AMANDA SELWYN DANCE THEATRE engages audiences in original and dynamic dance theatre that raises questions, challenges social norms and values, and magnifies humanity through dance. Productions pivot around core themes and through interplay between athletic and pedestrian motion, activate emotional expression, character, and narrative in a rich and abstract collage.
Amanda Selwyn’s collaborative choreographic process nurtures our own network of artists while actively engaging the community at large. The company has performed at NYC venues including New York Live Arts, DTW, DNA, Danspace Project, Ailey Citigroup Theater, and John Jay College. We have been presented at Jacob’s Pillow, Westfest, DUMBO Dance Festival, Dixon Place, Dance Teacher Summit, COOL NY, Movement Research’s Performance Series, and Pushing Progress Series. Funders include Harkness, Bossak/Heilbron, Johnson Family Foundation, NYSCA, DCA, City Council Members Rosie Mendez and Bill De Blasio, LMCC, Bronx Council on the Arts, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan Chase, NRG, Inc., Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and Boston Consulting Group.
Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre presents an annual performance Season in June, tours to festivals, presents periodic open rehearsals, and offers residencies to colleges and universities.
Detour (2012) is an evening-length dance theater work that shifts perspective and perception. The choreography challenges the ways in which the mind acts to narrow our scope – creating unnecessary pain and false judgment. By veering off course and getting out of our own way, we are able to experience the present more fully. Through physical dynamics, luscious movement, and theatrical elements, Detour continually shifts the experience of perception. Turning movement inside out, Detour plays with timing and musicality, stillness and repetition, spatial design and direction. It is in the moments of detour, when the possibilities for change reveal themselves. Detour premiered June 2012 at New York Live Arts. It is 55-minutes, includes video projection, set pieces, and 8 dancers.
Five Minutes (2011) takes the audience through a series of contrasting emotional and physical paradigms in five-minute intervals. In Five Minutes, our experience of time is malleable and the world on-stage renews itself into a different place and time every five minutes. Five Minutes premiered at Dance Theater Workshop in June 2011. It is 55 minutes, includes video projections, set pieces, and 6 dancers.
Passage (2010) explores overcoming obstacles, discovering resilience, and being open to life’s possibilities.
Passage premiered at the Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts in June 2010. It is 50 minutes, includes original music by Adam Gilbert and Mathew Sherman, video projection, and 12 dancers.
Undercurrent (2009) explores that which is beyond our control. Water, which expresses its nature in a relentless way, drives the choreography. Like water, the dancers persevere even as they struggle for self-expression. At times, the water transforms into cascading tides. At other times, a single drop. Undercurrent premiered at the Ailey Citigroup Theater in June 2009. It is in four parts: Engulfed, Adrift, Deluge, and Drops and Bubbles. It is 84 minutes long, includes live music, video projection, and 18 dancers.
Hearsay (2008) takes sound and language into the body and pursues the soul of both the message and the messenger. Hearsay playfully maps out a moving language of subtle and not-so-subtle social paradigms of the changing modes of communication. Hearsay premiered at Dance New Amsterdam, NYC in 2008. It is an evening-length work, 67 minutes long, for 14 dancers.
Interiors (2007) takes the audience on a journey to five interior places — a bedroom, kitchen, hallway, bathroom, and closet — each intimate and detailed. By removing the walls between these different spaces, concepts of public/private realms are brought to question. Everyday living space is examined under the microscope in the moving environments the dancers sculpt in space. Interiors premiered at Danspace Project, NYC in 2007. It is an evening-length work, 63 minutes long, for 14 dancers.
Disturbance (2006) is luscious and demanding, unveiling a landscape in transformation. The choreography embodies the nature of the influences that motivates individuals to alter. The disturbances, by force or by choice, cause personal change. Disturbance is an evening-length work, 53 minutes long, for 13 dancers. This piece premiered in 2006 at the Ailey Citigroup Theater.
Salut (2005) undresses a society party. Exploring character movement and social gesture, the piece moves between stillness, chaos, and absurdity, using furniture pieces and hand props. Salut premiered at The Gerald W. Lynch Theatre at John Jay College in 2005. It is an 18-minute piece with 12 dancers.
Tilt (2005) is a bright and energetic piece that explores lines of the body tilting in space as well as what it means to tilt perception, incite distraction, draw focus, and precipitate physical reaction. Tilt premiered at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College in 2005. It is a 7-minute dance with 6 featured dancers and an ensemble of 25.
Behind Us (2004) explores personal vulnerability, seeing, and being seen. The scenic design includes a large wall that the dancers climb, balance on, hide behind, and penetrate. Behind Us premiered in 2004 at Dance Theater Workshop. It is a 24 minutes with 11 dancers.
Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre Residencies for Universities and Professional Dancers range from 1-4 weeks and are custom-designed to meet the needs of each student group. Each program includes combinations of the following workshops/classes/performances (described below):
1. Theme and Motif Workshops
2. Technique Classes
3. Body Conditioning
4. Movement Exchange Method Workshops
6. Collaborative Dance Creation Workshops
7. Company Performances
8. Performances by Residency Participants
1. Theme and Motif Workshops
In our Theme and Motif Workshops, students practice improvisation and composition skill building exercises to unearth raw and true original movement. We explore various sources of inspiration for developing movement including text, sound, texture, character, quality, as well as generating more conceptually motivated movement. To refine movement, students investigate motif development, phrasing, timing, rhythm, variation, voice, character, focus, partnering, touch, and quality.
2. Technique Classes
Technique Classes taught by Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre Company Dancers emphasize clarity, initiation, quality, focus, energy, rhythm, musicality, and freedom of expression. The opening warm-up sequence focuses on the fluidity of the spine, core strengthening, articulation of the limbs, and then builds into across the floor sequences and challenging, creative, and invigorating phrase work. Students experience a movement vocabulary rich with detail, dramatic expression, energy, focus, and athleticism.
3. Body Conditioning
Body Conditioning classes focus on core strengthening, stability, flexibility, aerobic stamina, and developing minor muscle groups that protect joints and facilitate a greater range of motion and expression. Using yoga and pilates techniques and exercises, breath, alignment, and subtlety is be emphasized throughout the vigorous full body workout.
4. Movement Exchange Method Workshops
The Movement Exchange Method, developed by Amanda Selwyn, is her signature methodology for creative collaboration and for arts education. Working with this approach, in Selwyn’s choreographic process, dancers invent ‘nuggets’ of original movement through various short studies, improvisations, and exercises in response to specific paradigms and thematic, essential questions. These ‘nuggets’ of movement are passed throughout the company to develop variation, nuance, in essence unpacking each dancers’ physical responses to the given paradigm to its most essential core. In this fashion, a rich, authentic, visceral, athletic, detailed, and expressive movement vocabulary slowly develops which stems from the collaborating dancers and the themes presented. Through the give and take and refining process, a cohesive through-line appears and the movement takes on new meaning and dictates the development of the choreography.
Human civilization as juxtaposed with nature is an underlying current in all of Selwyn’s work. She seeks to turn that which we accept every day on its head by dancing with social constructs and finding new meanings, new context. Her last six works have all been evening-length pieces, very much in dialogue with one another, each posing new questions for the next piece to address. In Repertory Workshops, students will learn sections from these works to perform in student performances. Works include: Behind Us, a piece in which there is a large wall on stage that the dancers climb, balance on, hide behind, and penetrate; Disturbance, a piece that explores the forces that bring about change, plotting a course through earth, air, fire, and water; Interiors, a piece that animates everyday living spaces, drawing distinction between public and private realms in kitchens, bathrooms, closets, hallways, and bedrooms; Hearsay, a work that pursues the soul of both the message and the messenger through call and response, follow the leader, self-reflection, social evolution, oral story, and the voice of a crowd; Undercurrent which lingers in the many energies of water to delve into that which is beyond our control — impulse, instinct, and forces of nature; Passage which explores overcoming obstacles, discovering resilience, being open to life’s possibilities; and Five Minutes which dramatizes our experience of time and explores what it means to be truly in the present moment.
6. Collaborative Dance Creation
In Collaborative Dance Creation Workshop, Selwyn will develop a new work of choreography with residency participants that will eventually develop into a part of the company repertory. Working with her collaborative process, students will practice the skills learned both in the Theme and Motif workshops and Movement Exchange Method Workshops, crafting original movement, developing variations, and with Selwyn’s direction, create new theatrical dance works.
7. Company Performances
Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre will perform works from the company repertory for the greater school population. Performances will often include post-show discussion and/or post-performance interactive workshops.
“Choreographer Amanda Selwyn uses gesture, narrative, and character to move her dances beyond pure bodies in motion and into social commentary and critique.”
“Choreographically, Amanda’s point of departure is not an image or a gesture, but a theatrical imperative felt in her insistence on expression.” – Jacob’s Pillow’s Pillow Pages
8. Performance from Residency Participants
Residency participants will have opportunities to perform the new works they have created collaboratively as well as repertory works learned for the greater school community.
Notes in Motion Outreach Dance Theatre
9. Arts-in-Education Workshops
In Arts-in-Education Workshops, students learn Notes in Motion Outreach Dance Theatre’s approach to arts-in-education and develop playful dance exercises for a variety of ages and school populations. Participants will develop skills for classroom management, organizing culminating events, connecting dance to other aspects of the school curriculum, collaborating with classroom teachers, approaches to assessing students learning, have opportunities to practice teach, and study and analyze the dance standards as outlined in the NYC Department of Education’s Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts. Working with our singular approach to arts education, The Movement Exchange Method, students in our school programs take on leadership roles in their own learning, have creative input in the design of the curriculum, participate in critical discussions of the work of their peers, and develop collaborative skills. Our arts-in-education programs foster self-discovery, risk-taking, and making connections between different topics, themes, and areas of learning. We aim to provide access to the art form of dance to inspire the next generation of dance appreciators.
The Arts-in-Education Workshop will cover curriculum that teaches our five overarching learning goals:
(1) Develop Skills and Technique – Investigating fundamental dance concepts: levels, pathways, body shapes, rhythm, weight shifts, dynamics, body control, basic partnering;
(2) Improvise – Inventing original movements, expressing feelings/abstract concepts, working alone, collaborating with peers, finding solutions to movement problem, collaboration;
(3) Choreograph – Creating choreography, choosing a beginning, middle, end, recalling, repeating, practicing sequences, employing structures, creating as a group;
(4) Perform – Performing for peers, family, and the school community at the end of each semester, dance with expressiveness and joy, understand appropriate performer and audience behavior, dance with focus and intent, dance with self-awareness and awareness of the group; (5) Reflect – Employing dance vocabulary through writing, discussion, and video, name dance activities, parts of the body, choreographic ideas, personal observations, use contrasting action and descriptive words, connect dance learning to academic areas.
|AUG 25, 2012||
South Hampton, NY
|OCT 1, 2012||Pentacle’s APAP Gallery Showcase
Ailey Citigroup Theater, New York, NY
|JAN 13, 2013||Pentacle Gallery Showcase
Ailey Studio 5B, 405 W. 55th Street @ 9th Ave., New York, NY
7:00 – 8:45 pm
Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre: 7:48 pm
|FEB 23, 2013||White Night III
Greenhouse, 150 Varick Street, NYC
|MAY 18, 2013||:pushing progress Showcase Series
Salvatore Capezio Theater at Peridance, New York, NY
|JUN 27-29, 2013||It’s A Game: Thirteenth Annual Performance Season
New York Live Arts, 219 W. 19th St., NYC, NY