When Teens Gather, Move, and Make

Wow! What a very full week in the Teen Leadership Institute. Here we are at the start of Day 4, and, as I look back at our first three days together, I find myself completely in awe of the exploring, questioning, making, and building we’ve done.

There’s no way I’d be able to share ALL of the work that the teens have been doing, so instead I’ll capture what I can beneath the good ol’ Dance Exchange umbrellas of Gathering, Moving, and Making.



The Teen Leadership Institute gathered eight incredible teens who come to the table with such unique experiences, interests, skills, and goals. Using some DX favorites like Walk and Talk and Perpetual Prompt as well as some exciting new practices from Tashi involving story-writing and music-sharing, we’ve had plenty of opportunity to get to know one another. We started with questions of “Who am I?”, then “Who are we together?”, and now we’re diving into questions of “What can we do in the world around us?”



With the constant reminder that we are in charge of our own bodies and our own experience, we’ve done so much moving in the Teen Leadership Institute this week! Each morning, we’ve had movement time in the studio with a range of Dance Exchange artists. We’ve explored undercurves and overcurves, sharing weight, stretching our spines, and the process of combining material. But our Moving hasn’t been contained to just the studio! We’ve moved on the loading dock, in the parking lot, at the Takoma Park Recreation Center, and in a residential green space. We’ve moved because of our stories, because of our ideas, because of our connection to each other, and because of our surroundings.





Personally, what I’ve found most exciting about this week are the ways in which we’ve challenged what it means to be Making. Even though we’re a dance company in a dance space, can we only make dances? Can we also make visual art? Can we also make poems? Can we also make theater? Can we also make music? Can we also make more than one kind of art at the same time?  Answer: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes and…


Stay tuned for the rest of the week so you’re sure to catch the results of our Gathering, Moving, and Making! Plan on joining us for Friday Class to see and experience some of the incredible work the teens have been doing this week!


All photo credits to the lovely Elena Kerr.

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.