Philadelphia, Mar. 28, 2016 - Intercultural Journeys finishes the 2015/16 Season: The Artistry of Identity and Transformation  with its first-ever dance performance: Native Portals, a two-part movement performance series by Lela Aisha Jones | FlyGround. An excerpt from the first part, titled Lynching & Love (2012), interprets first exposures to noose lynching as experienced by the artists in the work.  The second part, titled Release Mourning Clearing, is a premiere.  It conjures and translates, through dance, text, soundscapes, and live music, a tapestry of ritual practices rising from black diasporic experiences of activism, witnessing, reconciliation, and restoration. Lela Aisha Jones is a recipient of the 2015 Leeway Transformation Award, Artistic Director of FlyGround, Co-Founder of The Requisite Movers, and Lead Centralizer/Organizer of Dancing for Justice Philadelphia. Her piece, Native Portals: Lynching and Love, won her a 2012 Dance USA Philadelphia Rocky Award. The performances will be followed by discussions with the artists facilitated by Jamie J. Brunson, Executive Director of First Person Arts.

IJ is pleased to once again offer additional opportunities for dialogue around the work. Two hours before each performance there will be Food for Thought events. This free program consists of a casual potluck-style meal and guided discussion on a topic related to the concert. The theme on April 23 and 24 will be "The Body Wails, The Body Restores" and will provide insight into how movement and the body are connected to artistry, resistance, and restoration. Featured remarks will be given by Dr. Brenda Dixon-Gottschild (April 23) and Julie B. Johnson (April 24). Every Food for Thought event is open to the public, but guests are requested to RSVP and bring a food item to share. "The Body Wails, The Body Restores" will be accompanied by visual arts exhibitions, My Racial Ignorance by Bonnie Mettler and UNARMED | Photo Series and UNARMED | Performance by Arielle Pina.

On May 1, Lela Aisha Jones will facilitate a workshop at the Community Education Center titled, "Activism and Cultural Understanding in the Body." This two-hour movement and dialogue based workshop focuses on gesture, narrative, and witnessing as tools for understanding the experience of self and society.  This workshop is open to all interested in developing skills of processing and communicating that lead to individual and collective social consciousness.

"Native refers to a space and/or time from which we originate, commence, and/or begin.  A portal is a method or way to enter that space and/or time," said Lela Aisha Jones about her the series. "Native Portals captures reflections on lived experiences and how they manifest in memories and dreams through narratives that are cyclic, non-linear, and abstracted. This is the aim of our bodies in performance as witnesses and living archives of our cultural climate." 

The performances will take place on April 23 at 8pm and April 24 at 7pm in the Ibrahim Theater at International House. Tickets are $15 for General Admission, $10 for IHP members, and $8 for students. To purchase tickets, visit or call 215-387-5125, ext. 2.



Casual potluck-style reception with guided discussion*

Saturday, April 23 at 6pm with featured speaker Dr. Brenda Dixon-Gottschild

Sunday, April 24 at 5pm with featured speaker Julie B. Johnson

The East Alcove, International House (3701 Chestnut Street)

*Guests are requested to RSVP and bring a food item to share.



Lela Aisha Jones | FlyGround: Native Portals

Saturday, April 23 at 8pm*

Sunday, April 24 at 7pm*

Ibrahim Theater, International House (3701 Chestnut Street)

*Featuring post-show discussion facilitated by Jamie J. Brunson, Executive Director of First Person Arts.

This show contains socially and physically charged, intense language and gesture. It is recommended for children and adults age 14 and older.


Sunday, May 1 from 4-6pm

Community Education Center (3500 Lancaster Avenue)


Guests should come dressed for movement.

About Lela Aisha Jones | FlyGround

Lela Aisha Jones is a native of Tallahassee, FL who resides in Philadelphia, PA.  She is the founder of FlyGround, her creative home, where she cultivates her diasporic movement practice and archival artistry.  Mostly an activist in her artistic practice and performance, she recently took her work to the streets as the lead centralizer/organizer for marches and social actions through Dancing for Justice Philadelphia in solidarity with the movement concerning Black lives.  Lela is an Artist in Residence at the Community Education Center, a Headlong Dance Theater Incubated Artist, a 2013 Dance USA Philadelphia Rocky Awardee, a 2015 Leeway Foundation Transformation Awardee and a member of the inaugural 2015 Innovative Cultural Advocacy Fellows designed by leaders at the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute in NYC.  Lela defines herself as a movement artist and a catalyst dedicated to creating transformative spaces through education, media, restorative activism, and performance.


FlyGround experiences are in a genre of their own but never too far from home. FlyGround artistic ventures create continuum spaces for processing contemporary diaspora and archiving lived experiences through memoir, social commentary, and movement performance.

About Intercultural Journeys

Intercultural Journeys uses the arts to promote peace and greater understanding between people of diverse backgrounds, faiths, and cultures with the aim of catalyzing social change and awareness. Intercultural Journeys was founded in 2002 by Philadelphia Orchestra cellist Udi Bar-David, philanthropist Carole Haas Gravagno, Majid Alsayegh and Sheldon L. Thompson. Together, they recognized the role that music could play in sparking dialogue between people of different backgrounds. Since then, Intercultural Journeys has held over 160 concerts and partnered with a diverse roster of local and international artists. IJ events have been held not only in the Greater Philadelphia area but also across the United States and even abroad in countries such as China, Spain, Italy and Israel. 

Media Contact

Lindsey S. Crane, Managing Director, 215-387-2310                                      High res images available upon request