Schedule & Classes

DECEMBER 28, 2017–JANUARY 5, 2018
The ailey studios
ages 18+

schedule & Classes

The Winter Intensive schedule is designed to challenge you technically, creatively, and intellectually through the opportunities that exist in a unique and collaborative group learning experience. The community we form during these nine days will be pivotal to what we learn and how we grow.  More than a series of classes, the ADF Winter Intensive is a cohesive curriculum that will give you the opportunity to move, make, research, discuss, and form relationships with other dance artists that will last you far beyond the nine days we spend working together.  

You can count on the same rigorous technical and creative training with outstanding teachers that ADF’s Winter Intensive always offers.  Here’s a bit about what’s different:

  • The Intensive focus on examining the ways that African diasporic and Western European dance traditions operate within our practices gives you a critical lens to focus your learning and become more informed of what’s operating in your dancing history.  
  • Daily orientation sessions give us time to collectively reconnect, remember, and prepare for the day ahead as using movement, writing, and discussion.  
  • Informal lunch conversations give you the opportunity to talk through things that matter to you.  
  • Co-taught classes with faculty allow you to synthesize your learning from discrete, solo-led classes and discover new possibilities for that information. We’re really excited for these classes, which are a rare opportunity for both teachers and students!  

Sample Schedule*

*Check back periodically for a more detailed schedule. 

Learn more about the faculty here.


Ephrat Asherie

This class will cover some of the fundamentals of house dance, including aspects of footwork, floorwork and the importance of a freestyle approach to the form. The cultural context in which this dance was created, and where it continues to thrive, will be underscored through movement and discussion.

Elisa Clark

Elisa Clark’s modern technique class begins with a structured warm-up that focuses on alignment, placement, weight-shifting and musicality, and culminates with dynamic dance phrases that encourage students to move through space using different qualitative approaches. In this class, dancers will have the opportunity to touch upon a variety of material that is inspired by Robert Battle, Lar Lubovitch and Mark Morris, the choreographers with whom Clark has worked most intimately with.


Dancing Orientation and Re-Orientation
In this first class of the intensive, we’ll connect to our thinking, feeling dancing selves; orient to one another; and begin to harness the power of collective dancing.  We’ll use the comfort of structured physical investigations and tightly-guided inquiry to form solid relationships with one another and tap into the learning that’s possible when we dance with others. Through the problem-solving inherent in our movement activities, we’ll get to know one another as dancers and people with specific histories and unique ideas about what informs our movement aesthetics and creative impulses.  

Our morning re-orientation sessions will enable us to gather as one group each day and process the previous day’s learning.  Alternating between moving, writing, and talking, this brief yet meaningful all-school connection will give us time to reconnect, remember, and prepare for the day ahead.  

Marguerite Hemmings

Experimental Dancehall Lab
Dancehall: an uptempo style of dance music originating in Jamaica and derived from reggae, in which a DJ improvises lyrics over a recorded instrumental backing track or to the accompaniment of live musicians. A large public hall or building where people pay to enter and dance.

Experimental Dancehall Lab is a combination of two classes that Marguerite teaches, Experimental Dancehall and Freestyle Lab. This class looks at popular music and dances from Jamaica and the African Diaspora (i.e. Haiti, Ghana, Nigeria) with a focus on freestyling as a technique, social and solo practice, and the most essential part of being a dancer. This class explores and challenges our limits through the lens of (the) dancehall, meaning lady saw, busy signal, konshens, vybz, beenie man, super cat, sister nancy, but also what happens in actual dancehalls, discotecas, clubs, places of dance: social dance, vibing, sweating, connecting, cyphering, learning from each other, following and leading, calling and responding, spontaneously organizing, transcending, expressing, releasing, creating, freeing up, syncing up, linking up, bigging it up.

We will look at different dancehall musical and movement patterns and techniques and apply methods of the dancehall (club) in exploring these patterns and techniques.

This class welcomes all levels and dance experiences, from professional dancers to party-goers. 

K.J. Holmes

Somatics, Improvisation and the Poetics of Dance 
This class is experiential research of Body-Mind Centering ®, Ideokinesis, Contact Improvisation, and structures and scores for dancing. Exploring anatomy and physiology to better understand the mechanics of movement, you will discover, explore, separate, integrate and improvise with physical systems and patterns to make visible physiological rhythms of support and creativity.  Through exposing contradictions in the body and engaging with our imaginations, we will widen choice, create discernment and practice embodiment and composition. The course, designed for teachers, creators and performers in dance and theater, will bring forth skills, tools, and practical experience of somatic studies and improvisation to become more tuned to physical centers and subtleties of touch, direction and intention and how to use these discoveries to tune the physical instrument of body and mind as well as source for creative practice and the poetics of the human being through dancing, voicing, writing and reading.

shayla-vie jenkins

Class description TBA

Nia love

Modern Root[ed] Technique
Focuses on the ever-expanding ideas about “what is technique?” The interplay between crafting and facilitating a space where Africanist presence is understood as a [modern] movement. In this space we will create and negotiate how to enter and exit a multiplicity of movement techniques from a non-binary historical ideology. Exhilarating crisp and sharp release, grounded pelvis, rounded drop-n-stack gestures, and agrarian movement sensibilities that partner with Afro-Beat, Blues, Butoh and Funk soundscapes. Urban identifiers that contextualize and implode the urban gait, grounded pulsations, flicks, ‘wack’ and head-bobbing gestures that craft underscore trans-global movement.

Johnnie Cruise Mercer

Post-Contemporary Movement Practice  
Revisiting and questioning self (first) in relation to the outer, artists are challenged to move, think, and drop into familiar yet unfamiliar modes of being. Blackness, whiteness, queerness, gender roles, access, space, duration, and other are explored in the attempt to veer beyond Contemporary. 

jen rosenblit

Standing In
This workshop unpacks the problems of nationalism and inclusion through practices of making performance. You need not come prepared. You might want to consider preparation as a dangerous act, one that is filled with secret agendas. We will do our best to elevate acts of preparation as maintaining care, rather than solely in service of an outcome. In a time when where you come from dictates where you are and are not allowed to go, we will use meaning making to interrogate the ordinary and quotidian as an unknown fantasy. Confronting the concept of home and the inevitability of being perpetually lost from that place, autonomy stands in as a desire for togetherness, not a recipe. We will have to do the labor of locating proximities between bodies, architectures and ideas. We will look at the very nature of a place holder, the thing that might replace what is lost or absent, in order to let content be more vast, beyond the narrative we can speak of before we actually experience it. This work asks how we can begin to construct situations where the work both is and is not made of our personal identity politics. We will work on improvisational situations that feed into choreographic thought and dramaturgy to get closer to the particularity of our ideas. We will work through these ideas by means of associative and tangential methodologies, rather than sense-making. We will use the game of chess as a way to visualize, plan and strategize our next moves. Working with and through representations and experiences of land, nationalism and home, we will find ways to unpack and unwind desires of inclusion and access, domestic and sovereign things.

“Nature loves to conceal herself.” -Translation of fragments of the work of Heraclitus of Ephesus on Nature

ni’ja whitson

Pathways to a Sacred Somatic: Improvisation in Four Directions
We unearth spirituality as warrior practice, warrior practice as ancestral intelligence, ancestral intelligence as embodied memory.  Journeyed in physical practice, guided by the wisdom of the Orisa and Black/Queer magic, participants will locate and release their “stuck” via Whitson’s Sacred Somatic practice.  Combining spiritual and physical technologies we will look specifically at the resonance of 4 in ritual, the body, and space.

jesse zaritt

Each class begins with practices that activate a sense of availability. We find ways to let go of tension, fixed habits and perceptual/intellectual rigidity. Improvisational and choreographed exercises help us to find openness, clarity, and length in our bodies. Pleasure is linked to effort, power and strength as the class progresses and as the choreographed exercises become more complex. Phrase work allows us to research how to utilize physical states and forces such as continuous motion, spiral/rotation, sequential articulation and momentum. Throughout the class, we will encourage each other to embrace and extend our physical capacities as empowered, confident movers. Technique class will also be a place of critical thinking. The material we study exists to nourish our creative bodies/minds, challenging us to re-articulate/re-imagine our relationships to codified movement systems.

Performance Tickets

Students attending the New York City Winter Intensive will attend two performances, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater on Friday, December 29 at 8:00pm and Dorrance Dance on Saturday December 30 at 2:00pm or 8:00pm. These performances will be actively discussed using the critical lens framework of the intensive.

  • There is a limited quantity of performance tickets. Tickets are reserved on a first come first serve basis through the online application. Tickets are not guaranteed.
  • Performance tickets will not be reserved until the student is paid in full. Payment deadline is December 4.
  • Tickets are included in the tuition. No portion of the tuition will be refunded for performances not attended.
  • ADF will only provide one ticket per student. Additional tickets may be purchased directly through the theater box office, subject to availability.