Hobart and William Smith Colleges will host the fifth annual Somatic Dance Conference and Performance Festival, focused this year on the theme “Learning from the Living Body.” The conference and performance festival will take place on campus from July 5-8 at Gearan Center for the Performing Arts.
The three-day event is co-directed by HWS Professor of Dance Cynthia Williams and internationally renowned choreographer and performer William “Bill” Evans, who composed a piece of choreography for the HWS Dance Department faculty this spring. The conference will provide a platform for the rich exchange of ideas and practices that celebrate embodied learning through diverse modalities and approaches.
The conference includes 30 presenters, with 19 pieces performed across three days, as well as a keynote movement workshop, in addition to two keynote presentations by leaders in the field of somatic dance – Alexandra Beller, artistic director of Alexandra Beller/Dances, and Janice Meaden, co-founder of Integrated Movement Studies.
Dance concerts will be hosted on Wednesday, July 5; Thursday, July 6; and Friday, July 7 at 7:30 p.m. in Deming Theatre of the Gearan Center. All concerts will be $5 general admission and are open to the public. The performers in the Wednesday evening concert will be Evans, Williams, Professor of Dance Donna Davenport, dance professional Kathy Diehl, and Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp of University of Rochester dance faculty.
Throughout the conference, attendees will learn from and collaborate with dance artists and educators who take somatic-based approaches to dance and movement education, choreography, creative work and/or performance. Workshop sessions and performances explore a unique lineup of topics, including non-violent communication and contemporary dance, the process of listening and decision-making, anatomy fundamentals, and much more.
Performers and presenters include nationally and internationally recognized artists and educators with a diverse array of expertise, from filmmakers and activists to teachers and artistic directors.
In addition to Williams, two HWS professors will take part in the event. Associate Professor of Dance Michelle Iklé will present a session on intermediate jazz and dance, while Davenport will perform in the Welcome Concert. In addition to Iklé’s jazz dance session presentation, she also will be performing in Thursday night’s concert, a duet with music, film and choreographic direction by Brockport Emerita Professor Sondra Fraleigh. Professor of Dance Cadence Whittier is leading a Movement Choir.
At the conclusion of the Somatic Dance Conference, the 19th annual northeast Bill Evans Teachers Institute and Bill Evans Dancers Institute will kick off on the HWS campus. Both Institutes will run from July 9-15. Visit the HWS website for more information on both the Fifth Annual Somatic Dance Conference and Performance Festival and the Bill Evans Teachers and Dancers Institutes.