Deborah Hay Solo Festival

Judson era dance luminary, Deborah Hay, spends a week in residence in Philadelphia, PA. November 6th – 11th, 2012. She will offer a workshop to professional dance artists at Mascher Space Cooperative and student participants from University of the Arts.

The week will culminate in a festival co-produced by thefidget space and Mascher Space Cooperative featuring acclaimed soloists performing work by Deborah Hay from the past 15 years.

The lineup includes the following:

Friday, Nov 9th, 8pm
Nicole Bindler – I Think Not (2011)
Manfred Fischbeck – I Think Not (2011)
Sally Doughty – I Think Not (2011)

Saturday, Nov 10th, 8pm
Karen Schaffman and Eric Geiger – FIRE (1999) and Art and Life (2010)
Grace Mi He Lee – Voila (1997)
Hana van der Kolk / Jesse Johnson – Boom Boom Boom (2006)

Sunday, Nov 11th, 3pm
Melanie Stewart – I’ll Crane for You (2008)
Leslie Elkins – Boom Boom Boom (2000)
Deborah Black – The Runner (2007)
Hana van der Kolk / Jesse Johnson – Boom Boom Boom (2006)

PLUS on Wednesday, November 7th, 11:30am at the Drake, 1512 Spruce Street (entrance on Hicks Street) Hay will perform her “Lecture on the Performance of Beauty” as a part of the University’s “Knowing Dance More” series. This lecture is free to the public. Running time Approximately 45 minutes.

A Lecture on the Performance of Beauty (2004)
Choreography, text and performance: Deborah Hay
Influential choreographer and writer Deborah Hay gives unique insight into her creative world. Here she talks openly about the process of performance and choreography, describing her relation to the field of dance. Her solo work Beauty, choreographed in 2003, is the basis of the Lecture. But is this really a lecture? Or is what’s really going on a performance disguised as a lecture? Deborah Hay is considered one of the pioneers of post-modern dance. Born in Brooklyn, she started her dance career in the 1960s performing in a group that later became known as the Judson Dance Theater, one of the most radical and explosive art movements of the last century.

Dancers commission a solo dance from Deborah Hay. She guides and coaches them in the performance of the solo during an 11-day period in a residency setting. At the conclusion of the residency each participant signs a contractual agreement to a daily solo practice of the new piece, for a minimum of three months before their first public performance. What is unique about this project is that the dancers must raise the commissioning fee from within his/her community. This becomes the selection process by which a performer attends the SPCP. Community, whether family, friends, local, state, or national granting agencies, corporations, become the patrons for each dance. All patrons receive program acknowledgment every time the solo is performed by any of the participating dancers. With the Solo Performance Commissioning Project all participating artists commission the same solo dance choreographed by Deborah Hay. Hay rarely demonstrates solutions to the choreography. Rather, she conveys her concepts through directives that each performer translates individually into movement in his/her unique way. As part of the process, the artist is bound to the material through meditation-like exercises that are applied throughout the choreographed dance. In the latter half of the SPCP each artist is personally coached in his/her performance of the dance, with everyone present. Ultimately the solo is adapted by each performer through a period of practice that extends into the months following the project.

Deborah Hay Solo Festival 

November 9th, 8pm
November 10th, 8pm
November 11th, 3pm
thefidget space
1714 North Mascher St
Philadelphia PA 19122
Market-Frankford El: Berks stop
Buy tickets online.


Nicole Bindler, is a body-based performing artist, inspired by her studies of new dance, dance-theater, contact improvisation, and butoh. She is also a bodyworker and use somatic practices, such as Body-Mind Centering, yoga and Feldenkrais as a source of creativity, inspiration and physical training. Her work has been shown throughout the U.S., Canada, Argentina, Berlin, Tokyo, Beirut, Mexico and Quito, Ecuador. She has been presented by Shawinigan Street Theater Festival, Irtijal09′, Performance Mix Festival, DraftWork at Danspace Project, Abrons Arts Center, Center for Performance Research, The Kennedy Center, Dance Place, D.C. Improvisation Festival, High Zero Festival, Transmodern Age Festival, Links Hall, Hampshire College, Mobius, Berwick Research Institute, Lesley University, Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, Live Arts Brewery, nEW Festival, Bowerbird & ThirdBird, CEC New Edge mix, First Person Arts and Philadelphia Dance Projects. Her work has been supported by Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (through Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts) and Dance Advance. Her piece “I made this for you.”, created in collaboration with Gabrielle Revlock, was a 2011 finalist for the A.W.A.R.D. Show! She has taught Somatics and Contact Improvisation throughout the U.S., Argentina and at International Contact Festival Freiburg in Germany.

Deborah Black grew up in rural Western Pennsylvania, received a BFA in dance from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a second major in Art History, and commissioned two solos from Deborah Hay -The Runner(2007) and I’ll Crane For You(2008). She has collaborated with Margot Bassett, Will Bond, Davina Cohen, Karl Cronin, Genevieve Beth Grady, Christianne Hommelsheim, Kinderenvandevilla, Caroline O’Meara, Sasha Welsh, and has danced for Diana Crum, Fitzgerald and Stapleton, Naomi Goldberg-Haas, Anneke Hansen, Susan Rethorst, and Peter Sciscioli. Black, with Karl Cronin, received funding from the Jerome Foundation in 2010 to travel to Childress, TX to research the town, the people, and its landscape. She studies the Alexander Technique with June Ekman, Delsarte with Joe Williams, and has trained with the SITI Company.

Sally Doughty is an independent dance artist based in Leicester, England. She has been making and performing work internationally since the early 90s and is published in the USA and Britain. In her early career she performed with many leading British choreographers including Laurie Booth, Sue Maclennan and Rosemary Lee, and she has since developed reputation as a facilitator and performer of improvisational practices. Her current interests include how improvisation can be used as a form of documentation, and investigating what informs spontaneous decisions made in the moment of improvising. She attempts to balance her work as dance artist with her role as principal lecturer in dance at De Montfort University, UK. Sometimes this works really well…..

Leslie Elkins, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Dance at Rowan University. She teaches dance theory and technique and specializes in improvisational composition and performance. Body-Presence: Lived Experience of Choreography and Performance, her phenomenological-hermeneutic study involving work with noted artist Deborah Hay and Philadelphia-based dance artists, Grace Mi-He Lee and Tania Isaac, is published by Lambert Academic Publishing. She is also co-author on several published papers about the potentials and challenges of collaborative interdisciplinary teaching. Dr. Elkins is one of the founding members of Foursome, a collaborative arts ensemble in Philadelphia. Other performance work includes Quick Change, an improvisational dance-theatre collage with Paule Turner and Heidi Barr. Her current research focuses on the philosophy and use of play in education, as well as how the arts festival, Prospect New Orleans, can be used as a model of urban regeneration. Dr. Elkins received her Ph.D. in Dance from Temple University.

Manfred Fischbeck is the Artistic and Executive Director of Group Motion Multi Media Dance Theater. Originally from Berlin , Germany, he studied literature and theater at the Freie Universitaet and was professionally engaged as an actor in theater and film, before he moved to dance and joined the Modern Dance Company Gruppe Motion Berlin. In 1968 he relocated with Brigitta Herrmann and Hellmut Gottschild, co-founders and co-directors of Group Motion to Philadelphia. Since then, for more that forty years Manfred has been a vital force of the Philadelphia arts community, choreographing, composing, performing, teaching and touring with Group Motion locally, nationally, and internationally. He serves on the faculty of the University of the Arts as Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Dance, and as a lecturer in the Theater Arts Department at The University of Pennsylvania. He has received various grant awards and fellowships, including funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Pew Charitable Trusts and other foundations.

Eric Geiger was a company member of the Bill T Jones/ Arnie Zane Dance Company in New York City, the Lyon Opera Ballet in France, Djazzex Modern Dance in the Netherlands, and V-TOL Dance in London.  As a guest artist he has performed with ODC in San Francisco, Lower Left, under the direction of Nina Martin, Allyson Green Dance, Gabriel Masson Dance, Yolande Snaith and Patricia Sandback. In San Francisco, he facilitated movement workshops for The Medea Project, Theatre for Incarcerated Women, directed by Rhodessa Jones. Eric is the Associate Artistic Director of McCaleb Dance in San Diego, collaborating with Artistic Director Nancy McCaleb, where he has performed, choreographed, and designed scenic elements and costumes for numerous works. Currently he is creating with Liam Clancy and Tara Knight making spontaneous dances with the camera, collaborating on the full evening work titled BARK, with Liam Clancy, Karen Schaffman and Leslie Seiters, and continuing his embodied practice with collaborative dance theatre LIVE.  Eric is also a full time faculty member of the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of California, San Diego. In January of 2011 he, together with Co-Artistic Director Karen Schaffman, launched PADL West a 501(c)(3) organization committed to fostering innovative embodied research through art and conversation.

Hana van der Kolk makes stuff, thinks, collaborates, performs and teaches in lots of different places around the world. Her projects are usually rooted in her background as a dancer, but are increasingly far-flung. They take place in a wide range of sites including outdoors, on film,  in writing, on stage, and in warehouses, museums, and galleries. She began working with Deborah Hay in 2000, learning Boom, Boom, Boom in 2000 and The Ridge in 2004. After touring her adaptation of The Ridge extensively, in 2006 she collaborated with Layard Thompson in a duet version of the piece, as well as a film version of Boom, Boom, Boom with artist Jesse Johnson and sound designer Rafael Cohen.

Jesse Johnson is a photographer, cinematographer, dancer and musician. She teaches and practices CI in NYC where her classes are deeply informed by her spiritual practice of bhakti, meditation and the exploration of the soul through the body. For the last 10 years, Jesse has been exploring the ever evolving medium created at the intersection of dance and film and is delighted to share “Boom, Boom, Boom” as an example of this research. During the weekdays, Jesse is a mathematics instructional specialist and works with math teachers in NYC public high schools, supporting kids and adults in the ultimately improvisational and inspiring process of teaching and learning.

Grace Mi-He Lee‘s mind was blown 23 years ago when Deborah Hay taught Modern Dance III as Artist in Residence at Wesleyan University, where Grace was completing her BA in Dance and Sociology. Grace relocated to Austin, Texas to participate in Hay’s 1992 and 1993 Large Group Workshops. In 1995 Hay proposed to Grace and Scott Heron, another former student, The Voilà Project: all 3 would each develop their own adaptation of Hay’s new solo, Voilà, based on her written choreography libretto. They premiered Voilà at The Kitchen in 1997, concealing their adaptations from one another until the last night. During the summer of 1998, Grace travelled with Hay as her “Master Assistant” on Hay’s US west coast tour, after stage managing a one-time, 3 hour-long performance with 80 local Austin performers, Italy: real and imagined, a collaboration between Hay and the late visual artist, Tre Arenz. In 1999, Grace choreographed BURN, a duet for herself and Leslie Elkins, as a response to Hay’s libretto for Fire. In 2000 The Painted Bride presented both pieces on a program also featuring Simone Forti and Philadelphia based Eric Schoefer, who had previously worked extensively with Forti. Grace learned Boom Boom Boom from Hay during the 2001 Solo Performance Commissioning Project, and performed it in the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival later that year. In 2009 Grace filled in as Tour Manager for The Deborah Hay Dance Company’s Stockholm residency at Dansen Hus, running an audition for 80 Stockholm dancers.

Karen Schaffman is a lifelong dancer investigating perceptual practice and embodied knowledge. With Eric Geiger, she co-directs PADL West ( A devoted collaborator, she is also performingBARK (with Leslie Seiters, Liam Clancy, and Eric Geiger), developing The Fantasy Project with Anya Cloud and Mary Reich, and participating in ReDANCE directed by Sara Wookey. She has collaborated with Veronika Blumstein, BodyCartography Project, Kristine Diekman, Sara Shelton Mann, Nina Martin, Lower Left (co-founder) and LIVE. Schaffman is a graduate of the European Development Center and earned a Ph.D. in Dance History and Theory at UC Riverside. She is Professor at California State University San Marcos, studies The Feldenkrais Method, and enjoys the water.

Melanie Stewart creates darkly absurd movement driven theatre focusing on the nuanced, weird and vulnerable side of American culture. Through the integration of movement, text, and song she investigates ability of the body to carry meaning in original narratives. Her work strives to reveal the emotional under currents that drive the body to action, resulting in compelling dance theatre that is often ironic and intensely human. She is the Artistic Director of Melanie Stewart Dance Theatre, a critically acclaimed director/ choreographer and a recent nominee for a USA Artists Fellowship. Other awards include fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage through Dance Advance, and The PA Council on the Arts. She has been a choreographer in residence at The American Dance Festival and Jacob Pillow’s Winter Pillow and a frequent producer on the Edinburgh, New York and Philadelphia Live Arts/Philly Fringe. She holds two degrees in dance; a B.A from Webster University and an M.F.A. from Temple University and is a professor and Chair of Theatre and Dance at Rowan University.

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