Hobart and William Smith Colleges will host the seventh annual Somatic Dance Conference and Performance Festival on July 10-14. The event brings renowned dance artists, educators, choreographers and scholars to Geneva for four days of workshop sessions and performances. Co-directed by dance icon William “Bill” Evans and Professor of Dance Cynthia Williams, the conference follows the Bill Evans’ Teachers Intensive (BETI) week-long workshop, where emerging and established dance educators study Evans’ pedagogy and practices.
The public are invited to attend three evening dance concerts and a special film screening. On Wednesday, July 10 the conference opens with a Welcome Concert at 7:30 p.m. in Deming Dance Theatre featuring choreography and performance by keynote choreographer Christal Brown, Evans, Dance Department Assistant Professor Kelly Johnson, and dance artists from Florida, Massachusetts, and New York. On Thursday, July 11, the community is invited to watch the award-winning film Into Sunlight, a feature documentary that brings together the artistry of choreographer Robin Becker, her dancers and Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Maraniss to explore historic events in Vietnam and student protests on the University of Wisconsin campus. Shown in the Fish Screening Room in the Gearan Center, Into Sunlight will be followed by a discussion with the choreographer.
Two more dance concerts on Friday and Saturday night feature performers from California, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Maryland, New York, Texas, Wisconsin and Lebanon. The performances reflect a diversity of styles from contemporary modern dance, Irish dance, tap and other genres. Each of the three dance concerts showcases a unique program of choreography.
The theme for the event is “Collaboration, Community and Social Justice.” Over 75 presenters will share their work through lecture, teaching workshops and/or performance, with sessions that reflect the diversity of the somatic dance field, including Body-Mind Centering™, Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement, Laban/Bartenieff, pilates and yoga. Four pre-conference workshops held on Wednesday, July 10 will feature creative ballet teaching, Feldenkrais, Evan’s technique, and dance and social justice.
The conference features three keynote speakers in plenary sessions. Christal Brown is the founder of INSPIRIT, Project BECOMING, the creator of the Liquid Strength training module for dance and the Chair of Dance at Middlebury College. In addition to her keynote presentation, “Culture Making: Practicing What We Value,” Brown will perform a solo at the Welcome Concert on Wednesday, July 10. Bill Evans will deliver his keynote address, “Still Teaching What I Want to Learn,” at a luncheon on Saturday, and will perform a signature tap solo, “Blues,” at the Welcome Concert. The final keynote presenter is Sondra Fraleigh, Professor Emeritus of Dance from The College at Brockport, a Fulbright Scholar and the award-winning author of nine books. She is the founding director of Eastwest Somatics Institute for the study of dance, yoga and movement.
Wednesday, July 10: Welcome Concert, 7:30 p.m., Deming Dance Theatre, Gearan Center for the Performing Arts; General Admission tickets $5, available at the box office beginning at 6:45 p.m.
Thursday, July 11: Film Screening, Into Sunlight; 7:30 p.m. Fish Screening Room, Gearan Center for the Performing Arts; Free Admission
Friday, July 12: Dance Concert II; 7:30 p.m. Deming Dance Theatre; General Admission $5
Saturday, July 13: Dance Concert III, 7:30 p.m. Deming Dance Theatre; General Admission $5
For more information, contact Professor Cynthia Williams at (315) 781-3495 or Williams@hws.edu.