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Move Together ~ Build Back Better (Part 1)

April 6, 2023

Move Together ~ Build Back Better (Part 1)

Gabriela Novellino

“Last year, the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery unified many of our communities and galvanized a rallying cry for justice. In the past year and a half, we have been confronted with some uncomfortable truths, and many of us have had to do some deep soul searching. Last summer, in response to the need of this community, Move Together hosted a panel to amplify black voices, teachers, academics, musicians, dancers and scene leaders. As we are aware, we have two viruses going on in the United States, and we only have a vaccine for one of them. We are here to take some leadership and ease in the transition back for all of us into personal spaces.” – Shaheed Qaasim


iLindy is committed to expanding our learning about the black community. One way we are doing that is by attending virtual events like Build Back Better, hosted by MoveTogether. The aim of the event is to boost black voices from the Lindy Hop community. We’ve summed up some of the key takeaways that made the most impact on us.

We encourage you to listen to the full video for yourself, click the image below to watch it on YouTube.

13:05 – Laurel Ryan introduces all panelists. She is a nationally recognized swing dance instructor, MC, and event organizer. An educator by trade and training, she’s passionate about decolonizing the learning process and reframing practice and progress. Her lifetime of experience with jazz music helps her connect her students to vernacular Black American dances – like Lindy Hop!


18:27 – Dr. Andaiye Qaasim – received her PhD in the Anthropology of Music from the University of Pennsylvania- she’s an educator and DEI consultant. She founded Dr. Q Education Consulting, where she continues her work as a diversity, equity, and inclusion advocate.

Shared brilliance: “Access is not equity. […] Experiential access as well as material access is what will lead to transformative change, and that is what Equity is.”


24:47 – Dr. Nicholas Centino – earned his PhD in Chicana and Chicano Studies from UC Santa Barbara. His work focuses on the cultural practices of BIPOC communities as strategies of survival and negotiation. He’s the secretary of the Pacific Swing Dance Foundation (PSDF). 

Shared brilliance: “If we don’t take efforts to recruit and retain Black, Indiginous and BIPOC dancers seriously, there won’t be a Lindy Hop scene 50 years from now.”

Want more from him? Check out his book, Razabilly Transforming Sights, Sounds, and History in the Los Angeles Latina/o Rockabilly Scene By Nicholas F. Centino


30:30 – Laurel Ryan spoke about the Tulsa Race Massacre and shared a Timeline of Events that Led up to the 2020 “Fed-Up”-rising.

Shared brilliance: “In the last 25 years, there has been an effort to call it by its proper name: a Massacre. It was known for a long time as a Race Riot. […] The term “riot” was used so that insurance companies wouldn’t have to pay up, because it implied the participation of Black people in the destruction of their own property as opposed to attempting defense and being slaughtered.”


“We at #MoveTogether are aware that many dancers have justifiable fears and concerns as the dance scene begins to reopen. We have all had safety concerns around COVID-19 in the past year but, there is a fear that the issues around diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion will be overlooked.

We are at an opportune moment in our dance scene. We have a chance to not just restart, but to rebuild from the ground up. A chance to change the systemic issues that plague our scene. 

Move Together is partnering with the Black Lindy Hoppers Fund for the Build Back Better event!

🔸 Love what you’re hearing? Help support and Donate!



Donations will go towards:

  • The Black Lindy Hoppers Fund: “Through legacy building exchanges, mentorship facilitation and development, generative residencies, impact focused community building and stewardship we aim to galvanize the cultural core of Lindy Hop and recenter the gaze and presence of the African and African diasporic community towards this phenomenal cultural artifact.”
  • Paying BLHF’s amazing panelists for their knowledge and time as well as production costs, Tena Morales-Armstrong and Marie N’diaye.
  • BLHF initiatives such as the Youth Program and Legacy LH History Continuum.


Interested in the Move Together – DEI Toolkit? Check out their resources here!”

Gabriela Novellino

Gabs started dancing in 1995 at four years old and has never stopped. While spending a year abroad in Leeds, UK in 2012, she discovered the dances of the Jazz Age, fell hopelessly in love, and decided to dedicate her life to this passion. She acts as a dancer, teacher, choreographer, researcher, dj and event organizer primarily in Brazil, Chile, and other South American scenes. She specializes mainly in Lindy Hop, Authentic Jazz, 1920s’ Charleston and Collegiate Shag. During the pandemic, Gabs has reinvented herself in order to bring people together through dance in an online format, by hosting online classes, sharing interesting information on social media and organizing big events, such as América Latina Swings. She is also a huge history geek and loves to dig deeper into the roots of Jazz music and dance. As a guest in the culture, she honors the opportunity to share the legacy and culture of Black American artists who created this art form.
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