This month we had an amazing time showing our work, rose walk green ice, at Pentacle DanceWorks’ Fall Further IX! Our continued connections with virtual audiences and partnerships like Hult, have inspired us this month to revive the BodyStories’ YouTube channel.
We have been working on getting dance footage that has been locked away in our company archives up on YouTube this month, as well as some new dance video releases! We have just released our new Dancer Improv series, which we’ve been posting on our social media, for convenient viewing on YouTube. With this series, we wanted to highlight our dancers and their creations from their homes. Although we have all been working virtually for far too long this year, we continue to dance together and work creatively to express ourselves and get through this challenging time by moving! Being in the virtual world has also been an impetus for us to think creatively and approach our creative processes in new ways, and further embrace and imagine uses for technology.
We are also releasing full performances and performance clips from the past few years on our channel! Subscribe to BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance on YouTube & turn on post notifications so you never miss a new dance video release!
Thank you to everyone for all of your support in our Fall 2020 season. We are extremely thankful for and proud of the resilience of our dance community. Happy Thanksgiving & have a safe and joyful holiday!🦃 🍂 🍽 🥧November 11, 2020
November has a lot in store for BodyStories! Read on for updates on our upcoming performance, virtual dance programming, and fundraising campaign.
Giving Tuesday is December 1, 2020! Donations to BodyStories will allow us to continue offering our virtual dance education classes and will fund scholarships for students in need of financial assistance. As many studios and community centers remain closed, we hope to continue providing dance education to underserved communities.
Please consider donating any amount that is available to you. Every cent goes toward enabling someone to gain a dance education. We are dedicated to expanding opportunities to those who otherwise could not afford this enrichment.
Use this link to donate! https://fundraising.fracturedatlas.org/bodystories-teresa-fellion-dance
November Virtual Performance: Fall Further IX with Pentacle Arts
We have another exciting virtual performance coming up this month! On November 20th at 7:00pm EST, Pentacle (DanceWorks, Inc.) will be holding a digital screening of dance films and performances! BodyStories will premier a special version of our 2018 performance, rose walk green ice, in Chicago!
To purchase tickets please visit this link. You will have the option of donating $5, $10, or $15 (sliding scale or pay what you can)! https://pentaclefallfurtherix.splashthat.com/
The movement in rose walk green ice comes from a culmination of work begun with Home and Agawam that explores self-awareness within communal bonds. By varying spatial orientation, utilizing various groupings, and highlighting key moments from previous pieces in the trilogy, observers are offered multiple perspectives of each person, from a variety of angles. Through these perspectives, we are offered notions of familial bonding and identity formation, in hopes of becoming more aware and appreciative of the complete self and of those around them. How do previous experiences shape the way we interact with others, and how might we extend more compassion to others? This work has a vibrant, soulful, and healing energy, with a lot of connection amongst everyone onstage, so we thought it would be impactful to share during this time.
Get tickets in advance to secure a spot for the show, and we’ll see you there!
Reflection & Gratitude
Last month, we launched our first ongoing weekly virtual dance class series, and had the amazing opportunity to share work at THREE virtual performance events! We are beyond grateful for both the opportunities and challenges we were met with in October. As November brings new challenges and opportunities, we must regroup & mobilize, because together we are stronger!
These incredible performances we have had the pleasure to take part in are a reminder that even with the constraints of quarantine and the major disruptions in the dance and arts communities this year, our fellow artists who inspire us every day have not stopped working by any means! They continue creating dynamic and compelling work, forming new connections and bonds throughout creative communities, and sharing their art with (virtually) live audiences. And we’ve been working right alongside them! BodyStories has had an abundant and inspiring Fall, even in remote-mode, and we can’t wait for what this coming month holds.October 14, 2020
Happy Fall! This October we have some very exciting virtual performances coming up! Descriptions on each virtual event are provided below. We would love to share space and time for art with you in this way.
We are very excited to announce that as part of the LEIMAY Arts in the Community Garden Commissioning Fellowship Program, we will be premiering a new dance film on October 22nd, 2020 of our work in progress! This work in progress has its roots in the foundational work reeling→healing. This work in progress, Healing Currently Downloading, will act as a brand new sequel or second chapter to reeling. While reeling sought to capture the frustration and raw emotion of today’s world, this piece yearns for a resolution to these emotions through purposeful motion, emotion, and action. With dramatic shifts in attitude and form, this work offers audience members a chance to question whether its open-ended conclusion will permit a resolution to the frustration.
Teresa’s work breeds tension below the surface, then propels forward. Instead of focusing on raw emotion, however, we want to search for a solution, or at the very least, a resolution, to our frustration remembering that action and mobilization are instrumental. Teresa began the creative process by designing a work to be performed in the Dorothy Strelsin Memorial Community Garden (LES). We are inspired by the profound impact that this garden has on community-building and encouraging shared space, and plan to continue drawing on these principles as we create movement patterns and interactions with the dancers. We believe there is no better time than now to create this work. This subject matter, although emotionally heavy, must be experienced and contemplated by anyone affected by today’s political climate. reeling→healing’s ability to connect with audience members has been proven, with audience members commenting on how well the piece provokes thought, inspires, and brings communities together with diverse audiences, and our new work will be following a new parallel path with audiences. Since we are currently creating virtually, this in process showing will be sharing movements that we are developing to later perform in the park in this project. There will be a live Q&A with the artists afterwards.
See our work on Thursday, October 22nd, at 7:30 pm.
Register to view the performance here: https://leimayfoundation.givingfuel.com/outsight-in-leimay-garden-fellows-in-process
For more information on CAVE/LEIMAY visit leimaymain.cavearts.org.
BodyStories’ work will be presented as part of Mark DeGarmo Dance’s Virtual International Arts (VIA) Festival for Social Change! The VIA festival takes place from October 27-29, 2020 at 7PM EST on Zoom. The VIA Festival for Social Change includes 138 artists and scholars from 18 countries showcasing artist-scholar works. The festival aims to captivate an audience that believes in the arts, and foster a sense of artistic and creative community during these socially distant and communally disperse times. We are so grateful to be involved with this amazing group of artists.
Our performers include Teresa Fellion, Serena Chang, Kate Bishop, Xenia Mansour, and Nicole Kadar.
Our work will be shown on Thursday, October 29th!
Get tickets in ADVANCE at www.VIA.givesmart.com
*Zoom Link will be sent to attendees at 5PM Eastern Time the night of the performance. If a donation is made after that time, the MDD staff will send the link via email as soon as possible. For more information on the VIA Festival please visit www.markdegarmodance.org/performance.
We are thrilled to announce that 7Midnights Physical Research Dance Theater will be sharing a portion of our Choreography + Composition Series on October 30th, 2020! This project is part of 7MPR’s creative initiative to celebrate the innovative bodies of work created in quarantine. All of the amazing music featured in our performance is by John Yannelli. Stay tuned for more updates about this performance!
For more information on 7MPR visit www.7mpr.com.
Exploring dance virtually, although new and challenging, has allowed us the opportunity to grow as movers and artists. Dancing within our confines, adapting to our environments, and broadening our minds. Our two-weeks of virtual dance for pre-professional, professional, and youth dancers were fulfilling and inspiring, leaving us eager to continue exploring movement with you all!
We are thrilled to announce our launch of weekly virtual youth AND pre-professional/professional dance classes. Our weekly youth virtual dance classes begin October 12th every Monday 3:00-4:30pm EST, with additional days/times available. Our youth classes include movement from BodyStories’ dance curriculum, incorporating different styles and techniques such as contemporary, jazz, ballet, choreography, improvisation, tap, Central and West African, salsa, swing, and more. We have classes designed for all levels of juniors ages 4 and up, including 4-5yrs, 6-9yrs, 10-13yrs, and 14-17yrs.
Our weekly pre-professional/professional virtual dance classes start October 14th every Wednesday 12:00-2:00pm EST for technique and Thursday 12:00-2:00pm EST for composition. We may be able to offer some additional days and times. Contact us to submit scheduling requests for alternative class times. This Fall series will continue to further BodyStories’ Mission of unleashing creativity and empowerment in dancers and developing a deeper understanding of the relationship between art and activism. Dancers will explore and rediscover joy in their movement in a comprehensive class transitioning from a yoga-flow like warm up, into classic modern and contemporary technique, and ending in extensive phrase work. These classes will provide us the opportunity to brush up on our foundations, while challenging our minds and bodies to approach movement from a unique and sometimes unfamiliar lens. Our classes will help build composition and improvisation skills by partnering movement, music, and text, as well as investigate the relationship between dance and social justice. You won’t want to miss out on this opportunity!
Suggested donations for youth & adult classes are $10 or $15 dollars. Please do not hesitate to reach out for any financial assistance or scholarship needed. We are completely open to meeting all participants where they are financially during this time.
*All classes will be held on Zoom*
Register TODAY! email@example.comAugust 5, 2020
Though we all had different ideas of how this summer would go, we now have the chance for new and exciting opportunities that we wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. For us at BodyStories, one such opportunity is our Virtual Summer Intensives taking place at the end of August! We’ve always wanted to offer our own summer classes, but since we’re usually so busy with performances during the summer, we’ve never been able to find the time to do so. But worry no more! We are thrilled to announce that we will be offering two week-long virtual summer intensives. Details below!
From August 24th-28th, we will be hosting an intensive for pre-professional and professional dancers (ages 17+). The Virtual Dance Experience Summer Intensive continues our mission to unleash creativity and empowerment in dancers, now in the virtual world! Dancers will rediscover joy in movement, break through self-imposed mental barriers, find the humor in the body, and develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between art and activism. Classes will be held from 12-5PM EST each day. Every day will start with a group check-in, to see where we’re at emotionally, physically, and mentally for the day, followed by a yoga flow and dance warm-up. We will have a technique class to refresh our foundations in dance and challenge ourselves with new approaches to movement, and then break at noon for an hour long lunch. We come back for an improvisation and choreography class in the afternoon which is led by Teresa Fellion for movement and writing, Cecly Placenti will join us for some of our writing portions as well, and John Yannelli and Muriel Louveau will join us for musical collaborations. In these classes, we will also discuss the current social climate and reflect on work that needs to be done to reshape and move forward. Participants will journal thoughts and abstract ideas from what they’ve written as inspiration for movement. Together, we will discover the physical language for deeper emotions from these writings, and they will be partnered with music explorations. Each day ends with some breathing and stretching exercises and group reflection to cool down, digesting of the day and looking forward to the next one.
From Aug 31st-Sep 4th, we will be offering the Youth Dance Intensive for mixed level juniors ages 4 and up! Students are comfortably divided into three different classes according to age range, so each group can explore fully and be challenged technically and creatively. Pulling from our Dance Curriculum, we’ll explore different kinds of techniques and styles including contemporary, hip-hop, jazz, tap, ballet, modern, Central and West African, salsa, swing, and musical theater, as well as expose children to movements from our own repertory. All of this will create a foundation for dance from which students can learn how to create their own movements. In addition to dance instruction, students will also have fun using online platforms such as TikTok, iMovie, Zoom, and Triller to create their own dance music videos and films. Classes are from 12-4PM EST. We will start each one with a fun yoga flow and dance warm-up to get kids energized. We’ll then have a technical skills dance class, followed by a lunch break. We come back to learn and create some choreography, and end the day taking what we’ve learned and making a dance music video based off of it!
For both intensives, students can drop-in to take whichever classes they want during each day, with the exception that choreography and improvisation classes require a full week commitment. Rates are $150 for the full week, or $15/drop in class. $75 for one class for a full week. Please do not hesitate to reach out for any financial assistance or scholarship needed. BodyStories is happy to accommodate all financial difficulties during this challenging time. All classes will take place on Zoom. The Zoom link for class will be sent out once registration is confirmed.
To register and for more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Art of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor by Nikkolas Smith
To stand in solidarity with the protests happening all over the world in response to the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the many other Black Americans who have lost their lives to police brutality and hate crimes, we want to use our platform to uplift black voices and support Black Lives Matter. We want to hold ourselves and others accountable for the anti-racist work that must go on beyond this current moment and continue to dismantle all forms of racism that permeate our society-from ignorance to micoagressions to systemic racism, and everything in between. Will you join us in refusing to stay silent and complicit when it comes to racism? Here is a list of resources to advocate for the protection of Black lives.
Effective activism starts with knowledge! After all, how can we help without knowing what we’re fighting against? Books and podcasts are some of our favorite ways to learn, and we’ve compiled some of our favorites here. (Many of the bookstores we’ve linked to are black-owned businesses too!)
- “An Antiracist Reading List” via The New York Times (Click here to read)
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (Click here to buy)
- White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo (Click here to buy)
- Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (Click here to buy)
- The End of Policing by Alex S. Vitale (Click here to get the free ebook)
- “About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge” (Click here to listen)
- “Intersectionality Matters! Hosted by Kimberlé Crenshaw” (Click here to listen)
- “The United States of Anxiety” from WNYC Studios (Click here to listen)
Allyship is often not as straightforward as a person might think. Many nonblack allies, despite intentions, overstep. Speaking over black voices, taking up space, and demanding Black people educate them on racism, are just a few examples. Being an effective ally starts with self-education and continuous accountability for yourself and other allies.
- “Public Address On Revolution: Revolution Now | Rachel Cargle” via Youtube (Click here to watch)
- “10 Steps to Non-Optical Allyship” via Instagram (Click here to read)
- “Overt VS Covert White Supremacy” via Instagram (Click here to read)
- “Anti-racism resources for white people” via Google Drive (Click here to read)
If you are protesting, make sure you are taking necessary precautions. For nonblack people, you are there to support black people. Listen to what they say, do not instigate any violence, do not post photos or videos protestors can be visibly identified in, and use your body as a shield to protect black bodies from the police and counterprotesters. And don’t forget to wear a mask.
- “How to more safely protest in a pandemic” via Vox (Click here to read)
- “Protesting Safely” via Instagram (Click here to read)
- “✿ TIPS FOR THE STREETS ✿” via Instagram (Click here to read)
There are still many ways to effectively protest, even if you’re not in the streets marching.
- “26 Ways to Be in the Struggle Beyond the Streets” via Instagram (Click here to read)
If you have the means, distributing financial resources is essential! Bail funds (more important than ever with how easily COVID spreads in jails and prisons!), funds for police brutality victims and their families, and supporting black-owned businesses are just some places that need financial support! Here is a list of reputable funds:
- “Places to Donate” via blacklivesmatters.carrd.co (Click here to read)
- “May 28 Resistance Funds” via Google Drive (Click here to read)
- Official George Floyd Memorial Fund (Click here to donate)
- Split a Donation Between 40 Community Bail Funds (Click here to donate)
- Black Visions Collective (Click here to donate)
- The Loveland Foundation (Click here to donate)
This is just a starting point for action. Don’t let it stop here in this current moment. Keep it going, continue educating yourself, stay engaged. This is work that needs to continue evolving and happening throughout all of our lifetimes.May 25, 2020
We miss being able to dance and perform live on the stage, but we are excited and grateful to pursue new performance avenues! We are grateful to take part in several virtual performances. While we are in quarantine, here is where you can see us and keep up with our performances:
Part 2 of our collaboration with the fabulous Muriel Louveau is now available for your viewing on Vimeo. We came together from our homes in Paris, Ohio, Brooklyn, Dubai, Queens, and Chicago to create this virtual showing with material of rehearsal and discussion from our latest process. Follow this link to view Showing and Discussion with Muriel Louveau: https://vimeo.com/412508816 You can also see part one here: https://vimeo.com/412498273
In addition to this, we will have two upcoming events. The 7MPR-Themed Dance Theater-Virtual Performance will be hosted through Zoom on Friday, June 5th at 8 pm. To join the meeting Click here and use the meeting ID: 844 5158 7807 and Password: 961252. You can also find the performance on our Facebook Event.
The 2020 Virtual NEWGrounds by Moving Current Dance Collective is up and running! Audience members can pair our work reeling → healing with any of the music selections. Click here to explore and have fun!
We still have hope that we may be able to perform this summer! Our Summer 2020 NYC performances include an evening of BodyStories work and new works by guest choreographers from our BodyStories family Xenia Mansour and Serena Chang, Charly Wenzel, and LeAnn Yannelli. This performance will take place at CPR-Center for Performance Research on July 23 and 24 at 8 pm. Stay tuned for updates!
2020 has presented a unique challenge for BodyStories and dance companies around the world. We work primarily in a three-dimensional art form. Dancers exist in communal spaces, and we encourage audiences to see our performances in person to enjoy the full effect of bodies moving across planes. The COVID-19 crisis left BodyStories with canceled and postponed performances and no physical rehearsal and performance space. These circumstances left us with one option to remain connected through movement: virtual platforms. We wondered how we could continue working in our three-dimensional medium across two-dimensional space.
Three-dimensional movement offers different functional and expressive possibilities than two-dimensional movement. Three-dimensional activity allows for human touch and deep connections as we interact with other physical bodies. In two-dimensional representation, those physical bonds are not possible. Navigating human connection through a virtual reality is truly challenging. This forced us to examine our relationship with space and other moving bodies. We embraced two-dimensional media as a means of exploring process. We have incorporated discussions of our movement processes and our own feelings about connection within isolation to bridge the distance between moving bodies and audience members. BodyStories hopes that these insights into our processes for producing, enhancing, and maintaining work in turn enhances the connections between our dancers and audiences. We look to continue innovating in both the three-dimensional and two-dimensional realms!August 14, 2019
We only had three kids signed up for majors this week which was a little shock, but understandable because there are so many other cool majors the kids should also try out while they’re in camp. One student has been with me all three weeks though, Sharon. She was a minor first two weeks and a major last week, 7 pieces in 3 weeks wow she has a good noggin on her! Excited to start the week, we began with a modern piece. We started class with a different warm up than planned because the one planned required more people. We explored different pathways to the ground, played with plies and discovered drop swings. We played with the four elements and how they can help us move and give us texture. The piece turned out great highlighting our older girl and giving our younger ones time to shine. Sabrina, Samara, and Sharon all did great!
Minors is also a small group consisting of three. Four were on the list but the one girl switched to Major for tomorrow. We created a piece to ‘Dancing with a stranger’ with cool new moves we learned in our warm up.
Today we have three again, our older girl dropped, but we had another familiar face join us, Gaby, she also had been with us all three weeks. We created a ballet/lyrical film today. We started with a ballet warm up and learned the combos we would be presenting. We also were able to create makeshift costumes from what we have and create site specific scenes for our dance. Creating the film was a little tough because we didn’t have a counselor today but they did a great job working hard off and on camera. The girls did really great having learned so many new things in one day and their creativity really shines through in the video.
Minors have a few more added in to class, all campers who have been in the minor before! Now we have 5 in the dance minors! We added our new three into the piece we had created and they picked it up so quickly we were able to finish the piece! We planned to do another piece and solos on top of what we had learned since they all had taken dance at camp or outside before and they all picked up the movement so quickly. At the end of class we began to pick out solo songs and create our 30 second solos with movement phrases.
Today we only have Sharon because it was Gabs last day of camp and Samara was visiting her cousin. So I prepped for a private lesson and brought in a wide array of inspiring dances we could watch on the projector assuming we would be tired by the end of three hours.
We warmed up and then we went over our modern piece just to keep it in our body. I prepared some dance tricks for Sharon because she was in gymnastics the prior weeks. We worked on new things that came easy like a poncho into a forward role and then things that didn’t come as easy like a kip up. We also started a solo to incorporate all the new moves we learned. By the last hour we took a break to watch some dance clips but after three I could tell Sharon wanted to keep dancing, so we kept going which was super inspiring.
In minors I was super excited to create their hat dance. I expected to create this piece with the majors but since I had more in minor I decided to create it with them. We had a bunch of maroon top hats that I make sure everyone feels super awesome in and we play with all the possibilities of having the hat. We put it on our fit in the air and decided if we drop it to make it a big deal so it looks like we did it on purpose. They loved that idea of making a mistake meaningful. The song is super upbeat and all of the students are getting really into the movement and the houses which is so thrilling to see!
We have another private because one camper was discouraged by another camper during recess break and dropped out which was upsetting to hear. We ended up working on a dance with beach balls that was going to be a duet and we did it together. We incorporated the ball into Sharons solo which added a cool flair and went well with her song from the ‘Descendent’ movies. I set up some videos again we could watch in case she got exhausted, but she wanted to dance the whole time. During the song she asked if we could put a jump at a certain part because it made her feel “powerful” which was great to hear how music and dance can empower her!
On the last day we prepped for our show and created a Birthday dance for Sharon which we added to her solo. Everything went well with the minor and majors and even my mom came. All of the kids got to show their individual personalities in both the group pieces and their solos and looked like they had a lot of fun!August 5, 2019
We started the week off with some familiar faces arriving in the morning, 5 students returned from the last week which was exciting. We started class off wit the name game, this time we tried to remember all of our gestures to use in our piece. We started with a jazz/modern warm up moving around the room with different speeds and levels. I made the space they could move with progressively smaller and smaller to challenge their special awareness. We made our way back to the center to finish warming up then learned a mixer adagio combination that would be used in our piece later. After learning our center combos we went across the floor with low runs, leaps, battements and two new tricks for everyone’s illusions and calypsos. After a snack break we started our piece. They started in three groups and we began to build our piece using prompts and movements we learned in class.
We again had familiar faces from last week along with some new campers. We started this class with name game as well. We proceeded with a similar warm up to the majors then learned a center combo across the floor, then began our piece to “Call me maybe.” I got a suggestion from Sebastian that we should try the movement to Taylor Swift’s new song “You need to calm down”. Everyone liked that more, so we ended up going with that one. We each added our own little twist to the piece. Gab brought her gymnastics and faces, Sebastian with his hip hop, and Tribeca our 4y/o student brought her free styling skills.
It was Stefano’s birthday and he stayed home so we postponed our hip hop day because I knew he was looking forward to it. We had a similar warm up today for our contemporary fusion class. We tried partner manipulation where we would call out a body part for your partner then they would have to lead their movement from there. Then our partner gave us an order and we would have to remember the order of where to move from so we could use it in our piece. We then learned a center gestural combination, then went across the floors and we started our piece and had a chat about how to make it successful. The piece was a simple gestural piece that needs confidence and commitment to make it work. I showed them a clip of Lucy Valley’s “Satisfaction” solo as an example. We then worked on the piece until 30 mins until class was over but energy was low because it was raining so we spent the rest of the time playing dance games to keep it light.
We are in the gymnastics room today because of the rain. It is difficult to keep them off of the equipment because a lot of them are gymnastics majors. So we learned some dance tricks that required matts to learn. We also finished our first piece and there were moments where the students would disagree about what moves to do next, but we found good ways to make everyone’s steps fit in.
We prepared for our hip hop video shoot. We started by watching clips of differ genres of hip hop and crews of all ages.Then we warmed up and had special guest Asia come in to teach us. She gave us an intro to vogueing culture, where it started and why it’s important today. The main key she gave us to make it work is confidence! We learned basic movements and then a phrase we would use in our videos after that we split in to groups to learn different phrases. Emma and Casey taught the younger kids a combo I taught them while I worked with the older group.
We ended up being able to learn and film the whole thing in one day with each student getting time to show a little of their personality and skill. We had the true LA video shoot experience.
Today we started our second piece. We started with our warm up and we got to practice mirroring improv. We then learned a center combination for a new dance and then ran our finished piece and added in students who were absent. Our second piece was Alors on Danse and we incorporated a kick line into our piece which was really fun. We also worked on duets and trios for our piece.
Last day we finish up our piece we started Tuesday. I made a mix of the songs “Safety dance” and “Dance to this” by Troye Sivan to help modernize the piece a little. We added a center combo we learned in class to this new piece and had solo cross over moments where there were some awesome choice made. Chennoa made an awesome choice to play with the musicality her solo fell on.
We finished up our pieces. Tribeca mapped out our dances on a white board which was really impressive and she pointed out the shapes she drew for different moves.
It’s show day everyone shows up super pumped and ready. Today we are going to support our gymnastics friends and see their performance because they invited us and we found out that there was a film screening in our room before our show. We only had time to warm up and run our pieces twice and work out any kinks before our show. We ended up running it once in the hall before the show too. All went well and the kids were super pleased with their performance and the hip hop video.
The minors had a similar situation. We had 30 minutes to prepare before our show. They all did really well and covered any mistakes up. We went to support our theater friends and came back by request to finish the day with freeze dance