Continue scrolling or click on the 'About' content links to jump ahead to any section on this page. 



"Is dance essential?" A transformational diverse dance company asks the question while facing immense obstacles trying to launch. The Gibney dance artists and Gina Gibney herself, confront their own inner demons - looking deep within themselves - “shaking their bones” to uphold their passionate devotion to their art, while expected to give back to society and the field as social justice warriors. 

SHAKE THESE BONES takes place in New York City as the Gibney Company doubles its ensemble size and prepares for a World Premiere Program at the Joyce Theater featuring not one but three new works by choreographers TONY® Award winner Sonya Tayeh, Alan Lucien Øyen, and Rena Butler. 

SHAKE THESE BONES showcases the unique world of Gibney Company’s dance artists: different in backgrounds, races, and ages—yet all bold individuals with a passionate devotion to art and a desire to give back through social justice causes.  

The film opens in March of 2020 as Gibney Company, an American repertory based in New York City, embarks on its first major expansion,  auditioning hundreds of dancers from around the world vying for just six new full time principal member opportunities, "Artistic Associates", as well as commissioning three new original productions. The ambitious next phase for Gibneydecades in the making and acute in the aftermath of the murder of George Floydis origin story enough for a film documenting the transformative journey of such a prestigious arts institution. 

Two weeks later, New York City and the world are shutdown. 

All the creatives involvedthe Gibney Company, choreographers, and film productionpivot instinctively, transforming their process and experiences in real time in the height of a public health crisis.  The story of the film becomes a tale of virtuosity and regeneration amid one of the deadliest global pandemics in history.

It's not easy. The dancers find themselves confined to their apartments initially, or forced to move home with parents far away from the city, in order to quarantine. Unable to connect with one another, and facing an unknown future, SHAKE THESE BONES follows the company’s private battles, deep reflections,  dazzling artistryand collective determination as they eventually head back to the studio, to reach their goal—to premiere at the world-renowned Joyce Theatre.  The resident ensemble readies three new commissioned works by choreographers: Tony Award® winner Sonya Tayeh ; Alan Lucien Øyen; and Rena Butler.

And on their way, there is internal strife; a company member who advances to guest choreographer, Rena Butler, feels the pressure of being a company member while her star is rising beyond Gibney. Nigel Campbell, who created his own non-profit, MOVE |NYC|, which strives for greater representation for people of color in the dance community, and Amy Miller are sunsetting in their careers as dancers, and must reflect on what the future holds. Zui Gomez wonders why she dances at all, as she is cast as an understudy for a company she has been part of for years.  She brightens, "I get to this point of level in my performances where I’m literally doing the motions, and it’s almost as if my soul walked out and I could see myself.” And on their way, there is magic. 

SHAKE THESE BONES is a testament to the resilience of the artistic spirit, and to the sheer determination of mind and body to express, to achieve, to give back. The film is a shimmering ode to the fine artsdance and cinema in particular; and to New York City, consolation, and abiding intention. 


Directed by Olga Lvoff; cinematography by Daniel Kharlak with Greg Joblove and Jesus Luna assisting; edited by Olga Lvoff with Gerson Legend; and Xander B, and Maya Velazquez assisting; written by Amy Sewell; sound by Jonathan Lau; post production mixing/sound design by Garret Harkawik; post production by Stephen Czaja;  produced by Amy Sewell and Stephanie Troise Walter; associate produced by Liam Mejia Moran with Marvin Hernandez assisting; executive produced by Bethany Menzies and John Williams; release date TBD, 2024. Running time: 75 minutes. This documentary film is rated G. WITH: Alexander Anderson, Rena Butler, Nigel Campbell, Zui Gomez, Amy Miller, Jesse Obremski, Kevin Pajarillaga, Marla Phelan, Jie-hung Connie Shiau, Jacob Thoman, Jake Tribus, Leal Zielińska (Gibney Company Artistic Associates, 2020-2021 season); Gina Gibney (Gibney Company Founder, Artistic Director & CEO ); Amy Miller, Nigel Campbell, Gilbert T Small II (Gibney Company Directors); Sonya Tayeh (Tony Award® winner Choreographer); Alan Lucien Øyen (Choreographer); Rena Butler (Guest Choreographer); The Bengsons (Musicians); SUPPORT FROM: The Studio @ Reel Works and The Ready Foundation 


This story is not only about dance. This story IS dance. In all its essentiality, we have brought to life a visually rich and dynamic work of art. 

The contrasting, abstracted bodies in motion, interspersed with beautiful cityscapes, street scenes and quiet, understated interviews, conveys surprising and subtle differences in our diverse, colorful subjects. The dynamism of run-and-gun, guerilla-style photography combined with painterly compositions, gives the film a sense of scale that exceeds what such minimal production resources and skeleton crews typically achieve. 

Our intimate and verité style utilizes extended takes and on-the-fly blocking to launch the viewer into our dancers’ world. Complementary interviews, engaging with naturalistic light sources and a traditional 3-point lighting set-up, enmesh the commentary as an organic and unobtrusive part of this narrative. Alongside image, the soundtrack interweaves original compositions with a blend of ethereal, new-alt pieces, transporting seasoned viewers into a world of auditory exploration. 

SHAKE THESE BONES is a thought provoking, audiovisual choreography, with the ambitious but delicate voice to uplift the Gibney story in all its moving parts.


Amy Sewell and Stephanie Troise Walter



Bethany Menzies, SHAKE THESE BONES Executive Producer, originated the genesis for a documentary about Gibney Dance Company at a cultural milestone and threshold, and approached filmmaker, Amy Sewell  (MAD HOT BALLROOM) in December of 2019. Backing was secured by January 2020 and production began in February with immersive participation by the Reel Works Junior Workforce, led by The Studio @ Reel Works Founder and Executive Director Stephanie Troise Walter. Covid-19 hit in March. The documentary spans the Company's journey through the pandemic to opening night, soaring from its innate sensitivity to beauty and exceptional talent.

The Ready Foundation


Studio @ Reel Works


The Studio @ Reel Works, with the support of The Ready Foundation, two nonprofits that support young people, chronicled the ascent of this reimagined Gibney Company


Gibney’s story began in 1991, when choreographer Gina Gibney founded her socially active dance company with a single dance studio to call home. The organization has rapidly evolved into a performing arts and social justice powerhouse. Gibney’s mission is to tap into the vast potential of movement, creativity, and performance to effect social change and personal transformation. The mission comes to life through a stunning social justice dance company -- Gibney Company, impactful Community initiatives, and thriving performing arts Centers. The documentary focuses on Gibney Company’s growth and transformation into a world class diverse repertory dance company, through the trials and tribulations of the unexpected pandemic, rightful but unsettling protests, a newly unstable government and volatile external financial events, leading up to its debut at The Joyce Theater. It features Founder Gina Gibney and Company Directors Amy Miller and Nigel Campbell, and explores each dancer’s story, highlights their varied backgrounds, and shares a few of the social justice issues they are each addressing through their advocacy fellowships, including gender-based violence, violence prevention among youth, dancers’ mental health, empowering queer youth, cultural leadership, and promoting diversity in the arts. Gibney Company is unique because of its equal focus on artistry, social justice, and entrepreneurship – a leader in the field.






McVeigh, Jody. "Pointe Native Produces Documentary about Dance: 'Shake These Bones' ." Grosse Pointe News, June 26, 2024

feature article and interview here

"Art in Tribeca: 'Shake These Bones' "Tribeca Citizen, May 21, 2024

feature article and interview here

NYWIFT New York Women in Film & TV 

NYWIFT congratulates NYWIFT members included in the Big Apple Film Festival 2024


June 2024

SHAKE THESE BONES **Virtual Screening Premiere**

Seattle Film Festival taking place in two phases: streaming via its Virtual Festival format Saturday, May 25 - Wednesday, June 12, 2024, and in-person June 20-23, 2024. Tickets available now! Viewer selects the time and device that works for them anytime* June 7 - June 12th! Make it a binge weekend!  Fun bonus: The SFF All Access Pass ticket ($15) means viewers can enjoy SHAKE THESE BONES plus dip in to curate their own weekend film festival from the full slate of films selected for the Seattle Film Festival 2024!

*Ticket time covers Friday 5 PM (EST) June 7th, 2024 until Monday at midnight (PT)  June 11 / 3 AM (ES) June 12 

MAY 2024


Big Apple Film Festival (BAFF) will take place on Opening Night May 20, 5:30 P.M. at Look Dine-In Cinemas, located at 657 W 57th Street New York, NY 10019.  






please contact


(646) 861-0843


Printable PDF

May 21/June 5, 2024 Press Release (PDF) Announcing SHAKE THESE BONES Official Selection at Seattle Film Festival and Screening news here 

SHAKE THESE BONES_ Seattle Film Festival 2024_feature documentary_2024 June 5. PR CR. cryanaid.com.pdf

Printable PDF

May 3, 2024 Press Release (PDF) Announcing SHAKE THESE BONES World Premiere at Big Apple Film Festival here

2024 May 3_SHAKE THESE BONES World Premiere_BAFF screening May 20_PR CR.pdf

May 5, 2024 printable flyer reminders w/BAFF screening info Print and share (8.5 x 11):

BAFF_SHAKE THESE BONES_printable flyer_Screening reminder.pdf

Flyer scaled for email sharing (.jpg):

Advising: cryanaid.com