Summer is always a time for moving a bit slower, taking in life’s pleasures, and rejuvenating the spirit. All of us at the Dance Exchange were not only soaking in some sun, but many of us took the time to explore new things and deepen our own personal interests. Here’s a little bit about how each of us spent our Summer 2013:
Cassie Meador (Artistic Director): This summer I had the opportunity to meet an incredible group of candidates, from around the country, during the search for a new Managing Director of Dance Exchange. I also took some needed time away from my computer and the city. I got my hands in some Georgia soil, visiting the family farm and harvesting a bean variety that has been in our family for over 100 years. I walked and camped along the shorelines of Vancouver Island, starting the research for my next project that will look at the state of our oceans. My summer ended in the mountains of Utah, where I had the great honor of participating in and presenting at The Opportunity Agenda’s Creative Change Retreat at Sundance. These experiences were filled with individuals and ideas that I know will fuel my work in the coming season and likely many years to come.
Emily Macel Theys (Communications and Development Director): While other DXers were taking vacations or attending summer dance festivals, I was holding down the fort at Dance Exchange! My trusty office companion (and now nearly 11-month old son) Lincoln kept me company and “helped” by sorting (eating) paperwork and shipping boxes of CRP books. Aside from that, I had a blast at the First Annual DX Hot Hullabaloo (here’s a photo of me, Lincoln, and our dear DX pal Thomas, check out more photos on Facebook HERE, and have been prepping for a busy fall by creating new marketing materials, meeting with our Board of Directors, and adjusting to an always transitioning environment with the comings and goings of staff and artists. Though we didn’t have the chance to go on a real vacation this summer, we did take several weekend trips to Pittsburgh to visit our families and to find a new home. This October, we head back to the ‘Burgh after nearly 10 years. I will continue to work for the Dance Exchange remotely, as we dive back into life in the land of hills, rivers, and many bridges (over 400!).
Susan Goode (New Business Manager): This Summer I… Moved to DC to work for Dance Exchange!
Shula Strassfeld (Resident Artist/ Healthy Living Coordinator): It has been a very busy summer. In July I did a threeday workshop in creating theatre in communities and civic engagement with Michael Rhod of Sojourn Theatre Company. EJ and Vincent DX adjuncts were also in the workshop. I also did the Mark Morris Company training for teaching dance to people with Parkinsons. Both these workshops taught me a great deal and gave me much to think about. They also reaffirmed the value of our work at DX and the unique perspective we bring to this work. On the family/vacation front, I spent a few days looking at the waves in Marblehead, a few days in Toronto including two ballet classes with an old friend and closed out my summer time with a grand extravaganza almost the whole family celebration of my brother’s wedding in Cleveland.
John Borstel (Senior Advisor/ Humanities): Two highlights of my summer activities beyond the Dance Exchange offices: First, a three-week trip to Australia in June where I co-taught a series of workshops with Liz Lerman focused the Critical Response Process and other creative strategies. With my partner Charles Gravitz (AKA Dance Exchange Board Treasurer) along as vacation coordinator, I also had a chance to visit a koala sanctuary, feed parrots and watch for “skippies” (kangaroos) from our chalet veranda, and tour the dramatic shoreline and mega-tree forests of Australia’s southern coast. The second highlight was a week on campus in the low-residency program at Goddard College in Vermont, where I’m starting the final semester toward my MFA. I facilitated more CRP and engaged with the work of the talented performers, writers, designers, visual artists and musicians who are my classmates in this unique interdisciplinary program.
Matthew Cumbie (Resident Artist): This summer I went back to Lewiston, Maine, to do some heavy-duty dancing and porch sitting at the Bates Dance Festival. I saw some dear friends, witnessed a beautiful storm or two roll through, watched a lot of powerful dancing, and enjoyed some much-needed time for reflection and self-processing. A couple of highlights include some performing I was able to do: one in Portland as part of an art walk with a collaborative team organized by Annie Kloppenberg and Meredith Lyons and the other as part of a repertory class working with Bebe Miller in resetting an excerpt of her Hendrix Project, which originally premiered in 1991. I can’t speak to enough how magical I feel Bates Dance Festival is, nor can I express how excited and happy I am to be home and get back into the thick of things at Dance Exchange.
Ouida Maedel (Partnerships and Production Manager): One of the most wild and wonderful things about this summer was that I went to two weddings in one weekend in July – one in Buffalo, NY, and one in Atlanta, GA! One of my best friends from college, Devin, ended up being the first in our crew to get married, which was pretty terrifying for all of us (though we’re pretty sure Devin knows what he’s doing – he did go to Sarah Lawrence after all). My cousin’s wedding in Atlanta was an epic family affair, and it was great to have so much family together to celebrate the occasion. Other than that, I bartended at the Capital Fringe Festival – my 3rd year in a row – officially making it my DC summer tradition.
Wayles Haynes (Youth Programs Coordinator): This summer I took Two College Physics classes, studied for and took the MCAT. I also produced an evening length work “50’s Front” and presented it with Alight Dance Theater at Dance Place in June.
Keira Hart-Mendoza (Administrative Assistant): I had the opportunity to attend the Dance USA conference in Philadelphia this past June and learn a lot about the business side of the dance. It was great to meet new people and learn from others in the field. A big highlight of my summer was presenting three new works on my company, UpRooted Dance, at Dance Place in August. We had the wonderful opportunity to collaborate with Mark H. Rooney, a taiko drummer who teaches drumming classes at the Dance Exchange. I also shared a lot of new experiences with my 7month old son Sebastian including taking him to the swimming pool for the first time and getting to spend a lot of time enjoying the outdoors on walks and picnics!
Article by Keira Hart-Mendoza