Teen Exchange

***Click here to learn about the Teen Exchange Summer Institute 2011! July 18-22.***

The Teen Exchange, established in 1998, is a youth-led program grounded in inquiry, collaboration and personal meaning-making. Programs include weekly classes, week-long intensives and workshops that cultivate teen dancers, dance makers and leaders. The Teen Exchange is a program of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange founded in 1976, a professional company of dance artists that creates, performs, teaches, and engages people in making art.

What makes us unique?

At the Teen Exchange students learn modern dance technique, choreograph and perform dances, and lead workshops in the community. Students are encouraged to work to their personal best and pursue goals with the support of the community and Lead Artist. Teen dancers of all abilities are invited to join the Teen Exchange from the experienced dancer to the novice.

The Teen Exchange is a youth-led modern dance group. The dancers are involved in all elements of the Teen Exchange experience from choosing the creative/conceptual theme for the year to perfecting the plie. Dancers can gain experience in administration, production, directing, choreographing, dancing and facilitating community events. A professional dancer acts as our Lead Artist, guiding the program, mentoring teens and directing the creative experience.

Our Lead Artist is Wayles Haynes, an Adjunct Artist with the Dance Exchange and an active member of the DC dance community. Wayles holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Tennessee Knoxville, an MFA in Dance from the University of Hawaii, and is a Certified Laban Movement Analyst. She has been a dance educator since 1999, most notably at George Mason University, George Washington University, Queen Margaret University Edinburgh, the University of Tennessee Knoxville, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Alexis Iammarino is a community artist and Americorps member who is working as our Supporting Artist for 2010-2011. She is currently earning her Master’s in Community Arts in the Master of Community Arts Program at Maryland Institute College of Art.

In the past, Teen Exchange projects have included “Designer Genes,” which addressed body modification and genetic technology; “The Risk Project,” where participants explored why and how to take risks critical to their own lives; and “Shut Eyes, Open Mind: Where our Dreams May lead Us,” where participants investigated the many facets of dreaming. Teen Exchange is currently working on the theme of Beauty: Light and Shadow – an investigation of internal knowledge and external expression. Topics include body image, cultural ideals of the human form, expressions of beauty in multiple artistic mediums and the choice of what is revealed and concealed.

When do you meet?

The Teen Exchange has three sessions that each last nine weeks. Students can participate for the entire year or attend individual sessions. The Teen Exchange meets twice a week. Wednesdays are artist-mentored and student-led creative workdays and Thursdays include technique class, improvisation and rehearsal. In addition, performing opportunities arise throughout the session. Tuition is $250 per session a limited number of work-study positions are available. Please contact Wayles for more information.

Wednesdays from 5:00-6:30pm
Thursdays from 4:30-6:30pm

Fall Session September 30th- December 9th
Winter Session January 12th- March 10th
Spring Session March 30th- May 26th

How can I become involved?

Contact Wayles Haynes, Lead Artist at (865) 235-8162 for more information or e-mail at wayles.haynes@gmail.com. For more information or questions, you can also contact the Teen Exchange Presidents Talia Mason and Mariyama Scott directly at theteenexchange@gmail.com.

“I’ve been a part of Teen Exchange for the past three years, and each year has truly been an eye-opening experience. We get to move, create and work as a group, which is wonderful especially because during the process, we all become like a family to each other. Teen Exchange is my escape from life, and it has allowed for me to become a stronger dancer, thinker and leader.”
-Talia Mason, Co-President of Teen Exchange

“I’ve danced in many places, and Teen Exchange is the only one where I’ve ever felt truly and completely welcomed and accepted. I’ve learned so much – not only about dance, but also about taking risks, making myself heard, and being an effective leader – that I honestly wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. It’s also just plain been a lot of fun!”
– Mariyama Scott, Co-President of Teen Exchange

“Teen Exchange is amazing. It’s a place where you can really be yourself and make beautiful, crazy dances in a loving environment. I can’t go a single class without smiling!”
-Molly Barth, Teen Exchange Member

“I’m so lucky to have invested my time in a place where we can create beautiful movement without fear of judgment, and where I feel comfortable making no hesitations. Over the past several years, Teen Exchange has not only become one of my top priorities, but also my second home.”
-Nora Baker, Teen Exchange Member