Performance Training

Embodied Presence


The course is designed to foster a practice that promotes physical listening skills and ensemble decision-making.

The class goes on a quest to balance kinesthetic abandon with sharp decision-making. Students embrace the skills necessary to dance in contact with other bodies and devote time to unearthing distinct solo movement states. As ensemble creators they learn to slide along the continuum of narrative meaning and abstract logic.

We explore the underlying principles of contact improvisation and apply these skills to a broader context of performance. Embodied Presence introduces improvisational structures that encourage and awaken the choreographic sensibility within each student’s performance practice. Honing the skill and the awareness to think in movement with other bodies, they will engage in the thrill of composing dances together…sensing fully and thinking choreographically.

Practice striking the balance between agency and responsiveness, as both performer and creator.

Improvisational Forms

Improvisational Forms is a contemporary dance approach with particular focus on Structured and Contact Improvisation and releasing techniques. We will hone tools for moving with articulation, strength, sensitivity and spatial awareness, and use those tools for choreographing spontaneously. Students will be taught choreographic improvisation structures created by Richard Bull/Cynthia Novack and by Headlong Dance Theater, and then asked to adapt and refine them based on their own group’s particular interests. 

Each class begins with an embodied movement practice that includes elements of contact improvisation, yoga, releasing techniques, and Pilates. Precision practices such as ballet and Bharata Natyam may also be introduced. Students increase their movement articulation and improvisational skills, at the same time that they create a cohesive ensemble of co-creators and performers. 


This style breaks the fourth wall and students will learn how to encounter the audience in a direct way. Through exercises, we will discover their ability to have fun on stage, to go beyond their controlled self and tease out their crazy side. Then we will slowly find out where your clown is.

The clown is a version of ourselves that is vulnerable, ultimately stupid and ridiculous. 

It is the ability for the student to:

  • be in the moment
  • feel the waves that exists between an audience and themselves
  • allow the unknown to be part of the performance

An artist who understands improvisation, allows herself to be transparent and accessible, and who is vulnerable is a better performer. 


Exploring physicality and improvisation. Dell'arte is used as a training method to push up against.

This class assists students to gain a better understanding of the body, face, and voice, while creating an ensemble of co-creators and performers.


The Jacques Lecoq method teaches students how to use their bodies as a point of departure to make theatre.

The semester starts with the neutral mask to discover the possibilities of enhancing the presence of the performer by working on our instrument: the body. By masking the face with a neutral leather mask, we can focus on the body, the breath, the gaze and rise to the state of the mask. This enables students to break apart habits, small gestures that are not conscious and demands a level of energy that the stage requires.

The journey of the neutral mask happens in nature and by going through differents natural spaces, the body expresses all the different texture, rhythms found in those spaces.

Jacques Lecoq refers to it as the white page, where we will be able to write new stories, other than ours. The actor who understands simplicity, neutrality, breath will be able to create characters outside of themselves and therefore bring their imagination, their talent to discover new possibilities, new path to their register.