As part of the continuation of Dance in America, we shine the light on Layers.
Layers was started by Heidi Brewer (@brewery83), an LA based professional dancer. Layers is a platform for movement-based techniques and concepts. It is comprised of a series of workshops designed to facilitate exploration and discovery.
Layers kicked off with a two-day workshop April 2017 in the ARC Pasadena space. The workshop investigated somatic applications to movement and in-depth improvisational exploration. It was well attended by local LA area teachers and performing artists.
The experience was immersive. Some dancers chose to take specific workshops while others like me spent the whole day for a truly immersive experience. Layers is a great way for local dancers to continue to grow and learn from each other as well as leading Dancers in LA.
Follow Layers on Facebook for upcoming workshops.
Below, I showcase the Dancers and their workshops on the first day of the workshop.
Andrew Pearson (@contemporarydancepracticela)
Andrew Pearson is the founder and facilitator of Contemporary Dance Practice: LA. Andrew is in solo practice and his work has been presented throughout the LA area. Andrew received his BFA from UC Irvine and has continued his professional training in Los Angeles. He has danced with companies including BodyTraffic, Clairobscure, String Theory, LollieWorks, The Union Project Dance Company, and the Los Angeles Contemporary Dance Company. He has both taught classes/workshops and performed around the world including London, Holland, Berlin, Melbourne, Paris, Malaga, and Sydney.
His workshop focused on dance as a social activity. The workshop explored the development of technical abilities as an authentic response, all the while adhering to choreographic form like Bartinieff fundamentals, improvisation, ballet, release technique practices, and American Modern Dance techniques. His class emphasizes body knowledge, efficiency in movement, individual expression, and fun. We moved in and out of the floor in both choreographed and improvised exercises to explore the mechanics of our skeleton in order to find physical autonomy as we partnered our body with space.
Kevin Williamson is an LA based movement artist whose collaborative dance works explore aspects of contemporary life through movement, text, and media. He is a Lester Horton Award recipient, Bates Educators Fellow, and Center Theatre Group Sherwood Award Finalist. His works have been presented around the country and world. He continues to makes movements for opera and theatre for The Juilliard School, Yale Repertory Theater, UCLA Opera, Atlantic Theatre Company, Washington National Opera, and Geffen Playhouse. Kevin received his MFA in Choreography from UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance. Kevin is currently a faculty member at Scripps College in Claremont, CA and member of the theater and television collective New Neighborhood.
Kevin's workshop explored moving with improvisation/evocative imagery. He helped us dive into the subtleties of our individual selves. He helped us connect to ourselves through feeling, desiring, and spilling physically into the world. He then used personal reflection, pair-share, and observation to push our art form into idiosyncratic sequences. Yet, these idiosyncratic sequences led to the sharpening of our lens and embodiment of qualities that moved us on a deep emotional and personal level. His workshop achieved its aim for each dancer to "have worked through/out/on our psychophysical cravings to dance and compose with zest and originality."
Gracie Whyte (@geeedubs)
Gracie Whyte is co-founder of WHYTEBERG, a collaborative choreographic duo with Laura Berg. WHYTEBERG has showcased live work in the LA region. The company also teaches weekly professional classes at numerous venues around LA and creates media-based collaborations with local musicians and directors. Gracie choreographs and teaches workshops/masterclasses around the US, England, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Austria, and Portugal. She is renowned for her floorwork technique. Gracie trained at the London Contemporary Dance School, where she was awarded a Master’s degree with Merit in Contemporary Dance. While in Europe, Gracie toured internationally and danced in many events throughout the UK and Europe.
Gracie's session focused on floorwork technique principles. There was a strong focus on smoothly changing levels with emphasis on softening into the floor, clarity of dynamic movement qualities, and travelling through space by lowering the center of gravity. This workshop required upper-body strength and good cardiovascular conditioning. She encouraged dancers to move instinctually with both speed and silence. There was a creative period where dancers applied what they learned to floor passes. The last half of the session concentrated on spinal articulation, suspension and release, and the command of space while smoothly changing levels. Gracie emphasized control and strength.