Context and Philosophy
I have a deep interest in the performance skills that lie between the lines of Merce Cunningham’s Technique and repertory, and have put those skills to task in my own freelance performance practice, especially in the dynamic, intricately composed productions with the Bill T. Jones/ Arnie Zane Company. As a teaching artist, I lead dance classes from my perspective as a playful, mischievous performer, and have students negotiate Form and impulse. I also value the opportunity for class sessions to be a laboratory for choreography-like operations.
I move students through short exercises that warm the body in parts and whole, and focus coaching on alignment, coordination, and relationship to time. Some principles touched upon include sequencing the spine, releasing the limbs, strength building, geometric visualization, and activating the imagination. Classes typically conclude with work on a phrase that calls upon the Forms learned throughout class, and each student’s own sense of artistry and agency. This final effort gives students an emulated performance experience in an open workshop setting.
Alternatively, I question the phrase-centrism of dance technique classes. When the teaching occasion allows for it, I shift my lessons to a postmodern, modular research model. Each module centers around one research topic, unpacked by a number of embodied experiments that spur physical and verbal discourse. Over the course of a class session, anywhere between three to six modules may be studied. This model seeks to divorce our technical practice from a ballet-derivative progression, in search of new and mindful ways to engage Form.
Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University: Part Time Lecturer of Ballet and Modern Dance Technique, Fall 2019. New Brunswick, New Jersey, US.
Bill T. Jones/ Arnie Zane Company: Company Classes and Workshops at New York Live Arts, 2016 to 2019. Manhattan, New York, US.
Bill T. Jones/ Arnie Zane Company: Creative Process Course, Spring 2018. College of the Holy Cross. Worcester, Massachusetts, US.
Bill T. Jones/ Arnie Zane Company: Master Classes and Auditions during performance tours and residencies:
- Yale Dance Theatre, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, US.
- Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. New Brunswick, New Jersey, US.
- UCLA Department of World Arts & Cultures. Los Angeles, California, US.
- School of Dance & Theater. LASALLE College of the Arts. Singapore.
- Dance Department, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. Manhattan, New York, US.
- Dance Department, College of Visual and Performing Arts, George Mason University. Fairfax, Virginia, US.
- School of Film, Dance and Theatre, Arizona State University. Tempe, Arizona, US.
- Bethany Arts Community. Ossining, New York, US.
- TranscenDANCE Youth Arts Project. San Diego, California, US.
The Dance Express: Freelance Ballet Instruction and Substitute Teaching, 2014 season. Warren, New Jersey, US.
10 Hairy Legs: Master Classes for high school dance students. 2013-2014 season. New Jersey, US, and the Cayman Islands.
Old Bridge High School: Dance instruction, movement instructor for marching musicians, and indoor colorguard show design, 2014 and 2015 seasons. Old Bridge, New Jersey, US.
Black Watch Color Guard: Dance instruction and choreography, 2015 season. Mount Laurel, New Jersey, US.
Passaic High School: Marching band and indoor winterguard, designer and technician, 2009 seasons. Passaic, New Jersey, US.
Alter Ego Color Guard: Equipment technician, 2009 season. West New York, New Jersey, US.
James Logan High School: World and Open class indoor programs, 2008 seasons. Union City, California, US.
Tomás Rivera Middle School: Colorguard instructor and show designer, 2007 season. Perris, California, US.