Conversations Without Walls: iele paloumpis and Alice Sheppard – Danspace Project
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Conversations Without Walls: iele paloumpis and Alice Sheppard

iele has short brown curls and wears rectangular framed glasses, they are in a garden and are holding an orange flower in front of their nose with a squinting grin. Alice is a light-skinned, multi-racial Black woman with blonde, copper, and red striped curly hair and gazes towards the camera. She wears a black shirt; her face rests in the palm of her face, her elbow sits on her thigh, and a gold necklace gleams at her neck.
iele paloumpis (photo by Adrien Weibgen); Alice Sheppard (photo by Beverlie Lord)



This conversation will take place online. A link to view the conversation will be sent to registrants via email 30 minutes prior to the stream. 

In Fall 2020, Danspace Project invited six Artist Research Fellows, devynn emory, Larissa Velez-Jackson, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, iele paloumpis, Angie Pittman, and Alice Sheppard to gather virtually with Danspace’s curatorial team. They responded to Danspace’s digital programming, the shifting landscape of dance, making and presenting, pedagogy, and programming. These sprawling and intimate conversations led to critical reflection, dreaming, and deep connection. Each of the Artist Research Fellows will return in our Winter 2021 digital Conversations Without Walls (CWW) series.

In this CWW, dance artist and choreographer, iele paloumpis, and choreographer and founder & artistic lead of Kinetic Light, Alice Sheppard, find ways to connect virtually, across time zones, for a verbal and embodied exchange. These two artists are new friends who share a mutual curiosity and affinity for each other’s work. In this conversation, facilitated by Danspace’s Associate Curator, Public Engagement, Seta Morton, Sheppard and paloumpis plan to take a figurative walk together. Where will they go? They might tread a path toward a deeper sharing of both their divergent dance-making practices and journeys and also along their common threads in which disability aesthetics are fundamental, disabled audiences are centered, and accessibility practices are generative and inextricable from the process of making dance for audiences.

The CWW digital series are pre-recorded and will be streamed online and archived on Danspace Project’s online Journal at

More about the Conversations Without Walls series

Accessibility: this program will be captioned. Other facilities TBD.

iele paloumpis is a dance artist, herbalist, astrologer and end of life doula living in Canarsie/Munsee territory in Lenapehoking. As one of only a handful of visually impaired choreographers creating contemporary dance in NYC, iele is conducting vital research into effective methods of providing quality audio description for dance – especially as it relates to improvised movement. they have a particular interest in making dances that offer multiple points of access and participation – by enlivening all the senses and allowing ample room for collective consensual choice-making between collaborators and audiences during performance, but also within the rehearsal process itself. All of iele’s work is rooted in kinesthetic awareness, trauma-informed griefwork, and ancestral re-membrance practices that reflect fragmented lineages across queer, trans and crip aural histories, alongside their Greek, Anatolian and Irish-American diasporic bloodlines.

iele comes from a long line of mystics, and is grateful to have studied with many teachers who have influenced their path. Under the direction of Donna Faye Burchfield and Jeffery Bullock, iele received a BA in Dance from Hollins University in 2006. As an end of life doula, they have received certifications from Valley Hospice, Mount Sinai’s Palliative Care Institute, and Deanna Flores Cochran’s Accompanying the Dying program between 2014-16. iele has practiced Tarot since 1995, most recently with the mentorship of Eva Yaa Asantewaa. In summer 2014, iele studied herbology with Rosemary Gladstar, and more recently iele has deepened their connection to ancestral plant medicine across the Mediterranean & SWANA regions with guidance from Layla K. Feghali & SWANA Ancestral. Following in the footsteps of their Anatolian ancestors, iele is mostly a self-taught astrologer, though studying the teachings of Demetra George on Traditional Astrology has been particularly impactful. iele will always be a student of the more-than-human world, and is in endless gratitude to the forests, mountains, rivers, stars and animal-kin who offer so much wisdom.

As a disabled, trans, queer survivor from a working class background, iele empathizes across multiple axes of oppression and brings this awareness to their work as an artist, educator, doula and intuitive healer. 


Alice Sheppard, A USA Artist, Creative Capital grantee and Bessie Award winner, Alice trained with Kitty Lunn and Infinity Dance Theater. She then became a core company member with AXIS Dance Company. Alice creates movement that challenges conventional understandings of disabled and dancing bodies.  Engaging with disability arts, culture and history, Alice’s commissioned work attends to the complex intersections of disability, gender, and race. Alice was a 2018 AXIS Dance Company Choreo-Lab Participant made possible with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  Her choreography has been commissioned by producers from KQED and UCLA as well as physically integrated companies such as CRIPSiE, Full Radius Dance, and MOMENTA Dance Company.

Alice is the founder and artistic lead for Kinetic Light, a project based ensemble, working at the intersections of disability, dance, design, identity, and technology to create transformative art and advance the intersectional disability arts movement.

Her writing has appeared in the New York Times and such journals as Catalyst and Movement Research and Performance Journal.

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