Today, October 1st, 2022, we officially launch NEAMA: Nonprofit Education and Advocacy for the Movement Arts, a division of EDIFY Movement, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Our new mission, NEAMA, cultivates holistic practices to enable movement artists to thrive and works to identify, address, and prevent abuse in our industry. NEAMA is centered on promoting the physical, psychological, and sexual safety of youth and adults in the movement arts. Our evidence-based education and advocacy emphasizes the importance of the whole community, while never forgetting the inherent value of the individual. NEAMA strives to support transformation toward safer and healthier practices.
The movement arts comprises artistic practices that center expression of the physical body through movement, which includes dance, gymnastics, cheerleading, drill team, and a variety of other movement genres. NEAMA welcomes working with dance studios, gymnastics facilities, conventions, competitions, primary, secondary, and post-secondary institutions, and more.
NEAMA is founded by an intergenerational team that mixes fresh perspectives with combined decades of experience. Leslie Scott Zanovitch, the Founder of Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (YPAD), in collaboration with NEAMA Co-Founder, dancer, and advocate Keanu Uchida, are thrilled to launch NEAMA alongside an eclectic and highly credentialed board of directors, teaching faculty, and allies. Our team is composed of veteran doctors, psychologists, social workers, educators, advocates, and experts with deep roots in the movement arts.
NEAMA’s introduction comes at a tumultuous and difficult time for movement artists as awareness grows around the continuum of abuse in our industries. These new circumstances present both challenges and opportunities that have been amplified by grassroots efforts, as well as mainstream reporting on traditionally silenced voices. NEAMA is providing a caring space for survivors while building a network of movement artists committed to compassionate accountability. We are also keenly invested in addressing root factors, such as sexualization and objectification, which are inextricably linked to mental wellness.
We are proud to provide personal and professional development opportunities through NEAMA's education department, led by our Education Coordinator, Dr. Christina Donaldson, and our CEWs (Community Education Workshops) Coordinator, Patricia Sylvester. Our offerings include:
- NEAMA Inside MOVES™ are customized interactive movement and discussion workshops that guide movement artists aged 5 to 17 years old through self-discovery exercises, and powerful community building. These workshops uncover and nurture what moves young artists on the inside (mind and spirit), to unleash confidence in their physical expression, and nurture a healthier and more loving relationship with self and others. We also provide optional movement classes.
- NEAMA Learn & Grow™️ are customized interactive discussion workshops that provide a safe, trauma-informed space for personal and professional development on topics related to physical, psychological, and sexual wellness and safety. These workshops are geared towards educators, organizations of all sizes, and parents and caregivers in the movement arts.
- NEAMA Community Education Workshops (CEWs) are FREE, live, online, interactive community experiences that address a wide range of topics affecting our community, led by our amazing teaching faculty. These are also available as e-courses. Check out our Calendar for a full list.
NEAMA-hosted, Darkness to Light Stewards of Children® training teaches how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. Trainings are led by Co-Founders Keanu Uchida and Leslie Scott Zanovitch, both Authorized Darkness to Light facilitators. CE/CEU credits may be available for professionals in the medical, education, legal and law enforcement professions in certain regions.
NEAMA Certificates of Completion are available for select events that qualify. Please visit our website’s education department page for more details.
Also launching today is our C.A.R.E.S. Program: Compassionate Advocates, providing Resources Education and Support. This program will offer free, one-on-one, confidential support to anyone in the movement arts over the age of 18 seeking guidance on physical, psychological, and sexual wellness and safety. Our program is coordinated by Kimberlee Gerstheimer (MFA in Dance, RSDE/RSME, MSW) and backed by our Compassionate Advocates (CAs): Dr. Christina Donaldson, Dr. Steven Karageanes, Sammi Rader, Svava Brooks, Patricia Sylvester, and Terri Cheshire.
Lastly, we are grateful for the support of our NEAMA Allies, individuals who invest in making the movement arts spaces happier and safer by standing with our mission.
We want to recognize the support of our launch sponsors. We are actively seeking to build relationships with more organizations that align with our mission. Please visit our sponsorship page!
NEAMA is excited to serve the movement arts community in a nonprofit capacity and we look forward to creating safer communities for all.