In the Blink of an Eye: DX Co-Lab

3:00pm on April 12 at the American Dance Institute. Admission is free!

Over the past several weeks, the DX artists have been immersed in our new series, Co-Lab. This community choreography laboratory is allowing us to further explore Dance Exchange tools and practices while collaborating with a group of local artists and community members to create a new interdisciplinary, intergenerational performance work. This work that goes onstage as part of Christopher K. Morgan & Artists’ Dance and Dessert series at the American Dance Institute this Sunday, April 12 at 3:00pm.

So what’s the catch? By the time our Co-Lab cohort performs, we will have rehearsed for only 15 hours! Talk about a whirlwind! Though this rehearsal process has happened in the blink of an eye, the questions, content, and discoveries that have emerged have been, perhaps, even richer because it!

To sort through some of the journey we’ve been on, we asked a handful of our Co-Lab participants–Carolyn, Claire, Ken, Joanne, Dienna, and Pat–to reflect on their experience and to share why they’re looking forward to our performance on Sunday.

DX: Dance Exchange entered Co-Lab asking a number of questions, some of them having to do with beginnings and endings, with capacity and limits. What questions or hopes did YOU bring with you?

Co-Lab Directors Cassie and Matthew in action.

Carolyn: I was wondering about the DC dance community, and I was specifically curious about the community that would develop during the Co-Lab process.

Claire: I was interested in exploring new methods of making and learning in a new group of people–especially during a really intense, generative experience.

Ken: How do we (as artists AND community members) remain relevant through making dances? What does engagement in an art-making process like Co-Lab require of us?

DX: We’ve learned a lot about our process and values throughout our very short time together. How has your understanding of the Dance Exchange body of practice shifted during your experience in Co-Lab?

Joanne: As a person working with the wear and tear of aging on my body, I knew that Dance Exchange values the the incorporation of all abilities. I had forgotten, though, how much Dance Exchange embraces and celebrates the things an older dancer does to make it work. Everyone’s contributions go into the mix and what comes out at the end has a clear truth that resonates for the performers and the audience.

Dienna: I am so used to the Takoma Park Moves series, which welcomes folks like me who have little to no professional dance experience. So to come into something that’s building toward choreography with folks with a wide range of professional dance experience has been a challenge for me. But I’m always up for a challenge!

Co-Lab movers and makers rehearsing on April 7.

DX: Can you give our community a sneak peek into Sunday’s Dance and Desserts showing at ADI? What are you most excited for?

Pat: From storytelling to solo work to making movement in pairs and trios,  I think the variety of approaches we’ve used has helped us create a really rich, layered piece that echoes the diversity of the group. And if you’ve never seen a tape recorder in real life before, this is your chance!

Claire: Hm. I think I am excited to see how the layers weave together–to see what comes alive (and what changes) on stage!

Joanne:  I am most excited for the opportunity to hear how people react to what they see. What will the dance be about for each person? Did we leave enough room for the audience to fit themselves into the story? Did we leave the door open for them? Did they have moments of “oh, yes, I know that feeling!”

 DX: Thanks for your contributions, Co-Lab! As for our DX community, join us on Sunday, April 12 at 3:00pm to see the incredible creating this group has done! Share your insights and feedback during a facilitated discussion after the showings and wash it all down with some sweet treats! More information HERE.


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.