updated 10/16/19

Click the icon to view a PDF of the schedule.


GUEST ARTIST | Miguel Gutierrez


My improvisation and performance practices are informed by various lineages of experimental dance practice, the Feldenkrais Method, socio-cultural dynamics, DIY ethics, minoritarian politics, and incorporate voice and writing. This workshop challenges participants to uncover questions and answers through movement, inverting the conventional proposition that thought comes before action. I see dance as a mode of perceptual inquiry rather than non-verbal “language” because languages are meant to be understood and I like that dance defies linguistic comprehension. We will complicate our ideas of what constitutes “communication,” “good improvisation,” “performance,” “listening” and “development.”


CLASS DESCRIPTIONS (ordered alphabetically by teacher’s last name):


GROUP PARTNERING (Big Rig Dance Collective)

Certified Movement Fundamental Artists and Co-Directors of Big Rig Dance Collective, Amanda Jackson and Lily Sloan, will explore the risk-taking of flying and falling within Contact Improvisation. Tenets of Movement Fundamentals will be integrated with CI foundations to create an environment that is accessible and safe to the new improviser or the seasoned professional.


The idea behind Big Rig Dance Collective (BRDC) emerged in 2010 on a road trip from Denton to a performance in Austin, TX. Like highways connect cities, we aim to connect diverse communities through performances, community classes, and collaborative events. In our creative process, we value what each individual brings to the group, and that is often the impetus for our work. Whether our collaborations lead us to light-hearted theatrical movement or raw energy and explosive physicality, we always start making dance by looking to what drives us in the here and now. Our methods for creating often include improvisation, choreography, and collaborations with interdisciplinary artists. BRDC is directed by Crysta Caulkins-Clouse, Whitney Geldon, Amanda Jackson, and Lily Sloan. 



In this session, we will explore tools for introducing contact partnering and improvisational structures to beginners in grades 9-12. In this session participants will explore tools for teaching contact improvisation to beginner students. Contact partnering is the communication between two or more moving partners in physical contact and their relationship to physical laws that govern their motion-gravity, momentum, and inertia. The session ends with an open jam where participants apply some of the tools explored and enter the performance space freely.


Elisa De La Rosa is a choreographer, performer, and dance educator and the founding artistic director of De La Rosa Dance Company, a dance company which explores improvisation structures for performance work. De La Rosa is a dance educator at a public high school fine arts dance program. De La Rosa’s research interests include dance improvisation for performance work, Aztec dance, and dance and digital media. De La Rosa received a BA in Dance with Secondary Teacher Certification from Texas Woman’s University and received her MFA in Dance from Montclair State University in New Jersey in May of 2018.



This lightly facilitated morning jam is a space to begin your day right: through contact improvising. Some simple warm-ups with a partner will lead us into a space of jamming.



Focusing on quality of movement rather than scale or size, we will use the concept of a resilient floor to read the down or the undercurve necessary for using momentum to go up. Focusing on techniques that explore a microcosm of small lifts, nudges and redirections, we will commit to a strategy of ease rather than effort, in order to follow momentum into the air and then back to the floor, using a supportive geometry of parabolic curves.


Jordan Fuchs is a choreographer, performer and an Associate Professor of Dance at Texas Woman’s University. His choreography for stage and screen is grounded in improvisational practice, specifically the bias towards disorientation, sensation and process of contact improvisation, a movement form he has been practicing for more than 25 years. The creator of TDIF, which he also coordinated for its first ten years, he is a former Fulbright Specialist, and has taught nationally and internationally, including at the WCCIjam and the Freiburg Contact Festival.


Because we are never “really” improvising alone, and anything can be a partner, we will move with selected objects that focus on opposites: natural/artificial, soft/hard, and light/heavy that help us discover more about the relationship to our own body and self. Playful possibilities to vocalize, write, and discuss will be offered. “A ritual is a focused container for experience” (Olsen, 2002, p. 219). We will cultivate this “container for experience,” honoring the art of improvisation and maintaining an awareness of the relationships that are ever present: relationship to self, environment, and the planet at large.


Misti Galvan is an artist/educator living in the Austin area. She holds an MFA in choreography through Wilson College and is also a certified yoga teacher (E-RYT 200). Currently she is on faculty with the TX State Dance Division. She has a classical background but her present interests are focused on improvisation as a mode of performance, site-specific dance making, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Prior to her work in Texas, Misti was the Artistic Director of Ardmore Contemporary Dance Company, a non-profit organization dedicated to sharing professional dance in Southern Oklahoma through performances, outreach projects, educational residencies, and community work.



Contemplative Dance Practice is structured to support mindful movement in an open environment. The silent practice will be begin in a large circle with seated meditation of individual choosing, followed by a personal warm-up. The third section of the practice is open movement, an un-facilitated movement session where dancers enter and exit the dancing space as desired in solo, duet or ensemble configurations arising through the practice. The meditation will be begin promptly at 9:05 and last for about 15 minutes. All who enter during the meditation portion are encouraged to do so mindfully. At the end of class we will allow ten minutes to close the session for a short debriefing.


Sarah Gamblin is Professor of Dance at Texas Woman’s University and specializes in performance and improvisation. Her choreography has been produced nationally and she has served as a guest artist at several universities. Most recently Sarah collaborated as a performer with Bebe Miller Company in the evening length work In a Rhythm, and toured this work nationally.



In this class, participants will be lead through the techniques for devising physically dynamic work. Lead by Danielle Georgiou, Artistic Director for the Danielle Georgiou Dance Group, Dallas’ premiere dance theatre and physical theatre company, this class gives participants insight into the DGDG method and provides tools as to how you can devise your own movement-led work, quickly and simply.

Danielle Georgiou, Ph.D, is a Dallas-based choreographer and performance artist. In 2011, she started the Danielle Georgiou Dance Group which is an ensemble-based dance theatre group. DGDG was selected as Best Dance Troupe of 2017 and 2015 by the Dallas Observer and Best Dance Company for 2016 by the Readers of D Magazine. Danielle completed her Ph.D. in Humanities-Aesthetic Studies with a focus on experimental/avant-garde theatre and dance from the University of Texas-Dallas and has presented her choreography throughout Texas, Oklahoma, California, and Oregon.



In this class we will work on creating an original improvisational score that can be performed both as a solo or as a group work, through the embodiment of border theories from Latinx and queer scholars and authors. We will look at the way the somatic body shares a border with our political and poetic body in a resilient and resistance dance of empowerment.


Artist and educator, Cristina Goletti is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Theatre and Dance Department at UTEP and is serving as President for the World Dance Alliance Americas. In 2007 she co-founded Legitimate Bodies Dance Company, which toured extensively in Europe. Between 2013-2017 she worked as full-time professor and Chair of the Arts Department at Universidad De Las Americas Puebla. She co-directed the festival Performatica, and was a finalist in the 4x4 Tijuana choreographic contest. Cristina has presented her creative and scholarly work at several conferences and universities in the USA, Australia, New Zealand, and Latin America.

INTRO TO FASCIA (Brandon Gonzalez)

Fascia is a connective tissue that weaves an elastic web throughout the entire body. The bones, muscles, and organs are held in place by the tension that the web exerts. Extending or shortening one part of the fascial structure will affect the entire system. This connective tissue provides a model to help us understand that the body is an integrated whole rather than separate pieces and parts. Let’s spend some time getting to know the dynamic properties of fascia and the movement potentials it offers. Viewing anatomical images of fascia, hands-on exploration of fascia, and contact improvisation will be the modes of working in this class. How can we re-fresh our movement by re-imagining our physical structures?


Brandon Gonzalez (USA) is an interdisciplinary artist and teacher working in the USA and Europe. As a former martial arts practitioner, Brandon began using his body as an artistic medium when introduced to the physical proposals of Contact Improvisation. Engaged with dance improvisation as a field of inquiry and movement research, he joined Nita Little’s Dance Research Laboratory along with Ray Chung and other San Francisco based artists. His interdisciplinary performance work and collaborations have been presented at the San Francisco Art Institute, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Dallas Contemporary, Avignon OFF, WUK (Vienna), FemArt Festival (Kosovo), and SUNDAY RUN_UP (Stockholm).


EMBODIMENT AND SOUND (Taylor Knight, Anna Thompson, and Jasmine Hearn)

We will investigate how the body is able to use memory, sensation, and imagination as ways to enter movement to articulate story, ancestry, and personal truth. With a background in various dance forms and traditions, BodyMindMovement, yoga, and, vocalization, this time is committed to the facilitation of an environment that gives space for folks to connect with their own fantasy and feeling. Using language from family, community, and mentors, there will be a putting together of the pedestrian, the virtuosic, the functional, the subtle, the fantastical, the soft, and the vulnerable. Our time will end with a phrase using memories of home and the waters that have visited us as source.


Jasmine Hearn is a performer, director, choreographer, organizer, and teaching artist. A native Houstonian, she graduated magna cum laude from Point Park University with her B.A. in Dance. Awarded a 2017 “Bessie”Award for Outstanding Performance as a part of Skeleton Architecture, they have been given residencies at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Camargo Foundation, and Dance Source Houston. Recently, she is a 2018 Dancing While Black fellow, 2018 Movement Research AIR and a 2019 Jerome Foundation Jerome Hill Artist Fellow. Taylor Knight ​and​ Anna Thompson ​are Co-Founding Artistic Directors of​ slowdanger​, a multidisciplinary performance entity based in Pittsburgh PA. ​As multidisciplinary artists, slowdanger fuses sound and movement through improvised contemporary and postmodern dance frameworks. Their awards/residencies include, Carnegie Museum of Arts Performance Residency, The Opportunity Fund 2017/2019, The Pittsburgh Foundation A W. Mellon Grant 2019, Dance Magazine’s ‘25 to Watch’ 2018 and The Heinz Endowments Small Arts Initiative 2016.



This class seeks to re-root jazz movement to its music counterpart/s, in turn placing improvisational practice at its center. With jazz music and social movement ideas as roots, jazz dance is at its most vibrant when it springs from groove and interaction-driven improvisation. Participants can expect to find personal groove in a variety of jazz and jazz-adjacent music and movement ideas and to share it with others improvisationally. In this way, we’ll connect to sound, ourselves and one another, appreciating the uniquely human capability to perpetuate groove and to share it while composing musically in the moment.


Erinn Liebhard grew up grooving at her dad’s rock band’s gigs. Guided by this inspiration and fondness for jazz and American social dance, Erinn has worked with creatives as varied as hip-hop artist Rennie Harris and the Wild Goose Chase Cloggers. She teaches for Winona State University, the Cowles Center and Zenon Dance, and presents her own new works and those by others through her company Rhythmically Speaking. She also performs with Contempo Physical Dance (Afro-Brazilian contemporary) and is an active writer, presenter and residency artist, sharing her groove, interaction and improvisation-driven approach to jazz dance.



Participants are invited to connect to the ground through a focused investigation of floorwork. Using principles of weight, balance/counter balance, sensory motor processing and haptic sensation, individual and collective paradigms are formed. Embraced through this class are the residual lines of experience, the scars made visible on the studio floor and skin as a result of time, force, and pressure. Open to all levels. No knee pads required.


Sarah Matzke is a Choreographer, Performer and Educator. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Southern Methodist University and a Master of Fine Arts in Choreography from Jacksonville University. Matzke has been a company member of Dark Circles Contemporary Dance, Open Sky Arts Collective, recipient of the Dorothy Amann Women of Distinction Award, Artist in Residency at the University of Texas at Dallas and Guest Artist for Big Rid Dance Co-Op 2018, Collin County Ballet Theatre, Eastfield College, Tarrant County College and Texas Dance Improv Festival 2017. Matzke is Adjunct Faculty at Texas Christian University and The University of Texas at Dallas.


FIND THE END TO YOUR RUN-ON SENTENCE (Chrissy Nelson / Blake Nellis)

This co-taught class will be a mix of CI and solo improvisation through the lens of poetics, imagery, timing and trust. It will take you into the soaked muddy ground, dig a bit deeper through the tectonic plates of middle earth, and then emerge into the suspended space where balloons hover and geese fly low. Chrissy & Blake will guide you through an on-going journey of grit and grunge, while also clasping onto crisp corners and jagged ledges. This class aims to soften the body in order to find clarity in solo and duet dancing - to find the end to your run-on sentence.

Blake Nellis is a dance artist, educator, improviser, and photographer who creates work with the body. He is a 2019 & 2015 recipient of the MN State Arts Board: Artist Initiative Grant and 2013 recipient of the McKnight Foundation Metropolitan Regional Arts Council: Next Step Funds. He has taught and performed throughout the US, Mexico & Europe and is proud to call Minneapolis home! He has recently produced work at the Walker Art Center, Red Eye Theater, TEK Box, Bryant Lake Bowl Theater & Luther College. His other professional experience includes performing with Mathew Janczewski’s ARENA Dances, Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater, Jim Lieberthal’s Footholds Project, Jane Hawley, Rosy Simas & Taja Will. 


Chrissy Nelson is a dance artist, physical therapist, and movement educator. She has taught at CIIA, EarthDance, and TDIF, and is an Artist in Residence at CU-Boulder. Since living in CO, Nelson has performed with Helander Dance Theater, Hannah Kahn Dance Company, 3rd Law Dance/Theater, kim olson/sweet edge, and Tumblebones, and in works created by Onye Ozuzu, Chris Aiken & Angie Hauser, Gesel Mason, and Gwen Ritchie. Chrissy also directs The Field | Boulder, collaborates frequently with sound and visual artists, and most recently created “in the backyard,” inspired by the work of performance artist, William Pope.L, and poet, Gwendolyn Brooks.


POSTMODERN BREAKING (Jonathan Pattiwael)

With over 10 years of experience in breaking (breakdance), Jonathan will guide participants in a workshop combining acrobatic techniques, contemporary and contact improvisation to explore original movement creation to flow into and out of the floor as a solo body. The workshop will take contact improvisation techniques to merge with breaking floorwork and the ease of release technique from contemporary. It is highly recommended that participants wear kneepads for this master class.


Jonathan Pattiwael started dancing in Indonesia. After relocating to the US, he continued training and eventually performed in various events, shows and dance battles, including touring as principal of Polynesian Dance Company in the Southern US. After years of performing and choreography, he earned an MFA in Dance from Texas Woman’s University. He leads a creative process that fosters dialogue towards social justice informed by the breathtaking energy of hip-hop and the liberating rawness of postmodern dance. Pattiwael is currently a Dance Lecturer for the University of Dayton and a resident artist at the world renowned Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.


Using Ensemble Thinking group composition scores, we will make dances, and talk about why they resonate, and why they do not, the elements that drive a dance towards artistic critical mass, and those that do not, producing stagnation as an outcome instead. What makes a group effort succeed? Individual responsibility within the group mission context and clarified goals. What allows an improvising ensemble to respond quickly to meet unexpected events with flair and wisdom? Skillful recognition, valuation and promotion of diverse talents, along with solid compositional understanding. Differences of opinion and aesthetic will be welcomed and engaged. 


Leslie Scates teaches Dance Improvisation and Contact Improvisation at the University of Houston and with Lower Left Performance Company.  Scates has created choreography as a solo artist and in conjunction with dance and music artists in Houston, Texas since 1989.  Scates was named one of “Houston’s Top 100 Creatives” in 2013, and continues to teach, make and perform with Lower Left Performance Collective in Texas and beyond.  Scates helped to launch TDIF in its first five years and has participated in the festival regularly.  Scates acts as a non-verbal communication consultant for small companies in Houston, Texas, using Ensemble Thinking group improvisation methods.  



Throughout our lives we are in a constant process of transformation. Like the ancient art of origami, we bend and unfold aspects of ourselves, hiding and revealing surfaces, opening and closing access to personal qualities, and bringing shadow and light to our deepest movement sources. In this class, embracing influences from Somatic Movement Education, we will improvise and dialogue with the mystery of biodynamic life. By inviting our attention to voluntary and involuntary movement, the relationship with others and our environment, we increase the potential of consciousness and choice in our dancing.


Ray Eliot Schwartz is a movement artist, educator, and researcher, whose primary focus is the integration of Somatic Movement Education and Dance practice. He co-founded four contemporary dance projects in the southern U.S. and has been a guest artist for diverse populations in the U.S., Turkey, South-East Asia, South America, and Mexico. Faculty member of the American Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival, MELT, Camp_iN, and SFADI, among many others. He is a research associate with the Center for Body Mind Movement and served as Academic Coordinator of the Dance Program of the University of the Americas-Puebla in México from 2008-2018.



This is a facilitated guided workshop incorporating imperfect dynamic & mindful pedestrian movements, some codified dance moves, as well as authentic body movements. Some prompts that will hopefully drive participants’ movement choices will depend on them practicing deep & generous listening, plus sharing personal histories. Workshop will culminate into participants working together as small ensembles creating, expressing & reflecting on experiences shared by each other. This class is good for all levels.


Wayne M. Smith is a native of Memphis, TN and a dance and theatre specialist with expertise in improvisation, choreography and performance. As an independent professional artist, he works under the auspices of his company SmithWorks. Currently he is adjunct professor at the University of Memphis as well as instructor, performer and choreographer with contemporary dance collective Project:Motion Memphis. Wayne does regular community engagement and advocacy work including performing with Playback Memphis, an improvisational audience-interactive physical theatre company. He also works extensively with Memphis’ Company d, a dance organization for dancers with Downs Syndrome. Smith holds an MFA in Dance from The Ohio State University, and a BFA in Theatre/Dance (minor Mathematics) from the University of Memphis. 


FOLKLOR, BOMBA, & PLENA (Stephanie Valle Cruz)

Plena is a style that comes from the spaniard side of the puertorrican culture, as a community dance it is done in a way that everyone can enjoy and join. In it, there’s choreographic exploration using basic triple step format. Bomba comes from the African roots of the culture, it gives an open space for improvisation and expression while dancing in a challenge with the beat of the drum. This class will explore through choreography and improvisation, in a short and condensed manner part of the culture and variety of styles within it.


Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Stephanie Valle Cruz has danced since a young age, indulging in her roots. She practices a variety of styles, but one of her main focus is puertorrican folklore. She has performed and choreographed for different events in Puerto Rico and for musical theater in Texas, currently, she works as an instructor at the Texas Metropolitan Ballet in Killeen. At the moment, she’s also finishing her degree in Dance Studies at Texas Woman’s University.


This is an all-levels Contact Improvisation class designed to provide explorations of strategies for flying and landing. We will explore basic concepts for creating opportunities for flight, both on our own and with assistance, and ways of successfully coming back to the floor with either gravity’s or a partners insistence. 

We will play with the concepts of physics that underpinned the initial research into Contact Improvisation, an awareness of the role of will, and of the ways we negotiate the intersection of our own curiosity with that of others.


Jeff Wallace has been accumulating experiences through movement teaching and performance for over 30 years. His primary influences are Contact Improvisation, Contemporary Dance, Physical Theater, his past career in neuropsychology, and his autistic son. He has taught at numerous colleges, universities and movement festivals, and has performed and taught on 5 continents and in 13 countries. He has performed in opera houses, nightclubs, and village halls. He co-curated the dance component of Dublin’s 2015 First Fortnight Festival, and has acted as movement coach and creative collaborator for many professional theatre and dance productions.


RELAY:LAYER (Andrew Wass)

“theory is a relay from one practice to another” - Deleuze


This class will look at the theory between the solo and ensemble practices. Using the 4 Winds as a point of departure for the individual body, we will open our spatial awareness to the group through the lens of One Idea. How does theory arise when layering the shape and space of the solo body onto the shape and space of the ensemble form


By experimenting with aleatoric processes, Andrew Wass formalizes the coincidental and emphasizes the conscious processes of composition that are the generative source of much of his works. Influenced heavily by his undergraduate studies of Biochemistry at U.C. San Diego, Andrew works by creating a defined, almost crystalline palette in order to generate a myriad of possibilities. A member of Lower Left, he is currently pursuing his PhD in Dance at TWU.