Meet the artist & learn about her experience
Currently and for the last 16 years, Susan Slotnick has gone behind the walls at The Woodbourne Correctional facility and DFY (division for youth prison) every Friday and Sunday to bring the joy of modern dance to incarcerated men and boys under the auspices of RTA Rehabilitation through the Arts.
For the past 40 years The Figures-In-Flight Dance School was a dying breed among dance schools, until Susan retired the School in 2015. Susan never wanted to own a building. Without the economic pressure of ownership, she could teach in accordance with her humanistic values; no glitz costumes, no competitions, and everyone no matter their size, shape or finances was welcome. Her choreography dealt with serious themes geared to inspire audiences and students toward social justice activism. Students also studied a philosophy based on mindfulness and practicing kindness.
In 1995, the Company attained professional status, launching a paid tour of New York State schools with a dance drama aimed to prevent bullying.
This endeavor began a life, a long desire to use dance to foster social justice.
But it is her work with male prisoners teaching philosophy and modern dance that she claims is the apex of her long career. She has volunteered for 15 years in boy's and men’s prisons as well as with AIDS and cancer survivors, the homeless, and the indigenous poor of the Caribbean, All have been the recipient of her love, talent and attention
Feature articles about her have appeared in Dance, Dance Teacher, and Dance Studio magazines. In 2014 she recieved the "Caring Heart Award" from Dance Studio magazine for her work with incarcerated populations. In 2010 Susan was featured in the Huffington Post as the "Greatest Woman of The Day" in celebration of Women's History Month. Two radio documentaries have aired about her humanitarian work with prisoners.
In addition to her work in dance, Slotnick continues her career as a painter. For ten years her painting, Compassionate Baby was on display in the Sloan-Kettering Hospital’s Pediatric Oncology Waiting Room. Currently, Susan Slotnick is a member of Roost Art Gallery where she has exhibited in a one-woman show.
Slotnick is also a writer. Since 1988 to the present, she has been a featured columnist for the New York State newspaper The New Paltz Times. A documentary profile about her entitled “The Game Changer,” has been accepted at 15 film festivals including the prestigious Cannes Film fFestival. In 2014 “The Game Changer” won first prize for best documentary short at The Harlem Film Festival and The Cannes Film Festival (The American Pavillion). She is currently writing a memoir. This year 2016 she received the prestigious Justice Through the arts and journalism award from the NYSACDL New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers