Naila Ansari & Marquis “Ten Thousand” Burton

Creating Space for Joy

The Space Between
431 Ellicott Street
April 3 - May 8, 2021
Open: Saturday, April 3 & 10, 12-4pm; Saturday, April 17 & 24 and May 1, 5-9pm; May 8, 12-9pm
Support provided by Just Buffalo Literary Center and the Civil Writes Project Support Award

Creating Space for Joy builds upon an improvisational practice deriving from African American experiences that connects the virtual and physical world to explore joy. Artists Naila Ansari and Marquis "Ten Thousand" Burton develop a multidisciplinary work in process that imagines the performance of joy. They combine artist interviews, community discussions, and multimedia art to create an interactive archivable documentation of joy.

A native of Buffalo, New York, Naila Ansari (she/her) is an award-winning choreographer, director, and performing artist.  She is a distinguished MFA graduate from the University at Buffalo in Dance and a Cum Laude undergraduate of Point Park's Conservatory of Performing Arts Program. An Assistant Professor in Theatre and Africana Studies at SUNY Buffalo State College, Ansari has merged artistry and scholarship to build and create works through community and collaborative processes that facilitate conversations on race and Black performance. Ansari serves on the Arts and Culture advisory committee for the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN) under MacArthur Genius Rami Nashashibi, Awards Director of New York State Dance Educators Association, working group for Interfaith Youth Core, and the Dance Director for Ujima Company, inc. selected by the late Lorna C. Hill.  Her most recent project and a forthcoming book, The Movement of Joy focuses on the performance of joy through the creative archiving of oral histories, movement histories, live-performance, and films of Black women stories.

Marquis “Ten Thousand” Burton is a(n) visual artist, decorate spoken word, writer and educator. He has partnered with Shea’s Performing Arts and other non-profit and educational institutions to teach young adults and children to not only discover their voices but also the power within to use it for over a decade. He has coached the Buffalo poetry teams at the National Poetry Slams to Top 10 finishes in the 2 out of 4 years. Marquis has also held the position of curator of poetry talent for the Music Is Art Festival for the past 6 years. Since 2016, he has partnered with artist Tara Sasiadeck to create visual art installations for events such as Music Is Art Festival. Since 2019, he has partnered with Naila Ansari to create immersive interactive dance and poetry experiences that explore joy in play, resistance, community and self.

woman and man sitting outside with plants, smiling.