Elon Dance program hosts international dance artists 

The Dance Program hosted two internationally known guest artists who taught master classes to dance majors.  

Over a two-week span, the Elon Dance program hosted two internationally known artists that taught master classes to our BFA Dance students.

On Sept. 26, New York City-based Douglas Dunn + Dancers visited the campus, engaging the students in a technical warm up as well as experimentation in partnering. Following this, on Oct. 5, French artist Marie Lenfant, who is doing a residency at Culture Mill in Saxapahaw, N.C., led the dancers through a series of improvisational studies. Both experiences were incredibly enriching for the students and pushed them to explore the methods of artists who are well known and established in the dance world.

The first master class with Dunn began with a warm up rooted in Cunningham technique, encouraging the dancers to find their center. As many of the students have not studied this technique before, the warm up presented a great opportunity for the dancers to challenge themselves. Following this, Dunn led a set of group/partnering improvisational exercises, opening the dancers up to the world of post-modern technique of contact improvisation. Finally, Dunn’s dancers shared some excerpts of reparatory that they are working on to end the session, which was a great treat for the students and faculty.

Lenfant led quite a different but just as enriching master class the following week. The entire session was focused on improvisation, allowing the dancers to explore their individual styles within the constraints of Lenfant’s instructions. She asked the dancers to move across the floor as if they were just getting out of bed, giving the image of the body as pizza dough melting through the space to the students. As the dancers got the hang of this way of moving, they were able to implement Lenfant’s approach to their own artistic styles, resulting in incredibly interesting improvisational sessions that the students participated in.

The combination of these two master classes provided our Elon BFA Dance Students with an incredibly diverse set of experiences. Not only were they able to gain a better understanding of what artists expect in the real world, but also they were able to enrich the variety of movement vocabulary that they are familiar with.

Junior Dance major Abby Corrigan says that the experience, “gave me the opportunity to get a sense of what it would be like to go out and audition for these artists after graduation. Dancing for a new choreographer can be very intimidating because you don’t know what to expect. But by experiencing what it is like to walk into a new situation in an open-minded way while within the safe environment we have created here, I got a taste of what the dance world will be like outside of Elon while also feeling comfortable to push myself to explore new and risky ideas.”

By continuing to bring more guests artists in from the various realms of the dance world, the Elon Dance program hopes to keep providing students with these enriching opportunities to make connections with other artists and enable the dancers to expand their own horizons as artists.   

To learn more about the guest artists, please visit the following links: 

Douglas Dunn + Dancers: http://www.douglasdunndance.com

Marie Lenfant: http://www.ciemarielenfant.com/

Culture Mill: http://www.culturemill.org/artist-residencies/2015/4/6/compagnie-marie-lenfant