Improvisational Dance Teacher In Concert at Denison University
Posted: October 1, 2002
The Denison University department of dance will present Karen Nelson, a Vail Guest Artist-in-Residence, in "Tuning," an improvisational dance performance, at 8 p.m. on Friday (Oct. 4) in the Doane Dance Center. The performance is free and open to the public. No reservations are necessary.
Nelson is serving a residency at Denison working with students and faculty in the dance department. Performing with her in this concert will be Associate Professor Sandy Mathern-Smith and students: Franklin Grace, Ashleigh Diver, Lara Ellinger, Kori Martodam, Kristie Proffitt, Becky Schenk, Sarah Schneider, Casey Schory and Jessamyn Schmidt.
Nelson observes that dance improvisations follow "scores" - sets of rules and parameters that the participants follow. In contact improvisation, she says, "It's a specialized internal state dealing with sensitivity to balance, weight, momentum and sensations." She also says that teaching improvisation is not teaching people how to do it. "It's to teach people to look at how we do it - about awareness and bringing awareness to what we already do."
The Washington state-based dancer is a recognized expert in dance improvisation and during her 25 years of experience in contact improvisation has incorporated influences from meditation to martial arts in her performances. She has had a 15-year collaboration with Lisa Nelson, the originator of the "Tuning Score," as well as working with the performance group Image Lab. She directs Diverse Dance, a research retreat for people of mixed abilities, on Vashon Island in Washington.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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