creative gatherings

Creative Gatherings are planned for all Children and Youth. The times will be arranged by a Dance Facilitator, with small groups from 2 to 3 countries working together at a convenient time for all. Creative Gatherings will be held each day for 2 hours, except Monday which will be 1 hour, and will conclude with a Showcase on Friday. Below is information on the Dance Facilitators and the sessions they have planned.
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Clare Battersby and invited teaching artists of Aotearoa will engage you in the enchanting, mysterious, cheeky, and universal movement of the human shadow. We will explore the way our movement traces can be captured, stretched, blown up, and dynamized through playing with light and its absence. Guiding our collective journey is the story of the Kuaka (bar-tailed godwits). We will create dancing conversations across the seas, migrating across borders and timelines without needing passports—following the structure of the Kuaka’s intrepid journey, feasting on a wealth of dance in light and shadow in the deeply collaborative, non-intimidating, celebration.
Clare Battersby (Grad. Dip. Movement and Dance, University of Melbourne; DipTchg, ECE) has taught contemporary movement and dance to children for 35 years at TAPAC Performing Arts Centre and early childhood centres and schools across Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. She trains teachers in using movement and dance with children and teaches dance and drama to Graduate Diploma ECE students (University of Auckland). Clare introduces children to the natural world through story and performing arts with her interactive performances at the Royal Melbourne Botanical Gardens (1995) and botanical gardens worldwide, presenting her work at daCi conferences in Kuopio (1997) and Copenhagen (2015).
Alison Chase explores the improvisational, collaborative approach to movement invention and choreography evolved as founding director of Pilobolus, Momix, and Alison Chase/Performance. Facilitators from the company will employ movement-based improvisations to bring awareness, encouragement, and fun to the free interplay of impulse and intuition in the creative process. Each workshop, starting with a simple warmup and student-generated actions, will investigate how improvisation can be a tool to discover the unexpected and build new movement vocabulary; heighten participants’ skills as nonverbal communicators; model how to structure, edit, and re-seam movement into choreography with a clear beginning, middle, and end; and build interpersonal collaborative skills that respect diverse individuals and the collective effort. Dancers will explore props and the range of virtual and actual spaces to enhance their compositions, to be shared on the final day with reflections by the participants and a conversation with the audience.
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Alison Chase (choreographer, director, educator, and theatrical artist) is a master teacher whose first class at Dartmouth inspired the creation of the internationally renowned dance companies Pilobolus, Momix, and Alison/Chase/Performance. Her approach emphasizes embodied creativity over sheer steps and technique, encouraging play, invention, and the development of new movement vocabularies. Throughout her creative and educational life, she has worked with dancers of all ages and levels, including Sedgwick Elementary (Blue Hill, ME), Brooklin Elementary (Brooklin, ME), Portland Arts and Technology High School (Portland, ME), and George Stevens Academy (Blue Hill, ME).
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Myrna de la Garza will explore movement inside—and outside—a big T-shirt, manipulating the piece of clothing to create a non-lineal narrative about the duality of “Self/Other.” These explorations will promote community and a sense of belonging. 
Myrna de la Garza Brena is a choreographer, dancer, teacher, and Certified Movement Analyst with a License in Artistic Education and a D.E.U.G. in Dance. Born in Mexico City, she is director of the M d Mar Danza Company (1992-present), cofounded the Movement Research Center CIM-CX, and created the technique El Movimiento Lógico®, which she has taught nationally and internationally. Myrna writes articles for dance magazines and websites, designs and runs workshops, and creates dance pieces for young audiences. Her latest project, 50 Micro-Historias en Transición, focuses on women in and above their fifties and has won support from 2018-2021.
Cecília de Lima offers a Creative Gathering titled Sharing Differences: my body, your body, everybody. How do we relate to other bodies through a virtual connection? What is it to breathe together and feel each other through a screen? What is behind what each of us shows on the screen? The focus of this work is to explore the body as a force of affection—becoming affected by everything that surrounds it and living as a constant process of relation with its environment. More specifically, we will approach affection through two simple, basic forces: the biological need of breathing and the social desire of hugging.
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Cecília de Lima has been developing her career as a dancer, choreographer, and researcher since 1999, collaborating with diverse artists throughout Europe. She holds a PhD in Human Kinetics/Dance, developed with a grant by FCT (PT). She is a professor at the University of Lisbon – Dance Course, researcher at the Institute of Ethnomusicology (INET-MD), member of the Centre for Performing Arts (CEAP), and peer reviewer for the Journal of Dance & Somatic Practices (UK). Her creative work and internationally published research focus on dance’s relationship with phenomenology, cognitive sciences, somatic practices, and artistic education.
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Heather Francis & Angela Challis focus on personal culture and self-identity, exploring the principle that “when I realize I matter, I am able to see that you matter” through movement and conversation. Establishing a solid self-concept—honoring and identifying one’s own culture, perspectives, preferences, and values—prepares one to listen, witness, and honor the values and perspectives as another. When we recognize our humanness and our inherent value in the world, we can transfer that recognition to others and honor their embodied experiences and journeys through life. The zodiac signs will serve as a springboard for personal reflection and exploration of values, preferences, and personality. The individual solos and group compositions stemming from these explorations will then be paired, layered, and sequenced together to create the virtual performance.
Heather Francis (MA, BA) has taught math and dance in K-12 public school and creative dance for young children for eleven years. She has presented at national and international conferences on math and dance integration, intergenerational dance practices, and her field research on dance and drumming in Asamang, Ghana. She has choreographed for Body Logic Dance Company, Brine Dance, loveDANCEmore Mudson, Kinnect Dance Company, and the daCi Utah Board. Heather is Arts Bridge Program Coordinator and Research and Development Coordinator for the BYU ARTS Partnership, Chair-Elect on the daCi USA Board, and Advocacy Director for the Utah Dance Education Organization.
Angela Rosales Challis is a dance educator and filmmaker from Cochabamba, Bolivia. She holds a BFA in Dance Education (Brigham Young University), an MFA in Film and Media Arts, and a certification in Screendance (University of Utah). She has presented at education conferences nationally and internationally and has been involved with daCi since 2004. Angela spent eight years as a dance specialist in Utah elementary schools; she currently teaches at Brigham Young University and is the Director of Kinnect Dance Company, an educational outreach dance company that works with 2,000 elementary-school children each year.
Allen Kaeja’s workshop will harness vibrant and fluid fascination combined with skillful improvisation techniques, either as a solo or interactively between two people on various screens. Each series of improvisation will be the fuel to create distinct, original, and inspiring short choreographies. The workshop will center on landmark tools of finding the choreographer’s unique vision, culminating in a final performance piece by the group. 
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Allen Kaeja is an internationally recognized and award-winning choreographer and dance film director. The child of a refugee and Holocaust survivor, Allen has created 27 years of Holocaust-inspired stage and film works. Co-Artistic Director of Kaeja d’Dance with Karen Kaeja for over thirty years, Allen’s stage and film works have been featured in commercials, films, and festivals around the world. Allen and Karen have performed and taught across Canada and in Japan, Singapore, China, Israel, Mexico, the USA, and the UK. They received the DanceOntario Lifetime Achievement Award and were finalists for the TAF-2020 Celebration of Cultural Life Award.
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Yvonne Ng’s workshops will use imagery as a tool for weaving together various ways to warm, both the body and the imagination, into a ready state of physicality. Dancers will learn to create and write choreographic scores and employ them in the creation of spontaneous composition.
Yvonne Ng is a choreographer, presenter, arts educator, and artistic director of princess productions ( since 1996; featured projects include tiger princess dance projects (tpdp) and dance: made in canada/fait au canada Festival. Yvonne is a certified Open Source Forms, C-I Training™, and Ashtanga Yoga teacher. Yvonne is a recipient of the 2017 Muriel Sherrin Award, 2016 Jacqueline Lemieux Prize, Soulpepper Community Arts Award, K.M. Hunter Artist Award, the New Pioneers Arts Award, Chalmers Arts Fellowship, Dora Mavor Moore Award for best performance (ensemble), and the 2007 Ontario Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts – New Talent Award.
John-Mario Sevilla and dancers will explore and create choreography based on the themes of a song and dance of Hawaiʻi, Ke Ao Nani (The Beautiful World), by Mary Kawena Pukui. Dancers will reflect on the hula’s concepts of ao (world), aloha (love), mālama (care) and nani (beauty) and create personal movement responses to natural elements in their lives, communities, and environments. 
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John-Mario Sevilla, from Maui, Hawai‘i, is a hula student of Hōkūlani Holt and June Ka‘ililani Tanoue. Currently the Director at Large at Luna Dance Institute in Berkeley, CA, and Visiting Scholar at NYU’s Asian/Pacific/American Institute, he previously directed 92Y Harkness Dance Center, Dance Education Laboratory, and NYC Ballet Education. The Met Museum, LaMaMa, Movement Research, Harkness Dance Center, Dance Theatre Workshop, Lower East Side Tenement Museum, The Asia Society, and Bronx Academy of Art and Dance have presented his choreography. He has danced in the companies of Pilobolus, Alison Chase, Murray Louis and Alwin Nikolais, and Anna Sokolow, among others.
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Michelle Silagy shares Chasing Shadows, Caressing Light: Near and Far, an inclusive dance considering and celebrating how each individual perceives and feels the sun during the course of a day. Participants will generate and share movement inspiration, intention, and motivation from found stories. This source material will guide and refine gesture and phrase making, leading to the forming of our dance between two different groups. The first group explores movement inspired by the rising sun (dawn to noon), and the second by the sun at noon to its setting at dusk. Liminal space before dawn and after dusk will be represented by movement patterns shared between both groups. The moment of midday will be where one group ends and the other begins. A juicy warmup will prepare us for choreographed phrases, improvisational scores, and creation time as supported by individual musings, imaginings, and shared conversations.
Michelle Silagy (MFA Dance, York University), contemporary dance artist and teacher of 30 years, has shared her work in Amsterdam, Inuvik, New York, Winnipeg, Montreal, and Ontario. Silagy has performed and studied with DA Founder Alito Alessi as a Master DanceAbility facilitator and facilitates inclusive children’s movement classes as Artistic Director of The Young Dancers’ Program at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre (STDT). Silagy and Wee Festival Artistic Director Lynda Hill co-created Dora-nominated Flying Hearts, a relaxed performance touring Ontario for children who are differently abled. Silagy currently works with Andrea Nann’s Dreamwalker Dance Company as an inclusion artist.
Eryn Trudell’s Creative Gathering, Elements and Animals, is a circle dance with three parts. The structural framework is based on Sacred/Circle Dance Formation, a gentle and healing way for dance to bring mind, body, and spirit together. It relieves stress, releases creative energy, and helps the dancer feel centred and connected. Moving rhythmically is both relaxing and energizing at the same time. This dance does not require any previous dance experience, and the steps will be created in collaboration with the dancers. The creative process will begin with discussion and movement exploration of the elements (fire, water, air, and earth) and animals, inspiring the creation of movement sequences that repeat and travel in two concentric circles, one clockwise and one counterclockwise.
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Eryn Dace Trudell, founder and artistic director of MamaDances since 2006, has spent three decades as a producer, dancer, choreographer, facilitator, teacher, researcher, and entrepreneur. Her research investigates dance as a relational art and means of cultivating wholeness and wellness through kinaesthetic awareness, deepening connections, and contributing to quality of life for individuals and communities. Eryn’s knowledge and skill are a consolidation of her training in ballet and modern dance at Juilliard; independent research in contemporary dance, somatic movement education, and Dance Movement Therapy; and pursuit of history and practice of folk dance, culturally specific dances, and dance as ritual.