A June full of exchange in FRIDAY Class

As we move into June we’ll be seeing the return of a few familiar faces, the continuation of some wonderful dancing, and the wrap up to an incredible year! That’s right: it’s our last month of FRIDAY Class until September. If FRIDAY Class has been a part of your weekly practice: come! If it’s something that you’ve thought about trying, but haven’t yet: come! If it’s something that’s just appeared on your radar: come! This month we’ll have some serious DX practices being shared, with an influx of new ideas and information. And some special guests that are yet to be determined. See you in the studio! 9:30 to 11:15 am, Fridays. $12 (or $10 with a class card). 18+

SPECIAL DX CLASS PARTY: Say what? That’s right! We want to celebrate you…with you! In honor of such an exciting and incredible year, we want to carve out some time to share some food, laughs, and memories with all of you DX fans and class goers. We’re doing this potluck-style, so bring your favorite dish or snack or drink (or pick something up…it could be your new favorite, right?). We’ll offer the space at Dance Exchange, immediately following our final FRIDAY Class of the season on June 27. See you there!

Movers jumping in class at Dance Exchange. Photo by Emily Macel Theys.


FRIDAY Class w/ Sarah Levitt: June 6 + live music w/ David Schulman & June 13
I could go on and on about the fabulosity that is Sarah Levitt. For many, hers is a name we know. Sarah has been a DX artist for many years and in many capacities, most recently as a Resident Artist and Communication Coordinator. These days, she calls Columbus, OH, and the MFA program at the Ohio State University home. On summer break, I couldn’t help but continually ask if she’d be around to teach some classes; and here we are! Sarah’s class has always been something that invites me to participate as I’m able, while still asking me to push myself towards new ideas and possibilities. I’m so curious to see how this past year has pushed her, and how that will become part of an experience I know to be rich. Join me for BOTH of her classes to engage in some rigorous information sharing and delightful play.

Sarah Levitt. Photo by Ellen Chenoweth

Sarah Levitt is a choreographer, performer and teacher currently based in Columbus, OH, where she is pursuing her MFA in Dance at The Ohio State University. From 2007-2013, she worked with Dance Exchange (formerly Liz Lerman Dance Exchange) in a variety of roles, from guest artist to more recently, Resident Artist/Communications Coordinator. During her time at Dance Exchange, she originated roles in Liz Lerman’s The Matter of Origins(2010), Cassie Meador’s Drift (2009) and How To Lose a Mountain (2013) and toured extensively with the company to perform, teach, and develop new work. Highlights include residencies at the Kohler Arts Center (Sheboygan, WI), Harvard University, and St Elizabeths Hospital (DC). During her time in the Washington, DC area, Sarah also performed in work by Robert Battle, Gesel Mason, PearsonWidrig DanceTheater, Samantha Speis, and Keith Thompson. In 2011, she and collaborator Benjamin Wegman received a Local Dance Commissioning Project award from the Kennedy Center to create Hammock, which premiered at the Kennedy Center. Her work has also been presented at Dance Place, Baltimore Theater Project, University of Maryland, and the Bealtaine Festival (Ireland). Sarah was awarded the Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in Choreography (2009) and Solo Performance (2010), and shares with Benjamin Wegman a 2012 Metro DC Dance Award for Emerging Choreographer for Hammock.

Class description: This class examines the functional form of the body, and how we work with our body to expand our capacity for physical expression. Class will emphasize finding stability through the core and support from the floor in order to investigate the spectrum of balance, momentum, directional changes, energy states, and clarity of intent. Through the use of improvisational structures to warm up the body, mind, and spirit, we’ll develop a new freedom to dig into dancing and find ease, efficiency, and power as we travel through space together.

FRIDAY Class w/ Matthew Cumbie: June 20
It’s been a few months since I’ve been at the helm of either class series here at Dance Exchange, and I’m thrilled to be holding down this one week solo. This month, in addition to digging deep into our moving practices, I’ll be incubating some ideas related to some making on my horizon. As always, I’ll be integrating other practices of mindfulness and attuning, and I hope you’ll join me! This class will be open for all to come and participate with where they’re at, and will be instilled with enough rigorous play so that we all are invited to leave as invigorated as we desire.

Matthew Cumbie. Photo by Jesse Scroggins

Matthew Cumbie is a dance maker, educator, and collaborator based in Washington, DC. He has been a company member with Keith Thompson/dancetactics performance group, 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 are 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 has been working with Dance Exchange since 2011, with whom he collaborates in and out of the studio with a range of artists, activists, community members, environmentalists, and others committed to 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 Resident Artist and the Education Coordinator for Dance Exchange.

Class Description: By tracking how we attend to others and the environment around us, and how our own moving body shapes that attention, this class will explore the relationship between orientation and disorientation. We will work towards harnessing our capacity for momentum and pause to take us through full three-dimensional dancing, moving through improvised modalities, set material, and tools from the Dance Exchange toolbox. Reminding ourselves that we each approach disorientation/(re)orientation with different abilities, tools, and levels of comfort, we will explore individually at times and with other(s) at times to expand our range of movement and choice-making.

FRIDAY Class w/ Matthew Cumbie & Elizabeth Johnson: June 27 + live music w/ David Schulman
I’m not entirely sure where to begin with this class. First, we’ll be joined by the legendary Elizabeth Johnson (EJ)! For some of you, this name might bring back a flood of memories. EJ is a longtime DXer and an incredible artist. The fact that I get to spend so much time with her during this week is beyond exciting. The reason that she’s here, and helping her and I facilitate this class, is the convening of our first annual Teen Leadership Institute. In short, this is a weeklong gathering of local young leaders who will be investigating what it means to be a leader in our community through art making practices. We’ll be meeting daily to take class, workshop ideas, learn new tools, meet with other community leaders and organizers, and share our interdisciplinary practices. As part of the week, these youth will be helping us facilitate this FRIDAY Class and, in the process of doing so, will help us realize a long-held Dance Exchange practice: an intergenerational exchange through art making.

Elizabeth Johnson (EJ)

Elizabeth Johnson is a choreographer, dancer, and educator with a particular focus on youth through embodied learning and leadership development in the arts. She graduated from Connecticut College with a B.A. in Dance and a minor in Theatre, has studied at London Contemporary Dance School, taught at Arizona State University and until September of 2010 was the Associate Artistic Director of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. Elizabeth connects communities through choreography. Through her work with Dance Exchange she has designed trans-disciplinary participatory performance projects in communities from Eastport, Maine, to Los Angeles, California; from Kyoto, Japan, to Vancouver, Canada. She has worked with executives and fishermen, children and teachers, beatboxers and ballet dancers, veterans and activists, fire-eaters, social workers, clergy, immigrants and athletes. Her work with young people has been featured across the country and internationally. Her choreographic work is driven by athleticism, physiology, and the desire to connect movement with meaning. She is a yoga practitioner, runner and rock climber.

Class Description: This class will be a weaving together of multiple ideas and practices that breaks down barriers and brings movers and makers of all ages into conversation. We’ll move our bodies, raise our voices, and make art that only we could make together.

About Matthew Cumbie

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