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Born and raised in the Caribbean island nation of Curaçao, Gabri Christa describes herself as a member of a crossroads culture and indeed her impressive body of work for stage and screendramatizes the politics and poetics of intersecting races, rhythms, and histories.

Following her graduation from the School for New Dance Development in the Netherlands, Christas career took off in Cuba as a performer and choreographer for the renowned national contemporary dance company Danza Contemporanea de Cuba. Her impact on the company led to an invitation from iconoclast dancer/choreographer Marianela Boán to become a founding member of DanzAbierta, the experimental performance collective noted for developing danza contaminada (polluted dance), an interdisciplinary approach to composition that integrates movement, visual art, and music.

Following her time in Cuba, Christa started to perform stateside and in 1993, she joined the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, dancing roles in the groups eclectic repertory, including the controversial Still/Here, of which she was an original cast member. Christa left to focus on choreographing for her own company, Danzaisa, which has been produced in the US, Europe, and Latin America and for which she won a Guggenheim Fellowship for Choreography (1999).

About her full-evening work Dominata (2004), Jennifer Dunning of The New York Times wrote Something happens...that can not be said for many great dances today...she [Gabri Christa] transforms the theater and transports you ...she directs without seeming to lift a finger.” 

finger.In 2002, Christa began to explore dance for camera, an experiment that quickly led to a string of award-winning film projects she has produced and directed. All of her short films have screened as jury finalists in international film festivals, in addition to museums and galleries worldwide. Her filmography includes another building project, a series of short narrative dance films that take place in and around historic buildings and sites specific to the history of slavery in the Americas. Quarantine (2007), the first film in the series, features Kyle Abraham performing a haunting solo in a former quarantine house for slaves in Christas native Curaçao. Kasita(2014) tells the story of a young girl and a lost dog amidst the extant slave huts that dot the shores of the Caribbean island of Bonaire. The film won best short at the Harlem International Film Festival, and was Jury selection in festivals such as Langston Hughes African American Film Festival, Trinidad Tobago International Film Festival, Screen Dance Miami, and Cinedans. Her 2016 documentary Un Dia Kada Momentu (One Day At A Time) won again at the Harlem International Film Festival but this time as Best Short Documentary. It also won best film at the International Canadian Diversity Film Festival.

My mission in all my work is to TRANSFORM the understanding of Humanity through the arts. Often, I do this through personal and historic moments. I seek through my work, to highlight our shared humanity, and all we have in common through a work of art, a story, a dance, a film, and text. How can we as people communicate better? How can we learn from each other? How can we listen? Ultimately, I hope to contribute to a discussion about the environment, race, aging, disability, economic inequality, immigration, and much more through an artistic pursuit, as I am a firm believer of the role the Arts and Artists can play in advancing our Global Society.

One of the prevalent themes in Christas work is the negotiation of personal memory against and alongside historical record and material artifact. The compelling historical sensibility of her work was developed while she earned her M.F.A. at the University of Washington, where she focused her research on ritual music and dance of the Afro-diaspora. She has published her research on dance and film in several journals, including an essay about the making of another building series in The Scholar & Feminist Online published by the Barnard Center for Research on Women. She also contributed an essay about Afro-Curaçaoan dance in the influential volume Caribbean Dance: from Abakuá to Zouk (winner of the de la Torre Bueno Prize) edited by Susanna Sloat (BC 65). 
 
 In addition to her impressive career as a performing artist, Christa has been an arts advocate. Her service to the dance field includes membership on the board of the former Dance Theater Workshop (Now NYLA) (2002-2010) and a current position on the Advisory Board of Dance/NYC, an organization that promotes the knowledge, appreciation, practice, and performance of dance in the metropolitan area. In 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Christa to a three-year term on the Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission of the City of New York. In this role she advises on several current themes important to the administration such as diversity, and along with other commission members, gives feedback on the Cultural Plan for the City of New York or other initiatives in development.

Most recently, Christa has served as Artistic Director of Staten Islands Snug Harbor Cultural Center, where she developed and curated the performance series PASS (Performing Arts Salon Saturdays), as well as initiated Youth Matters, a performing arts series for young audiences. Her current film projects include her first Feature Film Umber and a short dance film around aging. In the fall of 2017 Christa will present the first Magdalena, a solo performance piece presented in an intimate context that explores her mothers life, and themes of immigration, racism and dementia. She also continues to appear in conducted improvisation (adapted from the Butch Morris Conduction system) with Burnt Sugar Arkestra a collaboration with musician Greg Tate..  

Christa is Assistant Professor of Professional Practice at Barnard College of Columbia Universitys Dance Department where she teaches courses in ScreenDance, Modern Dance and Composition.

Barnard Professor Paul Scolieri who wrote this bio, remarks that one of the most powerful aspects of Gabris work is her ability to reveal how global forces animate the seemingly personal stirrings of the body and soul.