational residencies and professional development throughout the year. With teaching artists in many schools, studios and residencies throughout New Jersey, NMDP most notably partnered with Arts Horizons in 2018 for a year of cultural dance residencies taught throughout senior homes in NJ with NMDP teaching artists. The company has performed at charitable events, galleries, group homes, and site-specific venues. Nikki Manx Dance Project is a firm believer that the arts can connect the thread of society, and strengthen the voice of the people. When we see things that cannot be expressed in words, or through moving bodies in dance, we are taken to a new and inspiring place for change. The mission of Nikki Manx Dance Project is to increase artistic experiences that incorporate social change.
Nikki Manx Dance Project has produced seven evening-length productions and full bodies of work; “The Big Picture,” “Call to Action,” “We the People,” “Revolution: Earth,” “Revitalization: Earth,” “The Harvest,” and “ROOTS: A 10 Year Anniversary Celebration.” Notable social justice work includes Nicole’s solo, Same Love that premiered in 2013 after NJ adopted the marriage equality act, and was repeated many times for LGBTQ groups, including fundraisers for the Pulse nightclub shootings. The first repertory piece BigMan: Progressive Transformation, created in 2007 as a response to the financial crisis. Another audience favorite, No One Should Go Hungry, premiered in 2013 in support for Bergen County’s goal to end homelessness in the state, and was also performed in June with both original company members, new company members, and the addition of LIVE music by Danielle Sheri and Tom Clancey.
The company’s repertory and residencies are broken into the categories of “Dances of Change” and “Dances of the Earth.” Included in the innovative repertory of almost 50 dances, “Dances of Change” are taught and performed regularly, and cover topics concerning animal rights, commercialism, gender identity, hope, cultural diversity, military occupation, civil rights, world peace, gender equality, recovery, bullying, and the legacy of Nelson Mandela. “Dances of the Earth” include repertory involving original scores by Englewinds Eco Ensemble and digital scores created by composer, STATiC, that reflect issues including pollution, climate change, water conservation, air quality, and renewable energy. This innovative work is created with feedback and mentorship from the Bergen Dancemakers, a collective of some of NJ’s most reputable choreographers, and ultimately enables our audience to question aspects brought to the forefront by thought-provoking concepts that spread awareness.
An example of this is our charitable flashmob group, which includes non-dancers of all ages in the community, and supports multiple causes annually. Notable flashmobs include a Voter Registration flashmob and our annual Thriller flashmob, which supports the foster children at the Holley Center in Hackensack, NJ by providing them with both costumes from our annual drive and complimentary tickets to NMDP performances throughout the year.