BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance

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Behind the Scenes at Ross 2016

August 8, 2016

Week 5 with Teresa!

In teaching two weeks in a row, I had a chance to really get to know the students and faculty at Ross. I feel like I learned as much about movement expression and invention in the games of “dance catch” that I played in “off” time after class, as I did in the studio. The students here really digest the tools offered to them to create their own inventions in a magical way. One student from last week is even singing “Eye of the Tiger in her Glee Club minor this week. She is obsessed and I love it!

I had the joy of leading an amazingly vibrant group of seven students Week 5, including our supportive Counselor In Training, Isabella! With this amount of energy, we kept all of the dances light and rapid.

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We focused on a Jazz Dance on Day One, set to the infectious music of Jason Derulo.  Watch it [HERE!] I couldn’t help but bring back a retro theme day after our request for Eye of the Tiger last week. No live band this week, but we did an extended dance to [Groove is in the Heart] by Dee-Lite with tons of turns, jumps, and handstands. Go 90’s!

For hip hop we danced to Meghan Trainor’s “NO” in a majorly empowering way. It was great to explore some of the floorwork we had been doing in technique class, and work with the music.

During Week Five, I also had the opportunity to assist Michael Apuzzo from the Paul Taylor Dance Company in a workshop for Ross Students. Dancing with and helping to lead the high school and younger students in the circular choreography was a great way to witness my students’ growth from another perspective. Watch the dance [HERE].

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Each week at Ross brings new creative challenges. I look forward to Week Eight!

BEHIND THE SCENES AT ROSS 2016

August 1, 2016

Week 4 with Teresa!

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In starting my third year teaching and directing the Ross Summer Dance Program, I was looking forward to further defining the expectations and standards of our dance curriculum, and to designing classes that are exploratory, challenging, and fun for all of the dancers involved. I was also so excited to see our students who I have enjoyed getting to know over the years. They continually engage me with their depth of imagination, intelligence, and creativity!

Week Four was a group of four dedicated dancers that were an absolute delight. Our first day we focused on Jazz technique, and then created a dance to Justin Bieber’s catchy beats. It was a light and fun dance, focusing on our fancy footwork. Watch it [here]!

Our next dance technique was contemporary. The dancers embodied intentional focus, sustained movements, and partnered very well with the music. As per special request by The Ross Rock Band, we did a Throwback Dance Day and created a dance to “Eye of the Tiger.” You can see [our version] where we ate up the whole studio space, and then contained it to perform in the band room. It was such a fun experience to perform this dance in two locations, and to feel the intensity of the live music behind our Rocky-themed movements!

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During Week Four I also had the opportunity to choreograph with the dance minor students. We had a wonderful time working with one of my favorite music artists, LCD Soundsystem, appropriately named “Home.” BodyStories has been performing our newest work, HOME this year, and a piece of it followed me out here to East Hampton.

BEHIND THE SCENES AT OUR ROSS SCHOOL RESIDENCY 2016

July 25, 2016

Week 3 with Geena!

As I arrived in Bridgehampton on Saturday, the song Happy with Me by Holychild started playing in my ears. I used this song last year at the Ross School for choreography and found it to be the perfect theme for my arrival.

This week we covered lyrical/modern dance, hip-hop and a [dance from Trinidad].  The students were all so excited and eager to have fun and enjoy dance!  I pushed the dancers to be more creative than ever – to put their whole body and emotions into the dance, to take risks and make up creative movements on their own.  As a reward we played lots of movement games.

We did interviews of their favorite activities: Sophia, Gabby and Matilda all loved the Cheetah Girls dance.  Watch the dance [HERE]!

Rénee’s favorite dance was You’ve Got Time.  You can certainly see their personalities come to the surface in this dance.  Watch it [HERE]!

And Mission Impossible was unanimously chosen as a favorite game – a movement game across the floor with a few curveballs!

All in all, so much fun!

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STEPPING INTO WEEK 2

July 19, 2016

Week 2 with Monica!

This week I had a terrific group of six young students who took on Creative movement, Jazz, Contemporary, and Modern movement. Many were returning students and it was exciting to see students I had taught two years ago! Here’s how the week went–

We explored modern movement on Day 1 along with creative movement exercises and composition. Our favorite exercise was the Statue Game. The students paired up and one became the artist and the other the statue. They learned how to communicate without speaking and found creative poses! We also created duets using movement from abstractly spelling their names.

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Day 2 was Jazz day, which was their favorite. We moved through classic jazz technique including jazz walks, kicks, and leaps. I choreographed our dance to Justin Timberlake’s new song Can’t Stop the Feeling and they could not get enough of it!  Watch the video [here]!

Day 3 was our day to explore contemporary movement, stage presence, and emotions while dancing. Out improvisation for the day came from looking into how certain emotions inspire us to move in different ways. Energy, focus, and listening to the music helped us dive deeper into our contemporary dance to Adele’s Someone Like You.  Watch the video [here]!

Day 4 was more in depth modern dance techniques including floor work! We also explored mirroring and weight sharing with partners. We had so m to review for our show that we practiced all afternoon!

The students had a fabulous performance on Friday and they were so excited to share with family, friends, and fellow campers!  We also supported the theater major by watching their production of Alice and Wonderland.

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That’s a wrap!

BEHIND THE SCENES AT OUR ROSS SCHOOL RESIDENCY 2016

July 12, 2016

Week 1 with Lily!

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BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance is excited to be at the Ross Summer Program again this year! We’ve just finished our first week and it’s amazing how much progress we made. Ross started off with a small, focused group of only 3 dancers this holiday week, so everyone got plenty of one-on-one time with the teachers.

On Day 1, Teresa joined me for some contemporary work. After some warmups of leg swings, rolls and leaps, the students and teachers collaborated to create a contemporary dance set to Beyoncé’s “Halo.”  Over the course of just one lesson, all three students developed focus and control.  Watch the dance [HERE]!

Day 2 was something brand-new for Ross! Growing up in a Polish community with a Polish grandma, Polish folk dance was an important part of my dance training. It was so exciting to share this part of my identity with the students at Ross. Traditional Polish dance is done with a partner in a large group, and emphasizes strength, precision, and precise, accented rhythms. We practiced polkas and partnering, then rounded off the lesson with a variation of the Krakowiak, a traditional dance that first rose to popularity in 1830! Please take a look at our Krakowiak [HERE]!

Day 3 was jazz, which bears a surprising amount of similarities to the polkas, both emphasizing syncopated rhythms and decisive movements. My students used the musicality and control they developed from the previous two lessons to dig deep and feel the beat, hit their poses and move fluidly through them. It all came together in our final dance, an homage to “Center Stage” set to “The Way You Make Me Feel,” by Michael Jackson.  

Week 1 was short, and there’s so much more ground I wanted to cover. In just three days, these dancers grew by leaps and bounds and we still have so much to look forward to!

Learn more about Audrey Rachelle!

December 6, 2015

12401970_10153850920068000_3109333533567981315_oI was born in Portland, Oregon on November 15th, 1990. I spent the first half of my childhood in Portland getting rained on. The second half I spent in the Sonoran Desert. My parents believe living in extreme conditions builds character, but that’s not why I’m in New York City right now. I came to New York to live large in a tiny two-bedroom apartment with two of my sisters. After a year of that, we realized we needed to move into a large apartment and fill it with lots of cats.

I ate an orange and became a dancer.

I also perform with The Equus Projects/Onsite NYC and AnA Collaborations, an arts collective that I co-direct with Alex Jenkins. I’m very passionate about equality and enjoy engaging in other art forms. I enjoy the openness that Teresa’s process and work allows for. To me, the overarching theme of Teresa’s work is studying, exposing, and questioning the human experience.FullSizeRender-1
I’m currently teaching myself to dance, it’s pretty time consuming. I love to take classes from teachers who understand progression, who encourage curiosity and individualism, and who listen and respond to the energy in the room. In general I like to take classes at Gibney Dance because I feel at home there and yes, because I’m biased.

Learn more about Alex Jenkins!

November 29, 2015

unnamed-2Alex Jenkins was born October 23, 1990 in Riverside, CA.

I lived in San Francisco for many years and wanted to expand my opportunities in NYC. I went to ballet class in the womb! Growing up, my mother continued taking me to train in ballet schools where she taught, and I stuck with it when I realized early that I wanted to become professional.

In addition to BodyStories I perform with my own company, AnA unnamed-2Collaborations, co-directed with fellow BodyStories member, Audrey Rachelle. I also teach middle-schoolers movement in an after-school organization called Global Kids. 

I’ve only been through one full process with Teresa so far, but as we’ve just begun a new work I do feel that there are some similar themes popping up between the two works. There is a lot of psychological exploration especially with the concept of sanity which, for me, manifests in the ideas of togetherness vs. separateness, comfort vs. discomfort, and a bit of fight-or-flight. 

Gaga is my favorite way to train and discover. Listening, giving in, letting go, finding pleasure, effort and groove. Don’t need much else! 

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I eat a lot for a tiny person! I don’t watch my diet much but I usually don’t get down with the artificial and the processed. I love food, nature, travel, love–the usual 🙂 I really love being allowed to be off-the-wall, creative, and collaborative. 

Learn more about Mia DeWeese!

November 21, 2015

IMG_8702eMia DeWeese born July 19, 1991 and was raised in Lewis Center, Ohio!

When I was 18, I entered the dance department at Marymount Manhattan College on the Upper East Side. As soon as I could walk I was dancing. My mom entered me into combo classes when I was 2, but I wouldn’t let her leave the room. So she attempted again when I was 3, and I haven’t stopped dancing since.

I grew up at a few different studios in Columbus, Ohio. Then my mother opened IMG_7909a studio called Infusion Dance where I did the majority of my training under Shane Carpenter. I also traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio to train and dance with Exhale Dance Tribe, a professional contemporary/jazz company under the direction of Missy Lay Zimmer and Andrew Hubbard.

I perform with 10 HL Projects and I also work on projects with Jenn Freeman and Sonya Tayeh.

My non-dance passion are:
Traveling: my favorite domestic destination has been Big Sur, California, and my favorite international destination has been Berlin, Germany.
Politics: I am an avid feminist and democratic socialist. I have campaigned for Planned Parenthood and Bernie Sanders. It’s my dream to someday hold a position in public office.
Reading: my best friends and I started a book club. It’s been going strong for almost two years now.

IMG_7914My favorite part of working with Teresa is the people that I have the pleasure of sharing a space with every week. I really consider myself lucky, because all seven of us (5 dancers, Teresa, and Charly) trust each other, respect each other, are inspired by each other, and genuinely like each other. It makes even the daunting parts of the process enjoyable.

I teach ballet and contemporary to pre-professional students at City Center Dance in White Plains, and I also travel home to Ohio, whenever I can, to teach and choreograph at my home studio, Infusion Dance. I would love to get a professional class started up in the city soon.

My favorite dance class of all time is from a woman named Brooke Pierotti. I IMG_7872started working with her in high school and then traveling as her assistant. She is based in LA, and her approach to dance changed my life. Locally, my favorite classes to take are Jenn Freeman’s contemporary class at Broadway Dance Center, Adam Barruch’s contemporary class at Gibney, Julia Ehrstrand’s contemporary class at Steps, and Al Blackstone’s musical theater class at Broadway Dance Center. My favorite post-show regimen is taking a lot of restorative yoga classes for full body stretching. I also generally get bodywork done, either chiropractic, deep tissue massage, or acupuncture. And also some cycling classes. I have bad knees and I find that cycling helps to keep them tracking and helps with stiffness.

I think all (or most) dancers are hyper-aware of what they are putting in their bodies at any given time. I don’t “diet” per se, but I do put emphasis on living a vegan lifestyle. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 7, and recently I’ve learned that dairy slows my body down so I have vastly limited my intake. Also, being vegan helps limit carbon dioxide emissions from cows and other livestock, so I also feel like I am helping to eliminate waste in our environment! A typical day looks something like this:

Breakfast- an apple and peanut butter
Lunch: a salad of sorts, my favorite salad in the city is from Bite. It’s the middle eastern salad with hummus and eggplant.
Dinner- Usually either Indian, Middle Eastern, or Asian. I make a great homemade stir fry with brussels sprouts, and if I’m ordering food, my go-to is Channa Masala.

Learn more about Zach Bergfelt!

November 16, 2015

admin-ajax.phpZach Bergfelt was born on June 9th 1989 in Pittsburgh PA.

I came to NYC out of college to become a professional dancer. I didn’t start actively training to be a professional dancer until my Sophomore year of college. I originally went to school to be an elementary school teacher. For one of my electives in college, I had to take an Intro To Dance class and go to all the shows. I fell in love with the first show I saw. With no prior dance training I said I am going to do this, I went to Slippery Rock University and graduated with my BA in Dance. SRU Dance Department shaped me into the man I am today. I would not be in NYC if it was not for the faculty taking a chance on me.

In addition to BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance, I’m currently dancing with Circuit Debris/MerishaMesihovic, and collaborating with AnA. I am also in the works with developing a new solo. Since moving to NYC I found a passion for fitness. It is this whole other part of my life that I have been able to tap into. I work at a pilates studio and found love in the pilates work. It has changed the way I understand my body and the work is magical. I am an avid fan of hot yoga, and flow yoga. At the end of a crazy work/rehearsal day it is important to really take an hour and focus on yourself and I find in yoga/pilates that I can fully be invested and breathe.

FullSizeRender-3My favorite part of working with Teresa would have to be her creative process. She is really innovative with the themes that she brings to rehearsal, and allows us to collaborate with her when creating. The process of creating new work is really rewarding as we built it as one unit together. The theme  in Teresa’s newest work is a very dark to light comedy animalistic derranged being ( does that make sense to anyone haha) 

I sub dance occasionally but I designed my own Pilates class called PULSE PILATES! Everyone should check it out at Mind Your Body!! I will also be teaching Pure Barre classes at the end of the year:)

I absolutely love Alexandra Bellers modern class at Gibney, and have recently joined the Oliver Steele bandwagon at steps and peridance. I think being a dancer it is important to cross train to keep your body injury free and in the best shape. Post show and class I love to take Hot Yoga. I find my body feels rewarded after taking class. I get to go through a body checklist in class and find areas that I can really relax and stretch out. Pilates has saved my body, and I have develop muscles I didn’t know I had. Pilates gets in the interlayers of the body so you can get stronger from the inside out. As dancers we sometimes neglect how important it is to focus on different parts of the body that are not visible.

I live a pretty healthy lifestyle. Moving to NYC and having access to many FullSizeRenderdifferent types of foods have really opened up my eyes to what’s out there and what to put in my body. I try not to focus on everything that I put in my body, but I definitely like to keep it in check. That being said, pre shows I tend to have a stricter diet and steer clear from alcohol and carbs so I can stay on POINT. My typical food intake on the regular day starts with a protein shake with green powder. I am obsessed with the chocolate greenplus energy bar and will have that after rehearsal. Lunch is typically brown rice or quinoa with Chicken, and some type of veggie and fruit. I am on a brussel sprout kick! Dinner is some form of protein with a sweet potato and beans. I also have a bad obsession with Hummus and you can normally find me snacking on rice thin cakes an hummus any chance I get!!! 

Learn more about Iman Ayana!

November 8, 2015

I have been living in NY all my life and I knew as a dancer and performing artist, NYC is where I wanted to be. I began dancing at the age of 6 at the Alvin Ailey School.  I took to the art form immediately. Sports were fun but I didn’t like to invest time into them. I continued in high school at the Long Island High School for the Arts and took open classes in NYC at BDC and Steps. I went on to graduate from Florida State University with a BFA in dance in May 2013.This month I will begin working with Third Rail Projects new immersive show “The Grand Paradise.”Mantises_indoor_yichunwu-027

Other than dance, I Love fitness and I teach a Dance Cardio based interval-training workout. I love combining dance with fitness because it makes it fun and interesting for the client. Way more than the average gym workout. I also am an avid reader and I love a good murder-mystery book.  Love the beach and swimming, being completely engulfed in the water is an amazing feeling and I love baking different types of cookies.

boobsreIn Rehearsal, When creating we have the opportunity for our artistic input which really helps to shape and mold the material and the work to fit each individual dancer.  We don’t have to “put on” a style of dance. The overarching theme for our newest piece is, what does home mean to an individual, how does one create “home”, and once home has been established, how do they accept it.

I take class at Gibney Dance Center and Steps on Broadway and I love trying a new instructor that fits into my schedule that day.  My life is crazy so I don’t religiously take any one instructor.  I can go through spurts but most of the time I look at my schedule for the week and see where I would like to get a few classes in. I’ve been recently dabbling into the broadway jazz world and Ive taken some great classes at steps and BDC for those.

Find Iman on Facebook!