HWS hosts the 8th Annual Somatic Dance Conference and Performance Festival – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

HWS hosts the 8th Annual Somatic Dance Conference and Performance Festival

Hobart and William Smith Colleges are hosting the 8th Annual Somatic Dance Conference and Performance Festival which brings renowned dance artists, educators, choreographers and scholars to Geneva for four days of workshop sessions and performances, July 6-9, 2022. Co-directed by dance icon William “Bill” Evans and Dance Department Professor 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 theme for the 2022 Somatic Dance Conference and Performance Festival is “Embodying Joy: Empowering Students and Ourselves with Somatic Knowledge.”  Over 60 presenters will be sharing their work through lecture, teaching workshops, and/or performing, with sessions that reflect the diversity of the dance somatic field, including Body-Mind Centering™, Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement, Laban/Bartenieff, Pilates, and Yoga. This year’s conference is dedicated to the memory of Professor Cadence Joy Whittier, a beloved HWS professor and cherished colleague and friend. A videotaped performance of Whittier’s solo “Tethered,” from 2019 will be shown during Wednesday night’s concert, and a tribute film will be shown on Friday night.

The conference features two keynote speakers in plenary sessions: Peter DiMuro, executive artistic director of Cambridge’s Dance Complex, and artistic director of Peter DiMuro/Public Displays of Motion, and Andrea Olsen, performer, writer, and interdisciplinary educator and professor emerita from Middlebury College. Olsen is the author of three previous books with a fourth coming out this December.

While the majority of sessions are for registered conference attendees, three evening dance concerts and a special film screening are open to the general public. On Wednesday, July 6 the conference opens with a Welcome Concert in Deming Dance Theatre featuring choreography and performance by EE Balcos, Bill Evans, Claire Porter, BETI guest artist Edisa Weeks, and Dance Department Professor Cynthia Williams. The dance concerts on Thursday and Saturday nights feature performers from Canada, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Michigan, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. Upstate audiences will be familiar with many of the performers, from Dance Department Professor Donna Davenport, WS alumna Olive Prince, to Rochester based artists Briana Blair Kelly, Caitlin Mahon, and Buffalo based Leanne Rinelli. The choreography reflects a diversity of contemporary dance styles and draws inspiration from multiple cultural traditions including Filipino and Hawaiian dance, Indian dance, Irish dance, Korean dance, and other genres. Each of the three concerts showcases a unique program of choreography.

Friday, July 8 the conference will feature a presentation of four dance films in the Fish Screening Room of the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts. The evening begins with a screening of Cynthia Williams’ tribute to Cadence Joy Whittier, and is followed by Elaine Colandrea’s Heart of Continuum—A Cinematic Celebration of Susan Harper. Kista Tucker presents her multi-award winning film Tales from Dapple Creek, and Kora Radella will show her dance film Branch Out.

Wednesday, July 6

Welcome Concert
7:30 p.m. Deming Dance Theatre, General Admission $5

Thursday, July 7               

Dance Concert II
7:30 p.m. Deming Dance Theatre, General Admission $5

Friday, July 8                      

Dance Films Showcase
7:30 p.m. Fish Screening Room, no admission charge

Saturday, July 9                

Dance Concert III
7:30 p.m. Deming Dance Theatre, General Admission $5

Concert tickets will be available for purchase in the Gearan Center Box Office, beginning at 7:00 p.m. each night, $5 cash or check only. We ask that all audience members wear masks to minimize any potential spread of Covid-19. For further information, please contact Professor Cynthia Williams, (315) 781-3495 or email Williams@hws.edu.