Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre Residencies for Universities and Professional Dancers
Programs range from 1-4 weeks and are custom-designed to meet the needs of each student group. Each program includes combinations of the following workshops/classes/performances:
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Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre engages audiences in original and dynamic dance theatre that raises questions, challenges social norms and values, and magnifies humanity through dance. Productions pivot around core themes and through an interplay between athletic and pedestrian motion, activate emotional expression, character, and narrative in a rich and abstract collage. Amanda Selwyn’s collaborative choreographic process nurtures our own network of artists while actively engaging the community at large. In our Theme and Motif Workshops, students practice improvisation and composition skill building exercises to unearth raw and true original movement. We explore various sources of inspiration for developing movement including text, sound, texture, character, quality, as well as generating more conceptually motivated movement. To refine movement, students investigate motif development, phrasing, timing, rhythm, variation, voice, character, focus, partnering, touch, and quality.
Technique Classes taught by Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre Company Dancers emphasize clarity, initiation, quality, focus, energy, rhythm, musicality, and freedom of expression. The opening warm-up sequence focuses on the fluidity of the spine, core strengthening, articulation of the limbs, and then builds into across the floor sequences and challenging, creative, and invigorating phrase work. Students experience a movement vocabulary rich with detail, dramatic expression, energy, focus, and athleticism.
Body Conditioning classes focus on core strengthening, stability, flexibility, aerobic stamina, and developing minor muscle groups that protect joints and facilitate a greater range of motion and expression. Using yoga and pilates techniques and exercises, breath, alignment, and subtlety is emphasized throughout the vigorous full body workout.
The Movement Exchange Method, developed by Amanda Selwyn, is her signature methodology for creative collaboration and for arts education. Working with this approach, in Selwyn’s choreographic process, dancers invent ‘nuggets’ of original movement through various short studies, improvisations, and exercises in response to specific paradigms and thematic, essential questions. These ‘nuggets’ of movement are passed throughout the company to develop variation, nuance, in essence unpacking each dancers’ physical responses to the given paradigm to its most essential core. In this fashion, a rich, authentic, visceral, athletic, detailed, and expressive movement vocabulary slowly develops which stems from the collaborating dancers and the themes presented. Through the give and take and refining process, a cohesive through-line appears and the movement takes on new meaning and dictates the development of the choreography.
Human civilization as juxtaposed with nature is an underlying current in all of Selwyn’s work. She seeks to turn that which we accept every day on its head by dancing with social constructs and finding new meanings, new context. Her last six works have all been evening-length pieces, very much in dialogue with one another, each posing new questions for the next piece to address. In Repertory Workshops, students will learn sections from these works to perform in student performances. Works include: Behind Us, a piece in which there is a large wall on stage that the dancers climb, balance on, hide behind, and penetrate; Disturbance, a piece that explores the forces that bring about change, plotting a course through earth, air, fire, and water; Interiors, a piece that animates everyday living spaces, drawing distinction between public and private realms in kitchens, bathrooms, closets, hallways, and bedrooms; Hearsay, a work that pursues the soul of both the message and the messenger through call and response, follow the leader, self-reflection, social evolution, oral story, and the voice of a crowd; Undercurrent which lingers in the many energies of water to delve into that which is beyond our control — impulse, instinct, and forces of nature; Passage which explores overcoming obstacles, discovering resilience, being open to life’s possibilities; and Five Minutes which dramatizes our experience of time and explores what it means to be truly in the present moment.
In Collaborative Dance Creation Workshop, Selwyn will develop a new work of choreography with residency participants that will eventually develop into a part of the company repertory. Working with her collaborative process, students will practice the skills learned both in the Theme and Motif workshops and Movement Exchange Method Workshops, crafting original movement, developing variations, and with Selwyn’s direction, create new theatrical dance works.
Residency participants will have opportunities to perform the new works they have created collaboratively as well as repertory works learned for the greater school community.
Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre will perform works from the company repertory for the greater school population. Performances will often include post-show discussion and/or post-performance interactive workshops.
“Choreographer Amanda Selwyn uses gesture, narrative, and character to move her dances beyond pure bodies in motion and into social commentary and critique.” – Flavorpill
“Choreographically, Amanda’s point of departure is not an image or a gesture, but a theatrical imperative felt in her insistence on expression.” –
In Arts-in-Education Workshops, students learn Notes in Motion Outreach Dance Theatre’s approach to arts-in-education and develop playful dance exercises for a variety of ages and school populations. Participants will develop skills for classroom management, organizing culminating events, connecting dance to other aspects of the school curriculum, collaborating with classroom teachers, approaches to assessing students learning, have opportunities to practice teach, and study and analyze the dance standards as outlined in the NYC Department of Education’s Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts. Working with our singular approach to arts education, The Movement Exchange Method, students in our school programs take on leadership roles in their own learning, have creative input in the design of the curriculum, participate in critical discussions of the work of their peers, and develop collaborative skills. Our arts-in-education programs foster self-discovery, risk-taking, and making connections between different topics, themes, and areas of learning. We aim to provide access to the art form of dance to inspire the next generation of dance appreciators.
The Arts-in-Education Workshop will cover curriculum that teaches our five overarching learning goals: (1) Develop Skills and Technique – Investigating fundamental dance concepts: levels, pathways, body shapes, rhythm, weight shifts, dynamics, body control, basic partnering; (2) Improvise – Inventing original movements, expressing feelings/abstract concepts, working alone, collaborating with peers, finding solutions to movement problem, collaboration; (3) Choreograph – Creating choreography, choosing a beginning, middle, end, recalling, repeating, practicing sequences, employing structures, creating as a group; (4) Perform – Performing for peers, family, and the school community at the end of each semester, dance with expressiveness and joy, understand appropriate performer and audience behavior, dance with focus and intent, dance with self-awareness and awareness of the group; (5) Reflect – Employing dance vocabulary through writing, discussion, and video, name dance activities, parts of the body, choreographic ideas, personal observations, use contrasting action and descriptive words, connect dance learning to academic areas.