Diana Crum

Thurs, Feb 5 from 2:30-5pm at the New Museum

Class Description
I’m interested in the impact and potential of somatic practices and research within the general public. I am proposing a class that would be open to the general public, created with residents of the Lower East Side who are new to progressive dance practices in mind.

I will lead participants through a personal, somatic practice within a cultivated, social atmosphere. If we send our attention inwards while also keeping an everyday environment, we can be both somatic and social at the same time. Then we can practice not only an arts training but also a way of being in the world.

Specifically, we will work with the images of cellular breathing and the fluid body. I will use ideas from Body Mind Centering® as an inspiration for the groundwork for the class. I will combine them with my own ideas about what I have been calling "the underneath body," a fluid, non-vertical body, that exists in relationship to the architecture (bones/muscles/shape) of the human form.

For years, I have engaged in daily dance classes that ask participants to attend to their sensations and imagine their interior life – including cellular movements, anatomical workings, emotional responses, and mental states. I take the practice for granted at this point. As a teacher both inside of dance studios and outside, I am constantly reminded of how foreign these ideas are to the majority of NYC residents.

I have over ten years of teaching experiences in diverse environments, including short-term residencies in public schools, colleges and universities. I have worked with experienced dancers as well as those new to it. My work as a teacher has an enormous impact on my choreographic work. Each class is an opportunity to engage with another community and dialogue about dance and artistic practices. Bringing somatic practices to communities not versed in progressive dance traditions has enormous potential to teach both me and the class participants.
My job as the teacher is to provide exercises and structure around which we can gather. On some level, I have to tell participants what to do. This gives them something to focus on. Then the conversation – the nonverbal conversation – begins. In other words, the content of the class is the exercises that I give. The subtext, the communal experience and exchange, is more important. Being in the room together, engaging in a shared practice, each individual’s reaction and experience pools together. Out of the pool, I can recognize shared experiences and relevant, timely points for further discussion and exploration.

My choreography has been presented in New York City; Atlanta, GA; Durham, NC; Salt Lake City, UT; Vienna, Austria; and Nancy, France, among others cities. Commissioners include chashama (New York, NY) and loveDANCEmore (Salt Lake City, UT). NYC presenters include the 92nd St Y (Fridays at Noon), AUNTS, CPR – Center for Performance Research (CPR Presents), Danspace Project (Draftwork), Dixon Place (BRINK), DNA (Dance New Amsterdam – Raw Material), Movement Research at the Judson Church and Roulette. Self-produced site-specific works have taken place at venues including Brazil and Prospect Park, both in Brooklyn, NY. www.dianacrumanddancers.org