influencing Community Connection

Taking chances and living intentionally. For Arts Mission Oak Cliff Member Avery-Jai, to design her life on her own terms, she traveled and worked internationally to gain insight and the courage to form her own dance company where she and others perform original works and collaborate with other professional dancers. Soon, she hopes to push the bounds of what we typically think of contemporary dance with a series of new developments.

In 2018, Avery-Jai came to Arts Mission to incubate her dance company, “Don’t Ask Why” among collaborators also trained in movement. Since then, she’s been envisioning new opportunities to extend her reach with collaborators in areas like sustainable housing, design and lifestyle elements – a very personal vision that started to take shape during her time living in Europe and training with famed dance troupe Kibbutz Contemporary Dance.

“While your dance company takes off, what are you dreaming of manifesting next?”

Building on my experiences within the Arts Mission and from my time living in Israel, I want to develop an inspired new kind of "neighborhood" in the Dallas area – a place for participating in a kind of co-mingled living and working community with strong creative roots, inspired by Israeli kibbutzim.

“Is your vision for this place a social experiment with spiritual roots or something else?”

Think of it as each person, living in their own quarters. It’s a neighborhood designed with ample space and latitude for living, working and nurturing personal art while also shaping the community organically.

“What made the kibbutz experience so compelling for you as an artist?”

The kibbutz was a home base where artists never had to transition from “creative self” back to "normal". It’s a type of freedom for creative exploration among like minded people that I hope to realize again living in DFW. My dream is to develop a place where all types of artists, or people who desire to live differently, can cultivate a lifestyle that feeds them while living an integrated life where your art is not playing second fiddle.  

Arts Mission Oak Cliff Member Avery-Jai Andrews is a graduate of Dallas’ own Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and holds a bachelor’s degree in dance performance from New York University. Follow her dance company “Don’t Ask Why” on social media or find her on Instagram.

Arts Mission Oak Cliff Member and Choreographer Avery-Jai Andrews. Photo credit: micah thornton

Arts Mission Oak Cliff Member and Choreographer Avery-Jai Andrews. Photo credit: micah thornton

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