This week brings us into December- and what a month we have had. Of course, I am feeling some of the usual things that accompany this time of year: excitement for family and friendly reunions, fatigue from a fall full of events, stress with deciding how to allocate money towards gifts and bills simultaneously. But this month in particular feels even more weighted. Maybe it’s the remnants of my Thanksgiving holiday- but I think it’s a bit more than that.
It’s because of this, and so many other reasons, that I am thankful we have these classes at Dance Exchange. Yes- they are opportunities to focus on a physical practice that might allow us, even for a moment, to feel the thrill of ‘becoming’…whether that’s becoming a dancer, a superhero, an embodied researcher, or just more integrated. But- for me- these are also opportunities to come together…to know that we are not alone, and that we have a community to work alongside and move together with. Opportunities to connect more deeply with ourselves and with people equally invested in cultivating their own capacities and supporting a room full of others on that journey. Our classes at Dance Exchange invite you to become a part of that, part of our family, and to find your place in the work we have ahead of us- together.
Check out the different classes on the horizon for this month, and read over the artists helping us lead this work. Also know that some classes will include live music from some wonderful local musicians! Dance Exchange classes are grounded in the belief that every body can and should dance, and are open to movers of all ages and backgrounds! Join us in the studio!
Foundations in Contemporary DANCE
Tuesdays, 6 to 7:30pm
…w/ Sam Horning: December 6 & 13
Sam Horning is a dancer, educator, and dance maker currently based in Washington, DC. At Dance Exchange, Sam is the Facilities Manager and Programming Coordinator, and steps into Dance Exchange projects as an adjunct artist. As an artist, his choreographic mind has been heavily influenced by the quotidian and poetic spectrums of dance. He values everyday experiences and archival knowledge, mining both for the inspiration, materials, and compositional structures that become the textures of his dancing. Sam relies on efficiency and chance encounters as a means of movement invention. His work is produced from detailed improvisation techniques and is rooted by the information the body can receive from the floor. Read more about Sam here.
Fridays, 9:30 to 11:15am
…w/ Matthew Cumbie: December 2 & 16*
Matthew Cumbie is a dancemaker, educator, and collaborator based in Washington, DC, and is the Associate Artistic Director of Dance Exchange. His work explores his interests in activism and improvisation, bringing a poetic lens to a specifically queer experience. He has been commissioned to create and share performances at places like Harvard University, Texas State University, Dance Place, Triskelion Arts, and AS220, and his interest in collaborative processes has led him to work with a wide range of artists, including Liz Lerman, Keith Thompson, Sarah Gamblin, jhon stronks, Paloma McGregor, Chris Aiken and Angie Hauser, Betsy Miller, and Annie Kloppenberg, among others. Matthew began working with Dance Exchange in 2011, shortly after receiving an MFA in dance from Texas Woman’s University. He currently lives with his lovable dog Lucas and visits Providence often to see his partner and collaborator, Tyler. Read more about Matthew here.
*December 16 will be co-taught by Matthew and Cassie, with live music by David Schulman!
…w/ Keira Hart Mendoza: December 9 & live music w/ Mark H Rooney
Keira Hart-Mendoza received her MFA from Arizona State University where she graduated summa cum laude. She has since worked as a professional educator and choreographer. She has taught dance at the University of Virginia, Coppin State University, and at Montgomery College; she has worked as a guest artist at James Madison University, Arizona State University, University of Virginia, Coppin State University, Dance and Co. in Harrisonburg, and at Collegiate School in Richmond VA.
Keira brings dance into unlikely settings, particularly as the Resident Movement Artist at Georgetown University Hospital since 2013. She has had the wonderful opportunity to teach doctors, nurses, and staff at the hospital a variety of movement forms to help aide in hospital morale and to help care for caregivers. She has also attended the Dance for Parkinson’s training program at the Mark Morris Dance Center in NYC, allowing her to expand her teaching pallet to work with patients with movement disorders. Keira’s choreography has been shown all across the DC-MD-VA area in venues such as Dance Place, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Millennium Stage, the Dance Exchange, at Montgomery College, at the Harman Center for the Arts, Atlas Performing Arts Center, the Jack Guidone Theater, the Greenberg Theater and much more. She has received funding from the Montgomery County Arts & Humanities Council since 2012 and was recently awarded a grant for the “Wheaton MD Cultural Initiative.”
Takoma Park MOVES
Saturdays, 10 to 11:30am
…w/ Cassie Meador: December 3 & live music w/ John Lee
Cassie Meador is a choreographer, performer, educator, writer and Executive 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. She recently led two multi-year projects: “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. This project, supported by the Embrey Family Foundation, Ignite|ArtsDallas and SMU, and Dallas Faces Race, is co-directed by Meador and Paloma McGregor of Angela’s Pulse. Read more about Cassie here.
…w/ Michelé Prince: December 10
Michelé Prince is a writer, collaborative cultural producer, and doctoral student in the Department of Women’s Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. Michelé holds a Master’s in Women’s Studies from University of Maryland, College Park and a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Women’s Studies from the University of Washington. They are fascinated with utilizing the lens of race, class, gender, and sexuality to study power, the creation and maintenance of hierarchies, the roots of oppression, and the stifling of difference. Their research and creative interests center quare masculine cultural production, womyn of color speculative thought, movement and dance, recorded rhythmic sound, storytelling and mythmaking praxis.