The Teen Leadership Institute Is Almost Here!

The Dance Exchange office has been deceptively quiet this week, but, lest you think we’re doing nothing during these hot days but drink lemonade and laze in the shade, I thought I’d give you a sneak peak into the excitement that is coming next week!

But first, it’s important to note that the company has been doing some incredible work this week in locales both near and far. This week has seen…

  • A residency led by Cassie, Shula, and Tashi (a guest artist whom you can read about here) at Baycrest, a residential and educational hospital in Toronto that specializes in aging and brain health
  • Travels for Sarah Case as she attends the Dance/USA 2014 Annual Conference in Minneapolis
  • A Master Class from Jesse Factor (my first EVER experience with Graham technique)
  • Continued work on the Moving Field Guide curriculum
  • Planning and progress on Advancing the Ave

And……Preparation for the TEEN LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE!

You can learn more about the Institute here, but let me just say the Dance Exchange team can hardly wait to welcome these nine young people into our space, into our ways of working, and into our community. We’re even more excited to learn about the experiences and talents the teens are bringing to the table! We’ll be also joined by Elizabeth Johnson, a former Dance Exchange company member whom I’m particularly excited to meet given her legacy of work with the Dance Exchange Youth Programs.

As we’re powering through these last couple days of planning, I’m struck by the multi-dimensionality of the week ahead of us. Though there will be four consistent facilitators in the room (Matthew, EJ, Elena—an artist travelling with EJ—and myself), the teens will be hearing from and working with a diverse range of movers, makers, and leaders from our own Dance Exchange community and beyond. While we’ll spend a lot of time together in the studio, our week will also take us out into some spaces along New Hampshire Avenue (an exciting next step in our Advancing the Ave work).

We’ll be joined at different points throughout the week by John Borstel to discuss documentation and visual art; by David Schulman to examine music making as it relates to Dance Exchange work; and by Cassie to experience movement as a tool for placemaking. We’ve also invited a number of community leaders to join us on Tuesday afternoon for a panel discussion surrounding what it means to be a leader.

This question about leadership has certainly been a focal point of our planning period but so have a number of others. We’re excited to start asking some of these complex questions about individuality, community, action, and impact. I’m looking forward to discovering my own answers to these questions, and I’m even more anxious to watch the youth discover theirs! Check back often next week to read about the work we’re doing, see images and video from our time together, and hear from some of the youth themselves. Until then, have a lovely weekend!


About Amanda Newman

A graduate of the University of Utah Department of Modern Dance, Amanda joined Dance Exchange in 2014 as Resident Artist, Communications Coordinator, and Youth Programs Facilitator.