By Baha Awadallah
Published: February 26, 2009
Creating an organization may seem like a challenging thing to do, especially for a college student, but for Joanna Poz-Molesky, the idea came easily. Poz-Molesky is an Alvin Ailey/Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) BFA junior with minors in theology and Latin-American Studies. Poz-Molesky is the creator of JUNTOS, an organization dedicated to combining the arts with community outreach. JUNTOS, meaning “together” in Spanish, is currently made up of dancers from colleges around New York City. For two weeks this summer, 15 students from Fordham, the Juilliard School and State University of New York, Purchase will travel to Mexico to dance and complete outreach projects in Mexican communities. Here, Poz-Molesky talks about what inspired her to create JUNTOS, what she hopes the audience will get out of it and how Fordham students can support it.
The observer: What made you decide to create JUNTOS?
Joanna Poz-Molesky: It’s a whole chain of things. I’ve done stuff like this in my past, and it’s something I needed to do and this just came. When I was in Mexico last spring break, I had a dream that I was going to do something like this, and that was at the beginning of my trip; as I was there, a lot of people came up and asked me when I was coming back and when I was dancing there again, because I’d been there before with my first company, En Pointe.
O: How are the performers chosen?
J P-M: For the New York component, any performing artist can participate in JUNTOS. I chose performers for the Mexico trip by application, which included leadership experiences, how they respond to diversity and leadership projects they might want to be involved in.
O: Why did you choose to go to Mexico?
J P-M: I took dancers to Mexico before, so I have contacts there. I also know it’s a safer area than other places for a first time trip like this, and audiences there have a positive response to art right now; so it’s a good place to jump in and experience these things.
o:What do you want the audience and even the dancers to learn from this show?
J P-M: Something new, something different. I want the dancers to understand that art is more than just performing on stage for other people and that it has an effect on others, whether they’re participating or watching. There’s something profound about the dance as a whole that can change that moment in time and hopefully have an effect on the future. In terms of the audience, I guess I kind of covered it. The audience includes people we may be teaching, like kids in the orphanage. I hope the dancers can share their gifts with the audience—a sense of hope while we’re there, a sense of hope no matter what you’re feeling. I think art can lift your spirits.
o: How do you plan to promote JUNTOS?
J P-M: Posters, fliers, word of mouth, writing to people and events. We have postcards now, too.
o: How do you think your experience as a dancer will help you as director of this project?
J P-M: I don’t think it’s my experience as a dancer that is helping me direct this project. I think it’s my experience as a dancer that is encouraging me. Dance is how I express myself and how I share what I’m feeling, and I think if I weren’t a dancer, I would do a project like this in a very different way.
0: Do you think this is a good way for dance majors to gain experience?
J P-M: I think it’s a good way for everyone to gain experience. There are lots of people involved that aren’t dance majors—there are people in the theatre department, there are people that are political science majors. When a project like this arises and your friends are involved, lots of times you want to jump in and help as much as you can, and I think it’s a great way for people to gain different kinds of experiences. I also think it gives others an opportunity to see how much you can actually be involved in the community—especially with dancers; a lot of times they don’t think you can combine community outreach and dance, but in reality there are so many ways.