Kristina Bermudez brings dancing to the public, from Brownsville

It was 79 degrees on a recent Thursday afternoon in downtown Brooklyn, and Kristina Bermudez is on a mission.

Passing from bench to bench in the Metrotech commons, the choreographer and director asks park visitors who take shelter under the trees what they would like to see in her next dance.

She won a residency with the Downtown Brooklyn Rehearsal Initiative to perform and co-create there. But it’s hot and people are shy.

Kristina Bermudez of Project.KB performs an open rehearsal at Metrotech commons as part of a residency for the Downtown Brooklyn Rehearsal Initiative. Photo: Jessy Edwards for BK Reader.

She asks a young man, in Spanish, if he has any ideas. She wants to crowdsourcing an object, a feeling, and an element to turn into dance moves – and she isn’t deterred by the mid-afternoon heat and apathy.

It is this friendly determination that Bermudez – a Brownsville owner – hopes to bring to her new nonprofit, Project.KB.

His mission statement? Use “radical methods of public participation” to be inclusive, accessible and sustainable while creating innovative and collaborative work.

“I’m trying to find a sustainable way to be an artist and make art accessible at the same time,” she said.

Kristina Bermudez of Project.KB performs an open rehearsal at Metrotech commons as part of a residency for the Downtown Brooklyn Rehearsal Initiative. Photo: Jessy Edwards for BK Reader.

Bermudez launched Project.KB – a nonprofit production organization – in October of last year. With this project, she hopes to bring free movement, meditation, dance and creativity to her neighborhood of Brownsville, East New York and more widely to Brooklyn.

The idea germinated during the pandemic, after Bermudez was forced to return from European hearings to New York, due to the pandemic.

Kristina Bermudez of Project.KB performs an open rehearsal at Metrotech commons as part of a residency for the Downtown Brooklyn Rehearsal Initiative. Photo: Jessy Edwards for BK Reader.

She went upstate with her family to wait, and suddenly found herself with a lot of free time. As a trained dancer, she started to think about how to make the professional life of dancers more sustainable and started to work with an entrepreneurial spirit.

“My mom immigrated from Ecuador and my dad is Nuyorican,” she said, adding that while she attended art school, she often thought about the work she could do to pay the bills that allowed her to do what she loved. .

“I still had my head down: how can I make a living? How can dancers earn a living? That was the question.

After her aunt gave her a t-shirt making machine for Christmas, she started making t-shirts with images from one of her immersive performances. She went to the park to sell.

“I was like, I have to start making an income. I immediately went to the parks and started talking to people and telling them, “I’m a choreographer, I make and design clothes.”

Shortly after, Bermudez launched his non-profit organization. She also moved into a house she bought with her parents in Brownsville, got to know her neighbors and asked the community how they want to interact with dancing.

Kristina Bermudez of Project.KB performs an open rehearsal at Metrotech commons as part of a residency for the Downtown Brooklyn Rehearsal Initiative. Photo: Jessy Edwards for BK Reader.

With Project.KB, she hopes to bring local impact to Brownsville and Eastern New York. It begins with a free movement and meditation session at Osborne Playground in Brownsville on July 18.

There, she hopes to engage her neighbors in the same way she tries to engage park visitors having lunch on a hot Thursday – with her pure enthusiasm. Bermudez has already delivered the sessions virtually on Fridays through Clubhouse.

“We use everyday ideas to explore ways to find movement,” she said. “One exercise I do is ask the first five things you do when you wake up?” Then we develop five movements and turn them into choreography.

Kristina Bermudez of Project.KB performs an open rehearsal at Metrotech commons as part of a residency for the Downtown Brooklyn Rehearsal Initiative. Photo: Jessy Edwards for BK Reader.

While Bermudez recognizes the difficulties of being new to a community, she said she tries to connect with as many people as possible and is currently looking for partners to bring more dancing to Brownsville.

During this time, she also worked as a director on the Instagram series. In the dressing room, which features weekly chat episodes with various New York City creatives, which then air on BRIC TV.

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About Bernice D. Brewer

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