a dialogue with doulas, dancers, and caregivers


Moderated by Risa Shoup with panelists Anna Carapetyan, devynn emory, Robert Kocik, and iele paloumpis.

This Studies Project will bring together dance artists who also work in the field of care-giving: end-of-life, beginning-of-life, navigators of illness and wellness. Why do many dancers become doulas? What is the overlap between guiding bodies through the cycles of life, and guiding bodies through space? What is it that draws dance artists to this profession? How do we acknowledge the specific needs of different communities and that all care is not equal/universal?


Anna Carapetyan has collaborated and performed with many wonderful choreographers in her nearly 13 years in New York. For the past few years she has also been working as a doula, supporting new and growing families through preparations for birth, labor and delivery, and throughout the postpartum period. She is a volunteer full-spectrum doula with the Doula Project.

devynn emory is a New York dancer, choreographer, and healer. Their company devynnemory/beastproductions uses mapping and psychoanalysis to locate the self and other. emory is also a freelance dance artist most recently working with Andrea Geyer, Gerard & Kelly, Tere O’Connor and Yanira Castro. emory holds a license in both Eastern and Western massage therapy, and has been in practice for 14 years as Sage Massage Therapy, offering an “all bodies welcome” safe space. emory is currently working as a patient advocate at New York Methodist Hospital, and is soon to be entering a third year in studying nursing.

Robert Kocik is a poet and design/builder. He is co-founder (with choreographer Daria Faïn) of the Prosodic Body—an experiential field of research and practices interrelating language, movement, individual fulfillment and social transformation. He co-directs and is librettist for the Commons Choir—a multi-lingual, multi-racial troupe performing investigative musicals. In keeping with his belief that “business” is a proper and imperative artistic medium, he has created a business for each letter of the alphabet. His writings include Supple Science (ON Contemporary Practice, 2013,) E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, 2012) Rhrurbarb (Field Books, 2007) and Overcoming Fitness (Autonomedia, 2001.)

iele paloumpis is a dance artist, educator, intuitive healer and death doula. Their works have been presented through Brooklyn Arts Exchange, New York Live Arts, Dixon Place, the Flea Theater, Movement Research, Painted Bride Art Center, Franklin Street Works, and Taubman Arts, among others. They’ve danced for artists including niv Acosta, devynn emory, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko, Jen McGinn, Sebastienne Mundheim, Katy Pyle, Emily Wexler, and Nina Winthrop. iele has studied Tarot since 1996, most recently under Eva Yaa Asantewaa. In 2006, iele received a BA from Hollins University and in 2016 they earned a certificate from Deanna Cochran’s Accompanying the Dying program.

Risa Shoup is the Executive Director of Fourth Arts Block. Risa has worked as an administrator, curator and leader in the NYC arts community since 2005. In recent years, she has done extensive consulting work on the intrinsic and instrumental impact of the arts on community development. Most recently, she became a lead-facilitator of the NYC Real Estate Investment Cooperative. She has a masters in City & Regional Planning from Pratt Institute and is on the board of The Invisible Dog Art Center.