DX 2015 Winter Institute: Questions, Contributions, and Hopes

Winter Institute participants and Friday CLASS goers learn excerpts of 'Still Crossing.' Photo by Emelia Martinez Brumbaugh.

Whew! What a weekend in the DX studios as we hosted our 2015 Winter Institute, a gathering of movers and makers interested in the role of artists in building community. During our three days together, we explored the Dance Exchange Toolbox during our morning movement classes, we learned excerpts of Liz Lerman’s landmark work, Still Crossing, and we led a workshop together at the Takoma Park Recreation Center as part of our New Hampshire Ave: This Is a Place To… project. We surfaced strategies for working in communities that might be similar to or different than your own, and we thought deeply about our personal and collective roles at the intersection of people, place, and performance.

Each of us came to the Institute on Thursday evening with our own questions, contributions, and hopes for the weekend. These were shared, written down, and posted on the wall to serve as guideposts on our journey together, allowing us to periodically check in with the learning, discovering, and growing that was happening. To give you a sense of the thoughtful, generous, and inspiring artists that joined us for the weekend, below are a handful of the questions, contributions, and hopes they shared when we gathered on Thursday evening. Throughout the following week, I invite you to stay tuned to hear more in-depth reflections from our Work-Study participants Emelia Martinez-Brumbaugh and Belle Alvarez about their experiences during our 2015 Winter Institute.


Why do I keep coming back to this work?

How do we communicate with and increase exchange in cross-cultural relationships?

How can I bridge the gap between my “dance” self and my “other” self, and how might communities be bridged in the process?

How do you begin that first moment of exchange in a community? Where do you find it?



A willingness to acknowledge and stay on my growing edge 


A deep awareness of our commonalities

The mind of a student to absorb everything possible



I hope to leave grounded and with a sense of support

That the experience will nourish the artist in me, and that I’ll bring this type of work back to my job.

Some sort of moment of epiphany (for my own life/practice)

I hope to gain tools and concrete experiences in community work that can inform my choices and opportunities as I shape my career as a professional dancer. 

Check back often this week for more insights and images from our 2015 Winter Institute!

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.