In 2006, Adam McKinney and Daniel Banks, Ph.D., co-founded DNAWORKS, an arts and service organization committed to dialogue and healing through the arts. DNAWORKS has led programming and workshops at such notable institutions as Wellesley College, California Institute of the Arts, Babson College, Bryn Mawr College, University of California Berkeley, University of California Riverside, New York University, Rhodes College, DePaul University, NYU Tel Aviv, and University of Ghana Legon, among others, and has worked with community organizations and congregations in Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Toronto, Tacoma, Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, and in Hungary and South Africa. They have led workshops and trainings for such organizations as The Curriculum Initiative, The Academy for Jewish Religion, The Museum at Eldridge Street, Jewish Multiracial Network, The Insight Fellowship/Shusterman Foundation, and the Hillel Council of New England, and presented at such conferences as International Peace Research Association, Jewish Outreach Initiative/Big Tent Judaism Conference, the Conney Project on Jewish Art, Schmooze, APAP, and the JOINT/Lauder Foundation Summer Camp (Szarvas, Hungary).
In NYC, they have presented “Belonging Everywhere,” their filmed oral history project with the Jewish community of Sefwi Wiawso, and led community dialogues for the Jewish Community Center of Manhattan, the American Jewish Committee of Long Island, the Bronfman Center at NYU, and the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, in partnership with the AJC of Manhattan. They have performed HaMapah/The Map, a multi-media, genealogical dance journey, in NYC; Saratoga Springs, NY; Sante Fe and Albuquerque, NM; Los Angeles, CA; Szarvas, Hungary; Ourense, Spain; Belgrade, Serbia; and Spoleto, Italy and at West Virginia Stage University; Wellesley College; Rhodes College, Memphis, TN; and the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Boise, ID. In 2009, DNAWORKS spent nine weeks in Israel and Palestine where they created a new dance work with Beta Dance Troupe, an Ethiopian Dance Company in Haifa, and led workshops with Israeli Arab and Jewish youth, as well as with Israelis and Palestinians. They have spent the summers of 2009, 2010, and 2011 in Hungary under the auspices of the Regional English Language Office of the US Embassy in Budapest to lead a self-expression through drama workshops for youth and at the Roma and Friends Tolerance Camp and teacher training workshops for their teachers.
DNAWORKS has received funding from the Trust for Mutual Understanding, US Embassies and Consulates in South Africa, Ghana, Israel, Hungary, the U.K., and Azerbaijan, and several family foundations.
Daniel Banks, Ph.D.
Daniel Banks, Ph.D., is a theatre director, choreographer, educator, and dialogue facilitator. He has worked extensively in the U.S. and abroad, having directed at such notable venues as the National Theatre of Uganda (Kampala), the Belarussian National Drama Theatre (Minsk), The Market Theatre (Johannesburg, South Africa), the Hip Hop Theatre Festival (New York and Washington, D.C.), the Oval House (London), and served as choreographer/movement director for productions at New York Shakespeare Festival/Shakespeare in the Park, Singapore Repertory Theatre, La Monnaie/De Munt (Brussels), Landestheater (Saltzburg), Aaron Davis Hall (Harlem), and for Maurice Sendak/The Night Kitchen. Daniel has served on the faculties of the Department of Undergraduate Drama, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, the MFA in Contemporary Performance at Naropa University, the M.A. in Applied Theatre at City University of NY, and most recently as Chair of Performing Arts at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM. He is the founder and director of the Hip Hop Theatre Initiative that uses Hip Hop Theatre to promote youth self-expression and leadership training. HHTI has worked on campuses and in communities across the U.S. and in Ghana, South Africa, Hungary, Azerbaijan, Israel, and Mexico. He is a long-time advisor in the Gallatin School for Individualized Studies and on the Founding Board of the Hip Hop Education Center in the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education in the Steinhardt School, both at NYU.
Daniel is a 2011 Ariane de Rothschild Fellow and a past recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group Career Development Program for Directors. He is Associate Director of Theatre Without Borders, a founding member of the Acting Together project in the Program for Peacebuilding and the Arts at Brandeis University, sits on the Editorial Board of No Passport Press, and is on the Advisory Board of the Downtown Urban Arts Festival. Daniel is also on the cabinet of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC) a national, grassroots, advocacy and activism movement. He has guest lectured extensively, at such institutions as: SUNY Stony Brook, University of California-Riverside, Stanford University, Brandeis University, University of Western Michigan, University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Central Florida, and University of Florida-Gainesville, University of New Mexico, Rhodes College; and has been a Guest Artist at Williams College, City College of New York, Marymount Manhattan College, and the National Theatre Conservatory, Denver. He holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from NYU. Publications include "Unperforming 'Race': Strategies for Re-imagining Identity" in A Boal Companion: Dialogues on Theatre and Cultural Politics (edited by Mady Schutzman and Jan Cohen-Cruz, Routledge, 2006); "Youth Leading Youth: Hip Hop and Hiplife Theatre in Ghana and South Africa" in Acting Together: Performance and the Creative Transformation of Conflict, Vol 2, a project of the Coexistence Project, Brandeis University, and Theatre Without Borders (New Village Press); "The Question of Cultural Diplomacy: Acting Ethically, "The Welcome Table: Casting for an Integrated Society," and "Hip Hop as Pedagogy: Something from Something," in Theatre Topics; “From Homer to Hip Hop: Orature and Griots, Ancient and Present,” in Classical World; and “Re-Thinking Non-Traditional Casting,” in Black Masks. He is editor of the first critical anthology of Hip Hop Theatre plays Say Word!: Voices from Hip Hop Theater for the University of Michigan Press.
Co-Director of DNAWORKS, Adam McKinney is a classically trained dancer and former member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Béjart Ballet Lausanne, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and Milwaukee Ballet Company. Adam has led dance work across the U.S. and in Canada, England, Ghana, Hungary, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Palestine, Serbia, Spain and South Africa. He served as a U.S. Embassy Culture Connect Envoy to South Africa through the U.S. State Department in Cape Town, Pretoria and Johannesburg and was named one of the most influential African Americans in Milwaukee, WI by St. Vincent DePaul.
The focus of Adam’s dance work engages historical perspectives of culture and identity, social justice, mixed abilities, mixed media (including the use of innovative technological elements) and the aesthetics of liberation. Adam’s awards include Career Transition for Dancers grants, the NYU President's Service Award for his work with the Lower East Side Harm Reduction Center (NYC), a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant and Gallatin (NYU) Jewish Arts grants for work with Ethiopian communities in Israel, and the Bronfman Jewish Artist Fellowship for DNAWORKS’ genealogical dance work HaMapah/The Map. Adam was a recipient of the National Artist Teacher Fellowship for DNAWORKS’ “The Borders Project” (2015) and was named a prestigious School of American Ballet National Teaching Fellow (2015), an opportunity to engage in national conversations about diversity in classical ballet. His article “Dance and Social Justice” is published on Howlround.com.
Adam served as the inaugural Chair of the Dance Department at the New Mexico School for the Arts, Santa Fe, for six years and is currently an Assistant Professor of Dance at Texas Christian University, Fort Worth. Adam holds an M.A. in Dance Studies with concentrations in Race and Trauma theories.