Modern III – Michael Foley

This a technique class is for dancers looking to explore a gentler approach to integrating more complex phrasing into their dancing, as well as for teachers who want to augment their pedagogy with new material. As a morning class, the focus will be placed on preparing the body for a day of dancing by further loosening up the joints and muscles, as well as finding a strong and stable center. The class will investigate a full-body warm-up through dynamic material that draws from the use of both standing and floor exercises, and how to transition efficiently between the two. There will be an exploration of gentle inversions, as well as more off-centered movement, which will be integrated into phrase material.

Modern IV – Michael Foley

This class will focus on preparing advanced dancers with the physical, technical and kinesthetic tools to further enhance their ability to stay focused and healthy in the dance world. A combination of dynamic-strengthening exercises along with complex physical phrase work augments the training of the advanced dancer. Through the use of release-based techniques and more traditional concepts of breath and movement, students develop a clearer understanding of how working with the body on a skeletal and muscular level facilitates locomotor movement while enhancing individual creative expression. Dancers are challenged to discover new possibilities in their dancing through the use of inversions, floor- work, center adagio, and Foley’s eclectic repertory.

Modern IV – Angie Hauser

This technique class focuses on integrating physical and creative articulation. Building coordination, strength and articulation allows us to dance to the fullest that we imagine without hesitation. Each part of this class is in response to the individual dancer’s desire to integrate their abilities with their imagination. The class consists of an eclectic mix of energy work, somatic information, post-modern dance technique, and improvisation. Hauser’s material reflects the influences of her extensive training in ballet, modern and post- modern dance techniques, contact improvisation, and improvisational training forms.

Modern V: Afro-Po-Mo – Gesel Mason

Afro-Po-Mo draws from diverse movement styles, approaches, and practices that include modern, post-modern, and ballet techniques, dance forms from the African diaspora, martial arts, Alexander Technique, kinesiology, physical conditioning, and life. We will play with rhythm and momentum, strength and endurance, somatic efficiency, dynamic clarity, and expressivity in the torso and pelvis in an effort to reconnect to the joy and passion of moving.

Modern V: Afro-Modern: AFASAM – Michel Kouakou

AFASAM blends together contemporary dance techniques from three continents — Africa, Asia and America. It bring together the spiritual and percussive orientation of West African dance with the inner focus of Butoh, and the emphasis of the body in space of western modern dance to create a free flowing and dynamic movement style. The class begins with a floor warm up to activate the spine in order to mobilize the whole body. We will use pelvic initiation to move in and out of the floor and reorganize body parts in relationship to space while creating stabilization and core strength. Movement phrases across the floor draw on circular patterns that reinforce and expand inherent mobility and awareness. The goal is to build an advanced body, brain and artistic spirit grounded in an understanding of the weight and mutual support and encouragement.

Modern Repertory – Gesel Mason

Through a process of experimentation, risk, and personal investigation, we will create an original work that embraces voices unheard, situations neglected, or perspectives considered taboo. Vulnerability, humor, and visceral physicality are hallmarks of my work revealed through the intersection of dance, theater, and storytelling. I often play with physical and cultural markers in ways that transgress and transcend identity. Participants will engage with these themes through physical improvisations, choreographic exercises, and movement vocabulary and approaches cultivated in the Afro-Po-Mo class. The work will be performed in the Festival Finale. All participants must be enrolled in the Mason’s  Modern V class.

Afro-Modern Repertory – Michel Kouakou

This course will provide students with an exclusive encounter of Daara Dance’s methodology of expressing the body and forms while experiencing the dynamic and physicality of movement language which exemplifies the totality of the physical and spiritual human body and expression. Emphasis will be put on the musicality of the percussive body in sync with the imagination through all the senses with high regard for technique, physical control, and physical awareness while relating to our surroundings.

Ballet III – Rachel List

The focus in this class is on correct alignment, ease of movement and dancing fully with musicality. Rhythm, momentum and spatial clarity are emphasized. Explanations of exercises and theory help students to use the ballet vocabulary in a simple, practical way, practicing skills that may be applied to other dance techniques. Exercises at the barre prepare for more complicated rhythms and combinations in the center. Areas of unnecessary tension are identified so that dancers may let go of excess effort and increase technical skills as well as expressivity.

Ballet Lab – Shonach Mirk-Robles

The body is the most complex of all artists’ instruments. In this class we will explore the intricacies of our instrument. An anatomical approach to ballet teaches the dancer not only how to understand the body’s motor functions, but also how to recognize one’s limits, respect them and learn how and when to push these limits. This class deepens the dancer’s understanding of body placement, the use of the skeleton, the influence of gravity through the body, and the use of energy from the floor throughout the body. This knowledge provides the dancer with a healthier base, a stronger technique and a possibility of a longer dance career.

Ballet V – Rachel List

This advanced class is designed for dancers who have a thorough understanding of ballet technique. We move fairly quickly through barre exercises (focusing on placement, ease of movement and rhythm) in order to spend more time honing skills in the center. Musicality, momentum and use of the upper body are emphasized and refined. Advanced work such as jumps with beats and consecutive turns are explored and practiced. By developing core strength and releasing excess tension, we are able to make technically challenging work appear more fluid and effortless.

Jazz IV – Stephanie Martinez

This class will take intermediate students through a traditional jazz structure with warm-up, across the floor, and center combinations. Utilizing jazz, contemporary and modern movement vocabularies in this class, the choreography will feel natural and organic in the body while remaining challenging, high energy, and most of all, fun.

Jazz Repertory – Stephanie Martinez

This class draws from Martinez’s experience dancing with River North. Students will learn a montage of past works with several different styles, all stemming from the canon of American Jazz and River North’s repertoire.This class will have a heavy focus on strong technique, but will also highlight the importance of performance quality and enjoyment of the movement as students learn. Students are expected to pick up on the intricacies of the choreography taught, while applying their own style and personality. This work will be performed in the Festival Finale. All participants must be enrolled in the Martinez’  Jazz IV class.

Hip  Hop – Shakia Johnson

In this class we will learn the old and new school vocabulary of hip hop styles including locking, popping and house, as well as new school choreography. This is an energetic class that will build your stamina, improve your flexibility and strength, and expand your hip hop vocabulary. The focus is on isolation, complicated rhythms, across the floor progressions and drills designed to help you master these various styles. Students will learn multiple combinations, be encouraged to explore creative expression through this genre, and work collaboratively with their classmates.

Hip Hop Repertory – Shakia Johnson

This repertory piece will use Lockin’, Poppin’, Breakin’ and late 80’s hip hop vocabulary to create Funk era choreography, with a unique New School twist. The work will feature music by artists like James Brown, Parliament Funkadelic, The Ohio Players and Chaka Khan, drawing on the history and progression of their musical artistry, and reciprocal relationship to the popular dancing of the time. Hip Hop calls for an artists’ voice to tell a story unique to them, and to that end, this choreography will ask its dancers to voice their stories of celebration, trauma, struggle and persistence through high energy rhythm and groove.This work will be performed in the Festival Finale.

Gaga – Maree ReMalia

In this class, we move through nuanced gestures, over the top physicalities, meditative moments, and absurd exchanges. Classes include the Gaga movement language, guided improvisation, and reflective writing and discussion. Through these practices we aim to uncover new ways of moving, access the subconscious and cultivate fluidity between following bodily impulse and making decisions. We engage the senses and imagination and discover and strengthen the body, while increasing flexibility, stamina, and agility. The approach is playful and inquisitive with a focus on building an inclusive class community.

Spiraldynamik – Shonach Mirk-Robles

Spiraldynamik® is a combination of the art and science of anatomically correct movement. Like a “user’s manual” for the body, it enhances our understanding of body function by explaining the physics of human movement, given the laws of nature (gravity) and the human anatomical structure. The integration of Spiraldynamik® into the daily lives of dancers helps prevent injury, improve technique and lengthen one’s dance career. In this class, we will study in depth the principles of Spiraldynamik® and how we apply them to our bodies. We will analyze our movement patterns to identify meaningful change and improvement. We will study the anatomy of movement and develop an understanding of the muscular chain reactions that occur throughout the body.

Pilates – Robbie Cook

This class is designed for students with varying levels of experience with Pilates. We will start slowly with movement drawn from the work of Irene Dowd and progress into the Pilates repertory, exploring core stability, range of motion in all of the joints and bilateral symmetry to prepare the body for a day of moving.

Yoga – Robbie Cook

The focus of this class will be on the restorative aspects of Yoga practice, which help calm the nervous system using pranayama, asana and meditation to renew the body after a long day of dancing, in order to return the next day feeling refreshed. Alignment and correct sequencing will be addressed and some poses may be held longer to unwind the hips, back, ankles and shoulders as well as the mind.

Contact Improvisation – Chris Aiken

This class explores the principles and practice of contact improvisation through detailed skill work, extended practice, and perceptual tuning.  Students will be introduced to core principles developed by CI founder Steve Paxton.  We will work to expand our movement capacities through the spherical use of space, the biotensegrity principles of the fascia and ideokinetic techniques that clarify the internal structure and orientation of our movements. You will learn to adapt safely and creatively to disorientation, to become a powerful under-dancer and a skilled over-dancer.  Emphasis will also be placed upon the creating emotional presence, personal and group safety, and the ability to engage imaginatively with others.  All are welcome.

Advanced Improvisation – Angie Hauser and Chris Aiken

This class is for those who wish to explore the art of dance improvisation both as a performing art and as a vehicle for developing ways of perceiving, imagining and choreographing dance. We will take an interdisciplinary approach to composition in order to re-examine space and time, the body, human relationships, and aesthetic design. Ultimately, our goal will be to access our most powerful dancing bodies while drawing upon our personal experience and our capacity to engage deeply with others. The class is about the integration of technique, performance and the poetic imagination.

Documented prior study in intermediate to advanced level Contact Improvisation required—e.g., fluency with falling, rolling, weight taking and giving, being upside down, dancing with disorientation, following a point of contact, working with subtlety (and exertion), and improvising in physical contact.

Dance, Film, and Media – Shawn Hove

This course will be a hands-on symposium on planning and creating a Dance Film. We will view, discuss, practice, share, collaborate, and DO. This course will cater to all levels and interests in Dance Film making. Students will work on their individual ideas in a collaborative context. Each group will support each individual’s investigation, while working collaboratively to expand and enhance the creative and production process. Along with creating a short film, the course will discuss different methods to use video in relationship to performance work, including documentation and mediated performances. We will also look at historical work and current work that has and is shaping the field. Our goal will be for each student to finish the class with a polished short dance film. The Festival will provide consumer cameras and computers for editing. While the festival can provide some equipment, we encourage students to bringing their own if they have, especially laptops. Students should have strong understanding of the Mac operating system and/or Windows. We will be working with either Final Cut and/or Premier. There will be outside class work for this course.


Week 1: Making Work – Miguel Gutierrez

We focus on the creative process in making body/movement based performance. Through unequal parts making, discussing, improvising and watching the work of other workshop participants, we uncover and deepen your individual interests, your process and your work. Inherited notions of dance and performance are critiqued, absorbed or discarded in the service of creating performance that comes from a vital, necessary place and that speaks to a contemporary context. I am interested in harnessing the various fictions that we already construct unconsciously and using those as a frame for examining other possible frames for performance. There is no one way to make work.

Week 2: Collaborative Processes – Robert Moses

Robert Moses will lead this technically demanding, intellectually challenging, and artistically stimulating choreographic workshop, designed to expose students to practical performance and creative approaches to stage presentation and problem solving for the stage.  The course is recommended for dancers desiring to understand the major issues associated with problem solving, process, and forcing context in representational work.

Week 3 (Morning) – Nora Chipaumire

Challenging traditional rules of dance performance, crossing into the realm of live art by refusing to separate the choreographic, sonic, and visual elements.  Having inherited Zimbabwe’s historic and political baggage, Nora uses her work to question how status and power are experienced and presented with the body. For those born without property, name, or class, the human body poses a possible salvation–a manifesto or a vehicle for potential self-invention and self-determination.  The students will join Nora in creating movement and text-based work grounded in these quests.

Week 3 (Afternoon): What’s in Your Backpack? Fusing Movement with Voice – Sara Juli

Sometimes voice is incorporated into dance to convey a meaning that could not be accomplished otherwise. This class will explore a “backpack” of tools to help you learn how text, sound, and song can seamlessly fuse with movement. Come prepared to move your body and voice as one unit.  We will improvise, sing, write, chant, and perhaps even yodel (we probably won’t yodel, actually, but maybe?). Please bring a notebook and journal to every class and, of course, your backpack.

Business of Dance: Skills to Survive as a Professional Dance Artist – Sara Juli

The practical aspects of the dance profession are examined in this invaluable seminar. Talent will only get you so far, this course helps unwrap critical skills to market yourself in the real world. This includes marketing your artistry, growing your audience, budgeting basics, grant writing and other fundraising, and networking, among many other topics. Guests from the Festival faculty will join us with informative presentations based on personal experiences. Classes will work towards a final project in the creation of a hands-on plan to develop your own personal strategy for moving forward professionally. By the end of the course, you will be better prepared to perform the business tasks expected of dance professionals alongside your creative process, and have a more holistic understanding of the field and your road to self- defined success.  Please note: This class is applicable to those students interested in pursuing a career in the Arts full-time, however, if you’re considering a “day job” in a separate field, but want to pursue your artistry part-time with some level of professionalism, than this class is also for you!!!

Inside The Groove: Rhythm-Based Performance Enhancement Techniques – Jesse Manno

Come learn how rhythmic tricks can make choreography, teaching and performance more engaging!  Participants will simultaneously enhance their sense of rhythm and community by holding their own groove while interlocking in rhythmic patterns with each other.  We’ll explore Polyrhythm, Polymeter, Hocket, Odd meters, and different world music rhythmic paradigms, as well as how to collaborate more effectively with musicians in classroom and performance settings.  This is a course about the wide world of rhythmic music, especially tailored for dancers.