Well, movers- it’s a new year and a new month! While it was wonderful to be away for a moment, I am excited to return home. With that comes the return to many things, and here at Dance Exchange one of those is Friday CLASS! I find returning to the start of something a time rich for reflection: looking back, looking ahead, and situating myself somewhere in-between, in the present. As Dance Exchange moves closer to our 40th anniversary season, this kind of reflection is guiding much of our programatic and project visioning. What has this legacy been, and where is it now? How do we continue to be stewards of this vision?
I share this because this month will feature a different artist each week in our Friday CLASS series: each artist has, in some way, called Dance Exchange home at one point in their career (or still do). Former company members Christopher K. Morgan and Meghan Abadoo, Friday CLASS co-originator Tzveta Kassabova, and current Artistic Director Cassie Meador will be sharing their questions and creative research, and I hope you’ll start your new year with us and these incredible movers. Read more about each artist below, and join me, Musician-in-Residence Mark H. Rooney, and the rest of the DC dancing community in the studio! This is also a great time to get a new class card, which gets you 10 classes for $100! Fridays, 9:30 to 11:15. $12. 18+
Friday CLASS w/ Christopher K. Morgan: January 8
Christopher K. Morgan is the Artistic Director of Washington, DC area contemporary dance company Christopher K. Morgan & Artists (CKM&A). His Native Hawaiian ancestry and a diverse, international modern dance practice influence his choreography. Said to be “charming and poignant” by The New York Times, his choreography has been presented in 18 countries on 5 continents. The work has addressed issues including sexuality, gender identity, race, climate change, immigration and water conservation. CKM&A was named Washington DC’s Best Dance Company in the 2015 CityPaper Reader’s Poll. Current projects include the NPN Creation Fund and NEFA/NDP supported evening length solo Pohaku that incorporates Morgan’s Native Hawaiian background with his western upbringing, the 2015 remount of his 2012 evening length work Limited Visibility and CKM&A’s 2014 evening of mixed repertory work By the Inch, hailed by Pulitzer Prize winning dance critic Sarah Kaufman of The Washington Post as “direct, transcendent and entrancing”. In addition to directing his company, Morgan is a sought after educator and facilitator. He is the Dance Artist in Residence at the University of Maryland, and has directed the Dance Omi International Dance Collective, an annual collaborative choreographers’ residency in New York, since 2006. Recent support includes funding from the National Performance Network and New England Foundation for the Arts, and awards including a 2013 Native Arts & Cultures Foundation Fellowship, a 2014 Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award for Solo Dance Performance, and being named one of the top 100 Creatives in the United States by Origin Magazine in April 2015. www.christopherkmorgan.com
Class Description: Christopher K. Morgan’s diverse career have all contributed to the content of his technique class. A movement vocabulary that incorporates a balletic use of the lower body, intricate gestures and a sinuous use of the spine, he is greatly interested in efficiency of movement through the use of clear timing and precise expenditure of momentum. Through a warm-up that incorporates yoga, release technique, basics of modern dance and a thoughtful build-up to full bodied virtuosic movement, students are asked to bring their entire selves into the class and express themselves without inhibition.
Friday CLASS w/ Meghan Abadoo: January 15
Meghan Abadoo is a dancer and teacher based in the arts district neighborhood of Mount Rainier, MD, currently performing as company member with Taurus Broadhurst Dance and select projects with Gesel Mason Projects. Her performance credits also include company member and adjunct artist with David Dorfman Dance and Dance Exchange (formerly Liz Lerman Dance Exchange), where she is currently an adjunct artist and contributor to community engagement art-making events. She was also a member of Brooklyn-based Urban Bush Women during their Dance Motion tour of South America in 2010, sponsored by the U.S. State Department in collaboration with the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). Her love of movement is supplemented by collaborative projects with artists from a wide range of creative fields and experimenting with how to design equitable spaces that broach sensitive topics and foster wide-eyed interdependence. She is a teacher within Montgomery County Public Schools, the Levine School of Music and a student with the Mountains and Rivers Order of Zen Buddhism. Meghan has a BFA from the University of the Arts in Modern Dance/Ghanaian Traditional Dances and a minor in Strategic Advertising, and is currently in the MFA in Dance program at the University of Maryland-College Park.
Friday CLASS w/ Tzveta Kassabova + live music w/ Mark H. Rooney: January 22
Tzveta Kassabova is an Bulgarian born choreographer, costume designer and installation artist. She has been selected from Dance Magazine among the Top 25 to watch for 2012. At different times she has been a gymnast, physicist, and meteorologist. She is currently an Assistant Professor at Middlebury College and in the past has been on the faculty of UF, GW, and UMBC. She holds three Masters degrees. As a dancer, Tzveta has been part of Ed Tyler, PEARSONWIDRIG DANCETHEATER, and David Dorfman Dance companies, and has performed in works of Joshua Bisset, Maida Withers, Nancy Bannon, Maurice Fraga, Zoltan Nagy, Netta Yerushalmy, and Colleen Thomas, among others. Her work as a choreographer has been presented both in the US and Europe. She enjoys collaborating with different artists including Raja Kelly, Shua Group, Steve Wanna, Alexei Stevens. She is recipient of five Metro DC Dance Award (2008 and 2012), the Prince George’s Arts Council grant (2009 and 2012) and Maryland State Arts Council Award (2010 and 2011). Her resent work was selected for the Gala at ACDFA 2013 and to Nationals 2014. Tzveta believes that dance is a visual art form. She has always been fascinated by the concept of space, and is constantly trying to address it, both in her choreography and design. www.tzvetakassabova.com
Class Description: My technique class helps the students achieve their individual goals by working toward a strong technical foundation, artistry in movement, and dancing from a neutral, relaxed body. Class offers an opportunity to work in-depth on body alignment, physical clarity, and movement initiation. In class we explore principles of basic release work, anatomic understanding, and structural soundness, and apply them to a highly articulate, daring, intricate and physical movement phrase, involving dynamic shifts of energy, level changes and intriguing pathways. I focus the last portion of the class on working towards becoming compelling and magnetic performers, who bring details and quality in any given choreography, and feel at ease within a broad range of movements: athletic, gestural and theatrical.
Friday CLASS w/ Cassie Meador: January 30
Cassie Meador is a choreographer, performer, educator, writer and Artistic Director of the Dance Exchange. Her works have tackled numerous social and environmental issues such as How To Lose a Mountain, which reflects on a 500-mile walk Meador took from Washington, DC to a mountaintop removal mining site in West Virginia to trace the impacts of the energy that fuel her home. Meador’s Moving Field Guides, an interactive outdoor experience led by artists, naturalists and regional experts in ecology, is being implemented nationwide in partnership with the USDA Forest Service. Other recent projects include: ”New Hampshire Ave: This is a Place To…” a creative placemaking project funded by NEA and ArtPlace America in Dance Exchange’s home community of Takoma Park, MD; and Bricks and Bones: A performance series in response to the erasure of black lives and communities in Dallas, TX and the movements to recover, rebuild and honor those lost histories, co-directed with Paloma McGregor of Angela’s Pulse. Meador has taught and created dances in communities throughout the U.S. and internationally in Japan, Canada, England, Ireland, and Guyana. She has worked with the Girl Scouts to enhance environmental curricula through the arts. Her work with Wesleyan University’s College of the Environment has influenced educators and students to embrace a cross-disciplinary approach to conservation and environmental education. Born in Charleston, SC, and raised Augusta, GA, she received her B.F.A. in dance from The Ohio State University.Meador joined Dance Exchange in 2002 and assumed the role of Artistic Director in 2011.