Alumni

Dance at Illinois Alumni Weekend EventAlumni Weekend Event: November 9–12, 2018

Dance at Illinois is celebrating its 50th birthday of becoming a department in the College of Fine and Applied Arts and moving into the extraordinary Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.

Come celebrate with us! Connect with your classmates and Illinois faculty, join in panels and workshops to share your research/teaching/choreography, take classes and dance with other alumni and current students, see November Dance performances in the Colwell Playhouse, and attend lively receptions.

Alumni Weekend Schedule

 

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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2018

Time

Activity

Location

Teacher/Organizer/Participants

8:00am–4:00pm

Registration

DAB Lobby

 

9:00–10:30am

Contemporary Ballet Class

Nevada A

Paige Cunningham Calderella

 

T E C H N I Q U E (S) Class

DRK

Jessie Young

11:00am–12:30pm

Riding Resilience

DRK

Kora Radella

 

Jazz Funk Class

Nevada A

Jessica Pretty

1:00–3:00pm

Looking Back: History & Stories

DRK

RNF moderator: Pat Knowles, Jenny Anderson Harvey

3:00–4:45pm

Alumni Meet and Mingle Space

DAB Lobby

 

3:15–4:45pm

Panel: Branching Out from Dance: New Pathways, New Spaces

DAB Classroom

JE moderator: Dot Kane, Patricia Hruby Powell, Cecily Sommers, Jennifer Edgecomb, Marilyn Phillips, Erin Stutland, Laura Dixon, Sarah Young, Jessica Swoyer/Green

 

The Use of Dance and the Creative Process in Dance/Movement Therapy

Nevada A

Stacey McGinn Hurst

5:30–7:30pm

Cocktail Hour (1 drink ticket in your packet)

Intermezzo, KCPA

 

6:30–7:15pm

Dessert and Conversation (tickets purchased separately)

Krannert Room

 

7:30–9:00pm

November Dance

Playhouse Theatre

 

7:30–9:30pm

Move Play Jam! An Opportunity to Dance and Create Together

Channing Murray

Kirstie Simson, Leah Wilks, Mariah Kraker

 

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2018

Time

Activity

Location

Teacher/Organizer/Participants

8:30am–12:00pm

Registration

DAB Lobby

 

9:00am–4:45pm

Alumni Meet and Mingle Space

DAB Lobby

 

9:15–10:30am

Yoga

Nevada B

Jan Erkert

 

Umfundalai 101

DRK

C. Kemal Nance

 

T'ai Chi

PKS

Philip Johnston

10:45–12:00pm

Yoga

Nevada B

Linda Lehovec

 

Ballet & Improvisation

Nevada A

Endalyn Taylor and Kirstie Simson

 

Contemporary Modern Dance Technique

DRK

Sara Hook

12:00–1:00pm

Lunch on Your Own

 

 

1:00–3:00pm

(Live) Showing of Work

DRK

Rebecca Ferrell

3:15–4:45pm

Panel: The Digital and the Dance

DRK

JT moderator: Kristin Carlson, Kathleen Kelly, Luis Martinez, Nadia Oussenko

 

Workshop: Water Work for Aging and All Dancers

Nevada A

Patricia Hruby Powell and Suzanne Oliver

 

Workshop: Teaching Dance in Public School w/ Focus on Diversity, Inclusion, and Cultural Relevance

DAB Classroom

Rebecca Crystal

4:45–5:30pm

KCPA Backstage Tour

 KCPA Lobby

Ryan Luzzo

7:00pm

Flash Mob Improvisation

DRR

Sue Lauther

7:30–9:00pm

November Dance (ticket in your packet)

Playhouse Theatre

 

9:00–11:00pm

Alumni Reception

DRR

 

 

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2018

Time

Activity

Location

Teacher/Organizer/Participants

9:00am–3:45pm

Alumni Meet and Mingle Space

DAB Lobby

 

9:15–10:30am

Yoga

Nevada B

Kimber Andrews

 

Improvisation: Scores for Researching Urban Ecologies

Meet in Front of DAB

Jennifer Monson

 

Modern (Cunningham) Technique

DRK

Paige Cunningham Calderella

10:45am–12:00pm

Ballet Technique

Nevada A

Linda Lehovec

 

Contemporary Modern Technique

DRK

Jan Erkert and Jessie Young

 

Yoga

Nevada B

Ana Sussman

 

Alexander Technique for Dancers

PKS

Rebecca Nettl-Fiol and Philip Johnston

12:00–1:00pm

Lunch on Your Own

 

 

1:00–2:15pm

Panel: Training the Next Generation of Dancers

Nevada A

SH moderator: Margi Cole, Brenden P. Behan, Maurice Fraga, Melanie Bales, Nichole Thomas

 

Workshop: Mediated Body: Phones and Our Virtual Self

DRK

Kathleen Kelly

 

Panel: Keeping the Aging Dancer Body Fit

DAB Classroom

Patricia Hruby Powell moderator: Suzanne Oliver, Sue Jobst, June Podagrosi

2:30–3:45pm

Panel: Choreographic Futures: Healing, Leaning, Arcing

Nevada A

JM moderator: Renée Archibald, Phoebe Ballard, Leslie Cuyjet, Nickels Duran, Angie Pittman, Nibia Pastrana Santiago

 

Technology in Choreographic Process: An Exploration

DRK

Kristin Carlson

 

Lecture: 13 Training Tips for [Insert Here]

DAB Classroom

M. Linda Graham

4:00–5:00pm

Social Hour

DAB Lobby

 

 

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2018

Time

Activity

Location

Teacher/Organizer/Participants

9:00–10:30am

Self-Awareness through Contact Improvisation

DRK

Maurice Fraga

 

Off Your Feet

Nevada A

Mary Chase Doll

11:00am–12:30pm

Umfundalai Technique

DRK

C. Kemal Nance

 

Contemporary Modern Technique

Nevada A

Sara Hook

1:00–2:50pm

Breathing Volumes, Shaping Sadness

Nevada A

Nickels Duran and Renée Archibald

 

 

Dance Class, Workshop, and Panel Descriptions

Events are listed in the order that they will be happening.

Friday, November 9, 2018

 

Contemporary Ballet Class

Paige Cunningham Calderella

9:00–10:30am, Nevada A

The daily contemporary ballet practice develops strength, balance, and dexterity with an emphasis on correct anatomical alignment and the ability to easily go between classical and contemporary forms. Concepts of weight and groundedness juxtaposed with the high releve of classical ballet will be explored along with movement in and out of the floor to contrast the high verticality inherent in ballet.

 

T E C H N I Q U E (S) C L A S S: Coming Out of Retirement

Jessie Young

9:00–10:30am, DRK

For experienced movers or movers looking for an experience, dance practices and rituals that focus on supportive alignment, strength building, endurance, and guided improvisations within the context of personal and group awareness. "Coming Out of Retirement" speaks the feeling that can sometimes follow with lots of time away from dance class (days, months, years)—acknowledging the act of showing up as necessary and promising support. T E C H N I Q U E (S) Class begins with exercises lying on the floor, coming up to standing, walking around the space, stretching, yawning, singing. Throughout class is a focus on building strength and endurance through thoughtful alignment and a developed sense of listening to and releasing into exhaustion and fatigue. Movement will travel through the space (running, prancing, phrase work) with an emphasis on personal/group care, spatial awareness, and experimentation. Simple movement, loud music, and sweat.

 

Riding Resilience

Kora Radella

11:00am–12:30pm, DRK

The physical research of this class demands athleticism and verve, as well as attention to detail. There will be lively investigations that utilize core strength and release technique principles to create an enlivened presence. Full-throttle and roller-coaster motion via momentum-based floor work and inversions will be met with point-on-precision. Dancers will learn about and experience the nuances of being on the edge of control.

 

Jazz Funk Class

Jessica Pretty

11:00am–12:30pm, Nevada A

This class is an investigation into the relationship between hip hop, house, jazz technique, high physicality, and musicality. I'm investigating the ways in which we can locate euphoria and pleasure within the moving body as we digest our place within current societal relations. How can we use dance as a vessel to achieve this? What are the place and importance of music and pop culture in this investigation? (We shall find out.) This class focuses on the development of body awareness, artistic expression, movement quality, and spatial awareness. Other focuses for the class include taking risks, building confidence, and using movement as a vehicle for stepping outside of our comfort zones :). Students will be able to build a diverse set of skills that will aid them in the future in all styles of movement through a jazz funk lens.

 

PANEL: Looking Back: History & Stories

1:00–3:00pm, DRK

Rebecca Nettl-Fiol, Pat Knowles, and Jenny Anderson Harvey talk about the department 50 years ago, and how it evolved from there, through reminiscences and stories. Audience will be invited to share stories as well.

 

PANEL: Branching Out from Dance: New Pathways, New Spaces

3:15–4:45pm, DAB Classroom

How did you navigate new territory? How did your background in dance assist or create challenges as you entered new pathways? What were the challenges of navigating new territory? Do you look at your field differently/uniquely based on your dance background?

Moderator: Jan Erkert

Panelists: Dot Kane, Patricia Hruby Powell, Cecily Sommers, Jennifer Edgecomb, Marilyn Phillips, Erin Stutland, Laura Dixon, Sarah Young, Jessica Swoyer/Green.

 

The Use of Dance and the Creative Process in Dance/Movement Therapy

Stacey McGinn Hurst

3:15–4:45pm, Nevada A

This workshop will provide a didactic and experiential understanding of how dance and the creative process form the bedrock of the psychotherapeutic approach to dance/movement therapy (DMT). As one of the creative arts therapies, DMT is grounded in the artistic, improvisational, and creative power of dance in the context of healing the body, mind, and spirit. Workshop participants will come away with an understanding of how improvisation and the use of Laban's body, effort, space, and shape are applied within the DMT session. A brief overview of the history of DMT as rooted in modern dance and its evolution to date in the family of somatic psychology approaches will also be included. Dance educators and professionals alike can benefit from understanding DMT as a resource for their students, as well as an alternative career path for the dance student/dancer/dance educator.

 

Move Play Jam! An Opportunity to Dance and Create Together

Kirstie Simson, Leah Wilks, and Mariah Kraker

7:30–9:30pm, Channing Murray, 1209 West Oregon Street

A safe and respectful space for movement/sound/contact improvisation exploration that encourages interdisciplinary collaboration and art making, with a clear focus on listening to ourselves and each other. ALL are welcome! Musicians, dancers, visual artists, human moving bodies. All Dance Alumni WELCOME!

 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

 

Yoga

Jan Erkert

9:15–10:30am, Nevada B

Jan will teach a flow-based yoga class based on Hindu concepts of the vayus. Vayu is a primary Hindu deity, known as the Lord of the Winds. However, the vayus have also come to mean the channels or winds of life forces. They are at once energy and fluid, particle and light, invisible to the eye, but deeply felt inside our bodies and in our world. They are associated with the elements of our cosmos—earth, fire, water, air, ether. And provide directional forces that can be utilized in the physical practice of yoga and dance. Come play with the vayus through the asanas of yoga.

 

Umfundalai 101

C. Kemal Nance

9:15–10:30am, DRK

Umfundalai is a contemporary African movement practice that draws on dance traditions from the continent of Africa and the Diaspora. Umfundalai 101 will offer its students an introduction to Umfundalai by covering selected progressions from the technique's core vocabulary. Dancers of all levels are welcome. Students are encouraged to wear lapas (fabric worn around the waist) or shokatoes (drop crotch pants) to class.

 

T'ai Chi

Philip Johnston

9:15–10:30am, PKS

We will warm up with a few Qigong exercises followed by Push-Hands in preparation for learning the opening of the Yang 24. T'ai Chi is about union of body and mind that makes movement into effortless interaction.

 

Yoga

Linda Lehovec

10:45am–12:00pm, Nevada B

This gentle practice will guide you through basic standing asana with specific focus on deepening the limbs into their sockets to create stability and release strain at the major joints. Appropriate for people new to yoga and for experienced yogis.

 

Ballet & Improvisation

Endalyn Taylor and Kirstie Simson

10:45am–12:00pm, Nevada A

Endalyn and Kirstie come from arguably opposite ends of the dance spectrum, which is as good a reason as any to collaborate and create a class that combines Improvisation and ballet techniques. It should prove interesting and hopefully fun to experience these two teachers bringing their years of experience and knowledge to this hybrid class.

 

Contemporary Modern Dance Technique

Sara Hook

10:45am–12:00pm, DRK

Sara Hook will teach an advanced level technique/performance class beginning with her distinctive floor warm-up series based on Bartenieff Fundamentals Principles and Classical Modern Training traditions from Graham and Nikolais. Participants will explore the relationship between mindful somatic details and sensuality and an exaggerated sense of performativity and playfulness.

 

(Live) Showing of Work

Rebecca Ferrell

1:00–3:00pm, DRK

Come see what your fellow alumni have been doing!

 

PANEL: The Digital and the Dance

3:15–4:45pm, DRK

A panel of alumni and current faculty will showcase their applications of computer and video technologies to the art and science of the moving body, examining present currents and postulating future developments.

Moderator: John Toenjes

Panelists: Kristin Carlson, Kathleen Kelly, Luis Martinez, Nadia Oussenko

 

Water Work for Aging and All Dancers

Patricia Hruby Powell and Suzanne Oliver

3:15–4:45pm, Nevada A

Work in the water has saved aging dancers Patricia Hruby Powell and Suzanne Oliver. It can prolong and enhance your dancing career and allow you to walk into your old age intact. The workshop will be conducted in a dry studio, without the benefit of water's altered gravity and lateral resistance. Ideas and handouts on how to teach the water-based work to others will be provided.

 

Teaching Dance in Public School w/ Focus on Diversity, Inclusion, and Cultural Relevance

Rebecca Crystal

3:15–4:45pm, DAB Classroom

Rebecca will speak from experiences through working in Chicago Public Schools—teaching artist work, integrating movement into classroom curriculum, high school advanced dance teaching, and elementary dance. Her experiences over the last five years have involved working with incredibly diverse student bodies. Over time and through experience, she has learned how to adopt culturally relevant and responsive teaching. The presentation revolves around the main topics of student demographics and needs, inclusive content, and restorative and mindful practices. The last part of the class will be workshopping one or two lesson plans that focus on bringing a student's personal background into the lesson or learning about another culture through dance.

 

KCPA Backstage Tour

Ryan Luzzo

4:45–5:30pm, KCPA Lobby at the "Daily Tour" sign

 

Flash Mob Improvisation

Sue Lauther

7:00pm, Meet briefly at DRR

Dancers from the '80's and '90's will gather mysteriously at one of our functions to evolve into a Richard Bull improvisational score. When you notice a tight gathering of people in slow, loose unison, maybe you will be intrigued enough to watch or join in? The invitation and the score will be written in a location nearby. Maybe this score will reappear randomly throughout the celebration?

 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

 

Yoga

Kimber Andrews

9:15–10:30am, Nevada B

Awaken the body with a basic yoga class aimed at gently lengthening and grounding the body/mind.

 

Improvisation: Scores for Researching Urban Ecologies

Jennifer Monson

9:15–10:30am, Meet in front of DAB

Come dance outside! Explore a series of scores that will tune us to various ways of sensing the environment, moving into our imagination, and working with the spaces, actions, and images we create from our dancing. Wear warm clothes and comfy shoes!

 

Modern (Cunningham) Technique

Paige Cunningham Calderella

9:15–10:30am, DRK

In this modern class students will explore the technique of Merce Cunningham. The class will challenge your ability to move rhythmically at varying tempi, directionally through the body and in space, and with clarity of the spine and limbs. The standing warm-up will remain somewhat fixed while progressing to longer sequences in the center and across the floor.

 

Ballet Technique

Linda Lehovec

10:45am–12:00pm, Nevada A

Starting on the floor students will work their way to the barre and eventually move through space. Utilizing ballet vocabulary, focus will be on cultivating a sense of groundedness and ease.

 

Contemporary Modern Technique

Jan Erkert and Jessie Young

10:45am–12:00pm, DRK

Jan and Jessie will pair up once again to teach a modern class based on moving playfully and energetically from the gut (viscera and pelvis) and with guts (bravery and experimentation). Utilizing their roots in Body-Mind Centering, pilates, yoga, and a hybrid of release-based dance forms, class will focus on flooding thoughtful alignment and somatic improvisation with intricate phrase work that darts and sweeps through the space. Experimenting with weight and momentum, challenging endurance, and methods for releasing into fatigue, all within a kind of "parallel play," personal and group awareness. Kinetic virtuosity, energetic efficiency, and a playful spirit—this class will establish a person-central axis and from there, eat up the space. Bring a water bottle.

 

Yoga

Ana Sussman

10:45am–12:00pm, Nevada B

This class will be a Vinyasa flow yoga class where we connect postures in a flow, much like a dance while periodically holding a posture to deepen the practice and strengthen the core. The foundation of my teaching is breath, alignment, and the joy of movement.

 

Alexander Technique for Dancers

Rebecca Nettl-Fiol and Philip Johnston

10:30am–12:00pm, PKS

This class is an exploration of the Alexander Technique and developmental movement principles, especially as they relate to dancing. Through simple movement explorations, observing and working with partners, and gentle hands-on work, we will offer some tools for observing your own movement preferences and strategies for making conscious choices in your performance of movement.

 

PANEL: Training the Next Generation of Dancers

1:00–2:15pm, Nevada A

A panel of artists who teach in diverse contexts are convening to instigate a discussion about the future of dance training and curriculum. Everyone is welcome to share ideas as we collectively navigate the responsibility to respond to contemporary concerns, to interrogate definitions of what constitutes "excellence" in dance education, and to strategize about positioning dance as central to multiple inquiries.

Moderator: Sara Hook

Panelists: Margi Cole, Brendan P. Behan, Maurice Fraga, Melanie Bales, Nichole Thomas

 

Mediated Body: Phones and Our Virtual Self

Kathleen Kelly

1:00–2:15pm, DRK

As culture moves towards affective computing and digitized emotional realities, our bodies are becoming enmeshed with computational algorithms to create feedback loops between ourselves and our virtual systems. My "likes," hearts, pictures, texts, stories, and comments create a rich digital container for connection, but often at the expense of physical or embodied experiences with others. In this workshop, I will lead participants through some strategies I have implemented to bring video technology into my creative practice. These strategies help us think about the virtual body we build everyday through our phones and this body's capacity to be creative, emotional, and make meaning through choreographic gestures.

 

PANEL: Keeping the Aging Dancer Body Fit

1:00–2:15pm, DRK

Panelists Patricia Hruby Powell, Suzanne Oliver, June Podagrosi, and Sue Jobst—all dancers over 60, all active—discuss ways they keep their bodies supple and happy—and able to dance. Audience members will have an opportunity to contribute their suggestions and ask questions.

Moderator: Patricia Hruby Powell

Participants: Suzanne Oliver, Sue Jobst, June Podagrosi

 

PANEL: Choreographic Futures: Healing, Leaning, Arcing

2:30–3:45pm, Nevada A

In this panel, four choreographers who have immersed themselves in work that integrates a range of choreographic forms from healing to site-based activisms and collective making will generate a discussion on current conditions and questions of making dance now.

Moderator: Jennifer Monson

Panelists: Renée Archibald, Phoebe Ballard, Nickels Duran, Angie Pittman, Nibia Pastrana Santiago

 

Technology in Choreographic Process: An Exploration

Kristin Carlson

2:30–3:45pm, DRK

This workshop will explore various technology applications and their implementation in the choreographic process. I will present on historical applications of technology in creative process and the many uses that have been developed to more deeply understand choreographic structures, performance, and processes. The workshop will involve physical investigation of technology and how it can support, augment, and shift physical exploration.

 

13 Training Tips for [Insert Here]

M. Linda Graham

2:30–3:45pm, DAB classroom

How many of you are pet owners or have had a pet play a significant role in your life at some point? Those who choose to have pets frequently have a deep, visceral connection to their beloved animals. Most also work with their pets, training them as they develop their relationships. Can this deep connection be articulated and beneficially applied to the classroom or studio? For 35 years I have worked as a liberal arts college dance teacher, choreographer, and performer, training thousands of people young and old along the way. Recently, and by pure serendipity, a horse and two feisty shepherd dogs entered my life.

Suddenly, "training" had new meaning. My dogs and horse are challenging, demanding, and unrelenting schoolmasters. They are also generous, patient, honest, and funny. They embody courage with humility because they know no other way to be and, refreshingly, they have no sense of shame. While I have been awed and amused with the many commonalities of training styles in ballet, dressage, and dog training, I've also been frustrated and confounded with my ego and fears, the "confetti" that I bring to the arena. What I have learned from working with dogs and horses has transformed how I work with students and also benefits other areas of my life as a parent, partner, and human being. In the studio, I find I am kinder, more patient, present, responsive, adaptable, and, interestingly, more challenging. There is also evidence of greater technical development from the students by end of term. So what do dogs, horses, and dancers have in common besides really great legs? This essay shares a bit about what the animals have taught me and how I integrate this in the classroom or studio. I've narrowed these lessons down to a baker's dozen: "13 Training Tips for [Insert Here]."

 

Monday, November 12, 2018

 

Self-Awareness through Contact Improvisation

Maurice Fraga

9:00–10:30am, DRK

Contact improvisation can be more than just tricks and lifts; it can be a guide to self-discovery that may open doors in how we see and relate to others around us and ourselves. My approach to CI is looking at it as an opportunity to give access to new ranges of movement possibilities, thoughts, and relationships by listening to habits, tendencies, and blocks we come in with. The work with sharing weight and physically listening to touch and tone is about understanding and expanding how we negotiate our personal environment when coming into contact with outside factors that can redirect our habitual paths and/or choices. How can we put into practice what we learn about ourselves in class with how we interact with others in the outside world? How can we find our way to peace, balance, and new ways of "being" through contact improvisation?

 

Off Your Feet

Mary Chase Doll

9:00–10:30am, Nevada A

This Bartenieff Fundamentals-inspired contemporary class explores how we can develop dynamically aligned bodies: strong, agile, and articulate through the break down of Developmental Patterns into complex sequences. Expect to roll, dive, jump, swing, and turn inside, upside down, and backwards all off your feet.

 

*11:00am–12:30pm: Feel Free to Join Either Ongoing Technique Class!

Umfundalai: C. Kemal Nance (DRK)

Contemporary Modern Technique: Sara Hook (Nevada A)

 

Breathing Volumes, Shaping Sadness

Nickels Duran and Renée Archibald

1:00–2:50pm, Nevada A

While concerned with the bodily image of sadness, this workshop will investigate sadness as a process on the body; how it inhabits and moves the body. Beyond pure representation of sadness we want to communicate and share the experience of sadness in all its complexity, including pleasure and the sensual. We will employ therapeutic approaches to physical experiences involving touch, breath, and movement alongside theoretical discussion.

Some questions guiding our process include:

  • How does the body process sadness; what is the sensual experience of sadness; when is sadness pleasurable?
  • How does sadness operate within, and separate from, depression?
  • How and why is sadness romanticized within our overlapping cultural influences? In particular, visual forms such as film and photography? How, why, when, and in what ways is it fetishized?
  • How is the image of someone in a state of sadness unlike the experience of that sadness? When and how does empathy engage?

Alumni Bios

Download the alumni bios.

Video Sharing

50th YEAR, an alumni video category at the digital library site, will be available to all alumni for viewing shared works starting September 1, 2018.

To access the Wadleigh Digital Library, go to http://reneewadleigh.com/

Password to 50th YEAR category: Year50

Alumni Updates

Connect with other Dance at Illinois alumni and keep us informed of your accomplishments though our alumni Facebook page!

Request video of student performers