I teach the following classes, as well as tailor workshops to the particular needs of a group, program or individual. I also conceptualize, curate and facilitate conferences, panels and public events. More detailed syllabi, lesson plans and reading lists are available upon request.
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Ideokinesis and Improvisation (Topf Technique)
Participants work slowly and deeply to find new ways to enter and inhabit their bodies. This introductory workshop supports a dancer’s facility and addresses the body’s change over time. It incorporates the direct observation of skeletal forms and their accompanying sensations. As the process unfolds, participants experience increased range of movement, creative expression and dynamics. Selected anatomical information provides rich improvisational material, as well as injury prevention and recovery. Each class involves theory, and the application of principles and images. Class includes deep stretching, developmental movements (rolling, crawling, reaching), spiral forms, improvisation, and bodywork. Developed by Nancy Topf, a pioneer of release and alignment work in New York, this technique stems from the ideokinetic tradition established by Mabel Todd (The Thinking Body, 1937). The lineage also includes Irene Dowd, Andre Bernard, and Lulu Sweigard.
for more information go to: www.topftechnique.com
Contemplative Dance Practice (CDP)
Through meditation, personal awareness and work in the open space/village, we integrate learning, creative desires, and daily lives. We work with open forms as an invitation to the moment at hand. We practice observation, stillness, rest and abandon in the dance; we make all movement relevant. Barbara Dilley–who has danced with Merce Cunningham and Judson Dance Theater, and is inspired by the great meditation master and artist, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche–developed these contemplative arts disciplines at Naropa University over the past 34 years.
Movement and Alignment for the Actor
Through a process of direct observation of skeletal structures and their sensations, the body reveals a natural instinct for centered alignment. We use specific anatomical images as pathways to guide this exploration. We focus on deep spinal support and the concept of the central axis of gravity. Our movement investigations deepen the connection to the ground and the center, and extend into space. Ease and dynamic alignment creates the foundation for full expression of a free body and voice. The workshop contains anatomical theory, deep stretching, guided movement, improvisation and bodywork. Through learning to engage each other with simple tactile aids, we discover knowledge of our bones and key muscles and release into our selves. We relax, engage and prepare to serve the needs of the character and the play.
This improvisation technique emerged from post-modern dance. It was first articulated by Mary Overlie and further developed by Wendall Beavers, Anne Bogart/Siti Company and Tina Landau. Participants share a basic set of vocabulary that evokes an awareness of time and space. This allows actors and dancers to generate bold, theatrical work quickly and with a high level of flexibility. Exploration includes spatial relationships, topography, gesture, architecture, shape, kinisthetic response, repetition, duration and tempo. Skills involve heightened listening, enhanced movement range and response and the power of observation. The process facilitates ensemble play and provides fundamental tools for artists in any production situation.
Approaching the Role, the Actor’s Craft
As stage and film actors, we need to work authentically, truthfully and unselfconsciously with the given material. This demands a presence and aliveness to respond to the moment, in the act of “being” on stage, or in front of the camera. Through scene and monologue work we look at basic actions, moment to moment presence, improvisation, script analysis and experimental ways to inhabit a text. Through this process we seek to understand the material, its demands and the utilization of the self.
Conscious Sourcing Ensemble
In this workshop we build a collective performance piece from specific source material. We employ existing literature, art, current political news and photography as a starting point for exploration. We question, liberate, return to, and find entry into already existing visual and written material, and discover new creations.
Choreographic Mind Dance Workshop
How can we use the communicative power of movement? Can we view sequence as a puzzle or arrangement, rather than as order? Participants take cues from the creation process and explore the unknown. What is the effect of a certain movement or gesture? How does it act upon us? What does it do to us, and how can that provide more information ? Where are our tendencies, habits, and obsessions? Choreographers investigate ways to utilize patience, humor, spontaneity, rigor, and address the need to stay engaged in the creative process. Students create material in studio, as well as bring in developing dances.
Pedagogy of Creation
In this class we look at the methodology and philosophy of working collectively. We examine the role of the choreographer and director; re-think rehearsal systems, our notions of hierarchy, authority, community and the ways groups function. We use the model of performance practice as a mode of inquiry, and raise questions that reflect our desire for meaning and deep communication. How does the way we create or think about our work reflect our values? Participants articulate a philosophy of work. This advanced class encourages dialogue about broader performance culture, interdisciplinary art and history, and the intersection between media, technology, creative practice, and documentation. The work includes contemporary and historical texts as well as outside writing assignments.