Building on what has come before: a Friday CLASS collaboration

One of the things I look forward to most during our seasons are the class series here at Dance Exchange. Each bring such a different, yet related, approach to thinking about the relationship we each cultivate with our bodies, our neighbors, and our communities. And within each series, space is held for artists to enter into and share their own questions and practices with our dancing communities. Knowing that, in particular, our Friday CLASS is rooted in model of rotating teaching artists, a model that I think brings a great deal of value and collaborative energy, I became interested in how we intentionally build on that collaborative sharing as we move from artist to artist.

It is because of this that I am so very excited about October! This month will be shared by a few different artists: some who call DC home, and some who have a more flexible relationship with this place. And while each class can be a stand alone experience, these artists have been in conversation already about how to tether and build on ideas as we move through the month. Book-ending our time in Friday CLASS will be Meredith Bove, a mover who arrived a few years ago, bringing with her a collection of exciting experiences and quickly weaving her own voice into the tapestry of DC dance. Also leading us through October is a mover whose contributions to our moving community, particularly through her teaching and performing and her work within the Laban practices, make a long and wonderful list: Esther Geiger! And making a one-week only appearance is Christina Tsoules Soriano, an artist currently based at Wake Forest in North Carolina but whose work has taken her all over, and includes an intersection with Dance Exchange and pulls from her research in working with health care providers and persons living with Parkinsons.

As you can see, it’s quite the line-up! Join us on Fridays, from 9:30 to 11:15am at our studios in Takoma Park. Classes are $12 per person, or $10 with a class card! 18+

Friday CLASS w/ Meredith Bove: October 2 & 30

Meredith Bove, in the foreground, with Jessie Laurita-Spanglet. Photo by Spenser Dugal.

Meredith Bove is a dancer, teacher, choreographer and writer, currently based in the Washington, DC area. She approaches movement as a mode for understanding the body as a process-oriented, unfixed, and continuously evolving entity. Her work has been seen at various venues and festivals in the US and in Berlin, Germany. As a performer, she has appeared in the work of Jérôme Bel, Luis Lara Malvacías, Sharon Mansur, Stephanie Miracle, Sarah Beth Oppenheim, Jillian Peña, and Erica Rebollar among others, and has enjoyed collaborations with dancer/choreographer Andrea Jenni, and conceptual artist Luke Munn. Meredith has taught at Hollins University, Montgomery College, The Dance Exchange, and The Collective (Baltimore). She holds a BFA from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and an MFA from Hollins University in Roanoke, VA.

Class Description: Class will focus on tracking our sensorial experiences in order to find efficient body pathways, spatial connections, and a sense of ease and clarity in our movement choices. Movement sequences and improvisational frameworks will be offered as a way to experience individual relationships to time, range of motion and momentum. We will use gravity combined with attention to alignment to bring us into and through space, beginning with movement phrases that are simple and repetitive to help us notice our particularity to specific forms. Gradually, we’ll move into more complex phrase work, allowing these particularities to come into full expression, dancing rigorously and fully together, while honoring our idiosyncrasies as individuals.

Friday CLASS w/ Esther Geiger: October 9 & 23*

Esther Geiger in Stephanie Miracle's "Figure Eights." Photo by Zachary Z. Handler.

Esther Geiger is most interested in how things connect, and in finding connections by looking for essence. Links along her movement journey include Modern Dance (with a German Expressionist twist), Iyengar Yoga, Structured Improvisation (mentored by master Richard Bull), and Laban Movement Studies. She’s found meaningful intersections dancing with choreographers Renata Kuh, Nancy Galeota, David Appel, Sharon Mansur, Stephanie Miracle and Cat Maguire. Esther taught at the Dance Exchange under Liz Lerman in the 1970’s-80’s, and has loved reconnecting in recent years with the DX community. She is a Certified Laban Movement Analyst (CMA) and has applied that work to playground design, movement education, unschooling, office management and audio description. She is currently delving into dance dramaturgy.

Class Description: Rooted in the principles of Bartenieff Fundamentals, this improvisation-based class will draw on Meredith’s inner sensing work from the week before (but you don’t need to have been there). We’ll start from body-level connections and explore movement dynamics, focusing on individual expression within a shared group context. Then, building on the inner connections and personal expression developed in earlier October classes (but you don’t need to have been there!), we will move toward group relationships through spatial patterns and improvisational structures.

Friday CLASS w/ Christina Tsoules Soriano: October 16*

Christina Tsoules Soriano

Christina Tsoules Soriano is an associate professor of dance at Wake Forest University where she teaches a wide spectrum of courses in the dance program: Modern Dance Technique, Improvisation, Dance Composition, a first year seminar about dance and film, and a course she co-teaches with a chemistry colleague entitled Movement and the Molecular. Christina received her MFA in dance from Smith College and has danced for many inspiring choreographers, including Heidi Henderson, B.J. Sullivan and Amy Love Beasley. In addition to the new works she creates for the Wake Forest Dance Company each year, Christina’s choreography has been presented throughout New England, North Carolina, New York and in Vienna, Austria.

Choreographic or teaching residencies include the University of Virginia, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Amherst College, Trinity College (CT), Salve Regina University, Rhode Island College and Providence College. Christina has also premiered new work at the Carolina Summer Music Festival since 2013. Christina regularly teaches a community dance class in Winston-Salem,NC to people living with Parkinson’s Disease, and has been involved in two scientific studies that look at the ways improvisational dance can help their mobility and balance. She has received funding from the National Parkinson Foundation to hold improvisational dance workshops for professionals who work with patients in the NC Parkinson community. Christina is about to embark on a Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC – funded study that will test improvisational dance methods as a way to improve cognition and balance for those living with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Her published work has appeared in the Journal of Dance Education, Research in Dance Education, Dance Magazine, Theatre Journal, the Journal of Mathematics and the Arts and The Journal of Physical and Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics. Christina’s two young daughters, Evie and Penny, constantly inspire her and the work she creates.

Class Description: Focusing on a mix of formal structures and improvisational designs, class will invite dancers to delight in our individual and collective physicality and immediacy as movers. Weight, balance, swing, shape, rhythm, and our relationship to gravity and the space around us will drive our movement practice. With a healthy dose of risk and a quiet attention to detail, we will savor efficiency in our dancing and delve into the nuance of where movement initiates in our bodies and how it can evolve on its delicious journey.

*indicates live music with one of our musicians in residence

About Matthew Cumbie

Matthew Cumbie (Associate Artistic Director) is a dance artist and collaborator who currently lives in Washington, DC.