Celebrate your holiday season with DX CLASS!

As we come to a close on 2014, we move into a month of rich and nuanced dancing. As we start to feel the cold touch of winter, we keep things warm in the Dance Exchange class series. As we prepare to venture off to see family and friends, we come together for these couple of weeks as a moving community. Celebrate all that you would like in both Friday CLASS and Takoma Park MOVES this month, and jump in while you can! On the Friday CLASS front, we have Dance Exchange’s Shula Strassfeld opening and closing the month, and the ever-fabulous Betsy Miller (from Providence, RI) making an appearance for one week. In Takoma Park MOVES, I come back to round out the fall! As always, Mark H Rooney and David Schulman will join us and provide some delightful sounds. Read below for more info, and make sure to come!

Also- don’t forget about those CLASS CARDS! They make great stocking stuffers and/or gifts for friends and family. To get yours, email me at matthewc@danceexchange.org.

Friday CLASS w/ Shula Strassfeld: December 5 & 19*
* plus live music w/ David Schulman

Shula Strassfeld in "New Hamsphire Ave: This Is a Place To..." Photo by Jori Ketten.

Anchoring the month of December is DX’s own Shula Strassfeld! I adore when Shula holds down our class series. She brings such a wealth of information that spans from balletic forms to modern dance forms to other somatic practices that closely examine patterning. In addition, she offers a long history with the Dance Exchange tools and processes. This combination leaves me always feeling integrated, stronger, more prepared for the day, and better about my own moving body. What better way to celebrate the holiday season than by easing into a movement practice that will build a stronger foundation and get you moving to your own fullest capacities? Exactly. Join Shula on December 5 and December 19 (and enjoy the sounds of David Schulman during this Friday CLASS) from 9:30 to 11:15! Class is $12 ($10 w/ a class card). 18+

Shula Strassfeld began dancing “too late” and has been dancing ever since. After training in NY with members of the Jose Limon Company and Collette 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. She 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 possilbe 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/ Betsy Miller: December 12 + live music w/ Mark H Rooney

Betsy Miller

One thing that I am really excited about is introducing the DC dancing community to my dear friend and fabulous artist: Betsy Miller! I first met this powerhouse when auditioning for graduate school at Texas Woman’s University, and she left such an impression that I almost immediately recognized her when we intersected again at Bates Dance Festival years later. Since that intersection, we have made work together, taken class alongside one another, and shared many laughs and snacks. When the opportunity to host her in our class series here presented itself, I could not resist. Betsy brings a rigorous and playful practice that is both expansive and nuanced. Her dancing has had her working with some incredible artists in the field, showing some poignant pieces throughout the country, and making a home at places like Bates Dance Festival and Providence College. Currently she lives in Providence, RI, where she teaches and collaborates and organizes dance happenings for the local community. Join Betsy for this one Friday CLASS, December 12, with Mark H Rooney accompanying! Class is from 9:30 to 11:15, and is $12 ($10 w/ a class card). 18+

Betsy Miller is a dance artist, scholar, and facilitator currently based in Providence, RI. Her choreography, known for its complex blend of wit and poignancy, has been presented in New York, Ohio, Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Texas, and she has received funding from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and The Ohio State University. She has performed with Lostwax Multimedia Dance, inFluxDance, Fusionworks Company and shove gently dance, and has recently appeared in works by Kathleen Hermesdorf, Heidi Henderson, Terry Creach, Doug Varone, Pascal Rioult, Rachel Boggia, Stephanie Turner, Deb Meunier, Michael Kelly Bruce, and Ming Shen Ku. Betsy serves as the Dance Coordinator of Providence’s major community arts organization, AS220. She is on faculty at AS220, Providence Ballet, and Providence College, and regularly teaches as a guest artist throughout New England. Betsy holds an MFA in Dance from The Ohio State University and a BA in Dance from Connecticut College. more info at: betsymillerdanceprojects.wordpress.com/

Class Description: This is an eclectic contemporary release technique with a solid base in classic fundamentals. Class begins with a full-bodied floorwork-to-footwork warmup designed to activate our core and connect breath with movement while finding anatomically efficient pathways. Through structured improvisations and set exercises, we will explore dynamics, weight shifts, flow, and the thrill of momentum. Class will finish with a vigorous, high-energy dance phrase. This is a safe environment where we can explore movement, take risks, laugh, cry, and continue to ask questions.

Takoma Park MOVES w/ Matthew Cumbie: December 6** & 13*
* + live music w/ David Schulman
** + live music w/ Mark H Rooney

Matthew Cumbie. Photo by Jori Ketten.

It has been a few months since I was last facilitating our Takoma Park MOVES series, but for a few Saturdays I am back! I am so excited about this month’s series and about moving with our Takoma Park MOVErs again. There are only a couple of chances to join us this month, and whether you’ve made this series your home for a while now or if you’re new to DX and to Takoma Park MOVES, join us! Both Saturdays will have live music: once with Mark H Rooney and once with David Schulman. Classes are from 10 to 11:30 on Saturdays, and cost $12 (or come with a family member and pay $10 per person!). All ages are welcome!

Matthew Cumbie is a dance maker, educator, and collaborator based in Washington, DC. His work looks at how our personal stories can shift perspective, unearth history, celebrate the individual and the shared, re-imagine our future, and create collective wisdom. He has been commissioned by Texas State University and Christopher K. Morgan & Artists, and has shown work in places ranging from the non-traditional, like in cars and online symposiums, to the more theatrical, like at Harvard University and major theaters. His interest in collaborative processes has led him to work with artists like Keith Thompson, Sarah Gamblin, jhon stronks, Paloma McGregor, Nicole Touzien, Chris Aiken and Angie Hauser. As a part of Dance Exchange, Matthew collaborates in and out of the studio with a range of artists, activists, community members, environmentalists, and others committed to creative research and embodied scholarship. He holds an MFA in dance from Texas Woman’s University and is a Resident Artist and the Education Coordinator for Dance Exchange.

A movement class for the entire community, Takoma Park MOVES recognizes the rich possibility of exchanges when people of all ages, backgrounds, abilities, and levels of experience come together in a creative process. Join us for a mix of professional dancers, those new to dance, community movers, and families. Classes are $12, or $10 per person in a family, and are facilitated by Dance Exchange Artists. 10-11:30 am, Saturdays at Dance Exchange. All ages welcome.

About Matthew Cumbie

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