I think of dance as a practice with many dimensions.
My classes engage multiple dimensions of dance, but share a set of core principles that are applied in different ways.
My approach to teaching is to give clear direction and demonstration and also allow experimentation and exploration, to encourage and to challenge, and to cultivate self-disciplined practice infused with the freedom of artistry and creativity.
I focus on...
- physical training (the how): conditioning and warm-up, technique
- choreographic sequences (the what): phrase-work, repertory
- movement & meaning (the why): choreographic analysis or mentoring, physicalizing the philosophical, performance-presentations
- Humphrey-Limón: technique, repertory, applied philosophical principles
types of classes
- modern dance conditioning & technique
- modern technique and phrasework
- Humphrey-Limón technique
- Humphrey-Limón repertory excerpts
- applied philosophic principles of Humphrey-Limón
- movement & meaning:
- physicalizing the philosophical
- choreographic analysis or mentoring
Excerpts from technique classes, 2011-2017
Limón-based Modern Technique, Intermediate Level
Limón-based Modern Technique, Intermediate Level
• modern dance conditioning & techniqueConditioning warm-up and technique for dancers or other movers at various levels
• technique and phraseworkModern dance technique class and excerpts of repertory from contemporary works
• Humphrey-Limón techniqueIn these technique classes I focus on the principles of the Humphrey-Limón style, with an awareness of contemporary influences and developments. Classes always include a thorough warm-up and progress gradually to full dance phrases. The warm-up emphasizes increasing range of motion in the torso and limbs, clarity of articulation, proper, mobile alignment, and dynamically stable shifts of weight. Physically, oppositional energies enable us to play with resisting gravity, and falling through space, suspending, swinging, carving, with musicality and rhythm.
• Humphrey-Limón repertoryIn a repertory workshop students learn an excerpt from a Limón work. These 1-day to 5-day workshops include a technique class in the Humphrey-Limón style, an excerpt from Limón repertory, and a brief introduction to the conceptual principles of the style and to the themes of this repertory.
• applied philosophical principles of the Humphrey-Limón techniqueTwo workshops which I teach individually or in combination are:
1. 'An intensive study of the core elements of the Humphrey-Limón technique', including weight, breath, fall, recovery, opposition, suspension, swing, expressive gesture. The focus is on the physical experience of these elements, accompanied by a consideration of the dramatic and conceptual implications/associations of these principles.
2. 'Human Nature Embodied: Doris Humphrey’s Nietzschean Humanism'. Presentation of the philosophical underpinnings of this dance style with correlated movement examples. An investigation of how to dance the Apollonian and Dionysian, the humanist hand and more.
• movement and meaning
physicalizing the philosophicalIn this class we work together in the studio to understand how the body can generate a physicalized expression of a philosophical concept, and to experiment with using the body to give expression to selected philosophical principles.
choreographic analysis or mentoringIn these sessions I work with a single student or small group of students to observe and analyze their own choreography, asking questions about how they can use their dance to give physical expression to their own principles and concepts, or asking which philosophical concepts their movement might already be expressing intentionally or unintentionally.
performance-presentationI use the format of a performance-presentation to bring dance and philosophy together in a context other than the studio, such as university classes or dance audiences. For example: I may perform an excerpt of a solo in a philosophy class and then explain and discuss, or I may bring dance sequences into a class for musicians who will then perform some of the movement themselves, or I may use the performance-presentation at the beginning of a performance to help inform an audience.
• movement workshops for everybodyMy main intentions here are to give participants an opportunity to really focus on their bodies and their physicality. I want to help them become better movers and to have more options within their bodies. So I develop sequences to increase range of motion, clarity of articulation, and specificity of direction and initiation. I include creative ways to build strength and endurance.
In addition to these very physical aspects of the work I also layer a conceptual aspect, for instance the idea of humans being 'elegant animals'. We are animals, and we can reclaim and use a sense of our own animality to help free us to reach a greater range of physicality. Animals are often extraordinarily elegant, appearing dignified and noble naturally and effortlessly. Are we not capable of that ourselves? Are we not both animal and elegant in some ways at the same time, all the time?