Lecture and Workshop Series
Fall '22 Dance Program Lecture and Workshop Series
Yin Mei in Conversation with Ellen Gerdes
Wednesday, October 5th at 4:30pm
Yin Mei will speak about her rich body of choreographic work, which often incorporates other artistic disciplines, including theater, film, and installation artwork, in the context of conceptions of Chineseness. Yin Mei sees her work as both traditional and experimental, as drawing on classical Chinese sources while, at the same time, subverting them. Employing Chinese energetic and spatial principles as a means for creating dance within the rubric of contemporary dance theater, Yin Mei’s goal as a choreographer and performer is to make visible through dance the inner world that lies beneath the surface of everyday life—a parallel world beyond material purposes and goals, stemming from philosophical states of emptiness. Yin Mei was a child during the Cultural Revolution in China and started dancing at the age of 14 with the Henan Province Dance Company. After coming to the United States, she founded her New York City company Yin Mei Dance in 1995. In addition to the United States, she has performed and choreographed in China, Hong Kong, and the United States, as well as Europe and other parts of Asia. This artist talk will be run as a conversation with Visiting Assistant Professor in dance, Ellen Gerdes.
Workshop with Buddha Stretch
Wednesday, October 26, 4:30-6pm
Troy Dance Lab
Buddha Stretch has been one of the most influential and consequential Hip Hop dance pioneers in history. Co-Creator of M.O.P.T.O.P. and Elite Force Crew, the first "Hip Hop" dance crews. He has choreographed for many major music artists such as Micheal Jackson, Mariah Carey, Men In Black Series, just to name a few. He will be coming in to teach a class and talk about his choreographic journey and process.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York with three sisters and one younger brother, Stretch was influenced by his dad Emilio Austin, Sr. His Dad danced as a youth and provided Stretch with discipline, inspiration, support and motivation and remained by his side to guide him throughout his career. This foundation carries Stretch, a father himself, throughout his personal and professional career today. Stretch heavily impacted the dance world by bridging the gap between what was termed, Ol! Skool and New Skool.
His dance style, known as Freestyle Hip-Hop, draws from all aspects of Hip-Hop culture, music and dance. These moves during the early days of music videos helped to launch the popularity of dance in this medium, as well as live shows. Stretch's first audition was for The Dance Theater of Harlem; however, he left after seeing dancers in leotards and tights. His first video was with Eric B & Rakim, Eric B for President. He met the members of his first dance crew Mop Top at a music video audition they booked for Diana Ross, Working Overtime. They began to hang out at New York’s night spot, The Tunnel, and later formed their crew. He later formed a crew called Elite Force which appeared in documentaries, music videos, live shows and in countless projects overseas. His first choreography job was for Joeski Love (Pee Wee Dance), and he went on to work with the likes of Rosie Perez; Will Smith in the Men In Black and Miami videos; Michael Jackson’s Remember The Time video (his most memorable experience) and more. He was nominated for two MTV Awards for "Best Choreography!” for the Will Smith videos Men In Black, Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It, and Miami. Recent credits include choreography for Virgin recording artist Thalia (on Good Morning America), Aida, Tony Award Winner, Heather Headley, Hot ‘97 Air Personality, Angie Martinez and rapper Rah Diggah. In 1989, Stretch was the first Hip-Hop dancer to teach Hip-Hop in a mainstream dance studio – New York’s Broadway Dance Center. Stretch is no stranger to music. An MC and writer himself, he recorded an underground hit called It Don’t Matter by Ten Thieves and continues to make music today. His versatility is also displayed by his participation as a dancer and contributing choreographer for the Dance Theater crew Full Circle, and Co-Artistic Director of the Dance Theatre Company MiddleGround. His trendsetting style keeps him in demand as a choreographer, dancer, teacher and performer. His passion for dance is exhibited every time you experience his work.
Workshop with Germaine Ingram
Friday October 28th, 12:30-2pm
Troy Dance Studio
In I Want To Be Ready: Improvised Dance as a Practice of Freedom, dance scholar Danielle Goldman challenges facile notions of improvisation as being liberatory. She explores the role of physical, social and political constraints---“tight places”---as provocations and intensifiers of improvised dance, and emphasizes freedom as a process, rather than a destination, in art and in life. She highlights preparedness and intention as essential elements of “practices of freedom”. These concepts, as well as the idea of “availability”, borrowed from Ohad Naharin’s Gaga methodology, motivate a workshop led by Germaine Ingram that adapts scores and strategies used in vocal improvisation practice to explore collective improvised creativity through movement, voice and sound.
Germaine Ingram is a Philadelphia PA-based jazz percussive dancer, choreographer, song writer, vocal/dance improviser, oral historian, writer, and cultural strategist. She creates evening-length pieces that explore themes related to history, collective memory, and social justice, and designs arts/culture projects that explore and illuminate community cultural history. She collaborates with artists from diverse traditions and disciplines, including jazz/experimental music composers, site-specific choreographers, dance and vocal improvisers, African Diasporic and South Asian cultural specialists, and visual/media artists. Recent projects include Art of Repair, a commissioned performance piece for Rehearsing Philadelphia, a city-wide performance project sponsored by Curtis Institute and Drexel University with major funding from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage; and co-authoring with Dr. Toni Shapiro-Phim of a chapter for an international publication on the arts and the practice of freedom. As a fellow in the Chronicling Resistance project from 2020 to 2022, she has combed archives for information and artifacts for an exhibition on the life and career of woman tap dancer Louise Madison as a representative of Black women using the popular stage as a platform for resistance to racial and gender discrimination in the early 20th Century. In 2016-19 she designed and co-led, with dancer/scholar Lela Aisha Jones and musician/composer/curator Alex B. Shaw, the Philadelphia Yoruba Performance Project, a multi-dimensional exploration of the history and evolution of Yoruba-rooted spiritual and performance practice in Philadelphia since the mid-20th Century; and designed the directed Sounds of the Circle, a project that honored the innovative environment in North Philadelphia in the 1950s-70s that galvanized the jazz aesthetic of saxophonist/composer Odean Pope and other renowned jazz artists.
Her work has been supported by the Pew Center for Arts & Humanities, the Independence, Leeway, Lomax Family, and Wyncote Foundations, and the Pennsylvania Councils on the Arts and Humanities. Among other awards, she was a 2010 Pew Foundation Fellow in the Arts, a Leeway Foundation Transformation Awardee, and a 2014 resident fellow at the Sacatar Institute in Itaparica, Bahia, Brazil. A former civil rights and trial lawyer, law professor and urban school district executive, she has served on many boards and steering committees dedicated to public education reform, arts education, and advancing social change through arts and culture. Among her current civic involvements, she is active on the boards of the Leeway Foundation and Ars Nova Workshop, a member of the Public Art Committee of the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation, and with IMPACT, a global initiative to support the field/ecosystem of arts, culture and conflict transformation.
Workshop with Courtney Henry
Friday, November 11th, 12:30-2pm
Boyer Dance Studio
Created in West Palm Beach, Florida and further educated in New York City, Courtney Henry received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree graduating Magna Cum Laude in the Class of 2011 at Fordham University in tandem with The Ailey School. Leaving her cohort a few months before graduating, Courtney was offered a contract with Alonzo King LINES Ballet, where she danced for seven years becoming a Principal Dancer with the company, touring and performing all over the world. While there, she participated in all of King’s world premieres in collaborations with high-profile artists such as Zakir Hussain, Jason Moran, Lisa Fischer, Jim Doyle, and Jim Campbell.
Following this spirit of collaboration, in 2018 she flew to Berlin, Germany where she was a guest soloist with Richard Siegal’s “Ballet of Difference” premiering and touring 2 new works and repertoire throughout Europe. Living overseas expanded Henry’s artistic pallet as she began freelancing as a writer, model, and researcher. Her work has been featured not only as a performer but as a critical contributor in Dance Magazine, Pointe, DIYDancer Magazine, and numerous lifestyle and travel publications. Courtney is an awardee of the Princess Grace Foundation – USA and Chris Hellman Dance award, a YAGP ‘Stars of Tomorrow Gala’ Alumni, and a Goethe Institute Research Beneficiary. She is a recent M.F.A. Graduate from the University of The Arts and a recipient of their President’s Award for Innovative & Creative Research.
Henry is an interdisciplinary creator, performer, writer, educator, mentor, and mother. All of her practices spring from a liberatory imagining through Afro-futurism, where time and space are non-linear. Her most recent obsession is using radical imagery to enliven the ballet form so that more bodies can see themselves inside the practice.
Workshop with Michael J. Love
Thursday, December 8th, 12:30-2pm
Boyer Dance Studio
Embodying and Layering Black Histories: Choreographer “Cholly” Atkins and the Moves and Sounds of Motown’s Golden Era
Late, great tap dance artist and choreographer Charles "Cholly" Atkins (1913-2003), an original member of The Copasetics, initially made a name for himself as one half of legendary "class act" Coles & Atkins before cementing his legacy as the in-house choreographer for the Detroit-based Motown Records. As the mastermind behind great performances by The Supremes, The Temptations, The Four Tops, and Gladys Knight & The Pips, Atkins laid the groundwork and set the standard for how R&B and soul vocal groups visualized their music. This also meant that Atkins had a hand in defining the representations of Blackness that were performed by the recording industry heavyweights who etched out a path for today's cultural icons.
In this rhythm tap workshop open to all Dance students, we will indulge in a visual and embodied study of Atkins' work by interacting with curated video clips, reading excerpts of selected dance studies texts, learning foundational technique, and experimenting with rhythms and movements set to classic Motown tunes. Tap shoes are strongly suggested but not required.
Michael J. Love (he/him/his) is an interdisciplinary tap dance artist, scholar, and educator. He is a 2021- 2023 Princeton University Arts Fellow and Lecturer at Princeton’s Lewis Center for the Arts. Love’s embodied research intermixes Black queer feminist theory and aesthetics with a rigorous practice that critically engages the Black cultural past as it imagines Black futurity. Love’s work has been supported and presented by Fusebox Festival and ARCOS Dance and published in Choreographic Practices. He has also collaborated with film-based artist Ariel René Jackson on video and performance projects that have been screened by The Museum of Modern Art and the New Museum in New York, featured in The New York Times Style Magazine’s #TBlackArtBlackLife Instagram series, and programmed by Digital Arts Resource Centre’s Project Space in Ottawa, CUE Art Foundation in New York, and elsewhere. Love and Jackson were the recipients of the 2021 Tito’s Vodka Prize. Love's performance credits include the Broadway laboratory for Savion Glover and George C. Wolfe’s Shuffle Along... and roles in works by Baakari Wilder. Love holds an M.F.A. in Performance as Public Practice from The University of Texas at Austin and is an alumnus of Emerson College. Learn more at DancerMLove.com and follow Love on Instagram @dancermlove.