featured 2016 TEACHERS
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.
While finishing her studies as a biologist in Göttingen, Andrea Keiz started an education as a teacher for dance improvisation. Through that she got involved in Contact Improvisation as well as in other improvisational work, release based technics and body work. After a few years of working on dance improvistation in several constellations in Europe, she started to work with video as a tool related to movement.
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.
Originally from Detroit, MI, Jaamil Olawale Kosoko is a Nigerian American independent performance and humanities curator, producer, cultural strategist, poet, and artist currently based between Brooklyn, New York and Philadelphia. Kosoko's work in live performance has received support from The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, The Philadelphia Cultural Management Initiative, The Joyce Theater Foundation, and The Philadelphia Cultural Fund. Kosoko's poems have been published in The American Poetry Review, Poems Against War, The Dunes Review, and Silo, among other publications. He has served on numerous curatorial and funding panels including the National Endowment for the Arts, MAP Fund, Movement Research at Judson Church, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, the Baker Artists Awards, among others. Current curatorial appointments include projects with 651 Arts, The Watermill Center, Movement Research, and The Bushwick Starr in New York City. visit jaamil.com for more information
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.
Andrew Morrish is a freelance performer, researcher, facilitator and teacher of improvisation working between Australia and Europe. He began improvising with Al Wunder's "Theatre of the Ordinary" in Melbourne Australia in I982. In 1987 he formed "Trotman and Morrish" with Peter Trotman, another founding member of "Theatre of the Ordinary".They performed their unique improvisational duets extensively in Australia and the US until 1999, when Andrew moved to Sydney and began to develop his solo performing.
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.
Nancy Stark Smith danced in the first performances of contact improvisation in 1972 with Steve Paxton and others and has been central to its development as dancer, teacher, performer, writer/publisher, and organizer. She teaches and performs CI and other improvised dance work worldwide with many favorite collaborators, including musician Mike Vargas. In 1975, Nancy co-founded Contact Quarterly, an international dance journal, which she continues to co-edit and produce. She has been developing the Underscore, a long-form dance improvisation structure, since 1990.
Tove Sahlin is a performance maker and doer based in Stockholm. Since 2012 she is one out of two artistic directors in the company Shake it Collaborations
The latest piece Miss U (2015) is a piece with her family on stage. In Sweden Tove also takes on comissioned work as a director and choreographer at various City Theatres. This spring she will develop a series of performances called S.A.D. with international guests and collaborators. Tove has been coming to Ponderosa since 2004.
Bruno Caverna is a formless artist who for over 30 years has been engaged in various movement practices like capoeira, qi-gong, contemporary dance, russian systema and contact-improvisation. His methodology amalgamates those corporeal languages and currently has been offered under two different yet interconnected platforms: Liquid-Body and Play-Fight. Both are a sort of "formless arts" for having the power to be adapted to a wide range of expectations and possibilites, regardless one's background.
Hanna Hegenscheidt is a choreographer and teacher, based in Berlin. She studied dance, Klein Technique™ (with Susan Klein and Barbara Mahler) and Laban-Movement-Analysis (CMA) in Hamburg and New York. Since 2000 she is a certified Klein Technique™ teacher. From 2012 - 2014 she studied to receive her Master in Choreography at the Amsterdamse Hogeschool foor de Kunsten.
Stephanie Maher was based in San Francisco for 15 years, dancing in several collectives, particularly with Jess Curtis, Keith Hennessey and Kathleen Hermesdorf. She is known for her breathtaking physicality and for creating works that express a unique blend of intimacy, sensitivity, and wild humor. Her work now stretches into the realm of task orientated process and Relational Aesthetics. In 1998 Maher relocated to Berlin, Germany where she continued to perform, organize, develop and teach in the community-based settings of K77 Studios in Berlin and founded the Ponderosa Tanz/Land Festival and P.O.R.C.H. in Stolzenhagen, Germany.
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.
Jennifer Polins 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, holds an MFA in dance from Hollins University/The American Dance Festival. Jen is working on the creative team of the Ponderosa TanzLand Festival beside Stephanie Maher.
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.
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
Reinventing the narratives of sex and gender, Diane Torr developed her work in performance art, film, installation and photography, particularly within the context of NYC from 1976-2002. She garnered acclaim as a prominent gender activist through her teaching of the Drag King (later known as Man for a Day) workshops. She moved to Glasgow and continued her art practice, creating "drag king" performances, co-authoring a book with Stephen Bottoms, Sex, Drag and Male Roles: Investigating Gender as Performance and appearing in a feature film on her work, Man for a Day by Berlin filmmaker, Katarina Peters, which premiered at the Berlinale Film Festival in 2012.
After dancing with Kunst-Stoff in San Francisco (1999-2000) and in Notre Dame de Paris in Las Vegas (2000) as well as touring with Paul McCartney (2002-03), Frank Willens, has been living and working in Berlin as a dancer, performer, and choreographer since 2003. Here he has had the privilege of collaborating on projects with many faces of the contemporary dance and theater scene including Meg Stuart, Laurent Chétouane, Boris Charmatz, Falk Richter, Peter Stamer, Nicola Hümpel, Maria Scaroni, and Tilman Hecker among others. He's worked intimately with Tino Sehgal for the past 10 years as interpreter and producer, and continually dances Tiino's early solo Untitled throughout Europe. Frank is renowned for his endless energy and distinct stage presence. Frank first landed at Ponderosa in 2003.
Described as a “consistent force in the vast scene of emerging contemporary choreographers (DanceInforma),” Barbie Diewald's recent choreography has been presented at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Movement Research at the Judson Church, and the 92nd Street Y. She has performed Merce Cunningham's repertory with the Cunningham Trust, and has worked with choreographers Stephanie Maher, Jen Polins, Katie Martin and Bronwen MacArthur. She co-directed TrioDance Collective in NYC alongside Emily Jeffries from 2010 to 2015. Barbie holds an MFA in Dance from Smith College and teaches throughout New York and New England. She is particulalrly interested in the junction between dance and literature, as well as attempting impossible tasks.
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.
Nina Martin, PhD, MFA is a choreographer and master teacher having worked in New York City, across the US, Europe, South America, and Asia. Performance credits include David Gordon Pick-Up Company, Mary Overlie, Deborah Hay, and Simone Forti, Martha Clarke, and PBS Dance in America Beyond the Mainstream with Steve Paxton and others. She was a founding member of Channel Z performance collective, New York Dance Intensive School, Lower Left Performance Collective (www.lowerleft.org), and presently is board president of Marfa Live Arts. Martin is an assistant professor at TCU School for Classical & Contemporary Dance.
The BodyCartography Project's Olive Bieringa and Otto Ramstad make dances which engage the vital materiality of the body. They are deeply invested in the power of live performance to facilitate a re-enchantment of embodiment, relationship, and presence. They are certified teacher of Body-Mind Centering®. Their works have been commissioned and presented by the Walker Art Center, Lyon Opera Ballet, & Performance Space 122, American Realness, TBA/Portland Institute of Contemporary Art amongst others.
Mike Vargas has been performing and teaching internationally for the last 30 years. Started working with dancers in 1978. Collaborated with Bebe Miller and toured with Liz Lerman in the '80s. Composed probably 150 commissioned dance scores to date. Worked at Naropa, re-focused on piano, and met Nancy Stark Smith in the '90s. Published two articles about composition and improvisation and nine albums of original music so far. Last 16 years touring with Nancy, currently teaching dancers at Smith College.
Sigal Zouk is dancer, performer and facilitator and has worked with batsheva ensemble , Sasha Waltz, Meg Stuart, Laurent Chetouane, Angela Schubot, Jared Gradinger among others. She is teaching in several european dance departments and institutions, collaborating with visual artist and musicians internationally.
Jan Burkhardt is a dancer, choreographer Laban-Bartenieff-Movement-Analyst and musician. His main interest has become to actively bridge somatic sensory awareness and performative practice. Jan has worked as performer and coach with Laurent Chetouane, Sebastian Matthias, Martin Nachbar and many more. He is a regular guest teacher at the dance departments of Berlin,Stockholm, Copenhagen and Cologne and numerous independent dance institutions throughout europe.
Sandra Wieser is a Berlin-based visual artist and performer. Depending on context, inquiries, and investigations of the day, her work shifts from graphics to performance, image to text, French to German to English. In the past years she has collaborated on various improvisational works with Signe Holtsmark, Mor Demer, Kata Kovacs, Philipp Enders, Jan Burkhardt, Christine Mauch, Nina Wehnert, Kathleen Hermesdorf, Stephanie Maher, Jérémie Chétrit, Winnie SuperHova and Meltem Nil. 2009-15 she co-curated the Petunien Improvisation Series in Berlin together with Meltem Nil. 2013-14 she was part of creating the Living Library which stays her main focus point in Ponderosa. She teaches CI and Improvisation in Berlin, Ponderosa and in France.
Yoshiko Chuma (artistic director & choreographer of The School of Hard Knocks, USA and of Daghdha Dance Company, Ireland) was born in Osaka, Japan and has lived in the United States since 1978. Chuma has created more than 45 full-length company works, commissions and site-specific events for venues across the world, constantly challenging the notion of performing for both audience and participant. Her work has been presented in New York in venues ranging from the Joyce Theater to the legendary annual Halloween Parade; and abroad in such locations as the formerNational Theater of Sarajevo, the perimeter of the Hong Kong harbor and at an ancient ruin in Macedonia. Yoshiko Chuma is the recipient of several fellowships and awards, including those from the Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Japan Foundation, Meet the Composer Choreographer/Composer Commission and Philip Morris New Works. She received a New York Dance & Performance Award ("Bessie") in 1984 and has led workshops and master classes throughout Eastern and Western Europe, Asia, Russia and the U.S.
WITCHTITS is a dance/life witching collaboration between Alicia Grant and Zinzi Buchanan. They find soft boundaries between real and fake in rituals, group actions and performances including burnings, finding power points, Be Your Own Healer workshops, Radical Anxiety meetings and Triangle Power DJing. They have created works for stage, fields and paper in California and Europe
guest TEACHERS & ARTISTS
Also: Chris Aiken, Jonathan Burrows, Shahar Dor, Howard Katz Fireheart, KJ Holmes, Witold Jurewicz, Kerstin Kussmaul, Jennifer Lacey, David Lakein, Andrea Lutz, Sara Shelton Mann, Christine Mauch, Kyla Maher, Marial Maher, Katja Muenker, Lani Nahele, Karen Nelson, Jennifer Monson, Sten Rudstrom, Rasmus Ölme, Saliq Savage, Liz Smullens, Sandra Wieser, Elizabeth Williams, Elizabeth Zimmer