Secondary Surface Rendered Iteration #5

Choreographer: Nina Martin
Company: Lower Left Performance Collective
Performers: Silva Laukkanen, Nina Martin, and Tanya Winters
Music: Paul Hunt

Nina Martin, MFA, PhD, developed unique dance systems such as Ensemble Thinking and ReWire-Movement Method (RMM) while on faculty at New York University. Martin’s dissertation research examined the phenomenon of spontaneous and unpremeditated movement generation during improvised ensemble dance performances. Martin received numerous awards for her choreography including six National Endowment for Arts choreography fellowships. Nina teaches/choreographs in North/South America, Europe, Asia and points beyond. Her present research is the application of her dance systems for movement disorders in collaboration with professionals from the medical and scientific fields. Nina is Associate Professor at TCU School for Classical & Contemporary Dance where she conducts Honors undergraduate research in applications for RMM and Cerebral Palsy. Certification in Ensemble Thinking is available. Martin completed her MFA and PhD in 2013 at Texas Woman’s University


Performers: Ama Gora, Sandra Paola López Ramírez, Dr. Chris Reyman, Erik Unsworth, Noelle White, and Dr. S. Ama Wray

Artist’s Statement: KOAN is an interdisciplinary improvisation ensemble blending the disciplines of sound and movement since 2015. We are interested in pushing the boundaries of collective art making and traditional definitions of music and dance. Through our experimental and collaborative aesthetic we invite you to see the movement in music and hear the sounds of movement. KOAN members include accomplished musicians Erik Unsworth, Dr. Chris Reyman, Grammy-nominee Mack Goldsbury, and dancemaker Sandra Paola López Ramírez. In 2019, the ensemble will release its second CD project featuring guest artists Herb Robertson and Lou Grassi through the Polish label Fortuna Music and will tour in Germany and Poland for its release. Koan study is a practice developed by Zen Buddhists to dislodge one from a fixed way of thinking. Its beauty lies not in pursuing a solution to a puzzle but in engaging with it, which brings a person back into the “thatness” of reality. People often look for meaning in what they hear and see. By referencing koans, the intention is to stress that the audience is not supposed to find “meaning” in the performance, which is truly an expression of this very moment, as it is. This performance of the Koan ensemble will feature guest artist Dr. S. Ama Wray, Noelle White and Ama Gora.

Ama Gora is a touring artist with Cardell Dance Theater. She has trained with various choreographers including Darrell Moultrie, Silvana Cardell, Gregory King and Earl Mosley. She has performed with the Umoja Dance Company, T.MAJ Dance Company, ErvWorks, and the Seldoms. In 2017, she participated in Urban Bush Women’s Summer Leadership Institute, ‘You, Me, We – Understanding Internalized Racial Oppression and How It Manifests in Our Artistic Community’ in collaboration with the People Institute of Survival and Beyond. In 2018, Gora premiered, Excerpt One: Project ASSATA at Judson Church with her company, Ma’at Works. She holds a BA in Dance from Georgian Court University and is currently pursuing an MFA in Dance at Temple University.

Sandra Paola López Ramírez (BFA, EdM) is a latinoamericana dancemaker, improviser and performance activist. Her community-based interdisciplinary work plays with gender, identity, and sociality, and it has taken her through the US, Colombia, Brazil, Cyprus, France, Canada and Mexico. Since moving to the United States from her native Colombia in 2004, she has studied with renowned artist such as Kirstie Simson, Ruth Zaporah, Cynthia Oliver and Jennifer Monson and has developed her art practice to integrate her creative process and her community organizing efforts. Driven by her commitment to social transformation, Sandra Paola co-founded and directs the Institute for Improvisation and Social Action (ImprovISA) – an organization empowering diverse populations to develop through performance and improvisation in the U.S.-Mexico border. In her work, she combines Social Therapeutics, Ensemble Thinking, Action Theater, contact improvisation, meditation and Latin American vernacular dances to create developmental approaches to social change and decolonization. She is currently dance faculty at the University of Texas at El Paso and is completing her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts with a Performance Creation concentration at Goddard College.

Dr. Chris Reyman has been playing the piano professionally for over twenty years and has performed throughout the US and at festivals in Montreux, Switzerland; Den Haag, in the Netherlands; Toronto, Canada; Bali, Indonesia; Paris, France; Bogota, Colombia; and Chihuahua, Mexico. He received his BM in Commercial Music from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois and his MM and DMA in Jazz Performance from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His latest recording project features world renowned drummer Mike Clark, saxophonist Mack Goldsbury, and bassist Erik Unsworth. Dr. Reyman is also a prolific composer, having written works for jazz and chamber ensembles, wind symphony, orchestra, dance choreography, film and interactive media. His music has been heard at hundreds of venues in 25 different countries and is featured in applications available on iOS and Android software. Dr. Reyman is an Assistant Professor of Commercial Piano in the Department of Music at the University of Texas at El Paso, where he teaches courses in piano, improvisation, and composition. He has presented his research on improvisation and pedagogy at national conferences in Illinois, Ohio, New Mexico, and Texas and at international conferences in New York City; Paris, France; and Ontario, Canada. Dr. Reyman is the co-founder and Assistant Director of the Institute for Improvisation and Social Action, an organization that empowers communities through improvisation and performance.

A native of Northern New York State and a graduate of Indiana University, Erik Unsworth has been a member of music faculty at the University of Texas at El Paso since 2003, where he has served as Professor of String Bass, Electric Bass, Jazz and Commercial Music studies. Since moving to El Paso, he has been heard locally in performances with the El Paso Symphony Orchestra, El Paso Pro Musica, the Juarez Symphony Orchestra, the Roswell Jazz Festival, and in support of a wide range of world-renowned guest artists including Ernie Watts, Bobby Shew, Allan Vache, Jackie Ryan, Sean Jones, Brad Leali, Wycliffe Gordon, Al Hermann, Dave Pietro, Karrin Allyson, Tia Fuller, Maciej Fortuna, Joe Gallardo, Ray Vega, Harry Allen, Randy Sanke, Chuck Redd, Roseanna Vitro and Chip McNeill, among many others. Mr. Unsworth can be heard on a host of recent internationally-released recordings, including Dream Dances (Al Hermann and the New Impressions Trio – Summit Label), Live at CoCo’s (Mack Goldsbury Quintet – Cadence Label), and Place/Space Project for the Konnex label out of Berlin, Germany. A graduate of the jazz studies program at Indiana University, Mr. Unsworth was the bassist on the Jamey Aebersold/David Baker jazz pedagogy project entitled How to Learn Tunes, which began as a lecture series and eventually became part of the Aebersold jazz play-along series (Vol. 76). This project is one of the most widely-regarded and best-selling works in the field of jazz pedagogy. Along with David Baker (jazz studies and improvisation), his primary instructors were Bruce Bransby (string bass) and David Dzubay (composition).

Noelle White graduated from University of California, Irvine in 2014 with a BFA in Dance Performance and a Minor in Education. In August 2014, Noelle was selected to attend a three week professional workshop in London taught by Dr. S Ama Wray, being one of the founding members of Embodiology®. Noelle served as a research assistant for Dr. Wray in a Dance Therapy Research Study at UC Irvine, where Embodiology® was implemented for healing purposes for non-dancers. Noelle has assisted Dr. Wray in several Embodiology® workshops at the Martha Graham School, National Dance Education Organization Conference, and UC Irvine. Most recently Noelle attended the Atlantic Center for the Arts Residency #169 as a guest artist in support of Master Artist Dr. S Ama Wray. Noelle has performed works by Elke Calvert, Joya Kazi, Chad Michael Hall, Josie Walsh, Tong Wang, S Ama Wray, Jessica Kondrath, and Marlies Yearby to name a few. She has experience teaching in Los Angles, Orange and San Diego Counties.

Dr. S. Ama Wray, Associate Professor of Dance at the University of California, Irvine, describes herself as a ‘Africana Performance Architect.’ In 2018 Sheron Wray, PhD, was recognized by the Comparative & International Education Society, receiving one of four African Diaspora Emerging Scholars Awards. She received her PhD from the University of Surrey; her dissertation is entitled, “Towards Embodiology: Modelling Relations between West African Performance Practices, Contemporary Dance Improvisation and Seselelame.” As a result of her interdisciplinary scholarship engaging with dance, music and community-held knowledge, she continues to develop and disseminate her praxis of Embodiology® on three continents. Invited by Temple University she gave a keynote lecture for their international Dance Studies Colloquium in 2017. At the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Florida, she was a Master Artist-in Residence  in Spring of 2018 and prior to this was The Interdisciplinary Artist-in-Residence for the Division of the Arts, University of Wisconsin Madison. Here she created Embodiology @ Work, Embodiology @ Play, a piece that explored the local socio-political economy as it connects and displaces the indigenous. For New Waves Institute, Trinidad and Tobago, she was also scholar-in-residence, presenting the principles and research underpinning Embodiology® to African diaspora dance and music artists. The inclusive nature of this praxis has also found confluence with musicians studying jazz at the San Francisco Music Conservatory with an understanding of its African foundations. (more…)

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