Friday, June 23: 1:00-4:00 pm: An Introduction to Transnational Fusion Dance
Arab-American “Tribal” Fusion is a transnational dance genre rooted in nomadic and secular dance traditions of the Arabian Diaspora. Although it contains strong roots in women’s styles of Arabic folk dance, various artists have expanded the vocabulary to include influences of Rom (‘Gypsy’) dance styles from India to Europe, Spanish Flamenco, North African dances, and more recently American hip hop, electronic, punk, and gothic subcultures. As it was popularized, the form grew in response to experimentation of DJs sampling and digitally manipulating traditional instruments in hip hop, electronic, and world music. You will hear the best hardcore global electronica in the universe, learn foundational hip work, and poly-rhythmic orientation. Dancers of all ages, gender expression, ability levels, and life experiences are absolutely welcomed in the class.
Skill level: Beginner - Intermediate levels.
Saturday, June 24: 11:30 am-1:30 pm: Impulse, Momentum, and Fluidity
Explore continuums of movements; uninterrupted flow of movement in both the standing body (transferred as waves) and traveling body (progressions across the floor). We will investigate the idea of obstructions or default movement habits. Our class objective is NOT to create a specific style or aesthetic of dance. Rather, we will workshop our way through common patterns of resistance. Expect a substantial and vigorous warmup, followed by short phrases of choreography danced across the room. We will give special focus to traveling patterns in the feet and integration of hip/torso work in conjunction with traveling. Building confidence with improvisation and perpetuity is what we are aiming for. As always, I promise the best music in the universe (!), respect for your dignity as a participant, honesty, and much laughter during our “laboratory” time together.
Please bring a yoga mat.
Skill level: Intermediate level.
Sunday, June 25: 12:30-2:30 pm: Pedagogical Considerations in Teaching and Learning Dance
Donna Mejia serves as the pedagogical professor for CU Boulder’s Theatre and Dance courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Examine the legal, practical, pedagogical, and philosophical issues under review in current dance education (learning differences, developmental sequencing, anatomical distinctions, risks and liabilities, ethical practices, cultural inclusivity, copyright issues, etc.) The goals and content of professional and recreational dance training will be considered and strategies for effective teaching practices will be discussed. Most importantly, we will collectively discuss practical applications of theoretical material. All genres of dance are topically relevant and may be utilized in this workshop.
Skill level: All levels.
As a transnational fusion dance artist, Donna Mejia's distinctive aesthetic dialogs the secular dances of North Africa and the Arab World with American Hip Hop dance and sub-genres of electronic dance. Donna also teaches the Brazilian Silvestre Dance Technique and is a primary representative after twenty years of practice. Donna received her Master of Fine Arts degree from Smith College on full fellowship and has been a guest artist in residence for eighteen colleges. In October of 2011, she was selected by the Fulbright Association to present the 2011 Selma Jeanne Cohen Endowed lecture for International Scholarship in Dance, notably for her paper “Digital Diasporas and Transnational Dance Communities: The Effects of the Internet on Identity Formation and Collective Cultural Memory.” She joined the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Theatre and Dance department in 2012 as the first Assistant Professor of tribal fusion dance globally. Donna continued her research on Digital Diasporas by producing the first academic Viral Dance Colloquium in 2014 (CU Boulder) and is currently working on several writing projects. She was the 2013 keynote speaker for Syracuse University’s Symposium on Public Diplomacy and was selected by USA Today as a prominent artist in their review of new images of Black Women in contemporary media (February 2015). Donna was the choreographer and solo dancer featured in the 2015 NYC off-Broadway production of 11 Reflections on September, and performed the show at the venerable LaMama Theatre (three week run), The Apollo Theater, and The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Donna joined the research and development team of Kenji Williams’ Bella Gaia/Origin Stories/BEE project in 2016, and is helping to imagine, develop and deploy new perceptualization tools, platforms, research communication methods, social environments, performance venues and pedagogical and ethical domains in service of a viable future. She balances her time teaching and touring internationally to teach, lecture, and perform for private sponsors, festivals and community organizations.
Watch Donna in Action!