Hiroko Kelly (she/her/hers) is a biracial woman from the Deep South, who has found herself with a desire to create art that represents hybridity, fluidity of life, and how these can nuance identity. As a first generation Japanese American, she has found a yearning for nomadic forms that reflect the swaths of distance covered by her ancestors. She believes in the limitlessness and the power that comes when you cast away assumptions about the body and identity, and the catalyst it creates in public spheres through movement that helps us collectively find joy, light, love throughout our lives. Hiroko translates these values into her work as a moving artist, emerging choreographer, researcher, mixed-media sculptor, and an arts administrator.
In 2017, Hiroko received her BA from Kennesaw State University in dance, with a concentration in ballet. During her studies she was able to work with world renowned choreographers, like Ido Tadmor, Lisa Lock, and Ivan Pulinkala. Through the KSU dance program, she was awarded the opportunity to study abroad with the Batsheva Dance Company, learning various repertory from former company members. While she had a deep passion for dance, she felt a larger pull towards social activism and community. It was through the social arts platform, glo, first as a moving artist (2014-2022) and later as an artistic associate (2023), that she was able to combine these passions of dance and social activism. Many might consider her major accomplishments as a moving artist to being awarded first place in the XII Florence Biennale, a 6-week residency at the High Museum of Art (2019), or Creative Time’s Drifting in Daylight (2015) in Central Park, she considers her greatest accomplishments to be found in the Rural South. She believes the movement choirs made with children in the town of Marion, the choreographic mappings around the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, and many more small moments that have been shared through civic action with the public are her greatest accomplishments.
Now, she is invested to carry these values and arts practice to reflect her own experiences and use movement as a means for social change. To further develop these social activist skills, in 2021 Hiroko decided to pursue her master’s degree in Urban and Public Affairs from the University of San Francisco, completing her degree in May of 2023. She continues to decolonize movement practices, dedicating herself to her community and family.
Hiroko joins DanceATL as Community Engagement Coordinator and to facilitate our new Engaging Atlanta Fellowship program! Welcome Hiroko!