Dance in the Spotlight at HWS – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Dance in the Spotlight at HWS

Dance educators and artists from across North America will convene at Hobart and William Smith Colleges this month for back-to-back professional dance workshops: the 18th Annual Bill Evans Teachers Institute (BETI I & II), followed by the 4th Annual Somatic Dance Conference and Performance Festival.

During the two BETI workshops, July 6-9 and July 10-14, participants will study with renowned choreographer and performer William “Bill” Evans and other distinguished faculty in classes ranging from dance kinesiology and Evans Technique to improvisation, Laban-Based Ballet, and somatic approaches to dance. Participants will also have the opportunity to work with noted choreographer Claire Porter on the creation and performance of a new piece.

Evans is professor emeritus at The College at Brockport and distinguished professor emeritus at the University of New Mexico. Recently celebrating its 42nd anniversary, Bill Evans Dance Company has appeared in 50 states and 24 countries, including Mexico and Canada. Evans has been awarded numerous prestigious fellowships and grants, including awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and Lifetime Achievement Awards from the National Dance Education Organization, the American Dance Guild and Dance Teacher Magazine. Evans founded the Bill Evans Summer Institute of Dance in 1977, and in 1999, Evans, Kitty Daniels and Don Halquist founded special summer programs for dance teachers, dedicated to the integration of Laban/Bartenieff movement studies, applied kinesiology and multiple intelligences theory into the teaching of dance technique. The BETI programs have grown over the years and more than 1,000 teachers have participated, with 41 holding certification in the Bill Evans Method of Teaching Laban/Bartenieff-based Modern Dance Technique.  

Somatic Dance Conference and Performance Festival, July 14-17

The Somatic Dance Conference and Performance Festival begins on Thursday, July 14 and will include a performance in Deming Theatre. This year marks the first time that the Annual Bill Evans Teachers Institute and the Somatic Dance Conference and Performance Festival will be held in Geneva. HWS Professor of Dance Cynthia Williams is thrilled to welcome participants to the newly constructed Gearan Center for the Performing Arts. Williams, whose association with Evans dates back to her first year as an undergraduate student at the University of Utah, has been co-director of the Somatic Dance Conference and Performance Festival since its inception.

The Conference features sessions by 62 presenters, four dance concerts showcasing the work of 33 choreographers, two keynote speeches and a plenary movement-based session offered by Body-Mind Centering © founder Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen. The Conference will offer a rich exchange of ideas and practices that celebrate embodied learning through diverse modalities and approaches. Dance artists and educators with somatic-based approaches to dance and movement education, choreography, creative work and/or performance will present an array of sessions, with titles ranging from “Conflict Resolution through Dance” and “A Somatic Approach to Aerial Dance” to “Body Sensing for Social Change” and “Somatojazzology!” The more than 100 participants in the conference are arriving in Geneva from across the United States, Brazil, Canada, England and Mexico.

In addition to the plenary movement session offered by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, the Conference includes two keynote speeches: Virginia Wilmerding, former chief executive officer of the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science and research professor at the University of New Mexico, will speak on “Health and Longevity for the Mature Dancer/Teacher;” and Evans’ topic is “Becoming a Somatic Dancer, Teacher and Choreographer.”    

While the Conference sessions are open to registered participants only, the four dance concerts will be held in Deming Theatre of the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts and are open to the public.

On Thursday, July 14 at 7:30 p.m., the opening concert will feature an ensemble piece created by Porter as well as solos, duets and ensembles choreographed and performed by artists from Iowa, Florida and New York, including a solo from “Namely Muscles” by Porter and a tap solo, “Excursions,” performed by Evans. Following Thursday night’s concert there will be a reception in the L. Thomas Melly ’52 Lobby of the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts.

On Friday, July 15 at 7:30 p.m., a new roster of artists and choreography will be presented including solo pieces by HWS Professor of Dance Donna Davenport and HWS Assistant Professor of Dance Kelly Johnson, a duet with Williams and prominent somatic educator Martha Eddy, and solo and group works from dance artists based in New York, Tennessee, New Mexico, Rochester and Seattle. William Smith dance alumna Bethany Good ’10, production coordinator for the Conference, will present choreography.     

On Saturday, July 16 at 7:30 p.m., 11 choreographers will present a different program of pieces performed by dance artists based in Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Virginia. Solos, duets, trios and group ensembles will represent a variety of dance styles and traditions.

Sunday, July 17 at 4 p.m. marks the closing concert solos and duets by dance artists from Indiana, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania, including a piece choreographed and performed by HWS Associate Professor of Dance Michelle Iklé.

Tickets for each concert will be available at the Gearan Center box office starting one hour before each performance begins. Tickets are $10 general admission and $5 for students and seniors. Parking is available in the adjacent Medbery parking lot. Deming Theatre is air conditioned and easily accessible. For further information about the concerts, contact Cynthia Williams at (315) 781-3495 or email Williams@hws.edu.