Ping Chong

47 Great Jones Street, New York, NY 10012
T: 212 529 1557 F: 212 529 1703


Calling: a dance with faith

Created and Directed by Jesca Prudencio
Featuring Natsumi Sophia Bellali and Hala Shah
Devised in collaboration with the performers

In this new dance theater piece, two Muslim women wrestle with their call to dance and their call to faith. The religious and artistic journeys of Natsumi and Hala, two women who are both Muslim and professional dancers, intersect in this rich performance of movement and storytelling.

Directed by Ping Chong + Company member Jesca Prudencio, Calling: a dance with faith uses interview-based scripting and a devised process to create a wholly personal vision of the artistic self in relation to Muslim identity.

Photo by Idris Ademola

June 22-23 at 7pm
Downtown Art
70 East 4th Street
Free with RSVP

This workshop production is supported by Engaging Dance Audiences, administered by Dance/USA and made possible with generous funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. It is also supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.


Jesca Prudencio is a director focused on creating highly physical productions of new plays, musicals, and documentary theater nationally, and internationally. Favorite credits include Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone (San Diego Rep), Will Snider's How To Use a Knife (Mixed Blood), and Ben Fisher’s Mobile Happiness Bazaar (La Jolla Playhouse’s WoW Festival). She holds a BFA from NYU Tisch, and an MFA in Directing from UC San Diego. She is the inaugural recipient of The Julie Taymor World Theater Fellowship, which supported her travels through Thailand, Japan, and the Philippines as she explored traditional and contemporary theater. As Artistic Director of People Of Interest, she develops new theatrical events that address community specific issues, most recently A&Q: a documentary theater piece on the war on drugs (Philippines). Jesca has been a proud company member of Ping Chong + Company since 2008, where she has collaborated on numerous productions and workshops.

Natsumi Sophia Bellali grew up in Montreal, Canada, and trained at the Ballet Montreal Performing Arts School under the direction of Paula Urrutia. She graduated from the Certificate Program at The Ailey School in May 2017. She has had the opportunity to work with Ephrat Asherie, Brice Mousset, Matthew Rushing, Clifton Brown, Jon Ole Olstad, and Jacqulyn Buglisi, and to perform works by Alvin Ailey. She is a founding member of contemporary dance theater company MICHIYAYA Dance. Bellali was recently an understudy dancer for The Hard Nut 2017 with the Mark Morris Dance Group, and is on faculty with the School at the Mark Morris Dance Center. Bellali's works have been performed at Lincoln Center and at international competitions. This Spring, she was awarded 1st Place Choreography Excellence Award at the American Dance Awards. It is a dream for her to have this opportunity to explore the relationship between her career and her faith.

Hala Shah is a choreographer, dancer, writer, and Gyrotonic trainer. Recent works include "Red Tide," for the Voices Transposed: Refugee Crisis Benefit Concert at Manhattan Movement and Arts Center, and her award-winning solo “Oscillate." In 2014, she choreographed “Mashrabiya” for LaGuardia Performing Arts Center's Beyond Sacred program, and has also presented her work through Periapsis Music and Dance Open Series, the JCC Manhattan, and Nimbus Dance Works. Hala previously danced with Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company and El Teatro de Danza Contemporanea, and has performed on tour in Jordan and Central America. She began dancing at Campbelltown School of Dance with Lynne Leis, and later trained at the Washington School of Ballet and studied flamenco dance with José Greco. She holds a BA in journalism and Middle Eastern studies from NYU, and a MFA in Dance from NYU/Tisch School of the Arts. She has also written for Dance Magazine and Dance Teacher magazine.


Undesirable Elements is an ongoing series of community-specific interview-based theater works examining issues of culture and identity of individuals who are outsiders within their mainstream community. It's not a traditional play or documentary-theater project performed by actors. Instead, Undesirable Elements is presented as a chamber piece of story-telling; a “seated opera for the spoken word” that exists as an open framework that can be tailored to suit the needs and issues facing any community. The script is performed by the interviewees themselves, many of whom have never before spoken publicly. Since 1992, there have been over 40 productions in the series. Learn more here.