featured 2017 TEACHERS
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Anniina Ala-Ruona a Helsinki based artist and art educator working in the interface of performance, visual art and pedagogy with an emphasis on ecological and feminist political questions. She is interested in the artistic practices' potentiality to generate new forms of collectivity and understanding of ecological and material relations and interdependencies. She aims to discuss and try these themes in practice through creating situations without predefined progression or sequence; spaces for collective sensitivities, affects and formations to perform.
Ala-Ruona graduated from Master's Programme in Art Education at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture in January 2016. Her thesis is an artistic research examining how embodied and relational practice can deepen our ecological thinking and understanding of being-with. At the moment she is studying in the Master's program in Ecology and Contemporary Performance, in Helsinki Theatre Academy.
AISHA SASHA JOHN
AISHA SASHA JOHN is a singing dancer and poet. Her solo show the aisha of oz premiered this June at the Whitney Museum and will be part of the 2017/2018 season at the MAI in Montreal. This past February, Aisha led a public art performance residency at Union Station in Toronto: Let’s understand what it means to be here (together) (Art Metropole). Aisha is the author of the recently published I have to live. (McClelland & Stewart), and her previous poetry collection THOU (BookThug 2014) was a finalist for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry and the ReLit Poetry Award. aishasashajohn.tumblr.com
photo credit: Yuula Benivolski
Abby Crain is an Oakland based artist who makes dances, teaches, writes, curates and performs. She is currently hard at work along with collaborators Maryanna Lachman and Mara Poliak on Snake Talk: a zany, disquieting, feminist evening length performance spectacle that navigates neo liberalist frenzy, interspecies intimacy, feminine voraciousness, disco lights, and wild and unfettered dancing.
Lithuanian Agnė Auželytė is an Aries, a performer and a kitchen querier based in Berlin. After her dance studies, Agnė have been working cross-disciplinary, investigating ideas of improvisation, space activation, community, food politics and sound making. Her current collaborations include the co-authoring of the Ponderosa's cookbook, hosting Poodle Bar, a pop-up event & performance platform in Berlin, and performing with Vagittarius Rising, an experimental feminist fake band duo with Shelley Etkin.
Alexa Wilson is a choreographer, performance artist, video artist and writer from New Zealand based in Berlin. Her works range from solo performance art projects which are are often relational to commissioned group choreographies and video projects either directed or collaborative. Her work while inherently feminist in its underpinnings, relates to all kinds of socio-political and environmental transformation and philosophy.
Alicia received a BFA in Dance from York University. Her work in performance, video and installation has been presented in Canada, the USA and Europe from stages to swimming pools to gardens to abandoned factories to galleries. She is one part of WITCHTITS, a witch power duo, with Zinzi Buchanan and works in various constellations with other makers in Toronto, Berlin and Zagreb.
Ayelet Yekutiel Born in Jerusalem and based in Brussels, Ayelet Yekutiel graduated from The Experimental High School in Theatre and Visual Art Departments, before pursuing her dance studies at ‘SEAD’- Salzburg, and P.O.R.C.H, Ponderosa, and choreography studies in ‘Kelim’, Bat-Yam. She is a certified ‘Somatic Movement Educator’ of Body-Mind Centering®, and a teacher-candidate of Axis Syllabus.
Her performances engage Dream diving, Nomadic practices, Unleashed political realities and Somatic journeys. She researches sensation-image-sensation loops, and the invisible-that shapes-visible through science, embodiment and imagination.
Ayelet has worked as a creative dancer and performer for dance and theater companies and freelance artists in Israel, India and europe, and is a founding member of ‘Augustine Collective’ - Ongoing work since 2013. Since 2011 she creates alone and in collaborations, performing her work internationally. Among her collaborators are Lina Hoehne, Marcio Canabarro, Khaled Barghouthi, Daphna Horenczyk, Nitzan Lederman, Or avishay, Marie andersson, Clea Onori, Birgitte Lundtoft, Nelle Hens, Florence Augendre, Benjamin Vandewalle and Mike Schmid.
Evolving in dance since the 1970s, Benoît Lachambre discovered improvisation and release technique in 1985. From them on, a kinetic exploration of movement impregnated his work in choreographic composition. He invested himself in an approach based on sense acuity where linking the artistic and the somatic became a necessity. In 1996, he founded his company Par B.L.eux, increasing dynamic meetings and exchanges and through which he created 15 pieces, some of which are Forgeries, Love and Other Matters and most recently, Snakeskins which was awarded the Grand Prix de la Danse de Montréal in 2013.
Photo: © Laurent Theillet - 2017
Born in Portugal, began his education at Chapitô (circus School), proceeded to study dance/movement at C.E.M / FIA and the Higher School of Theatre and Cinema.
Since 2006 he has been working between theatre, dance, performance and installation,
From 2012 to 2015, he integrated the cast of Teatro Nacional D. Maria II, in Lisbon.
Currently based in Berlin, Bernardo collaborates with Stephanie Maher at Ponderosa and continues to develop his research, which is guided by the idea of art practice as an encounter and works with the question what is already there?
DANIELA SCHWARTZ & ECKHARD MUELLER
Daniela Schwartz (Argentina/France) - Eckhard Mueller (Germany/France)
Since 2004 we travel the world to share our vision, practice and performance of Contact Improvisation and Improvisation, moving together across Europe and the Americas to offer CI Intensive Workshops and developing projects based on Improvisation. Through collaboration, our interests continuously influence each other, creating diverse and surprising pathways. We share the passion and curiosity of moving into the unknown, the spontaneity of real time and the investigation of the body’s wisdom. Dani’s interest is in details and the capacity of attention and imagination. This, together with Ecki’s fascination with physicality and its limits, plunge them together into the research of perceptual and sensorial exploration, rediscovering possible dialogues through the dance. We continue nurturing our common work through solo teaching and collaboration with others. We are both part of the contactfestival freiburg organization team in Germany www.contactfestival.de and members of Co. Dégadézo, France.
More info: www.dani-ecki.com
Diana Thielen studied at SEAD in Salzburg and is a certified Axis Syllabus Teacher after joining the Research Community in 2012. Currently involved with education and gender studies, she's particularly excited about their political aspects. Diana also organizes gatherings exploring the intersectional facets of movement disciplines and body politics, as for example “Radical Contact” meetings or "Reflect your practice”, which is a critical analysis of (western) yoga practices.
Ela Spalding is a Berlin-based Panamanian visual and performance artist who discovered bookbinding in 2002 and has been making books ever since. She has made books an essential part of her creative process to document daily life and share her work. In 2012 she made her largest artist book commission with a Panamanian poet and continues to work on commissions with artists and writers, as well as designing special editions for her art & ecology organisation, Estudio Nuboso. Ela is also a first-generation Porchie and member of the Ponderosa family since 2008.
Frank van de Ven
Frank van de Ven was a member of Tanaka’s Maijuku Performance Company in Japan, from 1983-1991. With Katerina Bakatsaki he leads Body Weather Amsterdam, a platform for training and performance. He has an ongoing commitment to the Body/Landscape projects conducted worldwide and since 1995 he has led the annual, interdisciplinary Bohemiae Rosa Project with Milos Sejn (Academy of Fine Arts, Prague, Czech Republic), connecting body and landscape with art, geology and architecture.
Jared Gradinger is a Berlin based multi-disciplinary artist, invested in continuing to explore and search for new forms of collaborations with choreographers, visual artists and Nature. He is a founding member of Constanza Macras/Dorky Park (2002-2009). Since 2009, he has created 6 works with Angela Schubot on the topic of de-bordering the body and searching for new forms of co-existence. He continues to work with Schubot in the form of pieces, workshops, collaborations and touring internationally, including a retrospective of their work presented in the Hebbel am Ufer/Berlin Sudpol/Luzern and Tmuna/Tel Aviv. He has an ongoing relation with Jeremy Wade, working as performer as well as writer and outside eye. In 2012, he formed the Social Muscle Club with Emerson/Rothmund/Savoldelli. SMC is a group that creates and produces an evolving social artistic training programme in the form of performative events designed to develop our soft skills. His latest research involves developing a co-creative, artistic relationship with Nature in the form of gardens and other social/artistic practices and outcomes. Over the past few years he has begun working with artists as dramaturg and artistic advisor and mentor. Jared has worked with various artists such as Liz Rosenfeld, Meg Stuart, Aleesa Cohene, William Forsythe, Rachel De Joode, Margret Sara Gudjonsdottir, Julian Rosenfeldt, Leyland Kirby, Mark Jenkins, Pictoplasma, John Zorn, Les Grandes Traversees, Laurie Young amongst others.
Jennifer Polins has been making work and programming festivities at Ponderosa since 2000. She is a curator, mobilizer, movement practitioner and performance maker, bridging somatics -performance practices- and contemporary dance techniques for over 25 years. Jen is the founding director of The School for Contemporary Dance and Thought (scdtnoho,com), holds an MFA in dance from Hollins University/The American Dance Festival and is a 2014 MCC choreographic fellow. She has danced professionally in America and Europe, starting with the Joffrey Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet and then the Zurich Operahouse Ballet companies before migrating to a professional career in contemporary performance art. Jen is specialized in rigorous Improvisational practices and worked closely with many mentors most notably- Nancy Stark Smith, Steve Paxton and Lisa Nelson. Jen is certified in Pilates, Gyrotonic, Gyrokinesis, Yoga and Massage. She is guest lecturer in the Five College Dance department currently teaching UMASS. Jen works between Berlin and Northampton where she creates work, curates artists, connects communities and teaches.
Check also: https://vimeopro.com/user2635256/jen-polins-choreography
Jess Curtis is an award-winning choreographer and performance artist committed to an art-making practice informed by experimentation, innovation, critical discourse and social relevance at the intersections of fine art and popular culture. Curtis has created and performed multidisciplinary dance theater throughout the U.S., Europe with seminal group Contraband, the radical performance collective CORE and the experimental French Circus company Cahin-Caha, Cirque Batard. From 1991 to 1998 he co-directed the ground-breaking San Francisco performance venue 848 Community Space with Keith Hennessy and Michael Whitson. In 2000, Curtis founded his own trans-continental performance company, Jess Curtis/Gravity, based in Berlin and San Francisco. In 2011 he was presented the prestigious Alpert Award in the Arts for choreography. Curtis is active as a writer, advocate and community organizer in the fields of contemporary dance and performance, and teaches Dance, Contact Improvisation and Interdisciplinary Performance for individuals of all abilities throughout the US and Europe. He has been a visiting professor at the University of California at Berkeley and the University of the Arts in Berlin. He holds an MFA in Choreography and a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from the University of California at Davis. www.jesscurtisgravity.org
Joy Mariama Smith
A native Philadelphian currently based in Den Haag, NL, Joy Mariama Smith's work primarily addresses the conundrum of projected identities in various contexts. A sub-theme, or ongoing question in their work is: What is the interplay between the body and it's physical environment? Rooted in socially engaged art practice, they are a performance/installation/movement artist , activist, facilitator, curator and architectural designer. They have a strong improvisational practice spanning 20 years. Smith is the co-founder of the COLLAGE Festival, they co-facilitate Couples Therapy, a lab focusing on collaboration between artist. Smith has been actively involved with the Ponderosa community there for 5 years, and was part of the inaugural C.R.E.A.Ps. When they choose to teach, they actively try to uphold inclusive spaces.
they/them/their* :third person singular gender-neutral pronoun
JAAMIL OLAWALE KOSOKO
Jaamil Olawale Kosoko is a Nigerian-American curator, poet, and performance artist. He is a 2017 Princeton Arts Fellow, a 2017 Jerome artists in residence at Abrons Arts Center, a 2017 APAP Leadership Fellow, a 2017 MAP Fund Award recipient, and a 2017 Cave Canem Poetry Fellow. He holds a graduate degree in Curatorial Studies at Wesleyan University. He has held producing and curatorial positions at New York Live Arts, 651 Arts, and The Watermill Center among others. Kosoko is a 2016 Gibney Dance boo-koo resident artist and a recipient of a 2016 USArtists International Award from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation. Kosoko has created original roles in the performance works of visual artist Nick Cave, Pig Iron Theatre Company, Keely Garfield Dance, Miguel Gutierrez and The Powerful People, Headlong Dance Theater, among others. Kosoko’s poems, interviews, and essays can be found published in The American Poetry Review, Poems Against War, The Dunes Review, Silo, Detroit Research v2, Dance Journal (PHL), Movement Research Performance Journal, and Critical Correspondence (NYC). He teaches and performs internationally. His newest performance work Séancers will premiere at Abrons Arts Center in Dec. 2017. Connect with him online @jaamilkosoko. www.jaamil.com
Jörg Gönner is a Leipzig based Artist and Performer. In 2012 he received his BA of Arts degree from Leipzig University while teaching Contact Improvisation on a continual basis. In 2016 he received a grant to work on the collaboration of performance and improvisation in the field of contemporary arts funded by the cultural foundation of Saxony.
Focusing on the physical organization of the bodies intuitive capacity for collaboration,
He is aiming for using all the possible performative and social aspects that are part of practicing Contact Improvisation. Particularly to bring attention to create a living discourse for our needs, anxieties, desires and varied artistic options. He works from a verbal and embodied base. This rich research provides a source of inspiration and material for his own performative process, performance workshops and classes. For him Contact Improvisation is less a dance form than a researching praxis integrating his background in the Chinese martial art Bagua and deep tissue bodywork.
From his work as a certified deep tissue body worker, Contact Improvisation is one possible access to enter the fascia to almost read and write its innate qualities.
He understands fascia as a library, storage and a buffer for emotional realities that can be used to consciously embody chosen qualities.
„CI can become a time in space to experience an instant availability of the own body.“
Jules Beckman, is an American interdisciplinary performing artist and teacher living in France since 2002. He has been making work collaboratively, teaching, and touring steadily in contemporary dance, performance and new circus since 1987. Jules Beckman has taught throughout the USA, in Europe, Russia, Mexico and Japan in studios and schools including, Centre National des Art du Cirque (France), DOCH, University of Dance and Circus (Stockholm, Sweden), Canaldanse (Paris), MADE in France (a Washington University Performing Arts Department summer study program), Connecticut College, Prescott College (AZ), New College of California (San Francisco), and several Contact Improvisation Festivals including Grenoble, Barcelona, Moab, Budapest, Freiburg, Ibiza.
Kathleen Hermesdorf is the Director of ALTERNATIVA with musician Albert Mathias in San Francisco, and collaborates in the curation of PORCH summer school with Stephanie Maher in Stolzenhagen, Germany. ALTERNATIVA is an apparatus for deeply integrated contemporary dance and music via creation, improvisation, performance, production, curation and education. Hermesdorf has been dancing in the Bay Area since 1991 and teaches, performs, improvises, creates, curates and mentors locally, nationally and internationally.
Kata is an interdisciplinary artist, curator, and arts organiser. After her studies as a contemporary dancer in Budapest, she wound up in Ponderosa in the summer of 2010, as a participant in the first year of P.O.R.C.H. Intensive Studies. Since 2011, she has lived and worked in Berlin, spending most of her summers at Ponderosa, working as a co-ordinator, facilitator, and curator.
After her participation in the P.O.R.C.H. program, she stayed in touch with many former and subsequent P.O.R.C.H. participants, including through the organisation of a regular performance event, PORCH Extended, from 2011 to 2013. Together with Shelley Etkin, she co-organised an artist residency and event series, Queeries Into Collective Feminisms, in both Ponderosa and Berlin.
Her own artistic works frequently focus on repetition, combined with elements of slow looking and listening, often putting herself into unusual spatial situations. She is also part of the duo Kovács/O’Doherty, in collaboration with the artist Tom O’Doherty.
Photo credit: Roland Szabo
Karen Nelson is a dance improviser for 40 years touring, teaching, studying and collaborating with many great artists including Steve Paxton/Material for the Spine/Contact Improvisation; Lisa Nelson/ Tuning Scores; Nancy Stark Smith/Contact Improvisation; and many others including those of diverse abilities and ages. In spring 2011 she began studying Embodied Life with Russell Delman who teaches a mix of Feldenkrais, zen meditation and "embodied listening-speaking/focusing". Karen incorporates these awareness and dance practices into her teaching, inevitably discovering pleasure and interconnection in the work.
Keith Hennessy dances in and around performance. Born in Sudbury Canada he lives in San Francisco since 1982 and tours internationally. His performances engage improvisation, ritual, collaboration, and public action as tools for investigating political realities. Practices inspired by anarchism, critical whiteness, post/modern dance, activist art, the Bay Area, wicca, punk, and queer-feminism motivate and mobilize Hennessy’s work. Keith’s 2016 collaborators include Peaches, Meg Stuart, Scott Wells, Jassem Hindi, and the collaboratives Blank Map and Turbulence. He teaches in universities, independent studios, and festivals including Ponderosa, Fresh, HZT, Movement Research, Portland State University, Sandberg Institute, and Impulstanz. Awards include the United States Artist Fellowship, a NY Bessie, multiple Isadora Duncan Awards, and a Bay Area Goldie. Keith's writings have been published in Movement Research Journal, Performance Research (UK), Society of Dance History Scholars Journal, Dance Theatre Journal (UK), Contact Quarterly, Itch, Front, and In Dance. Hennessy directs Circo Zero and was a member of Contraband with Sara Shelton Mann. He earned an MFA and PhD from UC Davis. www.circozero.org
Kovács/O’Doherty (Kata Kovács and Tom O’Doherty) have worked as a collaborative duo since 2011. Their work combines elements of durational and time-based art, minimalist and electroacoustic music and sound, movement, and video. This work is frequently shaped by attempts to apply rigorous processes to simple but often-overlooked phenomena – they are interested in processes, sounds, and movements that come close to imperceptibility, and the ways in which this material can be transformed through layering, rhythm, pattern, and repetition. They live and work in Berlin, Germany.
Kyla graduated from Pepperdine University with a B.S. in Sports Medicine. She is a KRI Certified Instructor of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan® and is certified in SuperHealth, a yogic therapeutic technology for addictive behavior. For the past 7 years she’s immersed herself in studying under many master teachers from the Kundalini and Vinyasa tradition and has taught at many events, retreats, festivals, and workshops. She is the Creator and Owner of Long Time Sun Apparel, both an online Kundalini Yoga clothing company and a brick and morter yoga lifestyle boutique and studio in Newport, RI. She’s passionate about presenting Kundalini yoga and meditation in a way that’s accessible to all.
Laia Ribera Cañenguez
Laia Ribera Cañenguez is a Salvadorian theater-performance practitioner, movement artist, activist and facilitator currently based in Berlin. She is interested in a socially engaged art practice, in collective creations and interdisciplinary art. In Central America she founded the theater-performance collective Siluetas, with who she toured in Latin America. Her work primarily addresses narratives from peripheral identities in various contexts. An ongoing question in their work is the interplay between body, biographical material and theory (Feminism, Gender, Post-colonialism, etc).
Laura Burns is an interdisciplinary artist asking how performance can blur the spiritual and material, invoking the agency of the nonhuman world. Focussing on the relationship between sound and intuition in site-specific research, her work looks at multiple ways of knowing, witchy methodologies, family constellations as a devising and healing process, somatic-shamanic explorations into place-thought, and the relationship between language and bodies. She makes work for theatres, galleries and site-specific contexts and is currently writing a prose-poetry book arising from ritualised encounters with place for her PhD at Goldsmiths University London.
Leah Wilks is a Durham-based dancer, teacher and choreographer. Her first dance class involved her sitting in the corner and sucking her thumb. After the thumb-sucking class, she moved on to ballet, rhythm tap, modern, west african, and contact improv. She quickly discovered an incredible love not only for the physical aspect of the movement in all of these styles, but also for the stories and worlds that the movement could create. After studying dance and environmental studies for four years at Vassar College Leah moved to Oakland, CA for a year and then back to the triangle area in the fall of 2010. She currently teaches at Carolina Friends School, 9th St. Dance, Studio A Dancearts and the American Dance Festival, dances for Gaspard&Dancers and ShaleighDanceWorks, and works on a variety of video, movement, theater and multi-media projects throughout the triangle.
My intention is to live wildly and lovingly, be(coming) dynamic self/ves, interacting and learning from the bodies and wisdoms of other self(ves). My intention is to incorporate and nurture the changing body. My intention is to use BODY, WORDS, VOICE, MUSIC, EPHEMERA, IMAGERY, to create dialogue around questions that feel URGENT. I practice THROUGH and WITH my body (I try not to plan too much what it will do). I WRITE and incorporate recorded and spoken texts. I manipulate the medium of MUSIC and song; electronic MUSIC is a shapeshifter that calls for creativity in its presentation, in its representation. I examine the various SIGNIFIERS carried by clothing and costume on bodies, nudity and the skin that holds our bodies. I experiment with the presentation of my BODY in various CONTEXTS–gallery, stage, bedroom, concert hall, squat and consider the politics of my body within the borders of (it)self; as well as the borders between my body and the aliveness and approachability of other bodies. I am in constant dialogue with various selves, with the exploratory sexual body and the body that plays and presents on stage, with the writer body and the body at work. www.alfabus.us
Maria Francesca Scaroni
From Italian TV dance productions to release-based and post-modern dance techniques, from contact improvisation to literature studies and theoretical engagement, Maria Francesca Scaroni is moving through the complex network of learning and making dances since 1996. Scaroni’s works focus on the process of collaboration, play with durational experiences and are featured by a crossbreeding between performance, choreography and installation. Recently Maria is involved in researching dance as a possible divination form or Oracle. She created theatrical/installative/durational events with Jess Curtis Vania Rovisco and with Frank Willens. Since 2011 Maria is creating and touring works with Meg Stuart/Damaged Goods, (Until Our Hearts Stop, Sketches/Notebook, Built To Last). She has also collaborated as dancer/creator with Tino Sehgal, Jeremy Wade, Wilhelm Groener, Peter Pleyer and Hanna Hegenscheidt. She teaches in Berlin’s University HZT and is actively involved in forging other independent training programs (P.O.R.C.H. and Smash) where she is developing methodologies focusing on the body as material. She holds a Masters degree in Italian Modern Literature, with a focus on Media and Communication and a thesis on education and dance.
Mark Tompkins is an American dancer, choreographer and teacher living in France since 1973. After a series of solos and group collaborations, he founds his company, I.D.A. in 1983. Over the years, Tompkins' unique way of fabricating unidentified performance objects has become his signature. Solos, group pieces and concerts that mix dance, music, voice, text and video are steps of this journey initiated in the 70's, and continued with the complicity of set and costume designer Jean-Louis Badet since 1988. His passion for improvisation and Real time composition leads him to collaborate with many dancers, musicians, video makers and light designers. Renowned for his teaching, he travels extensively around the world.
Winner of the International Choreography Contest in Bagnolet in 1984, he creates a trilogy, Trahisons - Men, Women, Humen, inspired by photographer Eadward Muybridge's study of the human body in motion, presented at the Montpellier Dance Festival in 1987 and in 1988, Nouvelles for the Avignon Festival, based on the novel IDA by Gertrude Stein.
From 1990 to 1992, he produces La Plaque Tournante, a series of unique site specific performances involving dance, music, video and light with his company and local artists in ten European cities. Returning to the traditional theatre space, he creates Home (the best of all worlds) (1993), a vaudeville comedy for four performers, Channels (1994), a large scale urban fantasy for seven dancers and three musicians, and Gravity (1996), a reality show for five performers and video.
In the 90's, he creates and performs many solos, reunited since 1998 in an evening called Hommages: La Valse de Vaslav (89) for Nijinski, Witness (92) dedicated to his mentor, dancer and choreographer Harry Sheppard, Under My Skin (96) for Josephine Baker and Icons (98) for Valeska Gert.
Artist in residence in Strasbourg from 1998 to 2000, with a company of eight performers, he creates La vie rêvée d'Aimé (1999), a musical comedy for adolescents of all ages, and remiXamor (2000), a panorama of the body of desire. The company also offers an intensive program of classes, workshops, jams and events to both amateurs and professionals, including l'Heure C'est l'Heure, an eight-hour Dance Marathon that crosses the entire city with more than 200 participants.
From 2001 to 2008, Mark Tompkins is associated artist with the Théâtre de la Cité internationale in Paris where he develops En Chantier 2001-2004, a project that includes 80 improvised performances in the construction site of the rehabilitated theatre. A DVD, with more than three hours of films, documents and performance extracts retraces this extraordinary adventure. In 2003, he creates a solo, Song and Dance, an ode to the lone performer on stage after the show, when the curtain falls, when the lights go out, and the technicians strike the set. In 2005, he creates a solo, Sept Voiles, and a group piece, ANIMAL Male, which addresses the themes of combat, survival, power and domination, followed by a feminine version, ANIMAL Female in 2007.
In 2005, he forms a rock band and releases an album, Mark Lewis and the Standards, with Portuguese composer and musician Nuno Rebelo and three other Portuguese rock dinosaurs. In 2006, they create LOST&FOUND, a more intimate duet, and in 2007, he creates a solo karaoke concert, kings&queens.
In 2008, for the 25th anniversary of the company I.D.A., Mark Tompkins reincarnates a solo from 1983, empty holes - the life and love and death of John and Doris Dreem. He also creates LULU an operetta of circumstance, with original music by Nuno Rebelo and Mark Tompkins. He receives the prestigious SACD Choreography Prize for all of his work. (Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers)
In 2010, he creates PUTTIN' ON A SHOW a musical revue with the students of ex.e.r.ce. at the National Choreography Center in Montpellier.
From 2010 to 2013, he creates an American trilogy, inspired by the history of American theatre from 1830 until the present. These performances are entertainments yet contain strong social commentaries. They are not reconstructions or revivals, but use past theatrical forms to address vital issues of today. BLACK'N'BLUES a minstrel show (2010) is a contemporary minstrel show that lightheartedly questions the issues of racism and sexism. OPENING NIGHT a vaudeville (2012) explores the complicity and rivalry between an aging showman and his young sidekick through the themes of transmission, aging and death. SHOWTIME a musical (2013) revolves around gender and identity troubles, and the difficulty to love and be loved, with original music by Mathieu Grenier and Mark Tompkins.
During this same period, he creates three duets: EVERYBODY (2012) a concert with composer and double bass player Sarah Murcia, STARDUST (2012) a zany and queer improvised duet with American choreographer Jeremy Wade, and A POWER BALLAD, the story of two sisters trying desperately to make a comeback in showbiz, with the Portuguese choreographer Mariana Tengner Barros.
In 2014, he creates VETER NOROSTI (A Wind of Madness) for the Mladinsko Theater in Ljubljana, Slovenia, a tragicomedy for four actors, a diva and a singer, that mixes popular forms of Slovenian folklore and American music hall.
In 2015, he creates LE PRINTEMPS, a piece for three dancers, Silvia Di Rienzo, Anna Gaïotti and Ananda Montange, and the Palestinian musician and singer, Kamilya Jubran, who question the themes of exile, wandering and emancipation.
Karen Schaffman (Dance Artist, Professor, Presenter/Curator, Feldenkrais Practitioner) Dancing for me is a transformative and transgressive force for self-awareness, political change and social communication. For many years my research focused on contact improvisation, and I investigated the form via feminism, critical whiteness, and the “natural body.” Still, my “contact body” informs everything I do. I studied experimental dance practices at EDDC in Arnhem, Holland (1989-1991) and earned my Ph.D. at UC Riverside (2001). I have performed in collaborative works with/directed by Anya Cloud, BodyCartography Project, Deborah Hay (FIRE, SPCP), Eric Geiger, Jon LeFan, Kristine Diekman, Leslie Seiters, LIVE, Lower Left (co-founder), Mary (Reich) Peterson, Nancy Stark Smith, Nina Martin, Peter Pleyer, and Sara Shelton Mann. With Anya Cloud and Eric Geiger, I co-direct PADL West, a community dance organization in San Diego County. Since 2001, I have been forging a Dance Studies Program at California State University San Marcos.
mayfield brooks is a cultural worker, dancer, and performance artist currently pursuing a PhD in Performance Studies at Northwestern University in the Chicago area. Before landing at Northwestern, mayfield completed a MFA in Theater and Dance at UC Davis in California, danced with San Francisco aerial dance company Fly Away Productions, studied contemporary dance at the School for New Dance in Amsterdam (SNDO), and was a student of somatics and performance at Moving On Center in Oakland California.
Martin Kilvady was born in 1974 in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia, where he graduated from secondary school. Subsequently, he enrolled in a program for teacher education in contemporary dance at the Comenius University in Bratislava, the School of Music and Dramatic Arts where he received his "Master of Arts".Choreographers and teachers who most influenced his further development as a dancer are Jan Durovcik, Miroslava Kovarova and Libor Vaculik. From 1992 to 1996, he was a member of the Torzo Ballet Company in Bratislava and performed as a free lancer in several productions of the Slovak National Theatre from 1995 to 1996. In 1997 he joined the Magyar Fesztival Ballet in Budapest for one season.
During the summer of 1997 he became a member of Anna Teresa de Keersmaeker's ROSAS dance company, in Brussels. He danced in WOULD, in the reprise of MIKROCOSMOS and ACHTERLAND, and contributed to the creation of JUST BEFORE, DRUMMING, I SAID, and IN REAL TIME. During these years with ROSAS, the teachings of David Zambrano and Chrysa Parkinson widened his dance horizons.
Between 2001 and 2004, he collaborated with the choreographer Roberto Olivan in the creation of NATURAL STRANGE DAYS and DE FARRA. In the season 2002-2003, he worked with circus company Rital Brocante. Since 2003, he has been a member of Thomas Hauert's company ZOO, performing in FIVE, MODIFY, MORE LESS SAID SONGS, WALKING OSCAR, PUZZLED and ACCORDS.
Martin Kilvady is co-founder of Les SlovaKs Dance Collective. They created Opening Night in 2007, Journey Home in 2009, in 2010 Les SlovaKs - The Koncert and in 2012 Fragments.
Martin has been teaching since 25 years now and has MA in pedagogy of dance.
Natalie Igor Dobkin
Natalie Igor Dobkin is a queer performance artist based in TLV. He holds a BE.d in Theater and is currently finishing an MA in gender studies. Dobkin has been teaching Queer Performance Art at Ben-Gurion University since 2013 and has created and led Independent workshops for queer performance art since 2010. He works with LGBT youth at risk and is researching the conflict between the need for radical content and form in queer performance art and maintenance of safe spaces in queer communities.
Nicola is an accomplished teacher, dancer, and choreographer based in Berlin. Originally from the United States, she has been dancing and performing for over twenty years. In New York City and North Carolina, Nicola danced and created work with a wide variety of artists including Little Green Pig, VECTOR, Malleable Dance Theater, RAD, and her own dance company.
Through her art and teaching, Nicola seeks to create an environment of safe learning, encourage risk-taking, and inspire creative responses to social and political circumstances.
Peter Pleyer studied dance and choreography at the European Dance Development Center, ArtEZ Arnhem, NL. Since then he is working internationally in the independent field as performer, choreographer, teacher, dramaturg and curator. Between 2007-14 he was the artistic director of Tanztage Berlin. With “The Ponderosa Trilogy” and “Visible Undercurrent” he successfully picked up his own choreographic work in 2014. He is a guest professor at the UdK/HZT Berlin.
Shelley Etkin is a transdisciplinary artist, moving in-between geographies of Germany, Finland, the United States, and Israel. She works among realms of dance, performance, ecology, queer feminisms, curation, and community organizing. Rooted in a multiplicity of bodies, places, and politix, Shelley works independently and collaboratively in a range of environments from urban to rural, in private nooks, studios, stages, and public spaces.
Shelley has been based in Berlin since 2012 and works closely with Ponderosa as gardener, facilitator, and co-organizer. She is also a member of COVEN Berlin, a genderbender collective hosting live events and an online platform. Shelley performs with Vagittarius Rising, an experimental feminist fake band duo with Agnė Auželytė. Shelley holds a B.A. in Gender Studies, with a focus on embodied arts activism and is currently in the process of M.A. studies in Ecology & Contemporary Performance at the Theatre Academy in Helsinki, Finland.