Creative Stipends


usd logo

Raha Behnam Virtual Performance of "Void and Vignettes"
Saturday October 17, 2020 @ 7P
Zoom RSVP: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Benham Banner

RAHA BEHNAM is Union Street Dance’s 2020 Mertz Gilmore Late Stage Creative Stipend artist. Creating Void in Vignettes in collaboration with NAVA BEHNAM.  􏰁Void in Vignettesis a culmination of two years of performance research into loss, longing and absence.  Behnam continues to negotiate with these themes, this time in collaboration with fellow artist and her sister, Nava Behnam. (above banner created by Raha Behnam).

"As a yearning for language and homeland continues to haunt the background of our lives, we consider what it has taken to survive. We weave a conversation through digital space, responding to each other’s visual, verbal and embodied statements, exploring how familiar life circumstances have led to vastly divergent ways of being and existing in our adoptive worlds." - Raha Behnam

Void in Vignettes will exist as a digital webpage, and the performance will be a guided journey through images, videos, writing and “live” movement through the now-familiar interface of Zoom.

RAHA BEHNAM is a Brooklyn-based choreographer, performer, and contemporary performance-maker. In describing her multi-national identity, and approach to performance, she says: Conceived and born almost a decade after the Iranian revolution, my life has arisen out of the dust of destruction, turmoil, death, hope, and the sweat of my people. I make performance as a means of creating new cultural forms and possibilities in the face of loss, breakage, assimilation and forgetting. I am concerned with systems and practices for collective healing and engaged in liberation work through community-based counseling.

NAVA BEHNAM is an interdisciplinary artist, performer and educator who lives in New Brunswick, NJ. Originally from Tehran, Iran, she migrated to North America when she was five years old. The devastating impacts of cultural assimilation and erasure in her own life have led her to embrace critical and culturally relevant pedagogy as essential for valuing and empowering all students’ voices and identities. Currently she is pursuing a Masters of Dance Education at Rutgers University and will become certified to teach dance in public schools. Nava’s own creative practice spans multiple disciplines; she writes, paints, composes, dances and choreographs. She also engages in liberation work through community-based counseling. ///

ABOUT THE AWARD: Eva Dean Dance has a long history granting Brooklyn dance artists an opportunity to develop and present new work at our home studio, Union Street Dance.  Our Union Street Dance Artist in Residence programing is made possible by the Mertz Gilmore Foundation Late Stage Creative Stipend. This RFP is Mertz Gilmore Foundation’s effort to address the insufficiency of resources available to dance-makers in the later stages of their development process. The award comes with monetary support for the project, a space grant at Union Street Dance to rehearse and develop the work, and a public work-in-progress showing at Union Street Dance. 


Photo by Jonathan Hsu Laura Nicoll at Bates Dance Festival 2018myeyespromoshot1_1.jpg



Laura K. Nicoll (2019)
Developing Private Dancer

Rakia Seaborn (2018)
Developing A Ruin

Parul Shah (2017)
Developing Enduring Silence 

Christina Noel & the Creature (2015)
Developing Ash & Honey

Jamal Jackson (2014)
Developing The People Vs

Satoshi Haga and Rie Fukuzawa aka binbinFactory (2013)
Developing Untitled

Francine Ott (2012)
Developing House of Morning 

     ***This program is funded by the Mertz Gilmore Foundation 



You are here: Home Artist Opportunities Creative Stipends