Classes & Faculty

Online Winter Workshop for Educators | Gerri Houlihan
December 19 & 20, 2020 
12:00 – 2:30PM EST

Class Descriptions

Movement class

Grounded in the fundamentals of traditional modern technique, particularly the work of José Limón, this class focuses on concepts of alignment, core strength, and the use of breath for efficiency of movement. Class will begin with simple floor exercises and develop into standing warm-up combinations and a center movement phrase. Music and rhythm are important elements in terms of artistry, along with coordination and spatial awareness. However, the key element of this class is the sense of community that develops as one is moving through space surrounded by a group of like-minded spirits. Our goal is to explore technique not as an end goal, but as a basis for developing skills and strategies that encourage a sense of freedom of expression which is so important to our practice of the joy of movement!


Gerri houlihan

Gerri Houlihan studied at the Juilliard School with Antony Tudor and members of the Martha Graham and Jose Limon dance companies. She performed with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet Company, the Paul Sanasardo Dance Company, and the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. From 1991 to 1999 she directed her own company, Houlihan and Dancers, based in Miami, Florida. During that time, she was on the faculty of the New World School of the Arts. Ms. Houlihan serves on the Advisory Board for the American Dance Festival. She has been on the faculty of the ADF from 1981 to 1983 and from 1987 to the present. As an international representative for ADF, she has participated in 17 international linkage programs in such countries as Korea, China, Mongolia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Estonia, Poland, and Russia. She is the recipient of the ADF’s Balasaraswati, Joy Anne Dewey Beinecke Endowed Chair for Distinguished Teaching. She was Co-Dean and then Dean of the ADF School from 2010 to 2015 and received her MFA from the Hollins/ADF MFA program. She recently retired from Florida State University, where she was the Pearl S. Tyner Distinguished Professor in Teaching and is now Professor Emerita. Currently, she teaches at the ADF studios in Durham and is the Artistic Director of the Big Red Dance Project.

Online Winter Intensive | Experiments in Practice
January 4-8, 2021
12:00 – 5:00PM EST

class descriptions

Moving Practices

Where does our movement come from and what does it move us toward? What needs our attention? How does movement matter as we orient ourselves toward anti-racist, queer affirming and feminist life worlds, expanding notions of kin and ecological and economic repair? What physical actions are needed to prepare for justice?

We’ll engage in movement exercises that center our stories and the impact that our identities and our ancestors’ identities have on our physical/collective bodies. We’ll invent rituals for other ways of moving and orienting in our bodies and with each other – ultimately creating collective practices of exquisite attention and immediate, urgent dancing. 

This work will be intimate – we will meet each other through our screens with the intention of passing through the portal of technology and across barriers of distance to deeply attend to our questions, our rigorous love of dancing, our need to share practice.

12:00-1:45pm EST, led by Marguerite Hemmings (M/T/F) & Jesse Zaritt (W/R/F). 

Photo by Scott Shaw

Embodying Theory

We’ll use movement, freewriting, drawing, and discussion to activate theory. Instead of trying to get theory “right,” we’ll get theory moving in order to explore its relevance to and potential for us. Using specific texts, we’ll use our imagination, work collaboratively, and delight in how much dance has to teach us about the many meanings of words and our world. At any given moment, we might be heavy, playful, chatty, or confused, but always completely human. Come join us to create magnificent, new bodies of knowledge. 

2:00-4:00pm EST, led by Leah Cox (M/W/F) & Jessie Young (T/R/F).

collective documentation

We’ll use this time together to reflect on what we are learning in the two primary classes offered in the intensive. Using creative approaches to knowledge formation and documentation, we’ll collaboratively create a multi-medium, digital publication of our ideas that we can keep, reference, and share with others. Join us to dialog and deepen your understanding of what’s going on each day in class. Technology requirements: In order to contribute material, you’ll need to upload photos, videos, and/or audio recordings, and also contribute to shared google documents. 

4:15-5:00pm EST, led by Leah Cox.


leah cox

Leah Cox is dean of the American Dance Festival and an associate professor of dance at the University of Texas at Austin. Cox is a frequent adjudicator for the American College Dance Association, served on the New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award Committee from 2015 to 2018, and was a master teacher for YoungArts. She worked with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company from 2001 to 2014. Cox began as a company dancer and became the company’s first education director. She developed the company’s educational materials, annual workshops, and highly successful educational licensing program. Her work as education director was featured in the documentary about Bill T. Jones, A Good Man, which aired on PBS nationwide. Cox has been the subject of a cover story feature in Dance Teacher magazine and is regularly sought out by professional publications and organizations for her expertise.

Photo by Jim Lafferty

Marguerite Hemmings

Marguerite Hemmings is a Jamaican-born, Jersey-raised performance artist and educator currently based in Philadelphia. Marguerite is a movement specialist and social practitioner who focuses on one’s own body, one’s own way of moving, adapting, healing, releasing, protecting, and changing. As a choreographer she specializes in emergent, improvisational, and social dance movement styles and technologies, rooted in the story of the African Diaspora.

Hemmings’ work centers itself in liberation. She has been subverting, working, and creating with youth as a teaching artist for over 10 years. She currently works as a lecturer at University of the Arts and is a resident artist with Abrons Arts Center. She has received grants from the Jerome Foundation, Brooklyn Arts Council, Harlem Stage, University Settlement, Dancing While Black, Urban Bush Women’s Choreographic Center Initiative, and Arizona State University’s Projecting All Voices Fellowship to further her work. She’s received a “Bessie” Award for Outstanding Performer in Eva Yaa Asantewaa’s Skeleton Architecture. She currently works inside of a self/spirit directed practice called we free. we free looks at the millennial and gen z approach to liberation through its music, social dance, and social media. we free is centered in the livelihood and reparation of the African continent and diaspora. It is a social experiment, a conversation, a non-performance, a call to action, a revival, a bashment party, an ode to, and in moments a critique of, the present and emerging generations and what we are doing, right now, to be free.

Photo by Aidan Un

jessie young

Jessie Young is a Brooklyn-based choreographer, dancer, and teacher. Her practice seeks to construct new paradigms for information sharing within pre-existing thought systems, artistic and pedagogical lineages inside of dance, and movement training. She challenges conventions of image construction and meaning making through an excavation of corporeal knowledge and perceptual experience, viewing her work as an intrinsically feminist practice. In New York, her work has been presented by Danspace Project (DraftWork), New York Live Arts, AUNTS (Mt. Tremper residency), Dixon Place, The Current Sessions, and the Domestic Performance Agency. Additionally, she has presented her work at FringeArts (Philadelphia, PA), Lion’s Jaw Performance and Dance Festival (Boston, MA), International de Teatro Susana Alexander (Mexico), Fleet Moves Dance Festival (Cape Cod, MA), Krannert Center for the Performing Arts (Urbana Champaign, IL), and extensively in Chicago with institutions such as Links Hall, Chicago Home Theater Festival, Chicago Dance Crash, and The Inconvenience. She has been an artist in residence at New York Live Arts (Fresh Tracks), Brooklyn Studios for Dance, and Centrum (Port Townsend, WA). As a performer, she has had the pleasure of working with Abby Z and the New Utility, Julie Mayo, Stephanie Acosta, Khecari Dance Theater, The Seldoms, Kristina Isabelle Dance Company, The Moving Architects, and The Space/Movement Project, among others. Jessie has been on faculty at Lion’s Jaw Performance + Dance Festival, Mark Morris Dance Center, and Gina Gibney Dance Center. In addition, she has taught master classes and leads workshops at Bard College, Pieter Performance Space, Beloit College, University of Utah, University of Wisconsin at Madison, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Base: Experimental Arts + Space (Seattle). She is currently on faculty at Rutgers University and contributes to the online teaching platform Freeskewl.

Photo by Whitney Browne

jesse zaritt

Jesse Zaritt is an Associate Professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA, having previously been the inaugural 2014–2016 Research Fellow in the university’s School of Dance. He has also taught at Bard College, Hollins University, Pomona College, and for ten summers at the American Dance Festival. Jesse has performed his solo work in Taiwan, Uruguay, Russia, Korea, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Israel, and throughout the United States. His solo Binding was the recipient of three 2010 New York Innovative Theater Awards—Outstanding Choreography, Outstanding Solo Performance, and Outstanding Performance Art Production. A duet created with Katie Swords Thurman premiered at the Museum of Art and Design (NYC) in October 2015 and was recently remounted and shared as part of the 2019 Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Jesse worked collaboratively with Jumatatu Poe from 2012 to 2015; their duet was presented by Gibney Dance Center (NYC), AUX Performance Space at Vox Populi (PA), Triple Canopy (NYC), Dixon Place (NYC), and New York Live Arts (through the Studio Series Program). He was commissioned by the American Dance Festival to create a duet alongside Mark Haim which premiered as part of the 2015 ADF performance season. He has performed with the Shen Wei Dance Arts Company (NYC, 2001–2006) and the Inbal Pinto Dance Company (Tel Aviv, 2008) and in the work of Netta Yerushalmy (NYC, 2009–2016) and Faye Driscoll (NYC, 2010–2015); he is an artistic adviser for Driscoll’s ongoing projects. Jesse currently works in creative dialogue with Sara Shelton Mann.

From September 2008 through June 2011, Jesse was an artist in residence at the 14th Street Y in Manhattan as part of LABA, a laboratory for new Jewish culture. He was the recipient of a 2006-2007 Dorot Fellowship in Israel which enabled him to research relationships between political conflict, resistance, and choreographic practice. Jesse received an MFA in Dance from Hollins University/The American Dance Festival (2008) and a BA from Pomona College (2000). 

Photo by Olivia Blaisdell