Movement research and somatic experiments provide powerful tools for living and for dance.
The following are descriptions of my primary class and workshop offerings:
Originated by Lisa Nelson, the tuning scores are a unique way to investigate movement, composition, human behavior, and communication. Through use of our multiple senses, movement and language, groups of any size can develop a way to work together that is both fun and engaging. By tuning into our creative habits, our physical inclinations, and the space itself, we develop our image-making as an extension of our own perceptions. Tuning scores can be adapted to widely varying groups of people, offering compositional research to working artists, artistic practice to non-artists, and creative communication skills to groups. For more info about Tuning, click here.
Tuning Course, Naropa BFA 2005. photos: Ken Miller
Qigong is an ancient Chinese movement meditation form that enriches your health and expands your movement capacity. The exercises have been passed down through centuries, and are both active and gentle. Through practicing qigong, you will learn an energizing set of movements that you can bring into your daily exercise program, and you will also learn focused meditations that will help restore your vitality. In addition, you will learn some important acu-points you can self-administer to enhance your health and move your qi.
Art Workouts with Abby Crain
Art Workouts Site here
For dancers, poets, performance artists, visual artists, and other seekers of the limelight…..
We practice improvising, performing, and presencing. We combine action with razor sharp discussions on live performance, the body beautiful, theory, art making, and whatever else comes up. We discover our art-making selves as embodied, complex, and multi-perceptual organic beasts who are tuning into themselves and the world. We invite this beast, with all of her complexities and contradictions, to come fully into our practice.
The Feldenkrais Method/Awareness through Movement
The Feldenkrais Method provides an intriguing opportunity for anyone to experience embodied movement that is fundamental and vital. Functional Integration is the name for an hour-long, hands-on session that is tailored to the specific interests of the client. Awareness through Movement are the hour-long lessons taught in a class setting. In a supportive learning environment, we investigate habitual movement patterns, and find new ways to act and perceive. Feldenkrais work is gentle, calming, and educational, as it brings attention to the interaction of one’s whole self. The impact of Feldenkrais can relieve stress, chronic pain, focus attention, and permit a deeper experience and understanding of oneself in the world. You can try it out for a wide range of interests- from improving physical activity, finding your curiosity around physical challenges, or learning about the Method, itself.
A place for dancers and non-dancers both to gain physical understanding and increase vitality. The sessions incorporate qigong, Feldenkrais, improvisational movement, and movement meditations. The class can range in form based on who is present. This is an appropriate class for reducing stress, for developing new strategies and tools for a movement practice, and for learning the specificity of movement research in a supportive and vitalizing setting.
Wild Goose Qigong
The Beautiful movements of Wild Goose Qigong offer a choreography that has been passed down through centuries. Qigong is a movement meditation form that offers vitality, grace, and health to those that practice the form. The sets include movements and meditation postures.
Material for the Spine
MATERIAL FOR THE SPINE is an exploration of the physical center of the self (head, spine, and pelvis). Begun in 1986, MFS was created by Steve Paxton in the years since he initiated Contact Improvisation (CI). It is elemental, meditative, and more technical than CI, emphasizing breathing and precise solo exercises. MFS is a powerful foundation for your own movement practice that will enrich your dancing.
Qigong Dance Furnace
This workshop offers a forum to cultivate our creative and physical power. We practice qigong, taking elements of dance and experimentation into our movement meditation to enhance our potency and follow our creative threads. Our furnace, the physical storehouse for qi, can be an initiatory force for action and a metaphor for creation. How can dance enhance the cultivation of qi? And how can qi practice bring us into a vividness for dance? Previous experience in dance or qigong unnecessary; it is the mix of our uniqueness and interest that creates the live space.
How does our vision effect how we compose movement? In this workshop, we will practice specific sensory and physical experiments to expand the possibilities available to us in dance. We will investigate and play with the mosaic of our senses, learning the effects in our movement choices, how we stand and act, and expand our movement capacities. This workshop draws from the Feldenkrais Method® and Lisa Nelson’s Tuning Scores, as well as new experiments in improvisation and creative research. I am interested in how acuity of vision as a function has an effect on larger envisioning, i.e., social / structural / ideas.
This class incorporates the somatic specificity of Feldenkrais work with guided, creative, and embodied improvisation. There are many aspects of the Feldenkrais practice that offer further improvisational investigation. First of all, the quality of movement and attention that one experiences after a Feldenkrais session in and of itself is a useful state from which to enter dancing. Secondly, the material of the sessions- in an experiential and embodied way- facilitate understanding of physicality that can be applied in improvisation. Also, the approach and ideas of the Feldenkrais Method offer a wealth of source material for improvisational investigation. Finally, in this class, one gets the benefit of both a restorative movement practice and a creative investigation in the same room.
Vivid Space Dance
How can we activate living spaces within and through our individual and collective bodies? Instigated through sensory-perceptual investigations and attendant of energy through the self, we will dance through mobile, spontaneous architectures. They’ll rise and fall, these organic structures, through what we develop together. And with this material, we will compose together. It’s a neuro-energetic-aesthetic approach to dancing via sensation and the spaciousness of self. The material is inspired by years in practice with Lisa Nelson’s Tuning Scores, Chinese energetics, releasing, Amerta movement, Paxton’s Material for the Spine, touch dance, and beyond.
One of the great challenges of being in a public setting is to see and be seen, simultaneously. In this course, we investigate group improvisational structures and creative practice while dealing with the explicit challenges of presence, communication, and collaboration. As a basis for this work, we work on the rich arena of seeing (witnessing, looking, vision, reading the space) and being seen (performing, receptivity, stillness) and scene (composition, ensemble work, performativity, drama). Being Scene is a forum for experiential, sensory, sensuary, perceptual, ensemble dance and live installation experiments.
The interaction of language and movement. Writing and movement. Embodied language. Poetics of movement and composition. Shi (dynamic composition). Moving words, writing dance, dancing text, dance-as-text, dance as communication, “writing” as a loose term for all that is inscribed. Write now. Being situated. Habitats and environments as meaning. The human form as a live landscape, therefore action (making) not separate from the art. Construction as act and that which was composed. What remains in the mapping and tracking of our embodiment, therefore what is inscribed?
photo: David Hurwith
Contemplative Dance Practice
Barbara Dilley invented a precious form when she combined Sitting Practice, Personal Warm-up, and Open Space, combining her Judson-era dance practice with her Shambhala meditation practice. This three-part practice is the most basic version of the rich container for an embodied process. It is useful for people from all disciplines, and is most enriching when practiced over time, though very good to try once.
In both private and group sessions, I work with people who are developing artistic work. Embodied dramaturgy is a support for someone’s creative process, through the many phases of development. I have worked with a range of professional artists as they hone and cultivate an evening-length work, with artists as they are beginning to develop the seed of a project, and with individuals they enter into a creative process. These sessions are personalized to the needs of the individuals involved.
A performance-educational collective, integrating the Feldenkrais Method, interdisciplinary improvisation, and creative research. We teach workshops, develop and direct projects, and perform our findings. This is a collaboration with Elisabeth Reed and Song Nelson.
A laboratory for multidisciplinary, embodied research and play. This is a place to both introduce and develop tools for performance and personal investigations in many fields. Creative research can take the form of a group class, laboratory, and private sessions. This work is useful for a working artists seeking embodied dramaturgy, for individuals needing new approaches for physical investigation, and companies or groups.