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2017 MCACA New Leader Launches Ruth Ellis Center Collaboration

| May 21, 2017

Detroit, MI (May 16, 2017) – Kristi Faulkner Dance (KFD) and the Ruth Ellis Center (REC) are teaming up to engage and inspire LGBTQ youth and the Detroit community through workshops and an original performance celebrating LGBTQ youth through the intersection of storytelling, vogue, and contemporary dance.

Kristi Faulkner, Artistic Director of KFD, was awarded a 2017 Michigan New Leaders Grant through the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) to launch the initial phase of this collaborative project titled Not In My House. With this financial support, KFD will offer free movement workshops led by a variety of professional dance artists June 6 – August 29 for youth at the Ruth Ellis Center. The first workshop, on June 6th, will be taught by Brooklyn-based house dancer, Mark Schmidt.

In addition to the workshops, Faulkner will embark upon a storytelling journey through a series of online videos that investigate the complexities of identity among the LGBTQ community. This 18-month project will represent the authentic voices and coming out stories of REC youth and Detroit-based professional dancers who identify as LGBTQ, culminating in a live performance October 11-13, 2018.

Projects like this are essential for validating the experiences and worth of the LGBTQ community, particularly among this population of LGBTQ youth who are especially vulnerable and disproportionately affected by homelessness. This project will provide much-needed representation of queer voices in Detroit, specifically queer voices of color, and serve as a catalyst for dialogue about issues of identity, acceptance, belonging, security, and inequality, specifically relating to LGBTQ youth in Detroit.

MCACA grants must be matched by other dollars. This project is made possible partially through a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its Knight Arts Challenge. The Knight Arts Challenge funds the best ideas for engaging and enriching Detroit through the arts. To learn more about the project, to make a donation, or to simply get involved, visit

About Kristi Faulkner Dance

Kristi Faulkner Dance is a contemporary dance company based in Detroit, known for their highly physical and humorously theatrical work that embodies difference and challenges gender roles. Community engagement is integral to their practice. Through performance, workshops and community based projects, KFD pursues their mission of creating though-provoking, visceral experiences.

About the Ruth Ellis Center

The Ruth Ellis Center (REC), incorporated in 1999, is a youth social services agency with a mission “to provide short-term and long-term residential safe space and support services for runaway, homeless, and at-risk lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.” As LGBTQ youth continue to be disproportionately affected by homelessness, the Ruth Ellis Center remains dedicated to ensuring that these vulnerable youth and young adults receive the services and inherent protections available to all citizens. While the Center emphasizes serving LGBTQ youth who are often ostracized, shamed, and denied services by other agencies, no youth, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation is turned away or denied services.

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy.


Kristi Faulkner
Artistic Director, Kristi Faulkner Dance
306 W Troy Ferndale, MI 48220
(Phone): 419.509.4375




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