Open Call: Kayla Hamilton

AUG 15 – 17
An immersive dance performance honoring lineages of Black disabled imagination


Admission to Open Call events is free with a ticket reservation.

For sold out performances, an in-person wait list will be available 15 minutes before the show begins.

Learn more about accessibility for this production.

About this commission

In How to Bend Down/How to Pick It Up, Kayla Hamilton explores lineages of Black disabled imagination and alternative world-building through an immersive, community-specific, multidisciplinary dance performance.

The performance moves through three historical spaces—the cotton field, the Black church, and the freakshow/circus—where disability was hidden, deemed unproductive, reduced to spectacle, or asked to be prayed away. How to Bend Down/How to Pick It Up offers an archival exploration of these spaces and a reclaiming of agency, recentering the parts of the self that were discarded or suppressed in those settings while carrying forward the ancestral task of envisioning a future where every-body is free.

The production makes use of multiple audio descriptors and a performance structure that can reconfigure every night based on the performers’ changing needs.

Creative Team

This is a headshot of Kayla Hamilton, who is a dark brown-skinned Black woman. She is posing in front of a blurred brick wall. She is wearing a long sleeve black & white striped shirt. She has light makeup and her gaze is towards us. Her black & golden highlighted dreads are down.] Photo by: Travis Magee
Photo: Travis Magee.
Kayla Hamilton
This is a headshot of Joselia Rebekah Hughes, who is an Afro-Caribbean-descended Black woman. She is posing in bright sunlight from a window in front of a wall with art hanging on it. She leans slightly forward, holding her hands flat together beneath her chin, with her gaze looking down at us. She wears glasses, a white sleeveless t-shirt, and a red scarf that is tied above her forehead.
Courtesy Joselia Rebekah Hughes.
Joselia Rebekah Hughes
Kayla Hamilton

Kayla Hamilton (she/her) is a Texas-born, Bronx-based performance maker, dancer, educator, and consultant. Hamilton is currently a Jerome Hill and Pina Bausch Fellow and a NEFA National Dance Production Project Grant recipient. Her past shows have been presented at Gibney, Performance Space New York, New York Live Arts, and Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance.

Hamilton codeveloped Crip Movement Lab with collaborator Elisabeth Motley—a pedagogical framework centering cross-disability movement practices for every-body, which they have taught in multiple dance centers and universities. She danced with the Bessie Award–winning collective skeleton architecture, and for Maria Bauman, Sydnie L. Mosley, and Gesel Mason.

Hamilton has developed/designed access-centered programming for the Mellon Foundation, Movement Research, and DanceNYC. She recently founded Circle O, a cultural organization uplifting BIPOC disabled creatives. In 2024 – 25 she will go on a national tour with both How to Bend Down/How to Pick It Up and Crip Movement Lab.

Joselia Rebekah Hughes
Writer, Researcher, and Creative Consultant
Joselia Rebekah Hughes is working-poor, Afro-Caribbean-descended writer, editor, access provider, and interdisciplinary teaching artist surviving in the Bronx. Her practice resides in lineages of Black and debilitated aesthetics and linguistics. Hughes’s poetry has been nominated for Best of Net and published in or by Apogee Journal, Massachusetts Review, The Poetry Project, Split This Rock, Blackflash Magazine, Leste Magazine, Ocean State Review, and elsewhere. She is a writing student at Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts.


Open Call Team

Alex Poots, Artistic Director
Darren Biggart, Director of Civic Programs
Dejá Belardo, Assistant Curator, Civic Programs and Visual Arts
Daisy Peele, Open Call Producer (Associate Producer at The Shed)
Christal Ferreira, Program Manager, Civic Programs and Visual Arts
Ben Young, Production Manager

Special thanks to Public Assembly (Tamara McCaw, Maggie MacTiernan, and Annabel Thompson) and to former program team colleagues who facilitated the call for proposals and selection process for the third edition: Solana Chehtman, Sarah Khalid Dhobhany, Alessandra Gómez, and Andria Hickey.

Open Call Production Credits
Stephen Arnold, Open Call Production Manager
Michael Ruiz-del-Vizo, Scenic Coordinator
DJ Potts, Sound Coordinator
Vittoria Orlando, Lighting Coordinator
Hao Bai, Video/Projection Coordinator
Cynthia Caridad, Stage Coordinator
Caren Celine Morris, Stage Coordinator
Ariana Michel, Stage Coordinator
A. Sef, Accessibility Consultant

Location and dates

This event takes place in The Griffin Theater.

August 15 – 17
7:30 pm

The Shed’s Griffin Theater is located at 545 West 30th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues. View The Shed on a map.

For information about accessibility and arriving at The Shed, visit our Accessibility page.



The Shed’s Griffin Theater has accessible seating. Please contact us in advance to discuss your needs and available options by emailing or calling (646) 455-3949.

Assistive Listening

Visitors may check out assistive listening devices at the entrance to the theater. A driver’s license will be held to check out the device.

ASL Interpretation

ASL interpretation will be available at all performances. There will be a reserved section of seats if you would like to sit in proximity to an interpreter. To find the seats, look for the Reserved signs in the theater or ask an usher for help.

Audio Description

Audio description will be available at all performances. Audio description is delivered via the free Listen Everywhere app on your personal device with your personal earphones or headphones. To use the app, you must download the app and connect to The Shed’s free Wi-FI network, TheShedFreeWiFi. To find instructions on how to download and use the app, visit the Accessibility page.

Purchasing Tickets

The Shed’s online ticketing system includes the option to submit accommodation requests beyond the access points detailed here.

Contact Us

For questions or other requests, visit the Accessibility page, email, or call (646) 455-3494.

Thank you to our partners

The Sponsor of Open Call is
Support for Open Call is generously provided by

Additional support for Open Call is provided by The Wescustogo Foundation and Jody and John Arnhold | Arnhold Foundation.

The creation of new work at The Shed is generously supported by the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Commissioning Fund and the Shed Commissioners. Major support for live productions at The Shed is provided by the Charina Endowment Fund, with additional support from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

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