MOVING into December

Welcome back, movers! If you’re like me, you’re probably having a hard time grappling with the fact that it’s already December. And you’re probably hungering to spend some time in the studio after being away. Well, there are a few weeks left of FRIDAY Class and Takoma Park MOVES before the new year, so join us when you can to celebrate 2013! We’ve got a solid line-up in both classes, with Shula Strassfeld and Kevin Ormsby (from Canada) at the helm in FRIDAY Class and Stephanie Miracle continuing in Takoma Park MOVES, so be sure to be there! Also, don’t forget to put a DX Class Card on your wish list; $100 gets you 10 classes. Start the new year with a new class card and come move with Dance Exchange!


FRIDAY Class w/ Shula Strassfeld: Dec. 6
I’m really excited to have Shula facilitating as many classes as she is this year (be on the lookout for January)! Having been with Dance Exchange for six years now, she knows a lot of the tools backwards and forwards, and has made more than a few discoveries using these in her own practice. She also comes with a wealth of information from other sources: Susan Klein, Irene Dowd, an extensive ballet career. What amazes me the most with Shula is her ability to weave all of this information together into a class that is both inviting and rigorous, open and challenging. I’m looking forward to what she’ll be bringing into the studio, and I hope that you’ll join me. For December, she’ll only be facilitating this one week so don’t miss out! Friday, Dec. 6 from 9:30 to 11:15. $12 (or $10 with a class card), 18+.
Shula Strassfeld in 'How To Lose a Mountain.' Photo by Zachary Handler.

Shula Strassfeld began dancing “too late” and has been dancing ever since. After training in NY with members of the Jose Limon Company and Collete Barry and Susan Klein, Shula lived in the US, Israel and Canada. She has danced with choreographers Susan Rose, Joy Kellman, Flora Cushman, Mirali Sharon, Jan Van Dyke and Sandra Neels. Shula has an MA in Dance Education from Columbia University and has taught at Trinity College (Hartford CT), Rubin Academy of the Hebrew University, York University and at the professional schools of Canadian Ballet Theatre, Ballet Creole and the Kibbutz Dance Company. She joined Dance Exchange in 2007.

Class Description: The warm up will use elements of ballet and modern filtered through the body work concepts of Susan Klein and Irene Dowd. And if that feels intimidating- it shouldn’t. What I mean is that we will discover, using the wisdom of good anatomical knowledge, the most appropriate, efficient and safe ways for each of us to move.

From there we will move to exploring movement together using Dance Exchange Tools and variations that unfold as we work. As always each dancer is encouraged to participate as fully as possible while making whatever variations feel best. I hope the classes will be fun, interesting and have at least one “ahah” moment a week.


FRIDAY Class w/ Kevin Ormsby: Dec. 13
Kevin Ormsby is a delight. I met him a few years ago when I was involved with the Dance Exchange Summer Institute as a participant, and was immediately drawn to his curiosity, insightfulness, and warmth. He hails from Toronto, Canada, where he is the Artistic Director of KasheDance, as well as being an active advocate and supporter for the arts and other artists. He’s at Dance Exchange as a guest artist for about a month, teaching a few classes (again, lookout for the January lineup!), observing and assisting DX in various capacities, and working on some of his work which will be shown in our December HOME event. I’m really interested to participate in Kevin’s class, as he’s bringing together a number of influences that I’ve only sampled or scratched the surface of in other contexts. Be sure to be there on Friday, Dec. 13. 9:30-11:15 am. $12 (or $10 with a class card), 18+.

Kevin Ormsby in the air
An Independent Arts Marketing Consultant, dancer / choreographer, movement coach and teacher, Kevin A. Ormsby is the Artistic Director of KasheDance, Dance Animateur at the Living Arts Centre, A Consultant for Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO), in Wind in the Leaves Collective and was Assistant to the Artistic Director (2007) and Marketing Outreach Coordinator of Ballet Creole. His dance background includes Garth Fagan Dance (USA), Ballet Creole among others.  He has presented and sat on panels in the USA, Caribbean, Canada, published in “Pluralism in the Arts in Canada: A Change is Gonna Come” and self published “Dance through Life” a dance photography book. He has juried, received funding from all levels of the Arts Councils, was the Co-chair of the Performing Arts Sub- Committee of the Jamaica 50th Celebrations (Toronto) and is a Board Member of Prologue to the Performing Arts, Nia Centre for the Arts. He sat on TAC’s Community Arts Programs Committee (2010 – 2012), Chairs’ the National Standing Council (Dance Companies) for Canada Dance Assembly and is on Toronto Dance Council’s Dance Committee.

Class Description: Contemporary dance technique marries Diasporic dance forms are at the forefront of the classes taught by Kevin A. Ormsby. The synergy of African / Afro-Caribbean dance and contemporary dance grounds a class rooted in musicality, total body engagement and technical execution. Afro-contemporary dance language that is ” a fusion of vocabularies for a truly contemporary voice…technically quite brilliant; expressive, making the athletic prowess simply part of the flow” Anya Wassenburg


Takoma Park MOVES w/ Stephanie Miracle: Dec. 7 & 14
To end out 2013 in Takoma Park MOVES, I couldn’t think of a better way to round out the year than to have Stephanie continue deepening and digging into the work that’s been done for the month of December. If you haven’t been to her class yet, GO. It’s such a great mix of moving with others and taking the time to process something as an individual; you’ll sweat, you’ll laugh, and my guess is you’ll learn something about working with another mover. Treat yourself before our big break by coming to take class with Stephanie. She’ll be in the studio Saturday, Dec. 7 & 14, and will be joined on Dec. 14 by the wonderful musician David Schulman (who will be playing live for class)! 10-11:30 am, $10. All ages welcome.

Stephanie Miracle in the studio

Stephanie Miracleis an independent choreographer, performer and teaching artist currently based in the DC area. Stephanie’s choreography has been presented at Rooftop Dances, 100 Grand, Triskelion Arts, Dance on Camera Festival at Lincoln Center in NYC and in the DC area at Round House Theater, Supernova, Dance Exchange and Dance Place. As a performer she dancer for a variety of choreographers including Laura Peterson, Shannon Gillen, Degnit Shemy, Susan Marshall, Dance Exchange and PEARSONWIDRIG Dance Theater. She is currently completing her MFA in Dance at the University of Maryland and a teaching certification in Klein TechniqueTM.

Class Description: This class is about using dance to create connections; connections to our physical bodies, to the people around us, to the places we inhabit and the cultures we exist within. Through out the class series we will explore a variety of movement forms including modern dance, yoga, social dances, ballet, martial arts, contact improvisation and somatic practices in order to warm-up, stretch, strengthen our bodies and develop individual expression. All levels of experience are welcome!

About Matthew Cumbie

Matthew Cumbie (Associate Artistic Director) is a dance artist and collaborator who currently lives in Washington, DC.