June 23-28, 2020
Hobart and William Smith Colleges
June 23/24: Bebe Miller
June 27/28: Stephanie Skura
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Questions? Email Megan
Toni Smith, Chair
Gill Wright Miller
Host: Cynthia Williams
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35th Annual BMCA Postconference
Postconference with Stephanie Skura
Freedom + Rigor + Courage: Open Source Forms & Improvisation
Saturday, June 27 (2-5:00 PM) and Sunday, June 28 (9:00 AM-12:00 PM)
Deeply rooted in and fluidly expanded from Skinner Releasing Technique (SRT), Open Source Forms (OSF) was instigated by Stephanie in 2009 after decades working closely with SRT creator Joan Skinner. Guided by the philosophy that the source of creativity & wisdom is available in each of us, OSF offers specific methods to access depth, specificity, courage, rigor & freedom in movement expression, presence, & vocal practice.
This image-based practice involves shedding layers and finding more primordial movement experiences. Guided poetic imagery supports releasing of hidden tensions and allows an often surprising degree of freedom. grace, flexibility, balance, & expressiveness. A gentle environment -- created by language, music, facilitator’s voice & a seamless progression of experiences – integrates technical growth with creative practice in an atmosphere seemingly devoid of judgment or competition. Sessions include practicing agility moving in & out of states below conscious level, hands-on partner studies, and sometimes writing & drawing. In addition to core introductory OSF activities, we’ll experiment with improvisational strategies derived from three decades of Stephanie’s rehearsal process: empowering participants in the improvisational moment, rooted in a conscious specificity, free of inhibition, accessing intuition and the subconscious, and inviting the mind to collaborate. A foundational aim is to celebrate the power, totality, and uniqueness of each individual. These sessions are often transformational for both experienced movers and those without traditional training. A key aspect is individual empowerment as a source of positive change on the planet.
A “radical & perpetual innovator,”Stephanie Skura has created interdisciplinary movement-based performances for over three decades. Her process focuses on the power and totality of each performer, collaboratively discovering & developing material.
Called “a major American experimentalist,” she has an international reputation for adventurous work, performing and teaching in 30 of the United States and 15 countries. Her New York City-based touring company performed worldwide for 15 years. Her current work integrates a radically visceral approach to language, continuing life-long investigations of the boundaries & intersections of dance, theater, poetry and performance.
Now based in the US Pacific Northwest, she works independently with several companies, artists and institutions. She was on Graduate Faculty at the University of Washington School of Drama Professional Actors Training Program, and Core Faculty of the Skinner Releasing Institute, working closely with SRT creator Joan Skinner. She’s taught at such places as the American Dance Festival, Florida Dance Festival, European Dance Development Center, Naropa Institute, Movement Research in New York, and at many colleges and universities.
Her performance work has toured at major festivals in Zurich, Vienna, Lisbon, Budapest, Italy, the UK, the Netherlands, France & Canada, and at such US venues as the Walker Art Center In Minneapolis, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, New performance Gallery in San Francisco, and in New York City at Roulette, Dance Theater Workshop, the Joyce Theater, Lincoln Center, Central Park Summerstage, Danspace Project, and Performance Space 122.
She created and directs Open Source Forms, a practice and teacher training program focusing on deep commonalities of Skinner Releasing and creative process. During 2005-10, she served as Associate Artistic Director of The Gravity Project, a theater company weaving movement, design, music, and poetic text. She was a regular guest artist at Juniata College’s theater department for 13 years, and helped develop its innovative curriculum.
Stephanie has received seven Choreography Fellowships and five Dance Company Grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, one of the first “Bessie Awards” for Choreography, and numerous government, foundation and corporate grants, as well as commissions from several dance companies. She holds a BFA & MFA from New York University Tisch School of the Arts.
An innovative teacher & mentor, her worldwide influence on students, teachers, artists, choreographers, and audience members has been a major force in the field of dance and performance. With a deep respect for individual diversity, and a sturdy respect for the subconscious, her work is guided by integration of body/mind/heart, creativity & technique, form & content, art & healing, intellect & intuition.
Skura’s non-fiction writing & poetry have appeared in several literary journals, and in Dance Magazine, the Village Voice, Contact Quarterly, the book Reimaging America: Art & Social Change, Oxford University Press Handbook of Improvisation in Dance (2015), and Triarchy Press Emerging Narratives (working title for book about SRT for publication in 2020).