Tuesday, July 30, 2013

11:30 am – 12:50 pm: Stephen A Jarislowsky Studio

“Transits from Capoeira Kinesthetic Experience in Contemporary Dance”
with Odilon José Roble, Cidade Universitaria Zeferino Vaz – Barão Geraldo,
Karen Adrie de Lima, Káthia Áurea da Silva, & Jéssica Bonvino e Silva

Odilon Roble ClassCapoeira is a Brazilian art form expressed through games, fights, and dance. In the Faculty of Physical Education at UNICAMP, we are developing research that shows Capoeira can provide support and new possibilities to other dance forms and research. Besides the physical aspects that are being explored and experienced, there are forms of aesthetic expression corresponding to Capoeira’s identity as an art form being investigated. The intent of this class is to provide a bridge between Capoeira and other dance forms. Therefore, this will not be a traditional Capoeira class, but rather an exploration of possible relationships between Capoeira and the dance field. We believe that this integration and exploration can help decentralize some of the static experiences in traditional dance practices by providing a new possible sources of movement experience. The class is open to any participant and does not required prior knowledge of Capoeira, though some dance experience is helpful.

Dr. ODILON JOSE ROBLE is a graduate in Philosophy and Physical Education and holds a PhD in Education. He is Professor of Physical Education and Humanities Department at the University of Campinas (Unicamp). Odilon teaches the in the disciplines of rhythm and bodily expression, and dance and philosophical aspects of human movement. His research explores themes of dance, capoeira, kinesthesia, and philosophy. He is the artistic director and choreographer of a dance group at Unicamp where he recently produced “Homeostase” (2011) and “Jeux” (2012). His research publications (2012) include “The body and movement as arrays of creation and knowledge: parallels between the Greek poiesis and the Schopenhauer’s vitalism,” “Kinesthesia and empathy as support methodology for research in dance,” and “Physical education in mental health: constructing development from an interdisciplinary perspective.”

2:00 pm – 3:20 pm: Bruce R. Birmingham Studio

“The Physical and Flowing Style of Paul Taylor: A Taste of Repertory Elements from the Taylor Canon”
  with Yoav Kaddar, West Virginia University

Considered to be one of the pillar modern dance styles, the Paul Taylor technique continues to serve as a corner stone for emerging dance styles of the 21st Century and is used as a foundation technique for training new generations of dancers. Taylor’s physical and flowing style will be at the foundation of this technique class that will take students from warm-up through a full combination merging this style of movement through a variety of repertory elements from the Taylor canon. For Intermediate/Advanced levels.

Yoav Kaddar Class 1Dr. YOAV KADDAR is the Director of the Dance Program at West Virginia University. He has been engaged in dance education for 25 years. Kaddar brings to the educational facet of his career the vast national and international experience he has as a performer and choreographer. A graduate of the Juilliard School, he has danced with the Jose Limon, Paul Taylor and Pilobolus dance companies to name a few. He has choreographed over 60 works both in dance and theatre. As an educator he has taught and given presentations at colleges, universities, dance festivals and conferences in the US and abroad. Dr. Kaddar recently led to the development of the first Dance major for the state of West Virginia. He also launched WVU’s first online dance course. He has presented research based on this course at the NDEO annual conference in 2012 and at the 2013 conference in October.

2:00 pm – 3:20 pm: Stephen A. Jarislowsky Studio

“Dance and Rhythm: What Happens Between Musical Notes and Our Bodies”
with Miranda Wickett, Western University/University of North Carolina Greensboro

In today’s world of dance education, there is a gap in knowledge between the music we dance to and how dancers understand it. Many dancers are not trained as highly in music theory (if at all) as they are in their physical practice. Because of this imbalance in training, many dancers have a terrific sense of intrinsic timing, but are unable to express themselves musically.  This class is a small step into music education for dancers, focusing on rhythmic acquisition exercises of dividing beats. Layering of this exercise can also be used as a skeleton of rhythmic based choreography. Closing the gap between the music/brain/body relationship and promoting a balance of kinesthetic and mental acuity, this class will have dancers and educators rethinking their relationship with music and rhythm in the classroom, in rehearsal and on stage. A discussion on engaging a highly-skilled generation of dancers who have increasing technical prowess but lack the building blocks of rhythm will be pursued if there is sufficient time.

Headshot - Miranda WickettWhen you meet MIRANDA WICKETT, you notice two things right away: enthusiasm and kindness. Her energy is contagious and she uses it to motivate others around her. Miranda’s ongoing passion is to create valuable learning experiences for students. Her diverse background provides her with a unique and innovative approach to dance education. She owned and operated a performing arts academy for close to a decade in London, Ontario, has worked in the education system (K-12) and now teaches at Western University, working extensively with the UW Opera and The Canadian Operatic Arts Academy. Her love for languages led her to train throughout Europe, the United States and Canada where she is active in many Associations. She holds two bachelor degrees and is completing her masters of dance education at University of North Carolina Greensboro. Equally at home discussing pedagogy, politics, performance and playtime, Miranda is a remarkable and unique educator.

3:30 pm – 4:50 pm: Bruce R. Birmingham Studio

“Embodied Knowing: Dance Ethnography as Movement Practice”
with Pegge Vissicaro, Arizona State University

Photo by Ari Roberto Vissicaro
Photo by Ari Roberto Vissicaro

Participants in this class will research their own movement practices through an ethnographic lens using methods and tools similar to that which an anthropologist may employ to study human cultures. Self-ethnography allows each individual to take an in-depth look to understand his or her dance behaviors and movement intentions as well as how one’s personal knowledge system informs preferences and biases. The dance of ethnography may be described as a lifelong comparative or cross-cultural process, which evolves and involves syntheses of opposites. People ‘know’ by relating new and unfamiliar information to what is already known. This concept, similar to the Eastern and indigenous philosophy of dualities, provides a foundation for the ethnographic movement experience and serves as a thread of connection to examine continuities and change. The class begins by creating a holistic, somatic-based framework to organize data documentation within emotional, intellectual, physical, and spiritual realms of knowing. Referencing those four categories of orientation, participant-ethnographers will explore interdisciplinary strategies using movement, drawing, field note taking, and interviewing to heighten awareness of one’s past information repertoire, present sensing experiences, and future creative encounters. The class concludes with dancing one’s data as a form of embodied qualitative analysis.

Since 1983, DR. PEGGY VISSICARO has been contributing to Arizona State University’s School of Dance as a movement artist, dance maker, curriculum developer, educator, researcher, and community leader. She facilitates courses for undergraduate and graduate students in movement, creative, and ethnographic practices. Vissicaro is a Fulbright Scholar and Specialist, directs her company terradance®, and is president of Cross-Cultural Dance Resources. Publications include her widely distributed text, Studying Dance Cultures around the World, a chapter in 2013 book, Age and Dancing, articles in the peer-reviewed journals Ethnic Studies Review, Australia New Zealand Dance Research Society, Multimedia Tools and Applications, and The Review of Human Factor Studies as well as numerous contributions to the Foundation for Community Dance magazine, Animated. Vissicaro has presented papers and lectures, taught master classes and conducted residencies in Ireland, Korea, Scotland, Portugal, France, Brazil, Canada, and throughout the United States.


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

10:00 am – 11:20 am: Stephen A. Jarislowsky Studio

“Temporary/Contemporary: Dance of the Moment”
with Robin Conrad, Fullerton College

This is an intermediate level contemporary modern technique class that will bring participants to the present moment of being in their bodies as well as the present moment of dance in our current world. Many influences that have brought us both individually and collectively to the emergence of the contemporary form will be explored. Instructor Robin Conrad, inspired by a variety of dance forms ranging from West African to Argentine Tango, as well as somatic practices like Pilates, gyrokinesis, and yoga, weaves together combinations that are both lively and safe. Designed to give conference-goers a chance to get out of their heads and into their bodies, the class will also encourage participants to reengage with the aspects of dance that speak to them most deeply.

ROBIN CONRAD is a Los Angeles-based choreographer and an Associate Professor at Fullerton College. Recent choreography projects include: multiple episodes of the hit ABC comedy Suburgatory, several dance sequences featuring Kristen Chenowith on ABC’s CGB; Sofia Coppola’s award-winning film Somewhere; numerous commercials and music videos for the bands White Stripes and Scissor Sisters. Robin has been mentioned in British Vogue, Interview and the New York Times Magazine for her work. Last year as the artist-in-residence at The Skirball Cultural Center, she created a performance based on the exhibit “Women Hold Up Half The Sky,” featuring members of her dance company, as well as girls from an underserved high school and women from a local homeless shelter. As a result of this project, Robin was an invited speaker at the American Association of Museums Conference. Robin’s concert choreography has been performed at numerous venues and festivals in Los Angeles and New York. For more on Robin’s credits and certifications, visit

11:30 am – 12:50 pm:  Bruce R. Birmingham Studio

“Complex Pathways, Simple Alignment, and Vigorous Attention”
with Carrie Hanson, The Seldoms & Columbia College Chicago

Photo by Kristie Kahns
Photo by Kristie Kahns

Contemporary technique classes with Carrie Hanson emphasize using the body’s weight to achieve momentum and distilling form through spatial clarity and activation. From the starting point of our personal interior space, we cultivate an enhanced awareness and play in three-dimensional space. We are attentive to space in both its function as a supportive container and a topography that the body rides. Shifting direction, plane, and level, the movement material alternately generates and disrupts flow. The material is athletic and plays with inversion, moving often into and away from the floor. The class information is grounded in and described in clear anatomical principles; an elevated awareness of individual anatomy and spatial geography are goals for each class. Carrie’s influences include Laban Movement Analysis and Bartenieff Fundamentals, yoga, release-based techniques, and her own early training as an athlete. The class is appropriate for intermediate-advanced dancers.

CARRIE HANSON is a dance artist and educator. Named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 To Watch” in 2012, she has led The Seldoms for over a decade. Time Out Chicago calls her “a virtuoso of meticulous composition” who makes “clear-edged, challenging dances”. Under the direction of Ms. Hanson, The Seldoms has gained a reputation for bold performance in unusual spaces such as cargo containers and truck depots and intelligent, meticulously researched issue-based works. Hanson was a Chicago Dancemaker’s Forum Lab Artist, has twice been awarded an Illinois Arts Council Choreographic Fellowship, and received a Ruth Page Award for Performance. Ms. Hanson has been commissioned by the National Theater of Mannheim, Germany, Chicago dance companies Same Planet Different World and LIVE ANIMALS, and has taken The Seldoms to Russia and Taiwan. She is faculty at The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, holds an MA in Dance Studies from Laban London and a BFA from Texas Christian University.

11:30 am – 12:50 pm: Stephen A. Jarislowsky Studio

“Talking Dance: Dancing Vocalized Rhythms”
  with Bageshree Vaze

Kathak dance originated in the royal court (darbar) era of India during the 17th century, but continues to be an evolving art. Dancers compose rhythmic syllabic language and interpret this language through dynamic movements, sparkling pirouettes, and intricate footwork. Much like other dance styles, movements and repertoire in the Kathak style became codified in the 20th century, but what makes Kathak unique is that each dancer creates in the moment through his or her unique spirit, adding a bit of their personality and experience through rhythmic and movement language and interpretation. In many ways, there are no boundaries to movement, and the style continues to evolve with non-conventional leaps, and more floorwork than is normally associated with the tradition.This class will introduce the non-Kathak student to the unique recited rhythmic language of Kathak, and allow those already versed in this dance style to discover new movement possibilities through this language. The class will cover the mechanics of footwork, movements and pirouettes, and participants will be given a rhythmic phrase to interpret individually, drawing from their own particular movement background.

Headshot - Bageshree VazeRaised in St. John’s, NL, but currently based in Toronto, Canada, BAGESHREE VAZE has trained with some of India’s foremost masters of dance and music such as the late T. K. Mahalingam Pillai (Bharatha Natyam), Pt. Birju Maharaj and Jaikishan Maharaj (Kathak dance) and Veena Sahasrabuddhe (Hindustani vocal). Bageshree has choreographed and performed numerous dance works and has three CDs to her credit including Tarana, an album of music for Indian dance that was released in India by Times Music under the name Khanak. Bageshree holds an M.A. in Dance from York University. In 2010, she was awarded the K.M. Hunter Award in Dance. Bageshree has performed in major festivals in Canada and abroad such as the CanAsian International Dance Festival and the ‘Vasantotsav’ festival in New Delhi. In 2012, Bageshree launched her ‘Spectrum’ series of multi-disciplinary art programming at the Harbourfront Centre through her organization Pratibha Arts and premiered her Kathak dance piece ‘Twilight’ at Dusk Dances in Toronto.

2:00 pm – 3:20 pm: Bruce R. Birmingham Studio

“Mining the Past to Ignite the Future: Reclaiming the Soul of Jazz”
  with Joanne Baker & Vicki Adams Willis, Decidedly Jazz Danceworks

For the past 29 years the artists of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks have been mining the rich and soulful history and traditions of jazz for its lost and dormant fundamental elements that we then weave into a contemporary context. We believe that in order to revitalize the art of jazz and propel it into the future with integrity, the intrinsic spirit of the form must be reclaimed. The core of our work is African-rooted, swing-based, rhythmically-focused, musically-propelled, and contemporary in nature.  Class participants will be introduced to the heart and driving tenets of our mandate while experiencing the soul-feeding, rhythmic, and celebratory essence of the form.  Class Level: Open

Headshot - Joanne BackerJOANNE BAKER, School of Decidedly Jazz Danceworks Principal and Arts in Education Coordinator, danced and toured nationally and internationally with Calgary’s Decidedly Jazz Danceworks from 1993 to 1999. Since 2001, Joanne has been the Dance School Principal for The School of Decidedly Jazz and in 2004, also became the organization’s Arts in Education Coordinator. Teaching has been her passion since 1993 and inspired by her DJD mentors, it has taken her across Canada conducting workshops and intensives at Halifax Dance (Halifax), Ryerson University and Metro Movement (Toronto), Harbour Dance Centre (Vancouver), Dance Manitoba (Winnipeg), and at home with DJD’s Jazz Immersions, June Jazz Intensives, and Professional Training Program. Joanne is currently a sessional instructor for the University of Calgary’s Dance Department, and teaches children, teens, and adults at the School of Decidedly Jazz as well as dance schools throughout Calgary.

Headshot - Vicki AdamsVICKI ADAMS WILLIS carries on a family tradition that began when her mother opened one of the first dance schools in Calgary in the 1920’s. Besides teaching and choreographing for countless local and international organizations, including The School at Jacob’s Pillow, Vicki founded the Jazz Division in the Faculty of Fine Arts’ Program of Dance at the University of Calgary in 1978, and co-founded Decidedly Jazz Danceworks in 1984. where she continued her role as Artistic Director for 29 years. As DJD begins its 30th Anniversary celebrations, Vicki enthusiastically embraces her new role in the organization, Founder in Residence. Some of her numerous honours include the University of Calgary’s Superior Teacher Award, Global Television’s Women of Vision Award, The City of Calgary’s Community Achievement Award for the Arts, and an Alberta Centennial Medal. Vicki was also named one of the University of Calgary’s Top 40 Alumni, received the Established Artist Award at the 2009 Mayor’s Evening for Business and the Arts and was invited to write the 2013 National Dance Week message for the Canadian Dance Assembly.

2:00 pm – 3:20 pm: Stephen A. Jarislowsky Studio

“Advanced Contemporary Technique”
by Christina Gonzalez-Gillett, The Seldoms

This advanced contemporary technique class uses Bartinieff Fundamentals as a starting point to build and prepare the body for standing work.  Dynamics are explored through traditional exercises and phrasework emphasizing Rudolf Laban’s concepts of flow, weight, space, and time.

CHRISTINA GONZALEZ-GILLETT is the Assistant Director of The Seldoms, a Chicago-based contemporary dance company. As Assistant Director, Christina teaches professional company class and also performs. She also teaches at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago. Christina holds a BFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a MA in Dance Studies from Trinity Laban in London, formerly the Laban Centre. She lived and worked in London before relocating to Chicago where she began working with The Seldoms. Christina holds a Graduate Certificate in Laban Movement Analysis and is a certified Pilates instructor.

3:30 pm – 4:50 pm: Bruce R. Birmingham Studio

“Choreography and Rethinking Fusion Dance”
with Min Kim, University of Texas-Pan American

In this choreography class, participants will discuss the idea of fusion in contemporary dance and experiment with various choreographic ideas to share their views on fusion. The idea of “intercultural fusion” in contemporary dance has been explored by many choreographers since the late 20th century. This trend has not only generated contemporary choreographers’ interest in world dance, but has also broadened the boundaries for traditional dance choreographers from non-Western cultures to be involved in contemporary dance. As globalization continues to affect the creativity of choreographers, more changes will occur in dance. How will we define contemporary dance in the future when thinking about fusion? Some questions to be explored in this workshop include: Where do we draw a line between traditional/ethnic dance and contemporary dance, and when does it become fusion dance? What makes dance fusion? Does movement, or music, or ethnicity of performers matter when defining fusion in dance? What is the meaning of creativity in fusion dance? Through several movement combinations and various genres of music, participants will explore their ideas on fusion.

Headshot - Min KimMIN KIM is a performer, choreographer, and filmmaker based in Edinburg, Texas. Working in a variety of dance forms and interdisciplinary performance, she has presented her work in various venues in Brazil, Spain, Korea, and throughout the United States. She has been a guest teacher at numerous institutions in the U.S., at the Beijing Dance Festival in China, and the Samsung Culture Center in Korea. Her research interests include interdisciplinary performance and the history and cultural politics of East Asian dance. Kim is currently an assistant professor of dance at the University of Texas-Pan American.



3:30 pm – 4:50 pm: Stephen A. Jarislowsky Studio

“On Breath”
with Kate Corby, University of Wisconsin-Madison

On Breath is a conceptual and anatomical body practice workshop focused on the thorax and breathing using imagery, partner work, and phrase material. The class is appropriate for any level of dancer and encourages mindful connections between the breath, dynamic alignment, and movement. The class will culminate in full-bodied phrase work.

KATE CORBY has shown her choreography extensively in the US and in Mexico, Brazil, Taiwan, and Hungary, where she traveled as a Fulbright fellow. Kate is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she teaches contemporary technique, somatics, composition, and improvisation. Her choreography has been called “ingenious” by the Chicago Reader and is consistently a Critics’ Pick in Time Out Chicago. Kate was also featured in Dance Magazine’s April 2011 issue as one of six choreographers “on the cusp of making waves in the larger dance world.” She completed her MFA at the University of Illinois at Urbana in 2007 and has served on the faculties of Beloit College, Columbia College Chicago and the Pedagogy Department of the Hungarian Dance Academy.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

10:00 am – 11:20 am: Stephen A. Jarislowsky Studio

“Beyond the Barre”
by Oniel Pryce

Photo by 360ARTISTS
Photo by 360ARTISTS

Jamaican dance educator Oniel Pryce presents Beyond the Barre, a contemporary fusion class exploring the barre’s possibilities (as prop/partner) in physically exhilarating and dynamic ways. This class takes a rambunctious approach to barre-work, moving from the traditional uses of the ballet barre as a lightly held aid for vertical balance, stability and alignment to more vigorous use of the barre as support for inversions and gravity-play. Participants will be guided in an evenly-paced series of carefully crafted warm-up exercises, paying specific attention to spinal mobility, detailed articulation of feet and arms, lengthening and strengthening of leg and core muscles, and the use of the breath for movement support. The class continues into more adventurous explorations which challenge participants to change levels through space while re-imagining their relationship to/ dependence on the barre. Throughout the class participants will be encouraged to safely investigate the central principle of Beyond the Barre, developing upper body and core strength while challenging gravity and shifting spatial perspectives. This emerging system of training grew from Pryce’s choreographic reconsideration of the barre as more than ‘light support’ in his very athletic and ambitious work,  “Barre Talk” (National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica – 2006 and 2011). This work led to his investigation of a barre-based methodology for training 21st century dancers in the risk-taking and athleticism needed for contemporary performance.

Headshot - Oniel PryceONIEL PRYCE holds a Diploma in Dance Education from The Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from the State University of New York – College at Brockport, and a Masters of Arts in Choreography from Trinity Laban. While living in the UK, Pryce taught dance in several primary and high schools and was faculty member at Irie Dance Theatre where he lectured in Caribbean Dance Studies and Performance. He is currently a full time lecturer at the Edna Manley College School of Dance in Jamaica and is Artistic Director of ‘Propel Dance Collective’, a graduate company of the College. Former company member with the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica (NDTC) and freelance dancer with several project based companies across the UK, Oniel’s career both as dancer and choreographer has been one guided by self discovery and exhausting possibilities in movement.

11:30 am – 12:50 pm: Stephen A. Jarislowsky Studio

“Impulse, Energy and Form: Integrating Movement and Voice”
  with Maxine Heppner, Across Oceans

Maxine Heppner’s integrated movement & voice technique is a development from contemporary dance and Linklater voice trainings for dance and physical practitioners who communicate first through physical expression, then by vocalizing. It is an effective alternate approach to training separately in dance and voice, allowing powerful muscular work needed for vigorous physical performance while opening internal pathways of ease for sound to resonates freely through the body.  Dance in our time now encompasses many forms of physically-based communication and this technique is particularly relevant for new modes of performance. The class starts with the premise that movement and voicing are indivisible and physical. We begin with impulse. Impulse sets energy in motion. Motion takes shape, direction, and space. Structures develop. Then it’s a matter of paying attention with open mind and senses so creation/interpretation begins, inside to outside, and between each one of us. Paricipants will explore exercises to awaken awareness, circulation, isolation and coordination of the moving body and the sounding body. Concepts of internal and external forms of impulse, energy and articulation are explored through guided individual practice, then applied to combinations (both movement and voice), followed by independent explorations and with witnesses, so participants can begin to make the work personally relevant.

MAXINE HEPPNER is a master teacher, mentor, and guest artist of contemporary dance and interdisciplinary performance in Canada and internationally and is known as a performer and creator of large-scale performance works (“audacious”) and intimate chamber pieces (“reaching a new state of mind”). Her company, Across Oceans, is dedicated to approaching art as a collaborative activity whose fundamental experience is a physical one. She teaches dance, integrated movement-voice technique, creative process, and choreography. Her personal practice, evolving since the 1970’s, has developed from training in classical, modern and contemporary dance, theatre, Linklater vocal technique, contemporary and traditional arts of Southeast Asia, Action Theatre of Ruth Zaporah, and research into neurological patternings and modes of experience with neurologist Tim Kennedy (Montreal Neurological Institute). This wide range of experiences has led to an approach that does not presume aesthetic preferences, but examines impulse, energy, and the expressive natures of their many forms.

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm: Studio 7

“Nancy Stark Smith’s Improvisational Underscore”
  with Elise Knudson, Yale University

Pre-meeting for the class.  See Class description for details.

2:00 pm – 3:20 pm: Bruce R. Birmingham Studio

“Technique + Choreography – Inseparable Acts”
by Amy Chavasse, University of Michigan

The question of technique:  I was sitting with a colleague observing a guest teacher giving a technique class to our students. The teacher was an accomplished professional with a solid reputation in the “downtown” dance scene in New York. My colleague said, dismissively, “this is not technique, it’s choreography”, as he watched. I have turned this comment over in my head since then, and have become fixated on determining the difference, if indeed there is one, between “technique” and “choreography”.

How can we animate our choices? How do we cultivate specificity and attention to detail with humor and imagination?  These are questions that can motivate our actions in technique class and in the creative process. Challenging assumptions about sequencing and habitual pathways offer inventive, vivid, and  unexpected movement qualities, loosening our attachment to familiar or recognizable results. These are qualities of value in both technique and choreography. Why should these practices be separate?  This class will explore building extended phrases of idiosyncratic movement with both set and improvised material, offering a physical experience that is rhythmically, intellectually and creatively rich choices.

AMY CHAVASSE, Associate Professor of Dance, choreographer, performer, educator, improviser, storyteller and Artistic Director of Chavasse Dance & Performance joined the faculty at University of Michigan in 2006. She has been a guest artist / faculty member at numerous institutions, including Middlebury College, Arizona State, Virginia Commonwealth, and University of NC School of the Arts. She has taught at Florence Summer Dance since 2007, and will teach an improvisation/ composition intensive with Peter Schmitz at ProDanza Italia, July 8-13, 2013 in Castiglioncello, Italy. She has taught internationally at Duncan 3.0 (Rome), the Beijing Dance Festival and the American Dance Festival/Henan (summer 2012. As Artistic Director of ChavasseDance&Performance, her work has been presented throughout the U.S. including Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out, in Cuba, Lithuania, Italy, Vienna, and Cali, Colombia. She’s danced in many companies and independent projects in NC, DC and NYC, and with Bill Young/ Colleen Thomas Dancers and Laura Dean Dancers and Musicians. She received her BFA from the University of NC School of the Arts and her MFA from the University of Washington.

2:00 pm – 3:20 pm: Stephen A. Jarislowsky Studio

“Four Points of Composition in Tango Dance”
  with Maria Elena Anllo, Maria Florencia Ciliberto, Alejandra Garavito, & Graciela Miquelez

This class will explore the relationships between the basics of traditional Tango dance technique, contemporary dance technique, stylization, and bodily expression by examining how commonalities and divergent elements of speed, dynamics, rhythm, energy, trajectory, design, and space can brought together into new cohesive forms. This class will also explore how cultural manifestations can enrich and reaffirm the dance community by investigating how movement within both performance and social activity is fundamental to the experience of space. To explore these concepts, the class will be an experiment of choreographic composition in four parts: the individual, couple, group, and community. The class is open to all levels and background.

Heaadshot - Maria AnlloMARIA ELENA ANLLO is a Professor of Tango Technique for the degree in Choreographic Composition at the Universidad Nacional Del Arte, IUNA, Buenos Aires, Argentina; where she also received her BA degree in Choreographic Composition. She is also a Professor of Classical Dance Technique at Escuela De Danzas A. V Mastrazzi for the Buenos Aires Government in Argentina. She is currently studying for a specialization in dance from the Universidad Nacional De La Plata Unlap, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Maria has enjoyed acting as an interpreter in international festivals in Tokyo, Nagasaki, Japan, Seul, South Korea, France, Hannover Germany, and Brazil and was awarded the Friendship Award from the students of ONU, Seul, Korea. In 2011, she participated in the World Dance Alliance-Americas Conference & Festival in Antigua Guatemala at the Centro de Cooperación Española and Universidad Rafael Landívar, Guatemala.

MARIA FLORENCIA CILIBERTO holds a BA in Choreographic Composition with a focus in Body Expression from the I.U.N.A  Departamento de Artes del Movimiento, CABA,  Argentina.  Post Graduate work includes programs in the Diversity Art at the Instituto Superior de Enseñanza Artística, CABA, Argentina (2012); Education Certification for Professionals and Technical Institutions from the Instituto de Enseñanza Superior “Juan B. Justo,” CABA, Argentina (2012-present); and Dance Specialization-Training in Choreographic Production Analysis at UNLP, La Plata, Argentina.  She has been an invited instructor of Cátedra Recursos Sonoro del Lic, Darío Valle, (IUNA), CABA, Argentina; had a paper published in the Jornada de Study of de la Performance; and exhibited at the Congreso Argentino Musicoterapia, ASAM, CABA, Argentina.

Headshot - Alejandra GaravitoALEJANDRA GARAVITO is a dancer and emerging choreographer from Guatemala. She graduated from the Escuela Nacional de Danza in Guatemala City as a contemporary dancer. She also has a Diploma in Performing Arts from the Universidad San Carlos de Guatemala. Alejandra has studied different dance techniques in Guatemala, England and Argentina. Currently she is getting her BA in Clinical Psychology and works at the Center for Dance and Movement Research as assistant director and co-coordinator for the Community Dance Project.




GRAQCIELA MIQUELEZ has been studying and teaching the Native and Folkloric dances of her region since 1968.  She was on staff at the National Dance School of Argentina from 1979 to 2099 and also taught Choreographic Expression and Popular Music in the Corporeal Expression degree program at IUNA from 1996 to 2009.  She has participated and presented at various international folkloric festivals in the USA, China, Mexico, and South Korea.  Currently she is studying Dance and Analysis in Choreographic Production at the Universidad de La Plata.

3:30 pm – 4:50 pm: Bruce R. Birmingham Studio

“Dance Fusion: When East Meets West”
  with Zihao Li

This dance class blends Western contemporary dance technique with Eastern Arts – Qi Gong and meditative breathing exercise that is derived from Tai Qi. The fusion of these two distinctive practices aims to help students personalize their movement and find their own artistic voice. “Qi” stands for air and breath in Chinese and “Gong” relates to practice, or gaining skill through practice. The class begins with a meditative circle in which participants explore the origins of movement with a focus on non-traditional dance vocabulary, words, and sound. Then, the class proceeds to a series of both calm and vigorous center and across the floor exercises before moving to the culminating activity, which is based on the material they have learned in class. At this point, choreographic strategies will be given by the instructor. This workshop offers an opportunity for participants to rediscover dance while challenging them to think beyond conventional realms of dance, choreography, and imagination.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADr. ZIHAO LI is a dancer, educator, and researcher based in Toronto, Canada. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts ‘Honours’ in Hong Kong, a Bachelor of Education, and a Masters of Arts from York University. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. As a dancer, he has performed with several world renowned dance companies including the German Hamburg Ballet. As an educator, he has taught at different institutions and professional dance companies including Beijing Dance Academy, Liaoning Ballet, Tokyo Arts Center, York University, University of Toronto, and University of Wisconsin – Madison. As a scholar, he frequently presents at a variety of conferences, contributes to different publications and belongs to interdisciplinary research groups in Canada and worldwide. As a writer, his book: Endangered Species: High School Males in Dance is currently under review by the University of Toronto Press.

3:30 pm – 4:50 pm: Stephen A. Jarislowsky Studio

“Breath Support and the Bartenieff Fundamentals”
with Sabrina Castillo Gallusser, Center for Dance and Movement Research, Universidad Rafael Landívar

“Movement rides on the flow of the breath” -Imgard Bartenieff

Photo by Eliseo Molina
Photo by Eliseo Molina

Breath support is one of the concepts that underlies the Bartenieff Fundamentals. Under this framework, participants will learn an embodied approach of the anatomy of breath and the pre-concepts of hollowing and navel yielding. In a somatic atmosphere, this class will help participants understand about the ways in which they breathe. It will also aid in the process of discovering possibilities for its transformation. Breath, the most fundamental movement and a ground for any other movement is sometimes overlooked in dance. Somatic practices have discussed and experienced the importance of breath for a healthy body/mind practice, something essential for dancers who are usually immersed in an environment of repetition and physical demand. In the spirit of this conference we can be reminded that a basic bodily process such as breath is the ground for engaging and expanding thus involving and evolving.

SABRINA CASTILLO GALLUSSER is founder and director of the Center for Dance and Movement Research, Universidad Rafael Landívar, in Guatemala City. Castillo Gallusser studied a BS from Universidad del Valle de Guatemala, an MSc from Rutgers with additional graduate studies at UC Berkeley with a Rotary International Scholarship, and a PhD in Phenomenology from Universidad Rafael Landívar. She is a certified movement analyst from the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies and an ISMETA registered somatic movement educator. She is director and choreographer of Momentum, a contemporary dance company based in Guatemala City. Her work has been presented in the United States, France, El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, England and Mexico.
In 2009 she was a awarded a Fulbright grant to continue her research in somatics and phenomenology hosted by the Department of Philosophy at SUNY Stony Brook. In 2009, she received the National Order of Dance of Guatemala.


Friday, August 2, 2013

10:00 am – 11:20 am: Stephen A. Jarislowsky Studio

“Pilates for Dancers”
with Erin Scheiwe Rockwell, Belhaven University

Erin Rockwell Class 1An open level conditioning class for dancers based in the Pilates method and designed to provide participants with a relaxing yet intense full-body workout. Various exercises based on classical and dance specific Pilates repertoire will be presented as well as some facilitated partner work designed to aid in stretching and strengthening. Explanation through verbal, visual, and tactile imagery will enable the participant to achieve beneficial skeletal placement and efficient muscle engagement in order to support the physical demands on a dancer’s body. (Note: Participants may bring a mat, towel, or blanket to provide cushion during exercises if desired for personal comfort)

ERIN SCHEIWE ROCKWELL, a Specialty Instructor of dance at Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi, holds a BA in dance from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN and a MFA from California State University, Long Beach. She is certified in Pilates with Body Arts and Science International, training under master Pilates instructor and dance scientist, Karen Clippinger, who developed a dance specific repertoire based on classical Pilates technique. With a background in both Pilates and dance, Rockwell enjoys working with diverse populations, tailoring programs in order to help individuals achieve their specific conditioning goals. Artistically, Rockwell concentrates on creating and performing dance works for both stage and screen. Her choreography has been presented around her home state of Colorado and across the Unites States from Los Angeles to New York City. She is co-founder and co-director of Front Porch Dance (, a contemporary dance collective established in 2008.

11:30 am – 12:50 pm: Bruce R. Birmingham Studio

“Movement and I: Listening to the Body of Individuals and Groups”
with Maria Florencia Ciliberto

This class will begin by exploring the basic movements inherent in locomotion while observing individual body alignments. Movement exploration will progress through various spatial levels in both small and large spaces; spatial designs of linear, circular, and zig-zag paths; and how the center of gravity can generate impulses to move, turn, jump, fall, and stop. Listening techniques will be explored by the individual, couples, and in groups; culminating in an improvisational synthesis of the elements explored to create a short choreography. The class is open to all levels and background.

MARIA FLORENCIA CILIBERTO holds a BA in Choreographic Composition with a focus in Body Expression from the I.U.N.A  Departamento de Artes del Movimiento, CABA,  Argentina.  Post Graduate work includes programs in the Diversity Art at the Instituto Superior de Enseñanza Artística, CABA, Argentina (2012); Education Certification for Professionals and Technical Institutions from the Instituto de Enseñanza Superior “Juan B. Justo,” CABA, Argentina (2012-present); and Dance Specialization-Training in Choreographic Production Analysis at UNLP, La Plata, Argentina.  She has been an invited instructor of Cátedra Recursos Sonoro del Lic, Darío Valle, (IUNA), CABA, Argentina; had a paper published in the Jornada de Study of de la Performance; and exhibited at the Congreso Argentino Musicoterapia, ASAM, CABA, Argentina.

11:30 am – 12:50 pm: Stephen A. Jarislowsky Studio

“Cross Cultural Contemporary Dance”
with Petagay Letren, University of Trinidad and Tobago

This class embodies contemporary dance of the 21st century by integrating a broad range of movement styles and techniques including modern, ballet, dancehall, and traditional Caribbean and West African folkloric dance.  Participants will be encouraged to explore the processes of embracing momentum, gyration of the pelvis, angulation of the spine, and movement in polyrhythm. Throughout the exploration of these processes, dancers will be guided in freeing as much tension as possible from the muscles and joints while working with contemporary Caribbean music.  Participants will explore use of breath and momentum, working with and against gravity, performance of social Caribbean dance styles such as dancehall, and other more traditional cultural vocabulary from the Caribbean and West Africa. Class begins with breathing and articulation of the spine exercises. This is followed by a series of plié, tendu, and degage combinations which will require participants to move through a fluid alignment, direction change, and play with the rhythm.  From here the class progresses to engage gravity with the participants laying on the floor and transitioning to an upright standing position, all while infusing cultural dance vocabulary.  Finally, dancers will gyrate the pelvis, embrace and challenge gravity, and transition from contemporary to traditional modern to dancehall and West African movement vocabulary within a phrase and movement combination.

PETAGAY LETREN holds an MFA in choreography from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she also received the Kristina Larson Scholarship for choreography research. She completed the Jant-Bi training course in African Contemporary dance and continues her investigations into African contemporary dance and the influences of folkloric forms on contemporary dance in the 21st century. Past teaching credentials include Florida International University, University of the West Indies at St. Augustine, and Miami Dade College. She currently is a visiting artist at University of Trinidad and Toabgo. Additionally Petagay is the director of Harambee Inc., a non-profit organizations based in South Florida which provides an array of programs and services for the advancement of the arts and sciences including classes in traditional West African dance and drumming. Harambee Inc. has also facilitated numerous programs, cultural events, and workshops including The South Florida African Dance Collective, Let’s Dance Together, Dance Extravaganza, and Dance et tom-tom.

1:00 pm – 3:30 pm: Stephen A. Jarislowsky Studio

“Nancy Stark Smith’s Improvisational Underscore”
  with Elise Knudson, Yale University

Participants who wish to attend this class need to attend the Pre-Meeting held Thursday, August 1 @ 1:00 pm -2:00pm in Studio 7.

Underscore is a framework for practicing and researching dance improvisation that Nancy Stark Smith has been developing since the 1990’s. Nancy Stark Smith first trained as an athlete and gymnast, leading her to study and perform modern and postmodern dance in the early 1970s, greatly influenced by the dance/theater improvisation group the Grand Union and the Judson Dance Theater breakthroughs of the 1960s in New York City. She danced in the first performances of Contact Improvisation in NYC and has since been central to its development as a dancer, teacher, performer, organizer, and writer/publisher, working extensively over the years with Steve Paxton and others. Rather than a traditional class or meditation, Underscore is a format that guides dancers through a series of “changing states,” from solo deepening/releasing to gravity, through group interaction, Contact Improvisation engagements, opening out into full group improvisation with compositional awareness, and back to rest and reflection. Underscore participants are required to attend a “talk-through” prior to their first Underscore during which the format is explained. The Underscore can be seen as a vehicle for incorporating Contact Improvisation into a broader arena of improvisational practice. Because of its open structure, it is also a vehicle for cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural exchange, with the 12th annual Global Underscore drawing participants from four continents for a simultaneous webcasted practice on June 23rd, 2013.

ELISE KNUDSON is a dance artist living and working in New York City. Originally inspired by Nikolais technique, her training and interests have shifted towards improvisation in performance. She is a cofounder of Antititled Dialogues, a collective platform for monthly improvisational performance. Prior to her resurgence of interest in improvisation, Elise created over thirty long and short works which have been presented nationally and internationally. She recently earned an MFA in dance through the Hollins University ADF/MFA low residency program. Elise has danced with Risa Jaroslow, Jody Oberfelder, Noemie LaFrance, Koosil-ja/DanceKumiko, and most recently Tiffany Mills Dance Company.

2:00 pm – 3:20 pm: Bruce R. Birmingham Studio

“Aerial and Contemporary Dance Interdisciplinary Training”
by Bala Sarasvati, University of Georgia

& CORE Concert Dance Company

Photo by CORE Concert Dance Company
Photo by CORE Concert Dance Company

This class and presentation will provide information and movement experiences regarding aerial and contemporary dance integration. Floor work, level change, across-the-floor and partnering exercises will encompass concepts and processes originating from applied theory and practice of Laban and Bartenieff theories, supplemental training strategies and performance enhancement principles. Through contemporary and aerial dance fusion, several somatic interrelationships (such as subtle physical processes, motional properties, space projection and dynamic shaping) are supported, which can further inform and empower young dance artists in this process. A short film will show several aerial applications and how this fusion can create unique motion, momentum and expression. Prior to the class, participants may wish to view Baladance Channel on You Tube.

BALA SARASVATI (AKA Shelley Shepherd), Jane Willson Professor in the Arts at The University of Georgia is Artistic Director of CORE Concert Contemporary and Aerial Dance Company. She is a Certified Movement Analyst (CMA) specializing in the application of movement theory to aerial and dance. She holds BFA degree from the University of Utah, MA and MFA from Ohio State University. She has served on the faculty for the Jose Limon Dance Institute, Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies, Seattle Dance Centre and Universidad Nacional Graduate Program in Dance, Heredia, Costa Rica (2007-2011). She has taught and presented dance throughout the US and China, and in Australia, France, UK, Brazil and Taiwan. Her choreography has been shown at many NYC and Atlanta venues; the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Centro Choreographfico, Rio de Janeiro; for the Robert Osborne Classic Film Festival; and at ACDFA, CORD, NDEO, LIMS and WDA events.

3:30 pm – 4:50 pm: Bruce R. Birmingham Studio

“Moving Against Genocide: Dance Composition and Genocidal Studies Unite”
by Melissa Rolnick, Gustavus Adolphus College

Moving Against Genocide was initially created in 2009 and later performed at the Deitrich Bonhoeffer International Conference on Human Rights in the Twin Cities in 2010.  The project began as the collaboration between the Center for Holocaust and Genocidal Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and the Department of Theatre and Dance at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN.  A social justice focus was infused into the study of “group forms” for an intermediate level composition class.  Holocaust and genocide survivors shared their personal stories with the students.  Survivor narratives and archival literature became the source material from which the students generated movement.  The workshop will address the teaching method that was used to support the students in their task of creating a group dance generated from survivor stories/literature.  A balance was sought between teaching the necessary curriculum to support students in their choreographic investigation and infusing the curriculum with specific content about genocide.  A break down of that methodology will be examined experientially by having participants work collaboratively in small groups to enable the condensed methodology to unfold.

MELISSA C. ROLNICK has a BFA from Purchase College, SUNY and a MFA from Mills College. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Dance at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, MN. She has performed with many notable choreographers including Cliff Keuter, Elina Mooney, Ruth Davidson-Hahn, Joe Goode, Mel Wong and Margaret Jenkins. She has been on the faculty at Western Washington University, Fresno State, and Arizona State where she received the Distinguished Teaching Award. Her choreography has been produced at Dancers’ Group in San Francisco., Sonoma State, CSU Fresno, Cornish College, Kaleidoscope Dance, and On the Boards: 12 Minutes Max in Seattle, ASU, U of T Pan American, and Gustavus Adolphus College. She has presented at many conferences including NDEO, CORD and WDA. She is a life-long dancer who has also studied extensively in Yoga and Authentic Movement. Recent studies in Gaga have been transformative.

3:30 pm – 4:50 pm: Stephen A. Jarislowsky Studio

“Vogue For Your Life”
by Damon Green, The Seldoms

Vogueing was a dance style born in the nightlife of New York City’s black and Latino queer community. This dance style emulates and mimics a variety of gestures and poses to embody opulence and femininity with punctuation’s of fluid movement vocabulary.  In this class, students with explore the different styles and technique that live within the movement of Vogue and channel a different “Fierce” experience. Students will exercise strength, stamina and precision of a Voguer, while maintaining a graceful and eloquent dance battle with other peers to experience this truly urban form of dance.

DAMON D. GREEN was born in Champaign, Illinois, where his dance education and training began at The Christine Rich Studio in classical ballet and jazz. and with the Champaign Park District under Kimberly Burson. Green furthered his education at Columbia College Chicago, where he was introduced to Modern/Contemporary, African, and Vogue dance. Vogueing is currently Damon’s specialty and he continues to explore and perform in this form and its fusion with contemporary vocabulary with choreographer and Associate Professor of Dance Darrell Jones. Damon maintains his presence in the contemporary dance world with The Seldoms, led by Artistic Director Carrie Hanson. Additionally, Damon has worked with choreographer and dance educator Paige Cunningham, fusing Contemporary Ballet and Vogueing. Green has traveled abroad, performing in Siberia and Taiwan, and introduced Vogueing to Russian students as a master teacher at the Isadora International Festival of Contemporary Dance. Timeout Chicago rated him one of the “Top 10 Men of Dance 2010”.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

10:00 am – 11:20 am: Bruce R. Birmingham Studio

“New Approaches in Ballet Training: Challenging form and structure, achieving technique”
by Lisa A. Fusillo, University of Georgia

This ballet class challenges the form and structure of a strictly traditional ballet class by adding cross-training and strengthening exercises, by allowing dancers to have interaction through discussion of technique issues within the class, and by incorporating principles of Gaga.  This class will provide dancers with an introduction to new tools and possibilities for training which will assist them in recognizing and understanding what is important in personal ballet technique development to achieve the best results.  This class is particularly relevant for ballet dancers in the 21st century to expand their technical understanding of ballet and approaches to technique training in order to be prepared for the new demands of 21st century professional ballet careers.  This class has been developed after rigorous and thorough practical experience and scholarly study of ballet pedagogy, including many years of embodied practice and teaching, with a focus on recent research of current ballet practices in Russia, England, and France; and incorporating practical and scholarly experience in Gaga as taught by Ohad Naharin and Israeli Bat-sheva instructors.

LISA FUSILLO began her professional ballet training at the Washington School of Ballet in Washington, D.C. and later trained in New York, London, Russia and Denmark. She holds the Professional Teaching Diploma from the Royal Ballet School in London and certifications from American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum and the New York City Ballet Education Department. Her choreography has been presented in Austria, Belgium, Germany, Amsterdam, Paris, Thailand, Taiwan, and at the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, MS. Her affiliation with WDA began when she was teaching has at the National Institute of the Arts in Taiwan (now Taipei National University of the Arts). Fusillo is a Fulbright Scholar, has published articles in dance history, and was awarded four NEA grants for reconstruction of masterworks in American dance. Currently, she is Professor of Dance and serves as head of the Department of Dance at the University of Georgia.

11:30 am – 12:50 pm: Bruce R. Birmingham Studio

“Tango Dance Fusion”
by Maria Elena Anllo

Maria Anllo Class 1In the class we will explore the basic technique, forms, music, improvisational modes, and the basic choreographic processes of Tango dance to experience how the richness of its movement can be fused with other contemporary dance techniques. Participants will also be introduced to the “Milonga,” a derivation of the Tango form which permits more relaxation of the body in its musicality and the cadence of the movement. This class is open to professionals from different dance backgrounds.

Heaadshot - Maria AnlloMARIA ELENA ANLLO is a Professor of Tango Technique for the degree in Choreographic Composition at the Universidad Nacional Del Arte, IUNA, Buenos Aires, Argentina; where she also received her BA degree in Choreographic Composition. She is also a Professor of Classical Dance Technique at Escuela De Danzas A. V Mastrazzi for the Buenos Aires Government in Argentina. She is currently studying for a specialization in dance from the Universidad Nacional De La Plata Unlap, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Maria has enjoyed acting as an interpreter in international festivals in Tokyo, Nagasaki, Japan, Seul, South Korea, France, Hannover Germany, and Brazil and was awarded the Friendship Award from the students of ONU, Seul, Korea. In 2011, she participated in the World Dance Alliance-Americas Conference & Festival in Antigua Guatemala at the Centro de Cooperación Española and Universidad Rafael Landívar, Guatemala.

2:00 pm – 3:20 pm: Bruce R. Birmingham Studio

“Uniting the Talents of Dancers With and Without Disabilities: Evolving practices in Physically Integrated Dance Training”
by Mark Tomsaic, Santa Monica College
& Mary Verdi-Fletcher, Dancing Wheels Company

Photo by Dale Dong
Photo by Dale Dong

Participants in this class will experience the latest training methods in the physically integrated dance field (dance uniting the talents of people with and without physical disabilities). These training methods emphasize the inclusionary practice of translation, a pedagogic tool in which the elements of movement, space, and time are manipulated in order to focus on the anatomical purpose of a movement with the goal of providing equal movement awareness to all participants, disabled or non-disabled. The practice of translation encourages dancers to identify the goal of a movement and work toward achieving that goal through appropriate physical engagement, individual exploration and community building activities. Participants will experience translation that combines the latest scientific research regarding the physiological parameters of dancers who use wheelchairs with existing artistic process. Fusing scientific and artistic disciplines in this manner is key to developing curricula that addresses the need for increased inclusionary dance training practices in the 21st century. The class will be led by professional dance educators with and without disabilities from the Dancing Wheels Company & School, the first professional physically integrated dance company in the United States and a leading voice in the disability arts movement. Participants should wear comfortable clothing suitable for movement. No shoes required.

MARK TOMASIC, MFA, has worked extensively in the field of physically integrated dance as an educator, choreographer and dancer with the Dancing Wheels Company & School. He currently serves as Artistic Advisor to the Company and travels nationally and internationally to teach physically integrated dance to students and professionals alike. Mark is the author of Physically Integrated Dance: The Dancing Wheels Comprehensive Guide for Teachers, Choreographers and Students of Mixed Abilities (2012), a pioneering training manual that bridges artistic and scientific disciplines in the creation of an inclusive modern dance curriculum for students with and without disabilities. Mark holds an MFA in Dance from the University of California, Irvine and a BFA in Ballet from the University of Cincinnati. He is currently a full-time faculty member of the Dance Department at Santa Monica College.

MARY VERDI-FLETCHER is President/Founding Artistic Director and principal dancer of The Dancing Wheels Company & School (Cleveland, OH). Born with spina bifida, Mary founded the Company in 1980 as a means for people with disabilities to have full and equal access to the world of dance. As the first professional wheelchair dancer in the United States, Ms. Verdi-Fletcher has danced many lead roles and has had the distinct honor to work with numerous distinguished choreographers. Mary was a featured performer on the ABC television special, Christopher Reeve: A Celebration of Hope. In 2001, The Ford Foundation named Mary one of 20 semifinalists from over 3000 international nominees for the “Leadership for a Changing World Award.” Mary was the recipient of a 2007 Emmy Award for hosting WNEO/WEAO PBS Television “Shortcuts to Happiness “and a 2010 Athena Award Finalist.

3:30 pm – 4:50 pm: Bruce R. Birmingham Studio

“Danza en Comunidad (Community Dance)”
by Alejandra Garavito, The Center for Dance and Movement Research

Photo by Franco Guaglianone
Photo by Franco Guaglianone

Alejandra Garavito will be teaching a dance called Danza en Comunidad. Danza en Comunidad is a dance that can be danced by everybody.  It celebrates life and promotes spaces of interaction through strengthening and sharing the emotions of confidence and joy with tools such as synchronicity and circles. Danza en Comunidad has been danced by more than 1400 people from different origins, backgrounds and abilities in Guatemala. In this class participants will learn the dance and hear about the experience in the project since 2011.

Headshot - Alejandra GaravitoALEJANDRA GARAVITO is a dancer and emerging choreographer from Guatemala. She graduated from the Escuela Nacional de Danza in Guatemala City as a contemporary dancer. She also has a Diploma in Performing Arts from the Universidad San Carlos de Guatemala. Alejandra has studied different dance techniques in Guatemala, England and Argentina. Currently she is getting her BA in Clinical Psychology and works at the Center for Dance and Movement Research as assistant director and co-coordinator for the Community Dance Project.


3:30 pm – 4:50 pm: Earl Kraul Studio

“Extending the Physical: Reimagining Contact Improvisation in Non-Touch Contexts”
by Kyle G. Rivieccio

The goal of this class is to journey into depths of contact improvisation without physical contact. This seemingly contradictory concept will provide movement facilitators new opportunities to explore ways to connect with another human being without physical touch. The best opportunity to explore this concept is in a creative practice, choreography course or physical education setting. Among challenges faced by educators and students are constraints on physical contact due to social norms, educational policies or cultural beliefs. Educators will have ways to work with students that cannot or chose not to touch. Reimagining contact improvisation within an educational setting while using props gives instructors better opportunities to reach students with multiple forms of dance not just what is afforded. This inclusive approach is for participants of all ages and abilities. Although it is not intended to be therapeutic, explorations will catalyze individual awareness, opening up the availability of personalized movement studies. Investigations in this workshop utilize fabric to promote creative interactions between conference participants. With non-physical contact and resulting limitations, participants can explore improvisational movements. Development of skills through the body encourages communication with people in diverse contexts, which positively build bridges and increases knowledge about the dynamic world.

KYLE RIVIECCIO started dancing at the age of sixteen under the direction of Suzanne B. Pomerantzeff and Patricia Page Parks at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High School in St. Petersburg, Florida. Kyle attended summer programs at The Rock School for Dance Education, Boston Ballet and the Alonzo Kings Lines Ballet. After graduating, He moved to Philadelphia to gain a BFA in Dance Education at the University of the Arts. While dancing with City Ballet of San Diego, Kyle performed roles such as Vales Fantaisie, The Nutcracker Prince, Rubies, Swan Lake and choreographed works on the company. Kyle is studying for his MFA in Dance at the Herberger Institute of the Arts School of Dance at Arizona State University. He has worked with choreographers such as Donald Lunsford, Anastasia Babayeva, Robert Moses, Scott Jovovich, Peter Kalivas, Alonzo King and Eileen Stanley.