// SFDI 2013 CLASS DESCRIPTIONS + FACULTY BIOS //

INTENSIVES // John Jasperse + Sara Shelton Mann + Chris Aiken + Shelley Senter + Amii LeGendre + Michael Schumacher

DROP-IN CLASSES // Jill Sigman + John Dixon + Heidi Henderson + Andrew Wass + Karen Nelson + Stephanie Skura + Tonya Lockyer + Louis Gervais + Salt Horse + Vanessa DeWolf + Michal Lahav + Eric Nordstrom
All Drop-in classes are $20

NEW WRITING WORKSHOP! // Ann Cooper Albright

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INTENSIVES

// 5-DAY INTENSIVES //


Composition (putting together) as (dis/re)organization // John Jasperse
We will work with composition in real time as a simple process of putting things together. We’ll think about combination in terms of different manners of organization, disorganization, and reorganization. We’ll deal with this in our bodies, our perception, our dancing and our choice making which shapes our experience of time and space. We’ll acknowledge that sometimes old forms are no longer useful, but we’ll also embrace the notion that sometimes basic old forms can feel fresh by infusing them with our own sensibilities from the present. Meaning will be thought of as the dialogue between content, form and perception.

John Jasperse, known internationally for his innovation and experimentation with movement and choreography, is a Guggenheim Fellow and received a Bessie Award recognizing his body of work. He has created works for several companies including Baryshnikov’s White Oak Project, Batsheva Dance Company, and the Lyon Opera Ballet. His work has been presented by major festivals and presenting organizations in Brazil, Chile, Israel, Japan and throughout the US and Europe.

The Body Process // Sara Shelton Mann 
From many years of research Sara has created a training that integrates the physical and energetic body. Opening systems of the body from a trance/relaxed space we find the body that is both grounded and expanded into a multi-dimensional reality. We dance, solo, in partnership and with creative puzzles from this platform. The training includes chi cultivation and lots of breathing as a way  to both detox and invigorate the whole being. We address a segment of the body each day and through function and research. This may include writing and image creation. We work the imagination muscles.  I bring a toolbox. We play and invite new possibilities each day. We dance.

Sara Shelton Mann‘s legendary company Contraband appeared on stages, in warehouses, abandoned buildings and outdoors from 1979-1996. She collaborated with Guillermo Gomez-Pena until 1999, and currently teaches her complex interdisciplinary performance style and movement vocabulary worldwide.

Re-Perceive/Re-Imagine: An Eco-Poetic Approach to Contact Improvisation // Chris Aiken
This is a workshop for dancers who are committed to expanding their understanding and practice of Contact Improvisation. Our focus will be on developing specific technical skills, perceptual acuity and our poetic sensibility so that the dancing is rooted in the ecological and poetic webs that surround and are within us. We will use a variety of approaches including movement training, perceptual tuning, and the composition of attention. This class combines highly energized physical practices with detailed awareness work that is informed by years of research into the Alexander Technique, the neurology and physiology of the fascia, the use of anatomically based imagery and the study of perception and the brain.

Chris Aiken is a leading international teacher and performer of dance/contact improvisation. His work has been significantly influenced through the Alexander Technique, ideokinesis, yoga and the work of Ida Rolf. Chris has performed and collaborated with renowned dance artists Steve Paxton, Kirstie Simson, Nancy Stark Smith, Peter Bingham, Andrew Harwood, Patrick Scully and Angie Hauser.

Register for a 5-Day Intensive

// 4-DAY INTENSIVES //


Critical Practice: The Alexander Technique (Somatic Intensive) // Shelley Senter

The Alexander Technique is a means of identifying habits that interfere with one’s ability to attend to the moment and make conscious choices. More often than not, when we carry out our intentions, we make choices that are habitual, unconscious and counterproductive. Alexander Technique offers a practice of observing our familiar tensions and choosing to move without them. This workshop aims to introduce principles of the Alexander Technique and examine common assumptions (and their accompanying sensations) of such dancerly concerns as strength, support, stability and power, opening the body and brain to new information and refining the organization of the performing body and mind.

Shelley Senter, a renowned teacher of the Alexander Technique, has been investigating the application of the principles of the Alexander process to the performing body and mind for nearly two decades. She has been involved with experimental and post-modern dance for more than twenty-five years, touring the world as a performer, choreographer and teacher. She is a member of Lower Left artist collective and a repetiteur of the seminal works of Trisha Brown and Yvonne Rainer, which she stages internationally.

Improvisation + Instant Composition // Michael Schumacher
The aim of this workshop is to develop conscious presence while improvising in a performance. Each session begins with exercises that explore relationships between thought, movement and  presence in the immediate environment. By promoting a greater awareness of sensory input, the  performer becomes better equipped to interact with their internal and external impulses. The session continues with examples of both fixed and open structures in which the participants  improvise with such elements as dance, music, text, and light. Through practice and theory, participants explore a process by which they collectively experience spontaneously created compositions.

Michael Schumacher has been a member of several groundbreaking companies, including Ballet Frankfurt, Twyla Tharp Dance, Feld Ballet, Pretty Ugly Dance Company, and Katie Duck’s Magpie Music Dance Company. Working as dancer, choreographer, and teacher, Schumacher has developed a unique approach to the discipline of improvisation. He resides in Amsterdam and conducts workshops in movement analysis and improvisation worldwide.

Register for a 4-Day Intensive

// BEGINNING CONTACT IMPROVISATION MINI-INTENSIVE //


Intro to Contact Improvisation // Amii LeGendre

Although always improvised, there are strategies and skills that underlie the practice of contact improvisation that make the physical and psychological practice safer, more refined, and more communicative. We’ll explore the play between will and surrender, stability and mobility, self and other, and look at some fundamentals that allow anyone to enter the dance. Layered throughout will be structured jamming, watching others dance, exploring your own energy or emotional state in the dancing, and improvising with what you have and what you need in the moment.

Amii LeGendre teaches dance at Bard College in NY, after 15 years of living and making performance collaborations with many incredible movement artists in Seattle. Over the last 20 years, she has developed contact improvisation teaching material within a larger contemporary performance practice, with an eye toward activism. She teaches dance to incarcerated men, opera singers, college students, colleagues, children, and humans at large.

Register for Amii LeGendre’s 3-Day Intensive

NEW WRITING WORKSHOP!

WRITING WORKSHOP: ANN COOPER ALBRIGHT
Part of the 20th Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation
Moving Words: an integrated approach to writing and dan
cing
JULY 29 / 7-10PM
Velocity Kawasaki Studio 
1621 12th Ave
$20 with Full SFDI Registration / $30 drop-in
REGISTER ONLINE or CALL 206.325.8773

A rare chance to study with renowned writer and scholar Ann Cooper Albright! Generate writing and dancing that challenges the conventional boundaries between languages of the body and languages of the mind.

As a dancer and scholar, ANN COOPER ALBRIGHT is Professor of Dance and Chair of the Department of Dance at Oberlin College. She combines her interests in dancing, cultural theory, and gender studies courses that seek to engage students in both practices and theories of the body. She is the author of many books including Engaging Bodies: the Politics and Poetics of Corporeality (2013), and is currently working on an interdisciplinary book Gravity Matters: Finding Ground in an Unstable World.

Register for Ann Cooper Albright’s Writing Workshop

DROP-IN CLASSES

Sign up for unlimited drop-ins and save!

SFDI Drop-In Pricing:

  • All classes (2 hours) / $20 each
  • All jams: $5
  • Unlimited drop-ins package: $200
  • Velocity Class Cards not available for SFDI Drop-ins

Two Brains Touching // Chris Aiken
In this class we will start from the idea that the brain is distributed throughout the body. When you touch me, you are touching my brain. How can we communicate with each other and with ourselves? Technique is simply a means to bring into form that which I can imagine–so how can we develop the skills necessary to build the quality of our communication and imagination? Grounding, falling, extending, absorbing, modulating weight, working with resistance, touching without being demanding, being clear in our boundaries … these are a few of the things we’ll work on.

Chris Aiken is a leading international teacher and performer of dance/contact improvisation. His work has been significantly influenced through the Alexander Technique, ideokinesis, yoga and the work of Ida Rolf. Chris has performed and collaborated with renowned dance artists including Steve Paxton, Kirstie Simson, Nancy Stark Smith, Peter Bingham, Andrew Harwood, Patrick Scully and Angie Hauser.He is currently an Assistant Professor of Dance at Smith College and the Five College Dance Department in Northampton, MA.

Unfortunately this happened in darkness and was mostly lost* // Vanessa DeWolf
We will explore the unseen, forbidden, quietly hidden parts of our imaginations. Both ways of  intentionally hiding, and ways to reveal what has been hidden from ourselves.  We will work in subtle ways and in trios and solos.  Expect to do some writing, moving, speaking.  This territory may leap into and out of narratives.  We’ll work as deep witnesses and performers and creators.  I hope you will find ways to hide, lose, find, disguise, and reveal. *From The Eternal Glow Project

Vanessa DeWolf is an improviser, writer, and performance artist.  She runs: Studio Current Seasons of artists in residence, brought together to fight the usual creative isolation and to share creative processes with their peers. And PROJECT: Space Available, which she co-curates with Mônica Mata Gillam, an annual immersive performance-installation artist residency program for 6-7 artists. Her most recent work: TWO SOLOS with Maureen Whiting, a series of visceral, raw and exposed solos. She is committed to aesthetic articulation, and the sharing of creative process, practice and works-in-progress. She works with people because she is committed to autonomous and rigorous creativity.

(calls) // John Dixon
Inspired by Lisa Nelson’s Tuning Scores, we’ll explore, create, utilize and physicalize a range of unspoken internal “calls” to find clarity and intention in solo, duet and group dancing while preserving the permeability of open improvisation.  Additional strategies will be presented to help integrate unfolding layers of perception into the development of an ongoing internal score, producing a state of fluid receptivity and shared activation.

Inside/Outside // John Dixon
Tracking the flow of shifting awarenesses in our dancing, we’ll explore various tools and scores for explicating the where and when of the present moment.  The class will culminate with an extended outdoor exploration of Kei Takei’s “Slow Walk” score to cultivate the direct experience of transformative potential within any activity.

John Dixon has been exploring the nature of improvisational activity and awareness since 1985. He has performed nationally and internationally with Kei Takei’s Moving Earth, Stephanie Skura’s Cranky Destroyers, and the Seattle based dance-theater company 33 Fainting Spells, among others.  His ongoing interests in contemplative action and perceptual flux have led him to work with many inspiring artists over the years, including Karen Nelson, Lisa Nelson, Stephanie Skura, Stuart Dempster, Nina Martin and Sheri Cohen.

Exploring Contact // Louis Gervais
In this class, we will explore the interpersonal relationship that arises when we dance with one another. Whether we are dance partners or life partners, a highly personal sense of self is being communicated when we move together. Exploring intimacy, sensitivity, listening, and curiosity, we will dive into this inner landscape in order to explore the ways that it is reflected in the dance that comes out into space.

Louis Gervais has been exploring the intersection of improvisation, intimacy and  spirituality for more than 20 years.   His explorations have led to numerous course offerings such as: Chakra Balancing, Dancing Energy Systems and Men in Contact.  With a focus in somatic studies, Louis received his MFA in dance from the University of Washington in 2009.

Contact Improvisation : Hum // Heidi Henderson
Humming. Listening to humming. Practicing a constancy of attention like the drone of a hum.  Allowing the vibration of attention to expand cells into touch without hierarchies of shape or cool moves, without sparking initiation. Valuing each moment equally in the flow. Starting slow. Becoming relentless. Finding fullness.

Making and unmaking at the same time // Heidi Henderson
What happens when we set up compositional structures in which some participants are improvising and some are dancing set material? We will work in small groups to create phrase material that becomes kindling for disintegration. How is the difference between these two processes felt in the body?  How can the systematic and chaotic influence each other? Can both be Puck?

Heidi Henderson lives in Rhode Island and makes work for her pick-up company: elephant JANE dance. Heidi danced with Bebe Miller, Nina Wiener, Paula Josa-Jones, Colleen Thomas, Peter Schmitz and Sondra Loring. She is a sometimes contributing editor at Contact Quarterly. She teaches regularly at the Bates Dance Festival. She is on the dance faculty at Connecticut College. She is interested in paying attention. elephantjanedance.com

(dis)Pleasure // John Jasperse
I’m curious about desire and pleasure, about the relationship between dancing and feeling good, about the obsession with immediacy, ease and convenience and the avoidance of discomfort, about indulgence, and about the sometimes odd relationship between effort and satisfaction. So we’ll play with these ideas for a few hours. And we’ll open ourselves to being surprised by what we find pleasurable or uncomfortable.

John Jasperse is a Bessie award winning dance artist living and working in New York City since 1985. He is known internationally for his innovation and experimentation with movement and choreography. His work has been presented by festivals and presenting organizations in Brazil, Chile, Israel, Japan and throughout the US and Europe.

Connected Autonomy // Michal Lahav + Eric Nordstrom
Exploring contact as a solo form, we’ll introduce a dazzling array of personal scores to broaden your pallet of choices. Find freedom to pursue your interests and curiosities throughout the dance while balancing connection to your partner.

Michal Lahav began her love affair with contact improv in 1998. Since then she has explored it across the globe, in national parks, her livingroom, and perhaps yours too. She has taught numerous workshops at dance institutes and festivals around the pacific northwest, including Seattle University, Louis and Clark College, and SANCA Circus Arts school. She also organizes the annual Orcas Island Jam. Michal integrates studies of yoga and dance with a curiosity for movement, human behavior and a great lust for everyday life.

Eric Nordstrom is a dedicated performer, teacher and filmmaker. His performances include a full evening improvisation with Karen Nelson and creating a dance on film with Ann Cooper Albright. He has taught at colleges and universities including the Ohio State University, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts. Recent dance on film works by Eric can be viewed online at www.ppav.me.

Habits of Destination // Amii LeGendre
This is a contact improvisation class that looks at how habits build pleasure and familiarity but lessen access to radical awareness and surprise. We will play with habits we want to cultivate and a score for accessing the willingness  to interrupt our habitual pathways and pleasures.

Amii LeGendre teaches dance at Bard College in NY, after 15 years of living and making  performance collaborations with many incredible movement artists in Seattle.  Over the last 20 years, she has developed contact improvisation teaching material within a larger contemporary performance practice, with an eye toward activism. She teaches dance to incarcerated men, opera singers, college students, colleagues, children, and humans at large.

Recuperate/Restore // Tonya Lockyer
Cultivate deeper kinesthetic experience, release tension to open sensation; invite ease, flow, and conscious connectivity. Based on principles of the Bartenieff Fundamentals, Skinner Releasing and Feldenkrais.

Tonya Lockyer has taught at Bates Dance Festival,  American Dance Festival, Univ. of MD, Univ. of WA, Cornish College + in Canada, Mexico, Turkey, Poland + Russia. Her award-winning performance work has been seen in Europe, Russia + the US.

Blending Forms // Karen Nelson
Awareness of space while dancing contact is a rare and lovely moment. Tuning calls such as pause, replace, repeat, reverse, enter, exit provide excellent opportunities for dancers to feel the space, even while intimately involved in a contact improvisation duet or trio. This class will explore attending to spaces around and within the dances. The calls and/or our active physical choices communicate our compositional desires to our collaborators. Forms arise that develop and take on a life of their own. The whole room is dancing with awareness of it all.

In teaching, dance artist Karen Nelson offers what she has passionately studied, taught, practiced, developed and performed for over 35 years including Material for the Spine, Contact Improvisation (by Steve Paxton: sensations of the skeleton, reflex, inherent spirals of human movement, perfect forms, energy extension and relationship with gravity), Tuning Scores (by Lisa Nelson: activities based in sensation/perceptual awareness provide tools for crafting improvisation), awareness and performance. She is currently studying with Russell Delman in his work Embodied Life which draws from Feldenkrais, Zen meditation and guided inquiry. Based on Vashon Island, she makes work and performs/teaches with collaborators world-wide.

Crystalize + Disintegrate: Research From A Seeing And Being Body // Salt Horse
Dive with us into practices that ripen imagination and conjure from it physical, visual and sonic form.  Using scores, images, and tasks generated in our Salt Horse creative process, we will listen and respond to individual and collective curiosities, fluidly moving between observing and inhabiting.  We will explore imagistic language, finding opportunities for cyclical referencing to create frames and specificity, and also points of departure to disintegrate concepts into pure action, texture, color, rhythm, speed and form.  Our minds, hearts and bodies will sweat.

Salt Horse is a Seattle-based dance/sound company created by dancers Beth Graczyk and Corrie Befort and musician Angelina Baldoz and known for creating visually rich, sensation-based works that illuminate the quiet, unseen, or hidden aspects of nature and the human experience. Company members rigorously merge improvisation and composition to create arresting narratives that weave between the literal and the abstract. salthorseperformance.com

Improvisation + Instant Composition // Michael Schumacher
The aim of this workshop is to develop conscious presence while improvising in a performance. Each session begins with exercises that explore relationships between thought, movement and  presence in the immediate environment. By promoting a greater awareness of sensory input, the  performer becomes better equipped to interact with their internal and external impulses.  The session continues with examples of both fixed and open structures in which the participants  improvise with such elements as dance, music, text, and light. Through practice and theory,  participants explore a process by which they collectively experience spontaneously created  compositions.

Michael Schumacher is a performing artist with roots in classical and modern dance. He has been a member of several groundbreaking companies, including Ballet Frankfurt, Twyla Tharp Dance, Feld Ballet, Pretty Ugly Dance Company, and Magpie Music Dance Company. Working as dancer, choreographer, and teacher, Schumacher has developed a unique approach to the discipline of improvisation. He has collaborated with many pioneering musicians, including percussionist Han Bennink, violinist Mary Oliver, and cellist/cmposer Alex Waterman. He currently resides in Amsterdam and conducts workshops in movement analysis and improvisation worldwide.

Solo Neutral Follow // Sara Shelton Mann
In this class we will explore what this means and how it works physically, energetically and perceptually. There will be improvisational group scores, solo scores and a process of tracking someone’s essence. The question here is “are you in your body”?

Sara Shelton Mann‘s legendary company Contraband appeared on stages, in warehouses, abandoned buildings and outdoors from 1979-1996. She collaborated with Guillermo Gomez-Pena until 1999, and currently teaches her complex interdisciplinary performance style and movement vocabulary worldwide

Movement and Living Systems // Jill Sigman
Permaculture is a branch of environmental design which develops self-maintained systems modeled on natural ecosystems. It helps us recognize principles by which living systems operate. I am fascinated by these principles— by their appreciation of spatial relationships, multi-functionality, redundancy, and care for the earth. This workshop explores how we can use these permacultural principles as an impetus for movement, creating movement scores or structures that are inspired by them. We will work with scores of functionality, relation, migration, and duration. This will offer us a chance to generate movement which preserves an essence of sustainability without being “about” it.

Jill Sigman asks questions through the medium of the body. Trained in classical ballet, modern dance, art history, and analytic philosophy, Sigman has been making dances and performance installations since the early 90s. She is Artistic Director of jill sigman/thinkdance which she founded in 1998, the same year she received her Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University. Sigman is based in New York City and in 2012 has been a Fellow at the Center for Creative Research at NYU and a Visiting Artist at Wesleyan University. She is currently at work on The Hut Project, an exploration of issues around waste, sustainability, and real estate through the creation of a series of site-specific structures made of found materials. thinkdance.org

Open Source Forms (OSF): Freedom + Rigor + Courage // Stephanie Skura
OSF is about cross-fertilizations and deep commonalities of Skinner Releasing Technique and creative process. With juicy experiments in surprising pathways between conscious & subconscious, movement & voice, witnessing & participating. Tools for conceptual & creative courage, freedom & specificity.  Trusting our inner world, manifesting ideas physically, accessing technique as resource and finding the courage to transcend it — in presence, vulnerability, and ideological freedom. [Bring paper & pens for some writing & drawing.]

Stephanie Skura,  “reliably irreverent” Bessie award-winner, is a choreographer, director, performer, mentor, teacher, teacher-trainer, writer, innovator. She has toured professionally for three decades in 13 countries & 30 states. Her current work takes an innovative approach to language & voice, continuing investigations of boundaries & intersections of dance, theater, poetry and performance. Her involvement with permaculture & naturopathy supports a dedication to catalyzing creative process in a holistic & collaborative way, with a deep respect for individual diversity and subconscious realms. She holds a BFA & MFA in Dance from NYU Tisch, & directs Open Source Forms Teacher Certification Program. stephanieskura.com

AT + CI = ?  // Shelly Senter + Andrew Wass
By combining two known modalities, the Alexander Technique and Contact Improvisation, with simplicity and repetition as points of departure, we hope to reveal thoughts/possibilities/ideas that were not apparent or known to us before.

Shelley Senter has been involved with experimental and post-modern dance for more than twenty-five years, touring the world as a performer, choreographer and teacher. She is a member of Lower Left artist collective and a repetiteur of the seminal works of Trisha Brown and Yvonne Rainer, which she stages internationally. A renowned teacher of the Alexander Technique, she has been investigating the application of the principles of this technique to the performing body and mind for nearly two decades.

After graduating from University of California, San Diego with a degree in Biochemistry in 1997, Andrew Wass replaced the lab with the studio.  His performances have been shown in San Diego, LA, San Francisco, Marfa, Tijuana, and New York.  Teaching has taken him to festivals and universities in Japan, Germany and the United States. Vital to his development have been his work with Lower Left, the phrase The content lies in the structure, and his constant dissatisfaction with his situation.  Currently he is completing his MA in Solo/Dance/Authorship at the Hochschulübergreifendes Zentrum für Tanz in Berlin. wasswasswass.com, nonfictionperformance.org + lowerleft.org

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