Wednesday May 15 @ 7:30pm
Friday May 17 @ 11am
Friday May 17 @ 7:30pm
About The Anatomy of Improvisation:
ALL WELCOME – NO DANCE EXPERIENCE NECESSARY, JUST CURIOSITY & DESIRE TO MOVE!
After leading a Laban/Bartenieff based warm-up, I give everyone an image to play, grapple with, and explore. I then step back and am quiet for awhile, as each participant finds their way into a dance that is already in the room, simply waiting to be found.
I intersperse prompts and/or images here and there as I see/feel how the ensemble is forming and taking shape. I might say something like: “Imagine your breath making contact with the inside edges of your body,” or “How and what are you seeing with your eyes, even if your eyes are closed” or “There is a trio, solo, and quartet taking shape. Notice if and when those groupings change” or “How do the borders of your body meet and engage with the borders of the other bodies in the room.”
I’ll be quiet again until another prompt/image arises. There will be long stretches of time when there is no music, and long stretches of time when there is. Some people will vocalize and some will not, depending on what surfaces for each student.
Sometimes the work that emerges is quiet and delicate, with a lot of stillness and slowness in the dancing, and sometimes it gets wild, with a huge amount of movement filling the space. It simply depends on what sort of dance we are all stepping into on that particular day.
However it goes, I spend a lot of time giving people the space and time to sequence through their own internal experience before the dancing moves into a more external realm. Because everyone is following their own timing and curiosity, some people move out of their internal experience much more quickly than others, while some stay in their own internal world for the entirety of the class session.
Stillness is valued as much as movement in my classes, and I emphasize letting the body lead the experience of each dancer, with the mind placed slightly behind and following, if not beside the body as we move into a more “advanced” way of working.
I invite each dancer to enter into the dance space with curiosity and kindness. Loads and loads, so that we — as a collective — may expand our capacity to encounter, and then experience that moment when boundaries dissolve, and one’s internal experience becomes indistinguishable from one’s external experience.
About The Sky Inside:
The Sky Inside follows 21 local residents as they find their way into their dancing bodies. Throughout the course of this film, stereotypes and expectations of who gets to take up space and be seen, break open as people of all different ages and histories — dance.
“This is a film about the improvisational dance class I’ve been teaching since 2003. Sometimes I dance with the class, and sometimes I watch. What I see when I watch is so beautiful to me – the honesty that these bodies bring to the dance floor each week – it astounds me, makes me weep, and leaves me breathless, over and over again. I wanted to share this with you, the beauty these dancers bring, so I made a film. It’s called The Sky Inside because that’s how it feels to me: That the sky is inside, all of us.” – Joanna
Joanna Rotkin is an independent dance artist living in the small mountain town (pop. 267) of Jamestown, Colorado, USA. She’s been creating original dance performances in and around this locale, as well as in Arizona, California, Mexico, Michigan, and New York City, since 2003.
She’s made dances at a number of site-specific locations, including: a swimming pool, a racquet ball court, a creek bed, an office space, an outdoor café, and on top of and around a Subaru Outback. She’s filled stages with moss, dirt, astro turf, and hanging umbrellas, as well as duct taping food to a dining room table. In her group work, she consistently works with, and seeks out, adults who do not have a background in technical dance, and who range in age from 24-85.
This past year, she was invited to re-make her improvised dance solo, Dog Dance, for 12 dancers, ages 41-85, and present it at The Americans for the Arts Annual Convention and The Denver Art Museum.
Most recently, she was accepted as an artist-in-residence at Kunstnarhuset Messen, in Ålvik, Norway for the month of June, 2019.
Joanna has taught at The University of Colorado, Naropa University, Bennington College, Prescott College, and numerous public schools and community centers.
She has an MFA in Dance from Bennington College in Vermont.