My current research investigates the compositional possibilities inherent in translating dance into poetic and textual contexts, and poetry and text into dance. I am less interested in seeing words spoken in a performance space, which to my mind is something else, than I am in discovering what formal features can be gleaned from one medium or modality to enrich and enliven another. Are there aspects of a Balanchine ballet, for example, that might be borrowed to create the ballast for a poem? Or can a poet’s dynamic approach to language inform the kinesthetic impulse to move? Further thoughts on this can be found here, here, here, and here. In the moment of creation—whether composing text or moving in a dance space—I wish to be fully present, to accept the dictates of the moment and respond with humility and courage.
I teach classes in contemporary technique and improvisation, as well as workshops in instant composition in movement and text. My pedagogical approach to dance training draws on my diverse kinesthetic experience, utilizing elements of modern and classical technique in order to strengthen the body’s center and increase freedom of movement, with contemporary floor- and release work to eliminate excess tension and move with greater ease, as well as improvisation exercises designed to awaken synaptic response and sharpen the body’s decision-making abilities. I have a decade of teaching experience across different fields: language, writing, dance, and movement composition. As an instructor, I aim to challenge students at a high level while having their learning experience remain inter-contingent; that is, to share with them my knowledge and training, posing questions that stem from my current research, while also inviting students to prioritize their own needs and questions, to contribute to the process by sharing with each other their own kinesthetic and creative interests.
background & training:
My movement training first began at age eight in New Orleans at Karen Hebert’s dance studio. After ten years studying ballet, tap, jazz, and modern, and performing in various venues in the community and musical theater scene in New Orleans, including a solo at the Contemporary Arts Center’s curated performance series DramaRama, I then studied in Arizona State University’s Dance Department under Kim Sonderegger (Vaganova technique), Jennifer Tsukayama and Mary Fitzgerald (modern, contemporary, & CI), where I was also a member of Dance Arizona Repertory Theater, performing in Phoenix and doing dance education outreach with public school students in the area, while working with visiting guest artists such as Eiko & Koma, among others. My year in Edinburgh had me taking classes in Pilates and contemporary dance at Dance Base, and my year in New York attending classes at Movement Research, where I also performed as part of their Open Performance series. In Italy, I began practicing Ashtanga yoga, and later, upon returning to the U.S., I engaged in a collaborative performance project in Northern California with Rumblepeg Dance Theater, working with visiting guest artists such as Shinichi Iova-Koga, Jess Curtis, and Erika Chong Shuch. My years in Madrid led me to reconnect to my ongoing interest in Contact Improvisation, performing with the CI group there at the Centro Cultural Conde Duque and the Plaza de Oriente, while also deepening my research in improvisation and composition with classes and workshops with Camille Hanson and contemporary training with Meyling Bisogno, among others. In Arkansas, where I also taught technique and improvisation over four years, I attended master classes with touring company members from Mark Morris Dance Group, Diavolo Dance Theater, and Martha Graham Company, as well as a Balanchine master class with former NYCB principal Wendy Whelan. During my years in Fayetteville, I also studied Alexander Technique and continued practicing yoga and Pilates. In Berlin, I regularly attend professional-level contemporary and classical ballet classes and workshops in order to broaden my technical range and somatic understanding, collaborate with various artists on research and performance projects, and share my knowledge and artistic practice through the teaching of workshops. I believe that the lifelong task of the artist is to stay curious, to never stop learning, to remain open. My continued engagement with a myriad of movement practices is a reflection of this philosophy.
K77 Studio, Berlin. Workshop: The Word Embodied: instant composition in movement & text. Oct 22 & 23, 2016.
University of Arkansas-Fayetteville Instructional Programs. Technique classes: Improvisation & Composition, Modern & Contemporary Dance, Contemporary Ballet. 2012-2015.
instant composition work:
Sunday Studies; Kathleen Heil & moyastrela. Berlin, 2016
photo: moyastrela; Berlin.