CONTEMPORARY DANCE CLASSES, IMPROVISATION AND COMPOSITION WORKSHOP
As a teenager, she started her career as a contemporary dancer and developed her professional skills at the Fundación Escuela de Danza de Caracas, led by Yuri Cavalieri and José Ledezma –the contemporary dance pioneer in Venezuela, who studied under the tutelage of Merce Cunningham in New York City in the 60’s-. She was member of the third cohort of graduates of this institution in 2002 (with honors). Since then, she has developed her teaching and artistic work as a member of the permanent cast of the Taller de Danza de Caracas Company, broadening her experience as an interpretive dancer participating in numerous workshops –Release, Graham, Limón, contact-improvisation- in Venezuela as in other countries, including Cuba, Costa Rica and the United States. Being a member of the permanent cast of the Taller de Danza de Caracas Company, she has participated in more than twenty sessions -one per year- of improvisation, choreographic composition techniques and physical work with Dutch choreographer Mirjam Berns, whose work is based on several dynamic and interpretive elements -such as the notions of space, energy, rhythm, and silence as choreographic proposals, the relation amongst dancers, motivation, commitment and sensitivity in motion- rather than plain technical skills. This approach to dance defined her profile as a contemporary dancer.
The contemporary multilevel dance technique classes derives from both the Taller de Danza de Caracas, and Mirjam Berns Technique inspired training. The class begins with slow exercises aimed to engage and strengthen core muscles, as well as to lubricate supporting joints and awaken the senses. Then, we start to explore notions of space, energy, rhythm, and silence as proposals of movement. Class culminates in phrase work, putting together these elements while embracing the idea of the relation amongst dancers, motivation, commitment and sensitivity in motion, rather than plain technical skills.
The workshop starts explaining the aforementioned five elements of improvisation through exercise and movement research. Students will explore each element separately and then include them in a serie of movements which later will be transformed into a choreography of collective creation.
Mirjam Berns was born in the Nederlands (Holland) in 1944. Has been working internationally for more than 30 years. For seven years she danced in the Netherlands Opera. In 1964 she traveled to New York, and spent five years teaching at the Merce Cunningham Studio, while dancing in Dan Wagone's company, and also with Viola Farbe, while developing her own artistic projects. Since 1972 she has been teaching in Venezuela, as a collaborator for Caracas' Dance Workshop. She also worked with Jean Claude Gallota and Emile Dubois in France, and choreograped 3 works for the Coline in Istres company. Her work is based on a particular understanding of time, rhythm, space, silence and the human sense that she believes to be of capital importance, as they are the foundations in which the relationship between the dancer and dance is built upon. After working for more than a decade with Berns in Caracas, I am bringing this experience to New York City on a multilevel workshop addressed to dancers and actors who want to explore different notions of the body in movement, as a celebration of life itself.