I have known Emily Nussdorfer for 17 years and served as a professional coach and mentor through her beginning years of discovering her life purpose and transforming herself to meet her goals and put into action the love and commitment that she found inside of herself to help young women. Emily's work is remarkably powerful and effective to help young women shift from inner disconnection and intense life challenges to becoming leaders, and creative power houses in their right. The work that Ms. Nussdorfer is giving to the world is a model for other organizations and programs who wish to give young women the opportunity to shine, rise up in their unique strengths and find who they really are. Each time this happens, we are valuing and supporting the innate gifts that each woman has to give to our evolving world culture.
I have known Emily Nussdorfer through the creative community for at least 10 years and find her passion for guiding young women into powerful, successful adulthood to be inspiring. I have been following her journey with Moving Creations since its inception. She has found ways to glean the best mentors, , promotion, partipants and supporters for this vital program. AS a journalist, I did a story a few years back about Moving Creations and was touched to tears by a comment made by one of the girls that if not for Emily and the program, she could have become a statistic. Just imagine how many lives Moving Creations has touched and how many more it will touch. Would love to see it out there in the world BIG TIME with the funding to reflect it! Blessings, Rev. Edie Weinstein www.liveinjoy.org email@example.com
Moving Creations and Emily have been a God sent for my family. My Daughter started with the organization at the beginning,she started out lost confused and even a little defiant,she was at the point where we both needed help.Moving Creations provided a great outlet for my daughter and the other girls to understand why they were feeling he way they were by teaching the girls to look inside themselves. They did many performances with dance and poetry and even a film which they participated 100% everything from witting, stage props,and even being highly involved in their own dance routines. By the time my daughter was near completion she was a leader worthy of following,a confident young women ,and able to resolve controversy among her peers. I am very proud of my daughter and forever thankful to Emily and Moving Creations.
Moving Creations is the perfect name for this program, and I have experienced exactly that. I met Emily in the Spring of 2004 and began working as the creative writing/poetry teacher a few weeks later. I was "moved" by her passion to "create" safe spaces of expression and power for adolescent girls. I was "moved" because of the ways in which my path mirrored theirs, that I had also been a girl navigating through the struggles of our racial/economic/ gendered/ spatial/inheritances. I had not known then the ways in which my life would be changed in the process, not only as a result of witnessing the power of one woman's passion to love and fight for these girls and their right to inhabit such spaces, but through baring witness to countless girls' "movement" through this program's "creative" processes. I watched girls enter,like cocoons- afraid, withdrawn, uncertain, devalued, distrustful, SILENCED--and leave as sister-butterflies--self-assured, hopeful, confident, trusting, present, having claimed agency through developing a love for the sounds of their own voices, the sight of themselves in the mirror, through friendship, through poetry, dance, through a passion for the power of seeing and being seen. Ive seen them grow to be young women, many of which had plans to enter college, had begun to see themselves as young scholars, as people who became concious of the music they listened to, of the words they chose to use, of their social trajectories, of their abilities, beauty, intelligence-- newly defined and refined. Moving Creations/Girls on the Move is definitely the most accurate name for this program because that is exactly what has occured. The girls have developed and "moved" in to the being and becoming of who they always were--beautiful "creations". Emily really deserves to be applauded, because she has undergone a number of sacrifices in order to keep this program running. Her work is phenomenal, just like heart and her vision for this program. Such programs really are the bottom line between life and death for a lot of young people, such as it was the case for me growing up (I had an "Emily" to cross my path). Young girls need spaces in which they wre invited to think of new ways of thinking and being in the world as they negotiate becoming women, and Moving Creations has provided that space not only for the girls as students but for myself as a teacher, and for that I am grateful. --peqce
Emily is an inspiration! The work Moving Creations Inc has accomplished over the years is truly remarkable. Participation in this program has transformed girls into young women, young women who are brigther, compassionate, motivated and mature. My work with this company has allowed me to witness how one person can make a difference in the lives of many! Not only has Emily touched the girls she works with but also the staff who have had the pleasure of helping her achieve her goals. As a board member and as a friend, I have watched Moving Creations grow, transform and struggle. I am confident Moving Creations will continue to enrich the lives of the girls it takes under its wings!
Emily is an incredible person that has touched so many young female adult lives. My daughter had the pleasure of being influenced by the moving creation staff. It provided her with a way to express herself through poetry and dance. I believe that if she did not have the opportunity to be a part of such an incredible venture she would have turned to violence and drugs. Thank you moving creation for being a great friend and mentor to my daughter.
It was my great honour to assist Emily in setting the first phase,Girls of promise, into action. i helped in the art zone...posters, masks, shirt painting, helping the girls get results from their effort at renewal and growing.I put my experience at Emily's disposal and helped to train different Instructors in the requirements of the course. It was wonderful to watch the evolution of these girls from shyness to self confidence.I have been kept up with the process thanks to the newsletters, and attended some of the girls subsequent performances. This program deserves to be in a position to sustain and develop what has been achieved. Emily's dedication and consistency is an example to us all.
Emily Nussdorfer and Moving Creations have been some of my principal inspirations in the world of youth empowerment and community transformation through the Arts. As an artist, educator, and activist myself, I was incredibly moved by the work the girls from the Girls on the Move Project created about their growth and transformation, and even more so, their visions for their communities. I have had the distinct pleasure of working with a number of the Girls on the Move Graduates in community poetry festivals, leadership symposiums, and young mother advisory groups, and I have been repeatedly impressed by the comfort with which they face and discuss difficult and complex issues, share openly of themselves and their experiences, and above all, testify for the world they wish to see emerge around them, and their willingness to participate in this process. Having spent years in schools with this age group, I have found this traits to be rare and often far between, but to be commonplace among the girls Moving Creations has embraced. What Moving Creations does so well that others so often struggle with, is maintain a big picture of social synergy and community health through all of its specific and hands on work with the specific needs and obstacles of each girl, supporting them to become their highest selves with a sense of purpose for a large family that needs them. I only wish this program were available to every girl in the Philadelphia public schools.
Moving Creations is an incredible program that addresses the personal, emotional, artistic, and professional needs and goals of the young ladies involved. I believe that people do not find themselves, but create themselves. Moving Creations helped the participants (and the teaching artists, parents, and others involved) to create themselves from their past while building a future. Unlike any other program I have witnessed, this program acknowledges not only the needs of the girls but also the girls' contribution to the program. In other words, the program helps the girls to understand and appreciate the greatness that they come to the program with, and then develop and nurture that greatness so that others can see it.
I was a board member of Moving Creations Inc. I am a creative arts therapist and know that art is powerful medium for transformation. The program offered by Moving Creations supports female youth from Philadelphia develop into strong women. I commitment and dedication of the executive director and the art teachers is inspiring.
Moving Creations Inc speaks to my soul. As a young kid I felt lost, confused and alone. My Family did not understand me. My feelings began to manifest themselves physically. It was the arts that saved my life. I have witnessed Moving Creations program Girls on the Move in action. I have seen this program change the path of young girls and more importantly I have seen the young girls become powerful and confident woman. I have seen them tap into female power and become leaders, leaders in their community and leaders of change.
Moving Creations Inc. has been running teen empowerment sessions because our teens need meaningful engagement. The founder of Moving Creations, Emily Nussdorfer, first interested me in her programs through a mutual belief in the power of life changing, rites of passage. Moving Creations Inc. has tested itself in the fire of serving the underserved without the support it deserves. Moving Creations is focused on continuing that service. The program philosophy and practice are specifically the philosophy and practice that will empower our youth, through art based creations, and strengthen our communities through the power of creative youth. Additionally, Moving Creations programming specifically directs funding to local artists and community based venues. Supporting Moving Creations Inc. will help us all to incorperate art into the lives of children and young adults, fostering unique personal and distinct community evolution towards a future of visionary youth and the local artists to mentor them.
From the beginnings of MovingCreations, I have been in the stands cheering and in the audience listening and learning. Emily Nussdorfer's passion for this work is boundless and and her belief in the potential of the young women she serves is unflagging. Further, the skills and expertise she brings to this work are unique, and grounded in master's level training and deep experience. When it comes to supporting, mobilizing and bringing to fruition the ideas and dreams of the young women who take part in Girls on the Move, Moving Creations has the right approach: sustained work in the context of relationships and community. I have seen young women from Girls on the Move proudly attribute the birth of their own aspirations -- and their belief in themselves-- to the program .
As a sporadic advisor to Emily over the last few years I have seen how this organization is a moving creative expression in and of itself. Emily's deep background in living theater and therapeutic movement combined with her youthful passion for people and the healing value of the arts makes a powerful role model both for the artists who work with her and for the young women who find their home within this organization. What better gift to the community than the freedom and life that exudes from newly creative young women, whose faces were once frozen in bitterness, anger, sinicism or despair!
I began volunteering at Moving Creations shortly after Emily Nussdorfer, founder and executive director of this truly visionary program, incorporated the organization. She had implemented her curriculum successfully as part of another program for at-risk girls and then worked tirelessly to expand her efforts by creating her own organization with the Girls on the Move program at its core. The history of the organization alone--including Emily's thesis work to turn her graduate education and experience as a movement therapist and dance instructor into real action on behalf of the Philadelphia community--was a true inspiration. But more moving was witnessing Emily's dedication and commitment to the organization and each and every girl served. From my behind-the-scenes role, I was able to see this each and every time I worked with Emily on a project, be it a grant proposal or some other administrative matter in the office. Moving Creations and its signature Girls on the Move program is not just an organization/program with proven results (as demonstrated by various evaluation activities) in bringing about positive changes in the girls served. It is a stellar example of the impact a program can have when it grows from a well-researched problem analysis that is linked to measurable, obtainable outcomes that are achieved through the work of skilled and passionate staff.
Moving Creations Inc. is a visionary company that is committed to helping young women in Philly rise above violence, stereotypes, and low expectations. These young women learn how to access their inner wisdom through the interdisciplinary arts projects designed by dance/movement therapist and visionary director, Emily Nussdorfer, and developed with a collective of extra-ordinary local artists. I have watched this company evolve from its originals as a graduate therapeutic thesis model into the non-profit that it has become. Emily is tireless in her pursuit to create supportive experiences for the Girls on the Move Project. In order to truly serve and expand this transformative social project, substantial additional funds are needed to allow for this work to reach into the schools and after school programs. The Girls on the Move Project is a grassroots approach to empowering inner-city girls through the process of finding their own stories and their own voices and giving them a place where they can be seen and heard and witnessed. As they take a stand against violence and limiting views within their urban communities, any girl who can commit to the multiple modules already developed will be given a chance that few other projects can match.
Moving Creations is, without a doubt in my mind, changing the lives of young women in Philadelphia. I have seen their art, heard their stories adn feel grateful that they are seeking out what they need to become empowered, reflective, creative young women and finding it in Moving Creations. Emily Nussdorfer is a strong and passionate founder, leader and soldier dedicating an astounding amount of time and energy to a painfully under-served group of individuals. She is a knowledgeable and skilled practitioner who is guiding young women through a rich journey that is leaving them not only with a set of lovely arts experiences, but with a critical set of skills that will enable them to become cognizant, responsible citizens and strong community leaders.
These were articles I wrote a few years ago about Moving Creations What is the profile of a modern day Goddess? It looks like an inner city young woman whose face was lacerated with glass held in the hand of another teen who thought she was too pretty and in the wrong place at the wrong time. It could appear to be a courageous girl who left an abusive relationship. It may even be a group of junior and senior high school students who witness that women are not valued and as a result, don't honor themselves. And it definitely takes the form of a dedicated movement therapist named Emily Nussdorfer who is the founder of à½The Girls on the Move Visionary Arts Leadership Programà½. Under the umbrella of Moving Creations Inc., this program serves at-risk girls ages 12-16 living in Philadelphia. She describes the demographic as:à½Predominantly African American girls, who live in socio-economically vulnerable communities marked by resource deprivation, violence and crime. Many of these girls are in single parent households, often don't go to school, or have the motivation to do well in school and often get into fights. The program fills the need to become part of a united community in which they can be friends with other girls. They get together and make things happen, supporting one another.à½ Many of these girls have little trust for other females, seeing them as competition for boys and attention. By the time they reach pre-adolescence, they have already internalized the culture's negative stereotypes about women. One of the program’s goals is to teach them that girls can empower each other together and help each other to have the motivation to transform their lives and encourage each other to become community leaders. The first time they meet, they are total strangers. By the end of a 12 week module, they have become a family. They experience à½identity repair amidst their culture, community and within themselves through artistic exploration, expression and creation in an empowering and creative female community.à½ One of the factors that makes this program so successful with the girls it serves is that, according to Emily: à½We meet them where they're at.à½Powerful, successful female artists who are predominately from a similar background and culture to the girls are mentors and guides in the program; and diversity is celebrated, as many of the teachers are multi-cultural. Emily offered that à½The number one goal is to form a mentoring relationship with each girl that will endure beyond the length of the program, finding a way to reach that girl. à½ She carefully trains each artist; they have clinical supervision daily, and need to complete a D.A.P (Data Assessment Plan) for each participant and group that they run. At this point, Emily and her troupe of female artist mentors have successfully completed two of the three phases of the program. Fund-raising is a crucial factor in allowing for entry into stage three. Phase one is entitled: Introduction to Performance Creation. It involves empowering the girls by means of artistic self expression; using the genres of dance; which includes step and hip-hop, honoring their culture, conflict resolution, theater improvisation, writing poetry and designing costumes. It allows them, Emily shared à½to safely channel libidinal and aggressive energyà½, in ways that heal and construct rather than harm and destruct. It provides safe space for them to à½speak the truth of their own identities and worlds to themselves and others through the creative arts.à½ Using rhythm is vital to the work since she observes à½When people share rhythms together, there is a non-verbal synchrony that transcends language and belief systems. Dance celebrates the power of unity through shared movement.à½ The second phase is called Visionary Mask Creation and literally allows the girls to à½envision the life they want to create for themselves and their communities using a combination of dance, theater, creative visualization and mask art.à½ Emily brought in a group of mentors to embody various archetypical figures, representing Goddesses of the Haitian, African, Egyptian, Native American, Hindu, Celtic, Mexican, Greek, Germanic and Israeli cultures. Each woman had an assignment to create a visual template that involved symbolism related to the Goddess; that incorporated elements of Jungian theory, the Shamanic journey and fairy tales. In this way, they enabled the girls to take an archeological journey into the past, unearthing treasures that expressed how various cultures valued the Divine Feminine. It provided them with powerful and positive role models from which to re-build their own fragile sense of self. At the end of the second phase, there were seven girls who remainedcommitted to the program and each chose an archetype to embody: The Peace Maker; this was the girl whose character ended the abusive relationship by standing up against it. The Healer ; this was the young woman whose character had been assaulted by girl gangs and danced away her pain. The Leader explored what it is to be a leader to herself. Duality represented love and hate, water and fire; all the essence of who she is. Conscience communicated having been stepped on and destroyed and then passionately commited to the process of re-building herself. The Mother was the soul of communicating for violence to end in her community. Opticon Naturale was the Mother Goddess who was about parenting, celebrating the seasons of the Earth and connecting to the creator within to heal abandonment, loss and pain. The girls performed their character’s dance stories in mask with black light and received a standing ovation from an audience of over 100 people. Stage three is called MAP ( multi-arts performance) for change and involves investigative research and original movie making integrated with a live black light group dance celebrating the power of the visions of the super girl characters. This stage will focus on à½group performance creation utilizing the visions and stories of each super-girl character as catalysts for positive community and system change in Philadelphia. Each girl will be armed with a camera and her character’s vision for change and will interview members of her community to gain support in her community for her vision of change. The girls will come together to integrate their video data into a collective film testifiying to their passion to make positive changes in the quality of life for themselves and their communities. The girls will perform live black light mask street theater dances in their communities throughout Philadelphia to draw attention to their vision and mission and heighten the movie making process. The finale of the program will be a Multi Arts Performance (MAP) incorporating the screening of the girl’s original movie with a live performance of the super girls’ black light mask theater dances of power and transformation. Through offering this MAP of the girls' collective visions of a better life for themselves, their communities and for Philadelphia as a whole, the girls hope to inspire and create momentum for positive community change on every level in Philadelphia.à½ This MAP for Change will be offered to a gathering of civic and community leaders with time for Q & A. I watched a DVD of the performance that occurred at the end of the second phase and found myself in tear-filled awe of what this group had manifested. This was not merely a collection of potentially damaged girls; it was a clan of polished, confident young women who had blossomed exquisitely into talented artists. They were each interviewed and one of the most poignant statements that speaks volumes of its success, came as an expression of gratitude that if not for the program à½I would have been a statistic.à½ How is it possible to adequately place a value on that sentiment? Donations are necessary for this program to continue. It is a non-profit(501C3?) organization and all monies given can be taken as a tax deduction. They also welcome space for performances and rehearsals, transportation, food, creative supplies and materials, referrals, video editing, marketing and equipment. Last summer I was introduced to a group of inner-city young women (ages 12-16) . Although we had not met face to face until today, I felt that I had been privy to watching glorious hued wildflowers springing up from what some might consider impossibly rocky and infertile soil. The catalyst for this amazing growth is my friend Emily Nussdorfer. Her vision, into which she has poured heart and soul, has reaped remarkable rewards. The program is called Moving Creations and according to their website www.movingcreationsinc.org “The mission of Moving Creations, Inc. is to promote youth development, cultural awareness and community revitalization through supporting youth in the making of original performances that celebrate their individuality and their potential to succeed in transforming their communities. Moving Creations, Inc. grew from 2001 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts residency/pilot study first implemented by Moving Creations' Executive Director Emily Nussdorfer in Coatesville, PA, an economically impoverished community with a history of violent gang activity. The project used dance, drama, cultural enrichment, and performance creation to positively stimulate the inner workings of self-development for children and youth from environments that lacked such opportunities.” Last year, I wrote an article about the program and the girls whose lives it has touched, which appeared in Lilipoh Magazine (Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness), called Dancing Goddesses . When the opportunity came to actually see the girls perform and meet them, I knew I had to be there. Toting along my last copy of the magazine, my intention was to get their autographs. I was honored to see that copies of the article were already on the information table. Arriving late (my sometimes numerically dyslexic brain reversed some of the digits in the address) I took my seat in the darkened theater, as four of the teenaged girls danced on stage, wearing cut off jeans and white hooded sweatshirts with the Moving Creations logo on the back. This was their graduation since they had completed all three stages of an intensive, soul searching, perspective- stretching program. When I initially wrote the article, I heard about the genesis of their involvement in Girls On The Move. Many were resistant, angry, disconnected from the other girls and women in their lives. What I witnessed on stage yesterday was nothing short of a miracle. This ‘multi-media performance’ included videos that the girls had made that focused on their lives, the important people in them, their passions and even their fears. The images of them with loving, laughing family and friends, is juxtaposed against stark portraits of neighborhood decay. After each video, they did a short movement piece. India’s video highlighted “A Day In My Life”, from the moment she opened her eyes to take in her world as it is, to the moment she closed them to dream of one that is more peaceful. Her vision is “If you have a happy place in your heart, your outside self and community start to look brighter.” Shalante’s presentation was called “A Day In Killadelphia” and focused on the senseless murders that have occurred in a place ironically referred to as “The City of Brotherly Love” . She wisely expressed: “I want to change my community into a safer place; and make people see that things will get better.” Brittany’s dream is to be a model. Her video shows a beautiful young woman playfully posing for the camera. According to her ”Admitting flaws is human. It takes courage to admit flaws...through modeling, I gained confidence to shine my light and perform.” Keisha envisions profound change in her community and by extension, the world. “A leader is someone who is willing to take risks, they step out of the norm, always willing to try...someone who acts on what they talk about.” Following the individual videos, they gathered together to offer a ‘stomp’ performance, rhythmically pounding out their fears, hopes and dreams onto the wooden stage, in synchrony and harmony. Their intensity and enthusiasm were contagious. A video montage expressed their shared perspective. One quote continues to haunt me: “We used to shop for clothes. Now we shop for coffins.” At the end of the performances, each one was declared to be “Girls on The Move Visionary Artist and Community Activist”. Their families and friends who filled the seats on a August-steamy Philadelphia day, clapped, cheered and gave them standing ovations. The girls beamed beautifully. When I asked the new grads for their autographs, they gladly agreed and Shalante giggled and said “You want my autograph?” I assured her that this would not be the last time someone asked. The next class of Girls On The Move will begin shortly. What the visionary team needs is tremendous support. What that entails is a laundry list that includes: 1. Funding- Moving Creations Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization-your donation is tax exempt. 2. Grant writing- if you or someone you know is a grant writer, your assistance is appreciated. 3. Volunteers- your time and energy is valued. Guaranteed you will experience deep gratification. 4. Media coverage-if you have press connections, please pass this along. 5. Supplies-art supplies, costuming materials.... To contact Emily please email firstname.lastname@example.org