Dance News

Dance Exchange Collaborates on New Work at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Cassie Meador at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photo by Matthew Cumbie, courtesy of Dance Exchange

Dance Exchange, the Takoma Park, Maryland–based nonprofit dance organization founded by Liz Lerman, returns this month to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to continue work on Off-site/Insight: Stories from the Great Smoky Mountains, supported by the National Park Service's Imagine Your Parks initiative.


Beginning with a weeklong residency in fall 2016, Off-site/Insight has brought together Dance Exchange's artistic team, park rangers and a group of local artists to create an intergenerational work slated to be performed in the park this fall, as a cornerstone of Dance Exchange's 40th anniversary season. The project follows the organization's goals of building community, achieving social justice and sharing dance in unexpected settings.

As part of last fall's residency, executive artistic director Cassie Meador and associate artistic director Matthew Cumbie taught park rangers at Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center how to run elementary school workshops that teach ecology alongside dance. “Beyond the performance, we're really interested in how these embodied-learning practices and movement-based tools can serve the park and the rangers beyond our time there," Meador says, “and also build ongoing relationships with local artists—relationships that can support them in their work."


Dance Exchange artists leading a workshop. Photo by Jer Banks, courtesy of Dance Exchange

When they return to the park this month, Meador and Cumbie will reconvene the group of artists—mostly dance artists, but also filmmakers and Appalachian musicians—to determine which communities and groups will join this fall's final performance and a film associated with it. They also plan to finalize a creative research course at Warren Wilson College, in Asheville, North Carolina. The course is intended to draw a broader age range into meaningful engagement with Off-site/Insight, which seeks the stories and histories of older residents of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee.

Some of the region's stories center on forest fires like those that ravaged the Great Smoky Mountains late last fall. Cumbie says the particular challenges and heartbreaks faced by the Great Smokies as a result of the fires will also become part of the final performance: “We're listening to how the work needs to happen and who needs to be involved, and shaping the work around questions at the heart of the people who are central to the project."

For more: danceexchange.org

Show Comments ()
Dance Teacher Tips
Photo by Kyle Froman

The back is an essential focus of Cynthia Harvey's ballet classes, especially as a part of port de bras. Here, she offers "plain," en face port de bras, followed by the same position with épaulement, to show the difference the back (and head and neck) can add to any position. Aspirational imagery helps students find their best épaulement: "Feel as if you have a tiara on," says Harvey. "Don't look like a student—look like a ballerina."

Keep reading... Show less

So you've achieved your dream of owning a studio. Congratulations! Once that initial excitement wears off, we're betting that you'll discover just how overwhelming the day-to-day operation of such an endeavor really is. When you choose to run your own business, you're bound to encounter challenges, but with a unique business model at the center of it all, studio management certainly comes with its own hurdles, creating a perpetual learning curve that keeps both new studio owners and veterans on their toes.

Although a certain amount of this difficulty is to be expected for any studio, there's no longer any reason for you to suffer needlessly through each step of the way. All you have to do is reach out for a tool you can use to take your studio to the next level, namely studio management software.

Tools like our very own acclaimed Studio Director software can make a world of difference in virtually every aspect of your business. Let's run through some key ways in which this tool can revolutionize your studio.

Keep reading... Show less
Just for fun

The World Cup captivates soccer fans this time of year. But if football (as most outside of the U.S. refer to it) isn't your jam, this hybrid of disco dancing, ballet and soccer just might be more intriguing.

Keep reading... Show less

A popular and highly sought-after dancer and choreographer, Geo Hubela has worked with stars and productions all over the world from French pop star "Lorie" to the MTV show BeComing. Geo isn't just a choreography sensation. He has also danced on film, onstage, and on TV. He was worked with everyone from *NSYNC to JLo. On top of his incredible professional career, Geo owns a dance studio called Icon Dance Complex.

Owning and running a successful dance studio is not an easy task. Showstopper got together with Geo for his advice on going from a professional dancer to studio owner.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teacher Tips
Students at Steps Consevatory in NYC.

Dancers who dare to sing increase their marketability, according to voice teacher Jan Horvath.

It's one thing to master a triple pirouette, she says. It's another to be a well-rounded performer who can tackle any challenge without being discouraged.

Horvath teaches voice at Steps Conservatory, a two-year professional dance program in New York City. Once a week, she leads two groups of 10 students in a 90-minute vocal course.

"It's like a ballet barre," she explains. "We focus on one little thing of the day and perfect it and move on."

Keep reading... Show less
Kerollis and students in his 8-week Absolute Beginner Workshop at Broadway Dance Center.

When most people think of dance students, they imagine lithe children and teenagers waltzing around classrooms with their legs lifted to their ears. It doesn't often cross our minds that dance training can involve an older woman trying to build strength in her body to ward off balance issues, or a middle-aged man who didn't have the confidence to take a dance class as a boy for fear of bullying.

Anybody can begin to learn dance at any age. But it takes a particular type of teacher to share our art form with dancers who have few prospects beyond fun and fitness a few nights a week.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Teachers Trending
Photo by Rachel Neville, courtesy of Irwin

Shanna Irwin vividly remembers her introduction to Complexions Contemporary Ballet. She was dancing Clara in the New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble's production of The Nutcracker. Guest artists from Complexions performed as the Sugar Plum Fairy and Cavalier, and from the moment Irwin saw them dance, she was hooked. Years later, as a senior at Marymount Manhattan College, Complexions co-artistic director Desmond Richardson invited Irwin to fill in for one of his injured dancers for the end of the spring 2014 season, and her long-held dream of performing with the company became a reality. She's been dazzling Complexions' audiences with her undeniable strength, full-bodied performances and eternally lengthened lines ever since.

See her perform June 17 with Complexions at the Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts in Detroit.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Videos

Sponsored

mailbox

Get DanceTeacher in your inbox

Win It!

Sponsored