Inspired by the fact that behind all social justice movements there is MOVEMENT… Living in Limbo: Stateless Identities is a performance art installation created by the RWU Dance and Performance Studies students enrolled in Advanced Choreography. Mentored by Cathy Nicoli, Assistant Professor of Dance and Performance Studies, the piece explores the intimacy of universal themes – such as home, loss, disorientation, and the nature of hope amidst relentless change.

WHEN: November 11 from 1:50pm to 3:30pm


Seeking Home (Part 1)

By Elizabeth Powers

Seeking Home (Part 1) is about the shared comfort in community. Even facing the battle of leaving a place that was once safe and is no longer, the bond between individuals is palpable and powerful.

Seeking Home (Part 2)

By Elizabeth Powers

Seeking Home (Part 2) embodies the courageous act of leaving something meaningful behind. The chairs represent a space that may no longer be safe but is still home to somebody who has an unbreakable connection to a place with old memories and deep relationships. The movement reflects the journey of gaining the courage to leave home in search of a safer place and moving beyond the fear of leaving such an important and familiar place.

What Am I?

By Michelle Boilard

What Am I reflects the struggle many refugees are facing about being forced to do something they don’t necessarily want to do. Many families are resilient about leaving their homes, but inevitably have to leave for one reason or another. The section reflects the family’s persistence about not wanting to be manipulated by some higher force, but essentially there is nothing they can do.

Connected Pathway(s)

By Cynthia Gingo

Connected Pathway(s) is about the journey of refugees waiting in limbo and traveling and moving to sanctuary. I was really inspired by the sense of community within the refugees, and how they rely on each other for stability and hope whether it be waiting or moving. Therefore, I really wanted to project the sense of togetherness and community by using physical contact and partnering movement to represent the endless connection of refugees.

Home, and the Places Between

By Cayley Dorr

Home, and the places between takes inspiration from the widely-circulated poem “Home” by Warsan Shire. Through the manipulation of time and effort within simple gestures, the dancers embody themes expressed in the text of the poem, including desperation, unavoidability, risk, and loss. Ultimately, then, the section is a meditation on what “home” is, what being forced to leave home means, and the disorientation that comes from being neither here nor there in place and time.

Perseverance and Hope

By Alexandra Townsend

Perseverance and Hope was inspired by the perseverance of hope in times of turmoil or emotional distress. I was exploring the idea that no matter what life throws at you, you fight to pull yourself through in search of the light at the end of the dark tunnel. I used this idea of the fight driven by hope to create the movement in this section. The game, “King of the Rock” was another source of inspiration for me as well. For me, this game replicates, in a more light hearted manner, the perseverance of hope to come out on the top, safe from others. Stemming from this idea was the inspiration of the individual journey of the fight for safety without losing hope, the perseverance of hope.


By Michela Doherty

Barriers was inspired by the concepts of going into and breaking through. When faced with a barrier we either let that interrupt our path or trajectory or we push through and let it become a part of our journey. The sense of disorientation created through this section creates a sense of disorientation which is one of our main themes for the installation.


By Erica Misilo

Home is a solo about the internal struggle that refugee’s go through during the process of seeking out a new home. I found a picture of two hands/wrists that were bound together, which really spoke to me and inspired the movement I created for this solo. My movement progresses from being resistant to leaving home and expressing my emotions more internally to outwardly expressing my frustration and anger I have with the thought of abruptly leaving home and loved ones. Throughout my solo, the resistant and struggle is apparent in my movement, however there is an abrupt transition from inner to outward expression that connects with the internal struggle a refugee can face. Holding on to a loved one’s wrist/hand may be their inspiration to keep moving forward to seek a better life.


By Giovanni Pinto

Loss is a full group section that embodies not only what is lost, but also who is lost in the brave and grueling journey endured by refugees. I thought of this movement as a path, which along the way would collect movers throughout the repetition of the “journey.” Each time the phrase material is repeated, it changes a facing as well as dynamics to embody a similarity that still has differences. Once we have accumulated all, we are broken up by the destruction refugees have to face. You may begin the journey with family, lose some on the way, make new bonds, only to be disrupted in the unpredictable end. So, when looking into loss, are refugees losing one another, themselves, or both?



Michelle Boilard

Performer & Choreographer

Michelle Boilard is a twenty-one-year-old from Worcester, Mass. She is a senior at Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I. working toward a degree in Dance/Performance Studies with a minor in Biology. Her future goals include pursuing a career in Physical Therapy. Since dancing is her passion, Michelle aims to continue moving for as long as possible.

Cynthia Gingo

Performer & Choreographer

Cynthia Gingo is a senior at Roger Williams University studying Dance/Performance Studies with a minor in Sustainability Studies, hoping to one day bring sustainable aspects into her career as a dancer and choreographer. Some of her future goals are to train at The Feldenkrais Institute and become a professional practitioner of the Feldenkrais method, as well in the future becoming a professor of modern dance.

Elizabeth Powers

Performer & Choreographer

Elizabeth Powers is currently a senior at Roger Williams University, originally from Natick, Mass. She is working towards a degree in Dance/Performance Studies with a double major in Psychology. Her career goals include helping others develop the connection between mind and body through dance/movement therapy.

Eric Christensen

Music Composer

Eric Christensen has taught and performed professionally for over ten years. He is proficient in a variety of styles including classical, jazz, rock, metal and musicals. He has performed throughout the United States and Canada, including a live performance on National Public Radio (NPR) in Palm Beach, Florida. He has recorded CDs with such ensembles as Enigmatica and the Providence Mandolin Orchestra. Eric trained as a classical guitarist and has advanced degrees from Yale and the New England Conservatory

Cathy Nicoli

Artistic Director

Cathy Nicoli is Assistant Professor of Dance/Performance Studies at Roger Williams University. In addition to her practice of contemporary dance, improvisation, and composition; social and environmental justice play a significant role in her work as an artist and educator. Cathy’s path to higher education, and the profession she loves, began in a community supported dance class when she was twelve. Allowing her passion to guide her course, she has since then worked as a performer and movement educator in a number of settings from inner-city public schools to premier universities. Everywhere, her goal is to recharge curriculums and communities with the vibrancy of experiential, project-based, learning. Cathy’s background has taught her what a difference art education can make; she sees it as a catalyst for personal and social r-evolutions.

Erica Misilo

Performer & Choreographer

Erica Misilo is a senior at Roger Williams University. She is a Public Relations and Dance/Performance Studies double major. Erica is an active student on campus; she is Chapter Secretary of PRSSA, a member of the Dance Theatre Company, and is a PR assistant to Dr. Amiee Shelton.

Michael DeQuattro

Music Composer

Michael DeQuattro is an eclectic artist known for fusing together acoustic, electronic, and improvisational elements. He is able to move freely between classical, jazz, popular, and world idioms often bringing these styles together in his compositions. As a performer, he is currently the timpanist and percussionist for the Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra. As a composer, He has been commissioned by Rhode Island College, Roger Williams University, The Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra. Awards and distinctions include his induction as a Rhode Island College Alumni Honoree in Music in 2009, and his award of the Rhode Island Council on the Arts Fellowship Award in Composition in 2011. At this time, he is teaching at Rhode Island College as the percussion instructor and chair. He is currently the resident composer and accompanist for the Roger Williams University dance department.

Cayley Dorr

Performer & Choreographer

Cayley Dorr is currently a senior at Roger Williams University working towards degrees in Dance/Performance Studies and Educational Studies. Her career goals lie in dance performance and teaching, especially at the university level, as well as in community-driven arts education and outreach, particularly bringing dance into schools and community settings.

Michela Doherty

Performer & Choreographer

Michela Doherty is a senior at Roger Williams University majoring in both Dance/Performance Studies and Communication/Media Studies. In the future she hopes to use both dance and communications professionally by working for a museum or a dance company doing public relations or community outreach.

Alexandra Townsend

Performer & Choreographer

Alexandra is a senior Economics and Dance/Performance Studies major here at Roger Williams University and is apart of the Alpha Chi and Beta Gamma Sigma honors societies. She is also very involved in the Office of Admissions being the Event Lead Specialist this year. Along with her classes and work, she loves to participate in the Dance Theatre and Dance Club both as a choreographer and performer.

Giovanni Pinto

Performer & Choreographer

Giovanni Pinto is a twenty-one-year-old from Mystic Conn., and is a senior at Roger Williams University. Pinto is working to obtain degrees in Journalism and Dance/Performance Studies, a combination he describes as the verbal and nonverbal mouthpieces for society. By day, he dreams of one day becoming a news anchor for the TODAY Show. By night he has hopes of joining a dance company that creates pieces to controversial life events.


It’s not often you hear about the people behind the scenes. But we thought we should share a bit of our story. We are a coalition of college students who are looking to do their part in the Global Refugee Crisis. Working closely with different members of the student body and faculty we have developed a website that we believe acts as an expressive piece all its own.

Come see the performance and check out the charities down below!