2017 Creative / Process Series

images-1SERIES I: LIGHTS! SOUND! VIDEO! Plugging into the multidiscipline with ILVS STRAUSS

WEDS SEPT 6-OCT 11 / 6-7:45PM 

In this workshop series, we’ll cover the basics of lighting and sound design, programming in QLAB, the difference between a XLR, RCA, VGA and DMX cable, how to talk basic tech to a tech person, how to write a tech rider, navigating site specific and other non-conventional venues, and other related topics. We will also explore the creative process and how it is influenced by the addition of tech (lights/sound/video). Participants will be able to experiment and field test with different lighting fixtures (incandescents, LED’s, practicals, etc.), video projectors, and sound systems to see how they shape, mold and develop preexisting or improvised work.

The first half of each workshop will cover a specific topic, with room to explore or review other topics. The second half will involve exercises that combine practical tech knowledge with artistic ideas in a concrete yet playful way. Come, step into the light. Bring all your questions, ideas, inspirations. Open to performers and artists of all kinds, tech people of all backgrounds. 

ILVS STRAUSS is an analytical chemist turned multi-disciplinary performance artist living and loving in Seattle. Her art cuts a wide swath across disciplines, ranging from Dance Narrative performance to anamorphic outdoor sculptures, illustrated storytelling (aka Slide Shows) to haiku poetry. She also leads workshops on writing, movement, performance and the ever amusing combination of all three. Her solo piece, Manifesto was listed in Dance Magazine’s BEST of 2014 list (exclamation point). She’s presently writing a queer sci fi play to be premiered in April. More information, pertinent and otherwise, can be found at ilvsstrauss.com.


IMG_3523HEATHER KRAVAS: LABOR, STRUCTURE, DESIRE

WEDS MAY 31 – JUNE 28 (5-week Series) / 6-7:45PM
$50 (Full Series) / $15 Drop-in / $12 MVP

A conversation between language, movement and each other, this class invites committed dance makers and performers interested in a rigorous examination of process. How may our dances be simultaneously political and abstract? Formal and spontaneous? Precise and kinky? Individual and engaging?
We will move together.
We will read together (Lucy Corin, Samuel Delaney, Jenn Joy, Clarice Lispector, Maggie Nelson, Sally Potter).
And we will reflect back through words and actions.

HEATHER KRAVAS is a choreographer and performing artist.  Since 1995, she has investigated choreographic, somatic and collaborative practices to explore the limits of dance as a contemporary form.  Often repetitive and exceptionally structured, her dances consider and activate the edges of human experience – boredom, indulgence, disappointment and desire. Her upcoming work, visions of beauty premieres at On the Boards March 30 – April 2.

Kravas’s performances have been presented at venues including Chez Bushwick, The Chocolate Factory, Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, The Kitchen, Movement Research at Judson Church, On the Boards, Performance Space 122, Fusebox Festival and Tonic as well as internationally.  Her varied collaborations include choreography with Canadian/European artist Antonija Livingstone (2003-2008) and extensive improvisation with cellist Okkyung Lee as the nono twins (1999-2004). Since 2001 she has worked as an interpreter and rehearsal assistant for DD Dorvillier’s human future dance corps and also performed in the work of Marina Abramovic, Jennifer Allen, Alain Buffard, Amy Cox, Dayna Hanson, Amii LeGendre and Yvonne Meier.

Kravas is a  2016 Creative Capital Artist and 2015 Doris Duke Impact Awardee and has previously received support from Foundation for Contemporary Art, MAP Foundation, National Performance Network, 4Culture, PACT/Zollverein, CCNFC Belfort, f.u.s.e.d.,  Bossak/Heilbron Foundation, the Yard and Seattle Arts Commission.


SPRING 2017 SERIES:
Series 1: JAN 18 – FEB 22: Amy O’Neal
Series 2: MAR 1 – APR 5: Victoria Jacobs
Series 3: APR 12 – MAY 17: Zoe Scofield
Series 4: MAY 31 – JUNE 28 (5-week Series): Heather Kravas


ZOE

DRAWING BY ZOE SCOFIELD

ZOE SCOFIELD
WEDS APR 12 – MAY 17 / 6-7:45PM
REGISTER
$60 (Full Series) / $15 Drop-in / $12 MVP

We are here.

We are in space.

We are here in space, together, with others.

I’m interested in a physical and creative practice that moves past the binary of good and bad in our bodies, observations, choices, and actions. In this process we will engender a tone of curiosity, exertion, play, and attention to what’s happening and our experience of it.

We don’t have to get rid of technique or aspirations for clarity to move past the dogma of good/bad and right/wrong in our bodies and work. Rather we can use rigor in all forms as the vehicle to expand our physical, emotional, and creative toolkit. It is my hope that in this workshop, together, we will develop a culture of curiosity, playfulness, vulnerability, and accountability to each other and our creative selves.

This series is not an audition, rather it will contribute to research for a new project.

ZOE SCOFIELD is a dance and visual artist based in Seattle since 2002. Born and raised in Georgia, Zoe began ballet at a young age, instilling in her a deep love and interest in structure, discipline and performances’ ability to create a transformative experience. In 2004 she founded zoe | juniper with collaborator Juniper Shuey, presenting their work at national and international arts centers. Residencies, awards and grants include MacDowell Colony, Guggenheim Fellowship, Princess Grace Foundation, Artist Trust, NEFA, NPN, Wesleyan University, Velocity Dance Center and On the Boards, among others. She regularly teaches workshops and lectures on dance, collaboration and installation. She served as guest faculty at Walnut Hill, Boston Conservatory, Columbia College, UCBoulder, CalArts, American University, NYU/Tisch and as a guest panelist for PICA Educating Dance Audiences, NEA and Cornish College. zj are co-founders of What We Talk About… an in-process feedback session for artists of all disciplines.

2013 Stranger Genius award winner zoe | juniper (zj) is a Seattle-based dance and visual arts team The Boston Globe describes as a “crazy dream you just can’t shake.” Co-founded by choreographer Zoe Scofield and visual artist Juniper Shuey, the company creates stunning multidisciplinary dance performance and installation works. Over the past 13 years zj has been commissioned and presented nationally and internationally by Jacob’s Pillow, On the Boards, Dance Theater Workshop/NYLA, Bates Dance Festival, PICA, DiverseWorks, PS122, Spoleto Festival, Columbia College, PuSh Festival, Wesleyan University, American Realness, Pennsylvania Ballet, ICA Boston, Joyce Theater, DancePlace, Frye Art Museum, Yerba Buena Center, Trafo House, REDCAT, OzArts, SIFFx, Carolina Performing Arts, Fringe Arts Festival, CNDC Anger and others. Awards and residencies include The MacDowell Colony, Bellagio Rockefeller Foundation, Princess Grace Foundation, Mellon Foundation and MAPFund.


VictoriaJacobs

PHOTO TIM SUMMERS

VICTORIA JACOBS: BEGIN HERE
WEDS MAR 1 – APR 5 / 6-7:45PM
REGISTER
$60 (Full Series) / $15 Drop-in / $12 MVP

Begin with what you come into the room with. Begin with your likes, your dislikes, your wants and your needs. Move through your fears and your attractions. Move through your strength and your weakness. Taste your experience. Bring all of yourself. Move with all of your self. End holding more of yourself. End by leaving and walking into your own life. 

Movement exploration drawn from contemporary dance technique and Gyrotonic principles will empower you to bring more of your own essence to your dances, your words, your body, and your relationships in and out of the studio. 

VICTORIA JACOBS believes that each of us can get to know our own body’s language in a way that makes life richer and more enjoyable.  She loves to teach movement in a way that helps you to make more sense to yourself.  She is a passionate researcher of fluid functional structure in the lineage of Aileen Passloff (Judson Dance Theater) and Jill Ableson (SPRe Bodywork). Her background includes contact improvisation, flamenco, and contemporary dance technique, and she holds a BA in Writing/Dance from Bard College, NY.  She has been teaching movement arts since 2004 and currently teaches the Gyrotonic Expansion System at Seattle Changing Room. victoriajacobs.me

amyo_2015_natewatters_1

PHOTO NATE WATTERS

AMY O’NEAL: RHYTHM IS A DANCER
WEDS JAN 18 – FEB 22 / 6-7:45PM
$60 (Full Series) / $15 Drop-in / $12 MVP

What is your personal relationship to rhythm?  Do you desire a deeper connection to it? Do you want to get better at picking up choreography in class, get out of a freestyle/improvisation rut, be a better dancer at the club, bring something new to the cypher, or simply improve your physical sense of musicality?  Each week is a new playlist diverse in style and rhythmic patterns. The class begins with a structured warm up to get the body ready to respond to guided improvisation that will challenge how you listen to, interpret, and physically communicate music. You will witness many interpretations of the same concept through dancing with and for each other. This class is open to all styles of dancer and all levels of experience. Come with an open mind and a desire to grow and get down.

AMY O’NEAL is a versatile dancer, performer, choreographer, and dance educator with equally participating in Street and Club dance culture and Contemporary dance and performance.  A sought after dancer and educator for seventeen years, she teaches and performs nationally and internationally and choreographs for stage, commercials, rock shows, galleries, dance films and music videos. For fifteen years, she taught Contemporary Dance and Street Dance Styles at Velocity Dance Center and choreography/improvisation for Seattle Theater Group’s Dance This program. She co-teaches and co- hosts House classes and open sessions with her friend and colleague, Dani Tirrell, at The Beacon: Massive Monkees Studio. She spent last Fall teaching her class, Rhythm is a Dancer in Los Angeles at Ryan Heffington’s studio, The Sweat Spot. This Spring, she is finishing a tour of her show Opposing Forces and facilitating a Street and Club Dance course at the University of Washington. For more info, go to amyoneal.com.

 

2016 imp series

 

NOV 16 – DEC 21
PETRA ZANKI: MYTH, DANCE, AND PLANT SCIENCEThe workshop is a crossover between art and science, between dance and plant neurobiology. Inspired by the Pacific Northwest and its green, it will combine dance, secret movement of plants, English 19th century paintings, and shapeshifting myths from around the world.

Very movement research oriented, it will remain in its essence physical, yet will allow dancers to express their individuality and voices through stories, dreams, and myths. Together we’ll work on guided solo, duo, trio, and group propositions, while discovering exciting things we barely knew existed. Some dancers might be considered for a production in 2017. Previous dance training is required. Please bring your favorite notebook, pen, and comfortable dance clothes.

PETRA ZANKI is Seattle based dance and performance maker that among others studied movement with renown choreographers and artists such as Emio Greco, Jonathan Burrows, Patricia Bardi, Goat Island, Deufert&Plischke, and Gob Squad. In 2010 Petra was awarded as best Croatian choreographer at XI. Platform of Young Choreographers. In 2012 she received a two-year choreography scholarship SPAZIO from The ICK- Emio Greco and Croatian Institute for Movement and Dance. Her dance and theatre works were presented on festivals and venues across Europe, in the US, and Australia. In the US she collaborated with Velocity, On The Boards, and PS122.

OCT 5 – NOV 9
GENDER TENDER : between you and me

We will investigate the transitional spaces and places in our bodies and minds as rich territory full of possibilities for making dances and taking performative chances. Using the the idea of pairs and polar opposites as a place to start we will explore our unique physical and emotional relationships with each other, the in between and the constantly in flux.

Each class will include a warm up, partnering and solo work as well as ensemble work. Influences include Fluxus, drag, method acting, post-modern and jazz dance techniques, contact improvisation and more. We will investigate using improvised and devised material.

This class is for all levels and offers a challenging and supportive environment for all that are interested. Dress comfortably, you might want a notebook, come ready to move and have fun!

 

SYNIVA WHITNEY (choreographer, lead performer, collaborator) and WILL COURTNEY (lead performer, collaborator) are the duo behind Gender Tender, a performance project that centers transgender, non-binary and multiracial points of view in a process that combines dance and acting techniques, cinematic devices and visual art practices. They’ve shown work in duet and ensemble mode in Seattle at Velocity Dance Center, On the Boards, the Seattle International Dance Festival, Yellow Fish Epic Durational Performance Festival, Gay City Arts, Studio Current and more and have performed in Minneapolis produced by 20% Theatre Co. Twin Cities, 9×22 Dance Lab, Patrick’s Cabaret and Pleasure Rebel, and at Future Interstates curated by HIJACK. They have worked as performers and collaborators with Aniccha Arts (MPLS) and Vanessa DeWolf (SEA) and have had their short films screened nationally as a part of Malic Amalya’s project Infrared: New Visions from the Queer Underground. They have also experimented with co-writing and most recently were invited by the Walker Art Center to respond to the 2016 Out There performance art festival . Syniva holds an MFA in studio art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has exhibited their visual art nationally. Syniva has also performed with Maureen Whiting Dance Co, kt shores and Paris Hurley (all SEA) and has studied performance and dance with BeBe Miller, Kris Wheeler, Vanessa DeWolf and Stephanie Skura. Will and Syniva met at Shakespeare camp as teenagers and have been a collaborative in love and work for over a decade. See them take on the reSET challenge at Washington Ensemble Theatre October 13-14 2016.

SEPT 7 – SEPT 28
LOUIS GERVAIS: Transform Your Life Stories Into Dances

Explore the inspiring intersection of dance and storytelling with performance artist Louis Gervais.  Whether this is the first time you’ve dared speak or you are ravaging the Seattle theatre world, this workshop will ignite your ability to create highly personal performance pieces that are both intimate and poetic.  Leave this four-week workshop well on your way to a new work of art and some great new tools with which to express your life stories in performance.  Bring a notebook!  And your stories!Choreographer LOUIS GERVAIS has been combining text and dance for decades.  His solo shows light up with sparks of hilarity and metaphoric depth.  His shapeshifter (2014) was a big hit and he is currently creating a new evening of danced stories tentatively titled Les Orgasmes!  Louis is an international performing artist and choreographer.  His stage work with Compagnie Marie Chouinard of Montreal continues to push him to explore the scary edges of life on stage.  Louis received his MFA in Dance from the UW in 2009.

MAY 11 – JUNE 15
ALICE GOSTI: Making Work // Composition Class for All Levels

This class focuses on the creative process in making body and movement based compositions. We will experiment with a variety of approaches to creating – intuitive, improvisational, and analytical. Making work consists of warming up, making, discussing, improvising, performing your own work and watching the work of other participants. I will share readings to ignite conversations and ideas. My interest is to create a space where one can focus on one own’s body based creative process, while playing with different exercises and processes. Uncovering your individual interests, your process and your work.

An ongoing question throughout the session will be ‘how do we make work that lives in the contemporary context?’
All levels and skills are welcome and will find the work challenging and nourishing.
The class will end with a informal showing of the works created on the last day of class – June 15, 2016.
ALICE GOSTI is an Italian-American choreographer, hybrid performance artist, curator and architect of experiences, working between Seattle and Europe since 2008. Gosti’s work has been recognized with numerous awards, commissions and residencies including being a recipient of the 2013 Vilcek Creative Promise in Dance Award, the 2012 danceWEB scholarship, the 2015 inaugural Intiman Theatre’s Emerging Artist Program as a Director. In 2015, Velocity commissioned, produced, and presented Gosti’s critically acclaimed 5-hour immersive performance How to become a partisan—  a multi-disciplinary event inspired by the Italian Partisan Movement. Gosti’s work has been presented/commissioned by universities, galleries, theaters and festivals worldwide. Dance Magazine has described her work as “unruly yet rigorous, feminine yet rebellious, task-like yet mischievous.“ Gosti has worked as a performer and collaborator with artists Sara Shelton Mann, Keith Hennessy, Carolyn Carlson, Mark Haim, amongst others. She is the founder of Yellow Fish // Epic Durational Performance Festival, the world’s only festival dedicated exclusively to durational performance—international artists create original performances presented at at various sites throughout Seattle.
MAR 30 – MAY 4
KT SHORES: Praxis: Fluency in Everything

A unique non-modality based class exploring techniques to unlock creative potential and flow. This Praxis series focuses on increasing our facility as observers and our fluency as performers, creators, and humans. Dress comfortably, bring a notebook, and come ready to move, be still, and work in the spaces between. Live music by Angelina Baldoz.

KT SHORES is a choreographer, sculptor, writer, director, dancer, yoga teacher, martial artist, and mom based in Seattle, WA. She taught Samadhi yoga for a decade, is the Director of Studio Current, and is the Co-Artistic Director of the creative duo Mother Tongue with Angelina Baldoz

 

FEB 17 – MAR 23
VICTORIA JACOBS: to be a mirror for your whole body

What do you walk into a room with? How does your structure shape your solos, duets, injuries and fluidity? Your unique history, filters and patterns create your dancing body and determine your flow. Your anatomy mirrors the architecture of your psyche.

Using Gyrotonic principles, floorwork technique, and partnered bodywork, we will offer foundational support to your structure. Through the reflections of writing, witnessing, replay, delicious fluid dance challenged by interruption, and scores with precise boundaries, we will hold up the mirror to your whole body.

Unfold. Your limitations may be created by your own assumptions.

VICTORIA JACOBS is a passionate researcher at the intersections of anatomy, psychology and poetry. She teaches the Gyrotonic Expansion System as a tool to self-recovery at Seattle Changing Room, where she is Assistant Director. She explores fluid functional structure in the lineage of Aileen Passloff (Judson Dance Theater), Jill Ableson (SPRe Bodywork), Sheri Cohen, and Anna Halprin. Her background includes contact improvisation, flamenco, and contemporary dance technique, and she holds a BA in Writing/Dance from Bard College, NY. She has been teaching movement arts since 2004.

 

JAN 13 – FEB 10
NIKOLAI LESNIKOV: Introduction to Open Source Forms


This class will offer simple tools to release naturally held tension throughout the body. Open Source Forms is a technique developed by Stephanie Skura that uses visualization, simple movement exercises, safe partnering, vocalization, as well as writing and/or drawing as ways to access and develop an individual’s inner creative potential. The work encourages a sense of wonder and play. This course is open to anyone interested in freedom of movement and creative expression. This material can benefit creative professionals working in any medium. No prior movement experience necessary. Bring a notebook and a writing implement.

NIKOLAI LESNIKOV balances a professional life as an attorney with being a student of contemporary movement practices who seeks to embody an applied philosophy of creative life. He has trained in a variety of movement disciplines mostly at classes and workshops facilitated by Velocity during the past decade and through private instruction. He is a devout Dance Churchgoer. In recent years, he has focused on the study of Open Source Forms with Stephanie Skura and underwent a pre(liminary) teacher training in June, 2015. Nikolai has performed in many venues in and around Seattle most recently with Amy Johnson’s AJnC Dance and Emily Johnson / Catalyst. He is currently working with Jessica Jobaris and General Magic. In addition to performing, he maintains a creative practice in digital photography, experimental music, and drawing.

 

 

 

2015 IMP SERIES

 

NOV 18 – DEC 16
Alia Swersky: Sensation into Play into Design

Moving from sensation we will follow our instincts and be guided by what is already happening in our bodies.  We will tap into what is primal to access multiple layers of our innate creative wisdom.  In essence, engaging our inner world to release the subconscious into physicality, play and compositional design.  Through a dynamic physical collaboration of the senses, along with attention to image, space and touch, we will gently interweave internal and external awareness to create solos, duets, and ensemble dancing.

Alia Swersky is a movement artist, performer and teacher, engaged deeply in the vital act of dance improvisation. She graduated from Cornish College of the Arts in 1998 with a BFA in dance and now teaches as part of the creative process curriculum at Cornish as an adjunct faculty member since 2005. Swersky has taught at Velocity’s Strictly Seattle Festival and the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation (SFDI). She was a long time Co-artistic director of Dance Art Group (DAG), a non-profit organization that promotes the practice and appreciation of dance and somatic education in the Seattle area, including the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation. Alia has taught yoga continuously for over 10 years and invites this influence into her dance work and teaching. Other influences include contact improvisation, release/somatic techniques, Authentic Movement, Tuning Scores, Aikido, Buddhist meditation, and many pivotal dance partners and teachers. Alia danced and toured nationally and internationally as a member of the LeGendre Performance Group. She has also collaborated and performed in the works of many Seattle artists including The Maureen Whiting Company, Khambatta Dance Company, Jurg Koch, KT Niehoff of Lingo Dance, and Salt Horse. Alia has been actively performing, and creating improvisational and choreographic works in Seattle since 1998.

 

OCT 14 – NOV 11
ilvs strauss: um, those aren’t my eyes: perception and identity in art and performance

Is what i’m looking at actually happening? Is what i’m putting down being picked up? Does it even matter?

This series will explore the ideas of intention and perception in art with an emphasis on personal narrative and honest performance ie You Doing You On Stage In Front Of People (YDYOSIFOP). Through exercises in writing and movement and open dialog, we will examine the stories we create, the experience of those stories, and the peculiar now and then gap that occurs between the two. Also up for discussion: the interplay between Text, SubText and SuperText. Open and accessible to artists of all disciplines, experience levels and identities.

ilvs strauss is an analytical chemist turned multi-disciplinary performance artist and theater tech living and making work in Seattle. Her art ranges from haiku poetry, to anamorphic outdoor sculptures, illustrated storytelling (aka Slide Shows), to narrated dance performance. As Technical Director / Lighting Designer she has worked for Pat Graney, KT Neihoff, Salt Horse, and Cherdonna, and is currently the TD at Velocity Dance Center. Her solo piece, Manifesto (now an evening length show), was listed in Dance Magazine’s BEST of 2014 list. More information, pertinent and otherwise, can be found at ilvsstrauss.com

 

SEPT 9 – OCT 7
Noelle Chun: Just a dance, but not just improv

This series follows my improvisational and choreographic practice around acknowledging our complex bodies as we zoom in on our attention to language, sensation, and form. We interrogate improvisational performance sans scores and known agendas, but not without rigor and specificity. We’ll work from scratch to create a space where we physicalize an abundance of visual, linguistic, and kinetic ideas and consider how we come to organize those ideas into dance(s), individually and collectively.

Noelle Chun is a movement artist specializing in improvisational forms and radical openness. Her individual and collaborative work has been presented through notable venues including: Capitol Theater (OH), Green Street Studios (MA), Southern Theater (MN), and Velocity Dance Center (WA). She has received fellowships and project support from the Ohio Arts Council and Greater Columbus Arts Council during her tenure in the Midwest. While there, she also supported Ohio State University and Ohio Wesleyan University as dance faculty. Recently in Seattle, she has created several dances for local companies and performed in Alice Gosti’s How to become a partisan. Chun holds an MFA in dance from Ohio State University and a BA in anthropology and theater arts from Beloit College.

 

MAY 27 – JULY 1
Victoria Jacobs: MOUTHFUL OF FEATHERS

Spit it out. SPIT IT OUT.  You are invited to 6 weeks of moving your body, losing your lips, and accessing image and dream logic to craft exquisitely weird shared moments. Write, mumble, spiral, scrawl, tell stories, attempt impossible dances. We will combine expansive movement practices with sensation-based improvisation and talking while moving.  We will use rock-solid timed scores to go hard and deep into honesty and possibility. We will gather gold nuggets to bring back to the surface. Bring all of you. Move as all of you.

This 6 week series culminates with a showing on July 1 in Velocity’s Founders Studio.

Victoria Jacobs is a teacher, mover and writer with insatiable curiosity and over 10 years teaching experience. Coming from the lineage of Aileen Passloff, Sheri Cohen, Barbara Dilley and Anna Halprin, she researches flexible functional structure and incites students to honest conversation with their own bodies. She holds a BFA in Dance and Writing from Bard College, NY and is a certified Gyrotonic trainer. Her work has been presented throughout Seattle as well as in Vancouver BC, New York, Martha’s Vineyard and Tel Aviv. Her most recent work was seen in Some Nights, a quartet of new postdisciplinary solos developed at Studio Current’s Project Winter and presented throughout a house.

 

APR 29 – MAY 20
Molly Sides: TANKED

Do you ever feel the need to lose your shit!? Let loose, let go, and surprise the hell out of yourself! In Tanked we will explore the energetic sensations of our bodies, the images in our minds, and vibrations of our bones through both technical and improvisational movement. Accompanied by live and recorded music we will explore playful, high energy and driven scores incorporating our voice.  Get In. Get Out. Get Tanked. This class is open to all levels interested in adventurous play and having fun!

Molly Sides is a Seattle based Sound, Movement and Film Artist whose curiosity and attraction to movement has lead to both wild and tame adventures in performance, commercials and film. Sides moved from Ketchum, Idaho to attend Cornish College of the Arts and graduated with a BFA in Dance in 2010. Since then she has had the pleasure to dance with such companies as SaltHorse (Seattle), tEEth (Portland), Lingo (Seattle) and The New Animals (Seattle). Sides has choreographed and presented her own work at On the Boards, Velocity Dance Center, Cornish College of the Arts, The Pink Door, Vermillion, Yellow Fish Festival and various settings throughout the West Coast. She has also choreographed for notable personalities such as AWOLNATION, Android Amaker, Katie Kate, and the production company World Famous. She is constantly looking for new ways to bring dance to an assortment of audiences and thus created Trigger. New Dance Happenings a quarterly performance event held in unexpected venues throughout Seattle. In addition to dance, Sides fronts local rock ‘n roll quartet THUNDERPUSSY.  www.mollysides.com  www.thunderpussyusa.com

 

APR 1 – 22
Babette DeLafayette + John Marc Powell: Activated Environments

Upcoming Velocity Made In Seattle artists Babette DeLafayette and John Marc Powell have partnered to form a creative entity that encompasses their omni-disciplinary visions. Through their partnership they developed a creative process called Activated Environments. In this workshop series DeLafayette will work alongside individuals to build an activated environment within the body, in collaboration and contact with other dancers, and through connecting with the original visual/sonic surroundings created by Powell. The series will build each week and culminate in a final informal showing. This workshop is open to dancers looking to strengthen or add aspects of visual/performance art into their creative practice and daily life.

Babette DeLafayette is a choreographer, creative entrepreneur, omni-disciplinary artist, and founder / co-executive director of The Pendleton House. Babette began her training at the acclaimed Baltimore School for the Arts and Nutmeg Conservatory for Ballet. She trained with Alonzo King Lines Ballet/BFA program for a year before graduating with a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle. Her work has been presented in Northwest New Works Festival, Next Fest Northwest, Next Dance Cinema, 12 Minutes Max, Velocity Fall Kick-Off, Boost Dance Festival, Trigger. New Dance Happenings, Akimbo Site – Specific Festival (Baltimore), High Zero Music Festival (Baltimore) and Decibel Music Festival. She has presented at LxWxH Gallery, The Steel Gallery at Gage, 12th Avenue Arts, and Hedreen Gallery as part of Yellowfish Durational Performance Festival.

John Marc Powell is a creative entrepreneur, omni-disciplinary artist, painter, and founding member / Co-executive director of The Pendleton House. Powell began his artistic training studying Fine Art at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. In South Carolina he developed his own fine art practice with an emphasis in oil painting while successfully starting and running an industrial pallet recycling company. In Seattle he graduated from Cornish College for the Arts with an emphasis in emerging art practices + technologies and new media. His work has been shown at On The Boards, Velocity, Cornish Gallery, 12th Avenue Arts, LoveCityLove, Hedreen Gallery, Steel Gallery at Gage, LxWxH Gallery, and Benaroya Hall.

 

MAR 4 – 25
ilvs strauss: Lying Face Down Forever: Crude Gestures and the Annihilation of Storytelling

In this series we’ll take part in Word and Movement Practices influenced by my studies and experience in science, shamanism, technical theater, and art. Starting with the first letter of the alphabet, H, we’ll convert Particles into Put Together Stories and extract Authentic Physical Movement from Elemental Impulse. From there, an exploration of the dialogue between words and physical movement to create new intersections of depth and meaning will ensue. The workshop is open to all ages and all levels of experience. Bring a journal and writing implement.

ilvs strauss is an analytical chemist turned multi-disciplinary performance artist and theater tech living and making work in Seattle. Her art ranges from haiku poetry, to anamorphic outdoor sculptures, illustrated storytelling (aka Slide Shows), to narrated dance performance. As Technical Director / Lighting Designer she has worked for Pat Graney, KT Neihoff, Salt Horse, and Cherdonna, and is currently the TD at Velocity Dance Center. These days, she is working on an evening length of her solo piece, Manifesto, which was listed in Dance Magazine’s BEST of 2014 list. More information, pertinent and otherwise, can be found at ilvsstrauss.com.

 

FEB 4 – 25
Cathy Madden + Crispin Spaeth: An Introduction to the Alexander Technique for Dance

The Alexander Technique (AT) is a tool that supports self-awareness and constructive choice in thought, action, and communication. In Cathy’s words, “The Alexander Technique is constructive, conscious kindness to ourselves, cooperation with our design and supporting our desires and dreams.”  Performing artists have used AT for over a century to improve the quality and sustainability of their performance lives. This class focuses on the specific activities and unique requirements of dance artists, laying out practical and repeatable processes to more fully realize creation and expression.

Cathy Madden is an internationally respected teacher of the Alexander Technique. Based in Seattle, she is Principal Lecturer at the University of Washington Professional Actor Training Program, Director of the Alexander Technique Training and Performance Studio in Seattle, and Associate Director/Research Director for BodyChance in Japan. She is also the author of Onstage Synergy: Integrative Alexander Technique Practice for Performing Artists due out in December 2014. Crispin Spaeth is a choreographer, producer, and long-time student of the Alexander Technique. She is thrilled to bring this work to the Seattle dance community.

 

JAN 7 – 28
Jan Trumbauer: Embodied Writing: Movement Linguistics

This workshop assumes that your writing and dancing tendencies are manifestations of your physicality. We will tone and stretch our writing by pushing at the textures and tempos of our physicalities, and we will enliven our kinesthetic imaginations by dancing the terrain of highly-specific language. Open to all levels of comfort with movement and writing.

Jan Trumbauer writes, creates images and plays at the intersection between movement and theatricality. She has taken an interest in exploring intersections between writing and movement both in performance and on the page, most recently as assistant editor of Encounters with Contact Improvisation, a special edition of Contact Quarterly about contact improvisation in institutions of higher education, and as former Editor of Velocity’s Stance: Journal of Choreographic Culture. In Seattle, she performs, makes her own work and works as a college writing tutor, freelance editor and ghostwriter.

 

2014 imp series

 

DEC 3 – 17
Jonathan Lilly: Dance Meets Martial Arts: Contact Improvisation and Aikido

The genesis of Contact Improvisation was originally inspired by aikido, a martial art based on the idea of blending energy. While Contact Improvisation has evolved greatly since its creation, there is still much commonality between these two very differnt arts, and much to be learned at their intersection. This class will apply skills, forms, and awaremenss practices derived from aikido to Contact Improvisation. Topics include forward and backward rolls, skeletal alignment as base, two-person rolls, and lifts derived from modified aikido techniques. The class is suitable for all elvels; no previous experience in contact improvisation or aikido is required.

Jonathan Lilly began practicing aikido in 1991, and has fifteen years’ experience teaching aikido to adults and children. He holds a fourth degree black best as well as on instructor certification from the United States Aikido Federation. His movement practice has been heavily influenced by the Feldenkrais method, and more recently, by conact improvisation and improvisational dance.

 

OCT 15 – NOV 19
Tamin Totzke: Contact Improvisation: Refreshing the Basics

Contact improvisation (CI) is a dance form exploring the spontaneity of improvisation through shared physical contact with another person. In this series we will build foundational CI skills, such as rolling, surfing, giving and receiving weight, off-center dancing, lifting and releasing into the joy of disorientation. Skeletal alignment and efficiency will be emphasized to find strength through structure instead of force.  Playing between image-based and athletic sensibilities, we train our attention to stay curiously responsive. Each class will build upon the last to embody rich new potential while cultivating the confidence to trust in our own dancing. We will tune to the forces of gravity and momentum- releasing tension in our minds and bodies to find ease and vitality. Come find readiness, pliability, humor, connection and flight.

Tamin Totzke is a dance educator, improviser and choreographer with an MFA from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She has toured throughout the US teaching and performing at universities, theaters, and festivals including West Coast Contact Festival, both SEEDS and Ground Research at Earthdance and the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation. She has taught internationally in Taiwan, Cambodia and Mongolia working with companies such as Cloud Gate Dance Theater, Taipei Dance Forum, Epic Arts and Nature Dance. Tamin most recently finished a film project that toured through Mongolia, Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan exploring dance improvisation as a vehicle for the storytelling of sacred places.

 

OCT 1 + 8
Melanie Noel: SOURCE TRANSLATION

What have you encountered lately that your body wants to translate?  What is your translation’s unique syntax?  In her book of poems translating the rubbings of beetle trails under bark – _Translations of the Bark Beetle_ – Jody Gladding writes “there are only two verb tenses: the cyclical and the radiant.”  In this two class workshop you’ll encounter the distance and mystery of the thing you want to translate and find a language for its translation into dance.  This will involve thinking about writing, language, and score, and how they both alienate and engage the body.

Melanie Noel grew up in Oregon and lives in Seattle, Washington. She’s the author of The Monarchs (Stockport Flats, 2013) and her poems have appeared inWeekday, LVNG, La Norda Especialo and THE ARCADIA PROJECT. She’s also written poems for short films and installations, and co-curated APOSTROPHE, a dance, music, and poetry series, with musician Gust Burns and dancers Michèle Steinwald and Beth Graczyk, and IMPALA, a reading series that took place in her grandmother’s car. She sometimes teaches experiential workshops meant to invoke synesthesia.

 

MAY 14 – JUNE 18
Sara Shelton Mann Project

Legendary choreographer, improvisor and activist Sara Shelton Mann launches this IMP Series, guiding attendees into her uniquely developed material. Tune kinesthetic perception and unveil “the Morse code of our collective body.” From many years of research, Sara has created a training that integrates the physical and energetic body. We will dance solo, in partnership, and with creative puzzles from this platform.
Training includes Chi Cultivation 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. We play and invite new possibilities each day. We dance.

Sara Shelton Mann will lead the first two classes in this series. Beth Graczyk, Alice Gosti and Alia Swersky will continue the trajectory of the work by synthesizing Sara’s workshop material with the work they will be delving into while in residence with Sara at Velocity. Graczyk, Gosti + Swersky bring their own long standing research in dance, improvisation, healing and spirituality.

Sara Shelton Mann is an already legendary dance artist whose choreography and teaching has played a significant role in shaping contemporary dance performance aesthetics and choreographic process. Her protégés (Curtis, Epiphano, Hennessy, Hermesdorf, de Hoyos, Erdman, among many others…) tour internationally. Herself a protégé of Alwin Nikolais and Murray Lewis in NYC in the 60s, Sara was also deeply influenced by Contact Improvisation. From 1979-96 Sara directed Contraband, a ground breaking troupe of artists working at the leading edges of contemporary dance, performance, ritual, and music. She has received 5 Isadora Duncan Awards and was a Guggenheim Fellow in Choreography in 2000. Sara collaborated and toured internationally with Guillermo Gomez-Pena 96-99 and has created commissioned work across the US, in Europe and Russia as well as at UC Davis and other universities. Sara’s work has been supported by Djerassi Artist in Residence Programs, ODC commissions, NEA, NEFA, SFAC, SFF, Zellerbach Family and Gerbode Foundations.

 

APRIL 2 – MAY 7
Sheri Cohen: Seeing, Dancing & Your Kinesthetic Imagination

How do we experience our eyes when dancing? Is our vision feeding us? How do we experience our eyes differently in everyday life vs. on stage, or when improvising vs. when dancing set choreography? If our eyes are the windows to our souls, what are we communicating through ours? In these classes we’ll begin by playing with some Feldenkrais material, sensing how the movements of the head and spine are organized by the eyes and vice versa. We’ll grow this out into moving through space, in both solo and group explorations. We will explore vision phenomenologically, looking for direct experience of color, texture, form, motion, etc. and find how the kinesthetic imagination — the body’s pathway to movement — is affected by and inspired by our vision. We’ll also visit other senses and body systems (breath, hearing, touch, bones, etc.) to enrich the dancing and keep it full and flowing. Occasional visits to our journals and drawing paper will help us see how we translate “vision” to “envisioning”. Wear lots of warm layers to start class that you can remove as we get moving.

Sheri Cohen has been researching somatics and the movement arts since the late ’80’s. An award-winning choreographer, she has taught dance improvisation in Seattle and abroad since the early ’90’s. Major influences on the material she will present in this workshop are Lisa Nelson and her “tuning scores”, Karen Nelson and her transmission of Lisa’s work, John Dixon and his collaborations, Julyen Hamilton, Joan Skinner, and all the dancers who experimented in her company and in her more recent open-ended research. Sheri is a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner.

 

FEB 19 – MARCH 26
Cyrus Khambatta: Improvisation Performance Lab

This IMP lab facilitated by Cyrus Khambatta will follow up on the work on trios presented in the first two sessions by the Seattle CI Lab in the preceding IMP series, focusing on partnering in duets and trios. Cyrus will share some of the methods and strategies he uses to help dancers create evocative movement, using each dancers’ physical personality signature and architectural dynamics. It will include the heavy influence of contact improvisation in Cyrus’ work as well as mutual observation of each other’s traits to assist one another in bringing out both movement qualities and dynamics that we can use to turn our personal movement strategies into a physical “game,” that we can play with others.

Cyrus Khambatta graduated from New York University where he founded Khambatta Dance Company (formerly: Phffft!). He has created both improvised and Contact-inspired choreographed works presented in nine US states, throughout Europe, Russia and Latin America by many companies. He has taught with improvisers such as Chris Aiken, Nina Martin, Karen Nelson, Katie Duck among others and performed/taught at Freiburg CI Festival, The New York and Washington D.C. Improvisation festivals, Seattle Festival of Dance and Improvisation, Dartington College (UK), Bialystok Dance Festival, Kontakt Budapest and others. He runs the Wild Meadows Farm CI Intensive, previously advised the Washington D.C. Improvisation festival, produces The Centrum Jam in Port Townsend, WA as well as the Seattle International Dance Festival –For more info www.KhambattaDance.org

 

JAN 8 – FEB 12
Seattle Contact Improv Lab: Come on Up to the Lab and Dance to the Greatest Hits

The Seattle CI Lab has been exploring, expanding and evolving the form of Contact Improvisation in Seattle for the past six years.  Based at the Grassroots Studio in West Seattle, the lab is a group of committed Contact dancers who weekly,  taking turns to facilitate explorations and experiments, gathering data and evolving their approaches to this incredible dance form.  Current members include W. Scott Davis, Louis Gervais, Mike Hodapp, Alex Kewitt, Cyrus Khambatta, Michal Lahav, Lisa Lightner, Nadia Losonsky, Liz Mattson, Kaitlin McCarthy, Sheila Skemp, and Christian Swenson. In preparation for this IMP series, the Lab has compiled a Greatest Hits series to share. Each lab will be facilitated by a different member of the group.

A “dance lab” is similar to scientific laboratory.  Exchange beakers for bodies and chemicals with kinesthetic experience. The goal is to ask questions about who we are and what we seek as we dance and to observe how certain approaches to contact improvisation bring us different results. It’s an on-going adventure.  Participants in thisIMP series will be invited into the exploratory approach to improvisation — we will be labbing ideas together.  The intention of this series is to help you find your inner dance scientist, to help you transform and expand your ideas about contact improvisational dance.  Join us!

 

2013 imp series

 

DEC 4 – 18
Stephanie Skura: Open Source Forms (OSF): Freedom + Rigor + Courage

Fluidly expanded from Skinner Releasing Technique (SRT), Skura developed Open Source Forms (OSF) after 12 years as a member of the SRT Institute’s core faculty, and decades of radical performance practice.OSF is about cross-fertilizations and deep commonalities of SRT and creative process: a technique that includes shedding outer layers, finding primal energy, agility navigating subconscious realms, and imagery as powerful tool for transformation. Skura draws on her research and practice in improvisation and innovative composition techniques, and her extensive background in SRT. Her teaching derives from a rehearsal process that celebrates diversity, collaboration, and individual empowerment.  These sessions offer methods to access conceptual and creative freedom, specificity, courage and honesty in movement, vocal practice and performance. With juicy experiments finding surprising pathways between conscious and subconscious, movement and voice, witnessing and participating. Bring paper and pens for writing and 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 and 30 states. Her current work takes an innovative approach to language and voice, continuing investigations of boundaries and intersections of dance, theater, poetry and performance. Her involvement with permaculture and naturopathy supports a dedication to catalyzing creative process in a holistic and collaborative way, with a deep respect for individual diversity and subconscious realms. She holds a BFA and MFA in Dance from NYU Tisch, and directs Open Source Forms Teacher Certification Program.stephanieskura.com

OCT 23 – NOV 27
Christian Swenson: Becoming Animal

“For art to appear, we must disappear.” – S. Nachmanovitch
Who or what are we when we’re not ourselves?  How can we imitate the Other with accuracy and deep regard for the spirit of each different being?  In this class we will practice the ancient art of animal imitation as movement artists, scientists and shamans.  We will carefully morph ourselves (hands, spines, faces, eyes and voices), enact predator/prey relationships, create creature-characters and observe their behavior and interactions.  Learn how to disappear yourself without costume or make-up, and notice how and why this is humorous, beautiful and scary.

Christian Swenson has an uncanny ability to shape-shift his body and voice to imitate creatures from this world and beyond.   For 30 + years he has been performing and teaching around the Northwest and the rest of the world. He is known for his pioneering work in what he calls “Human Jazz”, a global fusion of dance/drama/music for body and voice. In 1977 he received a BA in Theater from the University of New Hampshire and moved to Seattle to work with the Bill Evans Dance Company.  Further training has included work with Tony Montanaro; Diane Schenker; Ruth Zapora; Korean shaman, Hi-ah Park, and with the late Pakistani master-singer, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.  He has performed with Bill Irwin, The Seattle Symphony Orchestra, and The Jay Clayton/Jim Knapp Collective and in Europe with Jim Nollman of Interspecies Communication Inc. He presently teaches in the Theater programs at Seattle University and Bellevue Community College. Christian has received Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Washington State Arts Commission and Artist Trust of Washington.  He resides happily in Seattle with his wife, Abigail, and two children.


SEPT 11 – OCT 16
Louis Gervais: Dancing Energy Systems

When we look beyond our visible, physical bodies, we can  see ourselves as energy and information.  From this alternate standpoint, we resemble a chain of interconnected centers or chakras that are in constant motion as our life force energy flows in, out and throughout our bodies. Through improvisation, visualization and somatic exploration, we can create powerful personal relationships with the invisible and ever-changing energetic Self.  Working with gesture and story, we describe shapes and pathways of these centers.  Through rhythm and breath, we can sense the distinctly different qualities of energy throughout the body and beyond.  Creative exploration and knowledge of the chakra system not only enhances self awareness and movement quality, it can also vitalize yoga and other practices as well.

Louis Gervais brings 40 years of dance experience and creativity to his teaching.  Louis has performed with Compagnie Marie Chouinard among many other professional companies. Louis’ teaching work combines improvisation with transcendent dance practices and Eastern philosophy within a somatic framework.


MAY 15 – JUNE 19
Alice Gosti: Say Yes

A movement and imagination workshop against self-censorship and judgment. We will be working on the idea that one’s body has inspiration of it’s own and it is connected to one’s imagination. What if we think about our signature movement not as something that we need to avoid and get rid of, but as an unfinished sentence that we never allowed ourselves to deeply and completely realize? What if we give permission and say – yes – to all of the random impulses and images that pop into our imaginations? What if instead of tricking the mind into being distracted, we trusted the bodies’ mind? No, I am not a ‘non-conformist of the 1960s’, I am a punk that loves airplanes and airports and thinks that we give too much power to our minds, that’s all. Come to class.

The exercises and tools that will be used in this class are the same that Spaghetti CO. has used in the creation of the first two chapters of the Spaghetti CO. saga – Something just happened at 1:19 pm and Are you still hungry?. This class is open to people interested in movement and imagination, dance experience is not necessary.

Alice Gosti is a 27 year old space transformer, dancer, choreographer, performer, filmmaker. She was born and raised in Perugia, Italy, and is the daughter of the dynamic art duo Sandford&Gosti. She trained in her hometown at Ass. Culturale Dance Gallery with Rita Petrone and Valentina Romito, and graduated in 2008 with a B.A. in Dance from the UW.  Alice has performed in works by Paige Barnes, Carolyn Carlson, Bruno Collinet, Jane Comfort, Laara Garcia, Mark Haim, Tonya Lockyer, Keith Hennessy, Monica Mata Gilliam, Tiffany Mills, Amy O’Neal, Fritha Pingelly, Jennifer Salk and Ellie Sandstrom. This year she has received – the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Dance 2012 and Dance Web Scholarship 2012 for ImPuls Tanz in Vienna.


APR 3 – MAY 8

Alia Swersky: Sensation into Play into Design

Moving from sensation we will follow our instincts and be guided by what is already happening in our bodies.  We will tap into what is primal to access multiple layers of our innate creative wisdom.  In essence, engaging our inner world to release the subconscious into physicality, play and compositional design.  Through a dynamic physical collaboration of the senses, along with attention to image, space and touch, we will gently interweave internal and external awareness to create solos, duets, and ensemble dancing.

Alia Swersky is a movement artist, performer and teacher, engaged deeply in the vital act of dance improvisation. She graduated from Cornish College of the Arts in 1998 with a BFA in dance and now teaches as part of the creative process curriculum at Cornish as an adjunct faculty member since 2005. Swersky has taught at Velocity’s Strictly Seattle Festival and the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation (SFDI). She was a long time Co-artistic director of Dance Art Group (DAG), a non-profit organization that promotes the practice and appreciation of dance and somatic education in the Seattle area, including the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation. Alia has taught yoga continuously for over 10 years and invites this influence into her dance work and teaching. Other influences include contact improvisation, release/somatic techniques, Authentic Movement, Tuning Scores, Aikido, Buddhist meditation, and many pivotal dance partners and teachers. Alia danced and toured nationally and internationally as a member of the LeGendre Performance Group. She has also collaborated and performed in the works of many Seattle artists including The Maureen Whiting Company, Khambatta Dance Company, Jurg Koch, KT Niehoff of Lingo Dance, and Salt Horse. Alia has been actively performing, and creating improvisational and choreographic works in Seattle since 1998.


FEB 20 – MAR 27

Louis Gervais: Exploring Contact

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 focusing on partnering from the inside out.   Working from inside to outside, we will discover how the inner connection is reflected in the dance that comes out into space. This class is great for beginners and even non-dancers who are interested in exploring  Contact Improvisation and partnering skills.

Louis Gervais, former member of Compagnie Marie Chouinard, 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.


DEC 4 – 18
Stephanie Skura: Open Source Forms (OSF): Freedom + Rigor + Courage

Fluidly expanded from Skinner Releasing Technique (SRT), Skura developed Open Source Forms (OSF) after 12 years as a member of the SRT Institute’s core faculty, and decades of radical performance practice.OSF is about cross-fertilizations and deep commonalities of SRT and creative process: a technique that includes shedding outer layers, finding primal energy, agility navigating subconscious realms, and imagery as powerful tool for transformation. Skura draws on her research and practice in improvisation and innovative composition techniques, and her extensive background in SRT. Her teaching derives from a rehearsal process that celebrates diversity, collaboration, and individual empowerment.  These sessions offer methods to access conceptual and creative freedom, specificity, courage and honesty in movement, vocal practice and performance. With juicy experiments finding surprising pathways between conscious and subconscious, movement and voice, witnessing and participating. Bring paper and pens for writing and 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 and 30 states. Her current work takes an innovative approach to language and voice, continuing investigations of boundaries and intersections of dance, theater, poetry and performance. Her involvement with permaculture and naturopathy supports a dedication to catalyzing creative process in a holistic and collaborative way, with a deep respect for individual diversity and subconscious realms. She holds a BFA and MFA in Dance from NYU Tisch, and directs Open Source Forms Teacher Certification Program.stephanieskura.com

OCT 23 – NOV 27
Christian Swenson: Becoming Animal

“For art to appear, we must disappear.” – S. Nachmanovitch
Who or what are we when we’re not ourselves?  How can we imitate the Other with accuracy and deep regard for the spirit of each different being?  In this class we will practice the ancient art of animal imitation as movement artists, scientists and shamans.  We will carefully morph ourselves (hands, spines, faces, eyes and voices), enact predator/prey relationships, create creature-characters and observe their behavior and interactions.  Learn how to disappear yourself without costume or make-up, and notice how and why this is humorous, beautiful and scary.

Christian Swenson has an uncanny ability to shape-shift his body and voice to imitate creatures from this world and beyond.   For 30 + years he has been performing and teaching around the Northwest and the rest of the world. He is known for his pioneering work in what he calls “Human Jazz”, a global fusion of dance/drama/music for body and voice. In 1977 he received a BA in Theater from the University of New Hampshire and moved to Seattle to work with the Bill Evans Dance Company.  Further training has included work with Tony Montanaro; Diane Schenker; Ruth Zapora; Korean shaman, Hi-ah Park, and with the late Pakistani master-singer, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.  He has performed with Bill Irwin, The Seattle Symphony Orchestra, and The Jay Clayton/Jim Knapp Collective and in Europe with Jim Nollman of Interspecies Communication Inc. He presently teaches in the Theater programs at Seattle University and Bellevue Community College. Christian has received Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Washington State Arts Commission and Artist Trust of Washington.  He resides happily in Seattle with his wife, Abigail, and two children.


SEPT 11 – OCT 16
Louis Gervais: Dancing Energy Systems

When we look beyond our visible, physical bodies, we can  see ourselves as energy and information.  From this alternate standpoint, we resemble a chain of interconnected centers or chakras that are in constant motion as our life force energy flows in, out and throughout our bodies. Through improvisation, visualization and somatic exploration, we can create powerful personal relationships with the invisible and ever-changing energetic Self.  Working with gesture and story, we describe shapes and pathways of these centers.  Through rhythm and breath, we can sense the distinctly different qualities of energy throughout the body and beyond.  Creative exploration and knowledge of the chakra system not only enhances self awareness and movement quality, it can also vitalize yoga and other practices as well.

Louis Gervais brings 40 years of dance experience and creativity to his teaching.  Louis has performed with Compagnie Marie Chouinard among many other professional companies. Louis’ teaching work combines improvisation with transcendent dance practices and Eastern philosophy within a somatic framework.


MAY 15 – JUNE 19,
Alice Gosti: Say Yes

A movement and imagination workshop against self-censorship and judgment. We will be working on the idea that one’s body has inspiration of it’s own and it is connected to one’s imagination. What if we think about our signature movement not as something that we need to avoid and get rid of, but as an unfinished sentence that we never allowed ourselves to deeply and completely realize? What if we give permission and say – yes – to all of the random impulses and images that pop into our imaginations? What if instead of tricking the mind into being distracted, we trusted the bodies’ mind? No, I am not a ‘non-conformist of the 1960s’, I am a punk that loves airplanes and airports and thinks that we give too much power to our minds, that’s all. Come to class.

The exercises and tools that will be used in this class are the same that Spaghetti CO. has used in the creation of the first two chapters of the Spaghetti CO. saga – Something just happened at 1:19 pm and Are you still hungry?. This class is open to people interested in movement and imagination, dance experience is not necessary.

Alice Gosti is a 27 year old space transformer, dancer, choreographer, performer, filmmaker. She was born and raised in Perugia, Italy, and is the daughter of the dynamic art duo Sandford&Gosti. She trained in her hometown at Ass. Culturale Dance Gallery with Rita Petrone and Valentina Romito, and graduated in 2008 with a B.A. in Dance from the UW.  Alice has performed in works by Paige Barnes, Carolyn Carlson, Bruno Collinet, Jane Comfort, Laara Garcia, Mark Haim, Tonya Lockyer, Keith Hennessy, Monica Mata Gilliam, Tiffany Mills, Amy O’Neal, Fritha Pingelly, Jennifer Salk and Ellie Sandstrom. This year she has received – the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Dance 2012 and Dance Web Scholarship 2012 for ImPuls Tanz in Vienna.


APR 3 – MAY 8

Alia Swersky: Sensation into Play into Design

Moving from sensation we will follow our instincts and be guided by what is already happening in our bodies.  We will tap into what is primal to access multiple layers of our innate creative wisdom.  In essence, engaging our inner world to release the subconscious into physicality, play and compositional design.  Through a dynamic physical collaboration of the senses, along with attention to image, space and touch, we will gently interweave internal and external awareness to create solos, duets, and ensemble dancing.

Alia Swersky is a movement artist, performer and teacher, engaged deeply in the vital act of dance improvisation. She graduated from Cornish College of the Arts in 1998 with a BFA in dance and now teaches as part of the creative process curriculum at Cornish as an adjunct faculty member since 2005. Swersky has taught at Velocity’s Strictly Seattle Festival and the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation (SFDI). She was a long time Co-artistic director of Dance Art Group (DAG), a non-profit organization that promotes the practice and appreciation of dance and somatic education in the Seattle area, including the Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation. Alia has taught yoga continuously for over 10 years and invites this influence into her dance work and teaching. Other influences include contact improvisation, release/somatic techniques, Authentic Movement, Tuning Scores, Aikido, Buddhist meditation, and many pivotal dance partners and teachers. Alia danced and toured nationally and internationally as a member of the LeGendre Performance Group. She has also collaborated and performed in the works of many Seattle artists including The Maureen Whiting Company, Khambatta Dance Company, Jurg Koch, KT Niehoff of Lingo Dance, and Salt Horse. Alia has been actively performing, and creating improvisational and choreographic works in Seattle since 1998.


FEB 20 – MAR 27

Louis Gervais: Exploring Contact

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 focusing on partnering from the inside out.   Working from inside to outside, we will discover how the inner connection is reflected in the dance that comes out into space. This class is great for beginners and even non-dancers who are interested in exploring  Contact Improvisation and partnering skills.

Louis Gervais, former member of Compagnie Marie Chouinard, 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.


JAN 9 – FEB 13
Lucia Neare: RINGING THE BONES: Exploratory Sound-Making

Jump into the New Year by ringing your bones! Explore sound-making from a playful, whole-self perspective. Discover your unique and powerful vocal instrument. We’ll dive into vocal anatomy, body mapping and the athletics of moving air, we’ll unearth resonant territories, we’ll map the geography of vowels and the choreography of words. Let’s get lost in sound and find our voices by ringing our holy bones. This class is not about making pretty sounds (though there may be some of those); this class is about exploring your voice. These holistic, experimental, and sound-loving classes are open to all, including the vocally curious, shy, and terrified. All are welcome. Please bring a journal.

Lucia Neare is the Mayor’s Arts Award Winning creator of the beloved site-specific theatrical wonder, Lulluby Moon. Her free, large-scale, site-specific works have inspired thousands. A classical singer, sculptor, designer, director, performer, and producer, she is artistic director of Lucia Neare’s Theatrical Wonders. Neare has received commissions and support from organizations such as 4Culture, Artist Trust, the Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, Seattle Art Museum, Olympic Sculpture Park, On the Boards, Seattle City Light, SAFECO, and Seattle Parks and Recreation. Lucia received the 2008 Artist Trust/Washington State Arts Commission Fellowship, Seattle Magazine’s 2008 Spotlight Award, and the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs 2007 CityArtists Award. Neare studied theater and contemporary performance at Naropa University and is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College.

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