ICEhot Nordic Dance Platform

By | 2014 Director's Notes | No Comments

The dance going began in earnest Wednesday night with the opening performance of ICEhot by Heine Avdal & Yukiko Shinozaki in the Dansens Hus conveniently located behind our hotel.  Artists and presenter from 28 countries are here to experience works from Iceland, Finland, Denmark. Norway and Sweden.  The bar was bustling before the show with a confab of international festival goers. This first work was elaborate with miles of silver fabric curtains suspended from giant helium physio ball type balloons. The curtains did much of the dancing throughout the 60+ minutes while creating a beautiful shimmering effect. There was much technical wizardry on display with self propelled balloons and curtains floating over our heads.

Dansens Hus

Dansens Hus

Each morning began with a info session, More More More, in which five choreographers talk about their work and showed video excerpts.  This was a valuable component of the festival for those of us looking to learn more about emerging artists. Along with several U.S. colleagues, I have invited here to identify a Nordic artist to bring to BDF for a creative residency.

Among our group are seven U.S. artists including Zoe Scofield who I got to catch up with over a splendid breakfast (included with our room at the hotel). Foodie that I am, I was in heaven with the delicious and plentiful spread of lox, smoked fish, cheeses, breads, fruit and on and on.  This is our real meal of the day since everything here is so wildly expensive — $40 for a hamburger and beer, $5 for coffee and so forth — and we are running from one performance to the next all day long.

Over the course of four days I have seen 16 shows. Its been a rapid fire education on the state of Nordic dance or at least those selected to present at this platform. Several elements seemed to recur… smoke is very popular, the use of a hip hop vocabulary either woven through a contemporary sensibility or straight up, durational work quite often too long, electronic scores (everyone is using them–what ever happened to natural sound?), a fascination with awkward, clumsy movement, and terrific dancers.

Oslo Opera House

Oslo Opera House

Among the many performances there were four that stood out for me (all art being subjective). Zero Visibility Corp from Norway presented “Terra O Motel”  a 90- minute extravaganza complete with a mini 40’s type motel and neon sign as well as a variety set pieces, from a makeshift kitchen to bowls of potatoes and sleeping pads and pillows. This piece created a world of distinct characters living out their peculiar lives and quite grew on me as it progressed.

Tentacle Tribe of Sweden & Canada offered “Nobody Likes A Pixelated Squid” a  beautifully executed, but too long duet a la Victor Quijada of Rubberbandance  with whom they both danced. Gorgeous, sinewy partner work in a smoothed out hip hop style.

Ima Iduozee from Finland presented “This is the Title” a stunning solo incorporating hip hop with really skillful floor work, fine precision and luscious flow that reminded me of Omar Carrum’s Mobile Floor class.

Aloun Marchal from Sweden performed “Gerro, Minos and Him” a trio I dubbed, The Three Stooges Without Pants. A comic journey into the absurd–these three nutcases had a boatload of  physical comedy skills and a go for broke daring. One dancer, in particular, had that rare gift of comic timing that kept many in the audience laughing throughout the 47 minute work. Whether this was one’s cup of tea or not, no one fell asleep during this show!

National Academy of the Arts

National Academy of the Arts

It has been a pleasure to be in attendance at ICEhot as it was so finely organized and we have been well taken care of. Buses carried us around to the distant venues but several were close enough to walk to. Many are in renovated industrial buildings like to National Academy of the Arts, a spectacular re-purposing. The neighborhood surrounding this building is charming and I enjoyed several lunches with colleagues from around the globe. Now its time to go home and ponder the experience!

2014 Fall Newsletter, Volume 17

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In the Works

Jennifer Nugent by Arthur Fink

Jennifer Nugent by Arthur Fink

BDF is teaming up with New York City-based Gibney Dance and The Playground to host a BDF+Gibney Connect, a daylong dance immersion on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 at Gibney Dance, 280 Broadway, NYC. The day will feature technique classes by Kendra Portier, member of David Dorfman Dance and founder of bandPortier,  Jennifer Nugent former member of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company,  Amy Miller, Associate Artistic Director of Gibney Dance, and Gregory Dolbashian, Co-Director of The Playground.  BDF accompanist Glen Fittin will play for Kendra and Jen. Focused around inspired dancing and creative exchange, the day is designed for intermediate and advanced dancers. A reception will conclude the day. The all-inclusive fee is $35 with pre-registration or $42 day of. Registration Info available soon at:

Kendra Portier by Sara Crosby

Kendra Portier by Sara Crosby

On Sunday, January 11 from 1-3:30pm we will offer a modern technique & composition master class  for teens (14-18 years) taught by LaQuimah Van Dunk at the East Village Dance Project, 55 Avenue C, NYC.  Fee is $15, to register email:

For Boston area dancers, BDF will join forces with Dance Complex in Cambridge to co-host master classes as part of Winter Wonder Dance Festival, January 2-4. Stay tuned for more info.

2015 Faculty Announced

As winter approaches with it’s chilly air and bare trees, we are deep into planning another hot summer of inspiring classes at BDF. Bringing together some of our favorite alums with exciting newcomers, our Young Dancers Workshop will feature modern classes by Erika Pujic and Karl Rogers, ballet with Martha Tornay and Shonach Mirk-Robles, jazz with Courtney D. Jones, hip hop with Shakia Johnson (2006 Emerging Choreographer), improvisation with Lida Winfield (2014 Emerging Choreographer), and repertory with Sean Dorsey.

Robert Moses by Arne Folkedal

Robert Moses by Arne Folkedal

Donna Mejia by Emmanuel Adero

Donna Mejia by Emmanuel Adero

SeanDorsey by Lydia Daniller

SeanDorsey by Lydia Daniller











Our Professional Training Program will include modern master Robert Moses, the teams of Kathleen Hermesdorf & Albert Mathias, and  Claudia Lavista & Omar Carrum, as well as  Mary Carbonara; ballet and Spiraldynamik© with Shonach Mirk-Robles and Rachel List; hip hop legend Rennie Harris, Contact Improvisation’s first lady Nancy Stark Smith, jazz artist Autumn Eckman, Choreo Lab and Performance Skills with dance maker David Parker, transnational fusion with Donna Mejia, yoga and Pilates with Robbie Cook, plus Dance for the Camera with Shawn Hove, Rhythm Studies with Shamou, Business of Dance with Kim Konikow and Beyond the Stage with Debra Cash.

Detailed information will be available on our NEW website in mid-December.

Building Connections: Creating Opportunities

At BDF dancers at all stages of their careers make connections that lead to opportunities for professional advancement. Here are just a few of the exciting outcomes from last summer’s Festival:

Omar Carrum & Claudia Lavista by Arthur Fink

Omar Carrum & Claudia Lavista by Arthur Fink

Mexican choreographers Claudia Lavista and Omar Carrum were invited to conduct fall residencies at the Boston Conservatory by Dance Chair Cathy Young, and at Smith College by faculty members Chris Aiken and Angie Hauser, all three of whom are core members of the BDF faculty.

Vincent Mantsoe by Arthur Fink

Vincent Mantsoe by Arthur Fink

Our 2014 season included a shared concert and classes taught by South African choreographer, Vincent Mantsoe, and Chinese artist, Yin Mei. We just learned that Yin Mei has invited Vincent to perform the same concert program in China this winter. An exciting outcome indeed!

Longtime BDF accompanist and composer, Jesse Manno, joined the backup band for David Dorfman’s performance of “Come And Back Again” during our 2014 season. Consequently David asked Jesse to help create music for the DanceMotionUSA collaboration with Turkish dancemaker Korhan Basaran that took place over four weeks of the Festival. We were thrilled to hear Jesse perform as part of the band for the premiere performance at BAM in August.

Administrative intern, Ashley Yergens served as our social media maven last summer. Her stellar work increased our Facebook likes significantly, brought insightful posts to our blog, and caught the eye of the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s DanceMotionUSA team who were at BDF for the Dorfman/Basaran residency. DMUSA was looking to fill their social media position and in October Ashley moved the Big Apple to join their staff.

bernierAdministrative intern, Kristen Bernier was an invaluable member of our staff this summer. We are thrilled to announce that she joined the staff of  MAPP International with whom BDF has collaborated for over 20 years. MAPP is a dynamic producing organization engaged with an international cadre of performance artists creating on the cutting edge. MAPP is also a founding member (with BDF) and administrative home of The Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium.


2014 Festival Recap

The 2014 season, our 32nd, brought a global feast of projects to Lewiston, ME. David Dorfman Dance conducted a month-long creative residency teaching classes, performing “Come And Back Again” with a live band that featured three Festival musicians (Jesse Manno, Shamou and Adam Crawley), and delving deeply into process to develop a new work with Turkish choreographer Korhan Basaran and five dancers from Turkey and Armenia as part of Dance Motion USA a cultural diplomacy program of the U.S. State Department that is administered by Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Korhan Basaran & David Dorfman by ArthurFink

Korhan Basaran & David Dorfman by ArthurFink

Here’s what the ever exuberant David Dorfman said:

“Bates is always alive for me – this summer it was on fire! Through DMUSA, I had the opportunity to work with incredible dance artists from Turkey and Armenia on a daily basis, in addition to the wonderful BDF students and faculty – what a dream come true! Aside from our intense and productive rehearsals – to see our guests take classes, hang out with each other and their fearless leader Korhan at night, and then inspire the next generation of dancers the next day – was fabulous!”   Watch residency video

On the international front we also hosted a creative residency for Flavienne Lago from the Ivory Coast, a former member of Compagnie Tche Tche. In an informal showing Flavie shared an excerpt from her heart wrenching work dealing with the loss of her parents to civil war and the struggle as an African woman to become an artist. For American students being confronted with this graphic and personal story of loss bought the harsh realities of life in a war torn country into sharp relief. There were many tears and much support offered to Flavie whose emotional performance was akin to re-living the horrific experiences.

The Festival also took dance off the stage and into the public realm with site performances in the Lewiston and Portland communities. A talented core of Maine and N.E. dancers including Meredith Lyons, Annie Kloppenberg, Betsy Miller, Jessamyn Schmidt, Amanda E. Hamp, Audrey Ouellette and Charlaine Katsuyoshi, performed “Horses” in windows of Portland Public Library during the First Friday ArtWalk on June 6. “Horses” was created by BDF faculty, Kathleen Hermesdorf and Albert Mathias during a spring residency at Bates College.

In July our fabulous Young Dancers Workshop counselors performed an improvised score during the Lewiston Friday Art Walk.
Here’s what three 2014 artists in residence had to say about BDF:

“It is a rare occasion for young artists like ourselves to be seen, celebrated and asked to grow the way we were at Bates. We were immersed in the world of dance for three weeks in the way we all hope to be, but struggle to do, in our own communities. We left Bates with a sense of joy, creativity, clarity and community that is often easy to lose track of as an independent artist.”- Emerging Choreographers Lida Winfield & Ellen Smith Ahern

“The more I reflect on it the more I realize how much teaching at BDF has changed my life and expanded my dance world.” - Ballet faculty, Rachel List

“These past three weeks were incredible for me.  I felt such support and inspiration from each fellow artist.  The time we spent together fed me and made me feel grateful for the possibility of creating lasting relationships and collaborations in a field where resources are so scarce.  Often we feel so isolated in our struggles … to see how each of us is creatively finding our way makes a huge difference.” - Improvisation faculty, Chris Aiken

Support the Bates Dance Festival

BDF relies on contributions from foundations, corporations, and individuals like yourself to supply 40% of our operating budget. Please consider a gift in any amount in support of our 2015 season. Make your tax-deductible contribution online at NOW.

Support BDF

The Bates Dance Festival advances the work and life of dance students, professional artists and public communities by cultivating opportunities for learning, creativity and connection in a supportive and diverse dance and performance environment. 

BDF Internships: Dancing to Success

By | 2014 Professional Program in Motion | No Comments

As the festival draws to a bittersweet end, it’s about time to go behind-the-scenes. More specifically, let’s give a round of cyberspace applause for our interns! BDF offers elite internships in technical production, video/media, arts administration, and dance education. These individuals gain irreplaceable contacts and in-depth knowledge of dance as a field. We interviewed some of our interns and posed the following questions:

  • What is your role as a BDF intern?
  • How will you apply this internship to your reality outside of BDF?

Check out what they had to say:


Kristen Bernier

An an office intern this summer at Bates, I have numerous administrative responsibilities, some of which include managing and updating the database, organizing the schedules and appointments for the amazing body-workers on site, coordinating the keys for all festival participants, and planning for the arrivals and departures of students throughout the three programs. The staff has gone above and beyond to ensure that my experience is most educational and fulfilling, through their collaborative nature and eagerness to share. In addition to working the festival, I have the opportunity to participate in the classes provided by the awe-inspiring faculty. With dual insights into the festival, my experience as an intern has been incredibly enlightening and humbling. After Bates Dance Festival, I will be moving to New York City where I will pursue a career in the arts and administration, working on personal artistic ventures and for MAPP International Productions as their Administrative Manager. My experience as an intern has facilitated my growth in both realms of art and business immensely, shedding light on the interchangeability between creativity and administration. BDF is unique in the way that it is more intimate and communal, fostering an environment in which obtaining connections and knowledge in the dance world and beyond is organic. It is clear through its growing lineage, that the relationships created at BDF are long withstanding. The experience I have gained at the Festival has prepared me to take the next step in my career with enthusiasm and has supplied me with an incredible knowledge of the field at large.


Calvin Franke 

As an Arts Administration Intern at BDF, I am responsible for day to day tasks in the office as well as the Young Choreographers/New Works Showcase at the end of the festival.  It’s a great experience to be able to head a project and see it from beginning to end.  I have set office hours during the day when I am not in class and every day is different and exciting in a new way. After BDF, I go back to working on a collaborative research project with my professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire that I have been involved with since the beginning of June.  This internship has exposed me to so many amazing people that it is almost impossible to not make a BDF connection wherever I go.  Being able to see the behind-the-scenes work that goes into this festival is incredible and a valuable opportunity for anyone wanting to enter this field.


Stephanie Grover

At BDF this summer, my main role as one of the arts administrative interns is to manage the merchandise store and its sales. In addition, we assist Laura Faure and Meredith Lyons in the office by answering the phones, creating informational packets for each of the participants, as well as the faculty, that they receive as they arrive, and working to keep everyone updated and informed about the various events, programs, and workshops that are offered throughout the festival. I also help at the performances by selling concessions or working will call as needed. After BDF, I am looking forward to staying in contact with these new amazing individuals I have met here at the festival. This welcoming, talented, open-minded community at this festival has been unlike any other I have ever been a part of. BDF has inspired me to continue working hard to fully support this industry that I have always loved and believed in, and now, I have even more people to share ideas with/collaborate with in the future. I have learned to value what I can bring to the table, and it will be exciting to see where my life will bring me upon returning to my brand new apartment in NY. The options are endless!

tori lawrence photo

Tori Lawrence

As a video intern, I have the pleasure of working alongside videographers Peter Richards, Lindsay LaPointe, Ellen Maynard, and Renato Vacub Cimi.  Our video team is a closely knit, talented group of people who are responsible for filming all of BDF’s performances, classes, faculty interviews, and other showings.  We typically film each day and then take two classes when we’re not busy in the editing studio.  This year, I’ve been given the task of creating a mini-documentary of the Young Dancers Workshop as well as creating two interview videos on artists Jennifer Nugent and Omar Carrum.  This internship has given me the time, resources, and mentorship to truly craft my own voice as a filmmaker. I’m a Philadelphia-based choreographer who specializes in creating dance on films and large site-specific installations (, so this internship opportunity has not only allowed me to delve further into the field of film, but it has helped me establish connections with some of the world’s top artists. I’m heading to the University of Iowa to get my MFA in Choreography this Fall, so I’ve been lucky to have spent my summer here fine-tuning my camera/editing techniques and taking dance classes with some of the best artists out there.

Video still from Local Natives' City of Music Video for "Bowery".

Video still from Local Natives’ City of Music Video for “Bowery”.

Ashley R.T. Yergens

Likes, follows, retweets, and favorites are the social currency of my generation and younger. As the BDF Social Media Intern, my responsibility is to utilize this social currency for the greater good of dance. I am a storyteller. I want to make dance accessible and understandable for the general public. For me, social media allows us to foster and maintain relationships and stories until we can be in the same room together. Also, with the ever-changing landscape of dance, I believe that it’s a good practice for our BDF choreographers, teachers, and movers to keep up with the pace of technology. Dance can survive if we can become the programmers instead of the programmed. After BDF, I will apply this internship experience to my new position as the Impact Coordinator for the Arts at the Boys & Girls Club in Rochester, Minnesota. Additionally, I will be showing Is this more ladylike? at Patrick’s Cabaret in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The work explores the social construction of what it means to be “ladylike” in contemporary performance. Last but not least, I am proud to announce that I have been selected as a Zenon Dance Zone Choreographer for the Fall 2014 Zone session. For more information, visit

For more information, visit the “internships” section of our website here.

This post was written by Ashley Yergens. Ashley is the BDF Social Media Intern for the 2014 summer.


Get to Know Arthur Fink: Resident Photographer

By | 2011 Works-in-Progress | No Comments
A fun take on self-portraiture. Featuring Deborah Goff at BDF 2011.

A fun take on self-portraiture. Featuring Deborah Goff at BDF in 2011. Photo by Arthur Fink.

1. How does photography affect/influence/reiterate the story of dance Still photographs help us see the poses, the postures, the juxtapositions, and the patterns that are part of any dance.  While video lets us see the movement again and again, the fleeting moments of dance are represented as just that — fleeting moments.  In a still photograph I can hold those moments.  Indeed, many dance photographs hold iconic moments, which might otherwise be deeply buried in a moving picture story.

By giving us easy access to some of those special moments, dance photographs can help photographers learn about, understand, and remember aspects of dance that can inspire new ideas and new moments.

2. What can a photographer learn from working with and/or witnessing a dancer? I’ve learned lessons about mental and spiritual agility, about reverence, compassion, and sustainability, about balance, weight, and form, about intention and opportunity, and about so much more.  By intensely watching any creative artist, I can learn about creativity, surprise, about something that shouldn’t be called “failure” but is about things not working the way we wanted or expected.  And as I watch great teachers in the dance studio, I’ve learned about how to teach essence, without having the details of a particular practice crowd out what’s really most important.

3. What can a dancer learn from working with and/or witnessing a photographer? I practice watching dance beyond the details of each movement, typically as I search for what images to photograph.  This is a way of testing and translating my understanding of a particular dance piece.  And I believe that dancers and choreographers can learn and benefit from the same practice.  Those who have taken my workshops on, “Seeing dance like a photographer” confirm that this is true.

4. Why do you photograph the Bates Dance Festival? What makes BDF so special to you? Laura Faure, director of the Bates Dance Festival, has clearly established BDF as, “An international community of choreographers, dancers, educators, and students learning, creating, and performing together”. Along side the often competitive dance world, BDF is a cooperative endeavor.  That’s nourishing for me, as I’m at BDF to learn as much as anybody. And, while dancers are glad to see my images, they are not expecting or hoping that I’ll showcase their artistry or virtuosity in the competitive dance world.

I certainly learn from every class, rehearsal, or choreographic session that I witness.  But I learn at least as much by living, eating, playing with the dance community here.  That aspect of sharing our lives in a creative community is much of what makes BDF so special for me.

5. How does/can dance photography benefit our society? Dance matters, and I celebrate, and seek to add some coherent visibility, to the dance that is all around us here at BDF.  If my photographs simply say, “Look at this . . . this dance step or pose or move”, and people do look, I do believe the world can become a better place.  Dance teaches us all that our very weight that holds us down can be the force that sets us free to move.  And, in that metaphor of finding ways to move together — not always in unison, but always in deep respect — we can build a better world.

6. Any other pressing items? I’m sad to see dance photography being forgotten as an art form or expressive medium, as incredibly high quality video equipment is becoming so common, and as video becomes an important part of every dance department curriculum.  I’d like to see both forms of image recording celebrated, and well used.

I’m interested in seeing still images become not just a way to document dance, but an integral part of more dance itself.  That’s the subject for another whole dialogue . . . that I’d love to inspire or create.

This post was written by Ashley Yergens. Ashley is the BDF Social Media Intern for the 2014 summer.


Q&A: Business of Dance

By | 2014 Professional Program in Motion | One Comment


With a varied background in the arts as a presenter, arts manager, and administrator, Kim Konikow brings rich perspectives into our “Business of Dance” course. I was interested in joining the class dialogue. So, I interviewed two of Konikow’s students. Here’s what Chelsea and Maddie had to say:

CHELSEA’s Interview

1. What is your greatest fear in terms of running a business/arts management/arts administration? How is this class teaching you to address that fear? I am afraid that I won’t get to work with a company that is the perfect fit, but this class is teaching me many networking methods.

2. Why should dancers take a course like “Business of Dance”? This class teaches the logistics of going into the dance profession. Dancers should know everything that this course covers; like where to move, what banking forms to use, and how to make connections.

3. How are artists and traditional marketers like-minded? We are all trying to make a living and a happy life.

4. What is one mind-blowing thing that you’ve learned so far? It’s possible to do what I love with my life! It’s not easy but I am more familiar with the steps required to get there than I was before taking this class.

5. How will you apply this course to your “real” life? The final project for this course is to work on something that I want to do/create in real life–so that’s how (at least in the immediate future). I also am working on improving my resume and website.

6. Anything else? I don’t consider myself a “business-minded” person, but I do like to make connections with people who have similar ideals and goals, and that is my new view of business in the field of dance.

MADDIE’s Interview

1. Why should dancers take a course like “Business of Dance”? I think it’s incredibly important for a dancer to take a course like Business of Dance if they have any interest in becoming a professional dancer. It’s a really difficult time right now for artists and especially dancers, so knowing how to conduct yourself as a professional and be smart in the field is one of the things that could set you apart from other dancers. I think that it is a career that should be approached just like any other job–with the same level of seriousness, professionalism, and preparation. Knowing how to express your art is extremely important but knowing how to manage yourself and your career logistics at this level is also extremely important in this day and age. We all want to live out our passions, be happy, and have enough money to get ourselves by. This class is teaching me how to do just that.

2.What is one mind-blowing thing that you’ve learned so far? One mind-blowing thing I’ve learned so far is that deciding to have a family can affect your career as a performer. I’ve always seen myself as eventually being a mom and having a family, but didn’t think at all about how this would work in tandem with the lifestyle of a professional dancer. There are sacrifices and choices to be made, but it’s exhilarating to think about dance in a way this candid and real. Every faculty member that has come to share with us has been very honest, which is something I greatly respect and appreciate, because that kind of honesty is exactly what we all need as we pursue this path of an artist.

3. How will you apply this course to your “real” life? Going into my junior year at the Ohio State University, I feel that this class is really important for me at this particular phase in my life. I’m realizing that it’s time to switch my mindset from “Someday I’ll be a dancer!” to acknowledging that hopefully it’s about to be my reality and learning how I can best prepare for this drastic transition into the tough yet rewarding world of being a professional dancer. I’m learning skills such as managing my finances once out of college, networking, choosing a city to live in post-grad, marketing, fundraising, and formatting a resume that is both clear and representative of me and my personality. These are skills I can start to think about and implement now while still in school in order to be more comfortable with by the time I’m out on my own.

Description of Course: “The practical aspects of the dance profession are examined in this seminar. This includes career options, creating an ‘image’ in print and online, growing dance audiences, financial administration and raising funds creatively, among many other topics. Guests from the Festival faculty will join us with informative presentations based on personal experience. A resume (yours) will be created or reviewed and you will participate in the creation of a hands-on plan to assist in your own future dance project. By the end of the course, participants will be better prepared to perform the business tasks expected of dance professionals and have a more holistic understanding of the field and personal dance community.”

This post was written by Ashley Yergens. Ashley is the BDF Social Media Intern for the 2014 summer.

Abby Zbikowski: Notes from an Emerging Artist in Residence at the Bates Dance Festival

By | 2011 Works-in-Progress | No Comments

It’s amazing how my brain has been continuously flooded by thoughts about asserting and defining my approach/mentality/aesthetic in regards to dance when surrounded by so much new information in the past two weeks here at the Bates Dance Festival. Both in casual conversation and rehearsals with students I’ve experienced the need to further give context to my perspective and in doing so I’ve unearthed what I currently hold most important during the conceiving of a new work in a new place. The following is a bulleted list of obsessions/assertions I’ve been compiling…

Temperament in form—(depression/mania/rebellion/anger) influences on sense of time and impulse of movement

Deconstruct and reconstruct components of dance in order to highlight and create appreciation for less visible elements

Simultaneous Minimalist and Extremist physicalities

Divulging the many virtuosic elements of the dance

I’m interested in the statement and perspective in chosen form/how ideas are presented

My aesthetic choices in creating a dance are closely related to punk and hip hop musical aesthetics at their points of origin in that they are a re-evaluation of form–>the end product being a reflection of cultural sensibilities/outlooks/goals

What happens when we break things down to examine their parts equally? Put everything on the surface

An obsession with what is being constructed in a space and an awareness of what is out of our control

An overarching theme of intrinsic value of: moving/dancing/working(psychological/emotional/physical)

How many of these things can be layered into a single moment in time/movement/phrase/event?

The DNA of form

Decomposition composed

Inspiration from forms within subcultural movements that have a clearly identifiable style/image that has been absorbed into mainstream society; attempting to bring function to the surface instead of just image

Tech-Savvy Dance Education

By | 2014 Professional Program in Motion | No Comments
Chris Aiken and David Dorfman during our Google+ Hangout with ImPulzTanz.

Chris Aiken and David Dorfman during our Google+ Hangout with ImPulzTanz.

As technology is increasingly being integrated into general education, dance educators are creating dialogue regarding the evolution of teaching practices and experiences in learning environments for dance.

Today, ImPulsTanz, Rachel Boggia, David Dorfman, Angie Hauser, and Chris Aiken discussed their ideas, perspectives, and research on dance teaching and dance education via Google+ Hangouts. The archived conversation can be viewed here.

As the conversation unfolded, one thing was made clear: as dance educators and students, we face both challenges and opportunities with the development of technology.


Undeniably, integrating technology into dance education has inspiring potential. Technology invites us into unmarked territory. It gives us a chance to reconsider traditional modes and methods of teaching. It allows us to engage with various types of learners.


On the flipside, technology can create segregation and isolation as well. For instance, students come with diverse backgrounds in education and life experience. As a result, we must consider the following questions:

  • Are we discriminating against learners who aren’t tech-savvy? What about the students who can’t afford the latest gadget?
  • Does the technology have a positive impact on the group of learners as a whole? If not, how can the integration of technology create a sense of community?

We must constantly remind ourselves that some students yearn for technological integration while others prefer traditional modes of learning (i.e. physical studio/classroom based). As educators, are we prepared to deal with this type of friction that technology can create?

As artists, administrators, educators, and students, we must continue the dialogue that ImPulzTanz and BDF faculty started today. The goal is not to be pessimistic or overly optimistic regarding technology. We must be opportunistic. Most importantly, it is our duty to remember that technology is simply an enhancement. It can improve pedagogical approaches, but it can never replace the physical nature of dance education.

By accepting the digital era, we can renew ourselves as globalized citizens, and perhaps, we will save the arts. It’s a matter of using the technology, and not allowing the technology to use us.

This post was written by Ashley Yergens. Ashley is the BDF Social Media Intern for the 2014 summer.

Co-existence of Creativity and Challenge

By | 2014 Works-in-Progress | No Comments

I am often surprised at how easy it is to make dance work.

I am often surprised at how hard it is to make dance work.

It is odd, but both can exist equally.

The co-existence of creativity and challenge can make for some extremely powerful work and art.  At Bates Dance Festival, the process and importance of using both in order to create have become clearer to me.

Sometimes having a challenge or a problem in dance making feels fun.  I am ready to get in there and sort it out. I am open to trying new ideas and playing.  It is like a puzzle that requires experimentation and bravery.  I am game to push myself.  I feel free to not know.  I can pull myself back and look at the situation from new angles and then dive back into the details.

Other times I am stuck.  I don’t have any ideas, and the problem just feels like a problem.  Then it is not fun.

This happened on Friday. Ellen Smith Ahern and I have been working for the last week on a new piece. We had a small amount of dance work completed and were adding some new ideas to the mix.  I felt myself hit the wall.  I tried to talk through my lack of ideas.  I could feel myself get shaky inside.  It did not matter that I have been making dances for 20 years.  It did not matter that I trust Ellen. I felt tight.  I started to spiral down with negative thoughts.  I quickly wanted to be done, to leave the studio for the day or at least just lay on the floor in my own misery.

Ellen did a good job.  She saw my lower lip start to quiver and took over.  She put an idea out, and we tried it.  She put another idea out, and we tried it.  We experimented with her ideas until I was able to say what I liked from what we did.

I thanked her for being nice to me, for pulling us and me through that moment.  She replied by saying that she was not being nice, that she was being bossy.  It struck me because sometimes we need someone else to tell us what to do when we get lost in feelings of inadequacy.

It always surprises me that I can have so many feelings in one rehearsal.  I can feel creative, inspired and than stuck and overwhelmed.  Shifting back and forth in a matter of minutes or hours. My creative process is greatly impacted by my negative or positive thinking.  Maybe that is obvious, but it is still worth looking at.

When I work alone and don’t have a helpful partner like Ellen to pull me through a stuck moment, I have to let the creative process sneak up on me. I have to relax into ideas.  In turn I have made my best solo work outside of the studio.  I have great ideas in the kitchen, the woods, and the shower.  In the studio I often feel a sense of pressure to be brilliant. I try to force myself into ideas, and it rarely works. This is the same wall I hit on Friday.  The woods or the shower can pull me out of my own head in the same way Ellen pulled me out on Friday.  She took over in the same way the woods can take over. I am not thinking alone when I am in the woods.  I get ideas from the trees and the grounded reality of day-to-day life.

It is clear I will get stuck again.  It is clear I will have new ideas again.  It is a ride that sometimes feels wonderful and other times feels awful.  However, having some tools regarding how to move out of the stuck place is fundamental.  I am grateful to look to Ellen.  I am relieved to walk in the woods.  I am glad to make dance in the kitchen.

Lida Winfield

Emerging Aritst