Class…class…class!

I’ve been looking forward to this week for some time now. It’s the start of our classes for the season, and we’ve got quite the kick-off! Check out each of our offerings below, and who is teaching, so that you won’t miss a thing.

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FRIDAY Class with Cassie Meador
Dance Exchange’s Artistic Director Cassie Meador is back in the studio! I couldn’t think of a better way to start our year than by inviting Cassie to set the course for FRIDAY Class. Rooted in Dance Exchange practices, and mixed with her own constantly evolving toolbox, Cassie’s class has a way of inspiring inquiry-based explorations that both reconnect us to our pasts and launch us into our futures. They are both specific and ambiguous, challenging and exciting, and always a great experience. Join her for FRIDAY Class on September 6 and 13. 9:30-11:15 on Fridays, $12 ($10 with a class card).

Cassie Meador in 'The Matter of Origins.' Photo by Jaclyn Borowski.

Cassie Meador(Artistic Director) is a choreographer, performer, educator, and Artistic Director of the Dance Exchange. Her work is imbued with a passion for her surroundings, a belief in the human capacity for change, and a conviction that art can be a potent form of research and communication. Cassie has tackled numerous social and environmental issues through the synthesis of movement, sound, and visual images. Drift, her 2008 work commissioned by the Kennedy Center, explores the human relationship to land over time. Her current project, How To Lose a Mountain, reflects on a 500-mile walk from Washington, DC to West Virginia to trace the sources of energy that fuel her home. Her Moving Field Guides, an interactive experience led by artists, naturalists, and regional experts in ecology, is being implemented in partnership with the USDA Forest Service. In 2011 she was selected as the sole artist representative to a research initiative of the International Human Dimensions Program on Global Environmental Change. She has spoken about her work at Dance Exchange on international platforms such as at the 2011 United Nations Climate Change conference in Durban, South Africa, and at the Center for American Progress in Washington, DC. Cassie is an Associate Artist of the Center for Creative Research. She has taught and created dances in communities throughout the U.S. and internationally in Japan, Canada, England, Ireland, and Guyana. Her work has been presented by the Bealtaine Festival in Ireland, the Asian Contemporary Art Museum in Japan, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, Dance Place, and the Kohler Arts Center. Born in Charleston, SC, and raised in Augusta, GA, Cassie received her BFA in dance from The Ohio State University. She joined Dance Exchange in 2002 and assumed the role of Artistic Director in 2011.

Class Description: This class offers a space to explore both an individual and ensemble-oriented approach to movement. We will examine ways to harness our experiences in and out of the dance studio to push our physical and expressive range. We will look for ways to call on our training and histories, as well as ways to release them fearlessly to expand our potential as movers. The class is structured to investigate space and sensation through improvisation and set material. We will warm up and tune our bodies to be ready to movewith our full range and power. We will challenge our minds and bodies as wenurture the joy we have for moving. Material is taught by breaking down in detail initiations, the pelvic relationship to the ground, and moments of re-directing spatially. We will work collaboratively in class to offerdirect feedback for one another. The class will be shaped in response to the strengths and curiosities of the group as we challenge and cultivate our approaches to moving.

MASTER CLASS with Dandelion Dancetheater
New for us this year, we’ll be hosting occasional Master Classes month to month. As they become announced, we’ll make sure to get that information out through the DX blog, the DX Facebook, and the DX Education newsletter (email Matthew to sign up). Or stop by our studios to see what’s going on! This month we are excited to offer the opportunity to work with Dandelion Dancetheater, coming from San Francisco. Their work parallels many of the foundational Dance Exchange beliefs and practices, and I am thrilled to work with Eric Kupers (Co-Director) and Cristina Carrasquillo in class! This Friday, September 6 only! 11:30-1 (immediately after FRIDAY Class), $12 ($10 with class card).

Justin Sharlman, Kate Pinedo, and Mickey Kay in 'Tongues.' Photo by Ben Aisles.

Dandelion Dancetheateris situated at the crossroads of dance, theater, music, community activism, healing, and new performance forms. This company of diverse collaborators is committed to the individual and intersecting artistic visions of Kimiko Guthrie and Eric Kupers. Their work is built from a fascination with interdisciplinary experimentation, in-depth collaboration, vulnerability, risk-taking, and the truths that come from looking at the world from an ‘outsider’ perspective. More information at www.dandeliondancetheater.org.

Class Description: A master class led by Dandelion Dancetheater’s Eric Kupers and Cristina Carrasquillo that leads participants through a diverse set of approaches to creating, training in, improvising and performing inclusive dance/theater. The class begins with the premise that dance/theater is for all bodies (with and without disabilities, diverse sizes and shapes, all ages, and all body identities,) and then explores how to customize performance training to each person’s unique set of skills and obstacles.

Takoma Park MOVES with Matthew Cumbie
A small shift for us, our Takoma Park MOVES has moved- to Saturday mornings! I see this series as an extension of Dance Exchange processes, and an opportunity to gather, move, and make with our neighbors right here in Takoma Park. There’s something so beautifully unique and special about this class when movers and makers of all ages and backgrounds, some familiar with dance and some less so, come together to investigate and respond and discover. It’s such a joy to be a part of, and I hope that you’ll come join me on September 7 and 14! 10-11:30 on Saturdays, $10. All are welcome.

Photo by Jesse Scroggins.

Matthew Cumbie (Resident Artist/Education Coordinator) is a professional dance artist and collaborator who hails from Houston, Texas, and came to dance in college. Now based in Washington, DC, he has been a company member with Keith Thompson/dancetactics performance group (2011-2012), and has performed with Mark Dendy, the Von Howard Project, Sarah Gamblin, Jordan Fuchs, jhon stronks, Paloma McGregor, and Jill Sigman/thinkdance. In 2010 Matthew co-founded Big Rig Dance Collective, a collection of professional dancers in north Texas committed to collaboratively connecting artists to communities through art-making and performative experiences that were rooted in situationally and geographically accessible spaces. His own collaborative projects with Amanda Jackson and Nicole Touzien have been performed in Texas, New Mexico, Brooklyn, and at Harvard University. He began working with Dance Exchange in 2012 and joined the company full time later that year. As a company member with Dance Exchange, he works in and out of doors in collaborative art-making and creative research to further develop our understanding of our selves, our community, and the world around us. He has been on faculty at Texas Woman’s University and Queensborough Community College, and teaches at festivals and schools across the country. He holds an MFA in dance from Texas Woman’s University and is a Resident Artist and the Education Coordinator for Dance Exchange.

Class Description: The communities we find ourselves drawn to, those people and groups and places that we want to spend our time with, are formative in shaping and framing who we are. This class series is rooted in exploring those roots, digging into a deeper sense of who we are as individuals, family members, community members, leaders and followers, and asking who we can become through this kind of knowing. We will draw from the Dance Exchange toolbox, improvisational practices, and some set material to move our bodies as solo and ensemble dancers; we will gather, move, and make as a community of artists. This class is open for any who are interested! No experience required, all ages welcome.

About Matthew Cumbie

Matthew Cumbie (Resident Artist/Education Coordinator) is a dance artist and collaborator who currently lives in Washington, DC.