Lester Horton Pedagogy Workshop

Posted on October 17, 2008 by

The Lester Horton Pedagogy Workshop, offered through The Ailey School, is the perfect urban retreat for teachers seeking immersion in Horton technique. Since 2005, director Ana Marie Forsythe has shared her knowledge with teachers in weeklong summer intensives at the Joan Weill Center for Dance and The Ailey School studios in New York City.

The workshop is comprised of two seminars each year: Session I offers beginning-level Horton instruction, while Session II covers intermediate and advanced material. Participants take and observe classes, discussing Horton vocabulary in-depth and, in Session II, counts and dynamics.

Demonstrators illustrate movements to live musical accompaniment. “I speak about how to build a class to enable students to progress technically and artistically, what a Horton warmup consists of and how to combine Horton progressions to inform students about transitions, projection and musicality,” says Forsythe. In addition, participants in both sessions attend daily lectures and Q & A sessions with guest speakers, who have included renowned artists Marjorie B. Perces and Carmen deLavallade, as well as Rebecca Dietzel, an anatomist specializing in biochemistry.

An ideal Horton educator, Forsythe began teaching his technique at age 15 and became head of the Horton department at Ailey in 1979, taking over for her mentor, the late Joyce Trisler. In addition to her work as co-director of the Ailey School/Fordham University BFA program, she has co-authored The Dance Technique of Lester Horton, produced four DVDs illustrating the technique and is currently working on a new Horton guide.

She is thankful that the next generation of educators will be able to pass on the gifts handed down from the late master who taught Ailey himself. “This workshop gives me the opportunity to share this incredibly powerful technique with others,” says Forsythe. “I hope these workshops will guarantee the continuation of the Horton technique for future generations. I continue, even after almost 50 years of teaching it, to marvel at the intelligence, beauty and versatility that Horton created.”

The dates for next year’s workshop are July 13–17 (Session I) and July 20–24 (Session II). Session I is open to dance teachers with some teaching experience; Session II requires a minimum of three years experience and prior attendance in Session I. A certificate of completion is available to all attendees.

For more information: Justina Gaddy, jgaddy@alvinailey.org; www.alvinailey.org  DT

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