On July 13, Stefanie Boettle, our Community Program Facilitator, joined PAIR Houston for a first time Dynamic X-Change workshop.
PAIR, Partnership for the Advancement & Immersion of Refugees, empowers refugee youth to navigate American society, reach their academic potential, and become community leaders. Their programs serve hundreds of students annually, and PAIR serves youth in multiple neighborhoods, schools and community sites in Houston.
We chatted with Stefanie to hear more about her experience with PAIR.
Q: Can you tell us a bit about the students at PAIR?
A: We worked with over 41 kids! They ranged from 8-15 yrs old, and were refugees or immigrants of: Afghanistan,
Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Malawi, Myanmar, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Turkey, Tanzania, Uganda
Q: What was the goal of the workshop?
A: PAIR Houston's overall theme was "Entertainment" - everything about having fun and enjoying yourself. Three Dynamic X-Change Teaching artists worked with the students to explore the question, "What brings us joy in life?"
Q: How did you interpret that theme?
A: We took the workshop into celebrating our own gifts and talents and finding joy within. We talked about our own gifts, and we found creative ways to "write" our gifts out with different body parts, movements and sounds. From this we created a choreography in smaller groups, and then shared our creations. Each group had to work together as a team, making decisions together, sharing leadership, finding solutions together.
Q: What was a memorable moment?
A: The workshops ended with, what quickly became their favorite game, "Passing the Gift". It's an invisible gift that can become anything that you want, such as a ball of fire that's making you jump and run fast, to earphones that make you dance, etc.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
A: We had a wonderful time! All students participated with so much creativity and joy. We even got the PAIR counselors to join in!
This week, meet Scott Wheet, one of our Core Dance Artists. Scott began dancing at the age of 17, and then went on to pursue a degree in dance. Two years after graduation, Scott came to join us as a Core Dance Artist in January of 2017. Read on to learn more about Scott!
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Education/Training: Troy University, BFA in Dance; 3 years of industry experience as a performer, teacher, and creator
Position: Dance Artist
Delights: Espresso in the morning, listening to music loudly, trips to the beach, and organizing literally anything.
How did you come to Core Dance?
I had been living in Atlanta for about a year when I found out about Core. They were promoting a dance festival experience called Exposed which featured international guests from Israel. Shortly after, auditions were held and I was asked to come back. Here I am, about to start my 3rd season, and I couldn’t be more grateful for this journey & these people!
What is your favorite part about working here so far?
Learning how to become a source of knowledge that is shared through touring globally, working with diverse communities, and seeking to understand how people experience art.
What is one thing you are looking forward to?
I am so incredibly excited to continue our process with Germana Civera in France this August! The work is more relevant by the day in this climate and will only evolve as we share and invite dialogue into the community.
What are you up to this summer?
This summer I am actually taking a short break from dancing to accept a job offer back home in Chicago. I’ll be working for my brother as a contractor, painting and remodeling condos in the city. Then in late July, I’ll be heading down to Vero Beach, FL with a few company members of Core to teach a summer workshop. The intensive will culminate with sharing a performance from our repertory!
This week, we check in with Sharon C. Carelock, our Production Coordinator. Read on to see what Sharon's up to this summer, from her own dance projects to updates around the Core Dance studios!
Summer Project 1: Dance Film
For a year, I have been working for a pick-up dance company called sunday morning at 7, headed and directed by Anicka Austin. In May, we presented a live performance of Austin’s disco ballet, "Sanctuaries and Fortresses." A part of the process was the creation of a dance film directed by Lev Omelchenko called, "The Birth of Pleasure." In this film I played the character, Venus, which required lots of costume changes and makeup :) We were able to film on location in some amazing spots, including The Bakery Atlanta and the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. The cast and crew were stellar. I felt like a Hollywood movie star the entire time. I can’t wait to see the film which is set to premiere late summer/early fall.
Summer Project 2: Summer Refresh
At Core Dance, the summer is for relaxation and recuperation for the dance artists, and it is also a great opportunity to renovate, repair, and clean out some areas in the office and studio spaces. We call this the Summer Refresh. I get to work alongside contractors and help make decisions about flooring, paint, lighting, etc. It feels very rewarding to walk into a room and know that I was an integral part of the change that took place there. I also use this opportunity for reflection. I think about what has transpired over the past season, and going through all of the closets makes me consider the time Core Dance has spent in this space and the impact we’ve made on the community.
Anna has been with us at Core Dance for quite some time as a Dance Artist, but she is now adding to her plate! We are excited to welcome Anna to a brand new position at Core Dance - National and International Liaison. Read all about Anna's journey and exciting future plans!
Education/Training: Decatur School of Ballet, DeKalb School of the Arts, University of Georgia
Position: Dance Artist and National and International Liaison
How did you come to Core Dance? I found out about Core Dance through a friend in college and auditioned before I even knew its magic. I joined the company in 2012 as an Artistic Affiliate and after a few months became a full company member. I think in hindsight, I was looking for something more, something more than a typical company model, and Core Dance absolutely offered me that.
Can you tell me a little bit about your new position?
The new position is being called Core Dance’s “National and International Liaison”. Over the year, I will travel to national and international contemporary festivals to seek new ideas being presented in contemporary dance/art around the world, develop new connections and build relationship with like-minded artists with similar aesthetics and values to Core Dance.
What are your plans for this summer?
This Summer, I have kept busy on the dance front! I had the pleasure of teaching contemporary/modern to the Junior and Apprentice Ensembles at Decatur School of Ballet for their annual summer intensive, participated in and led movement workshops for the Staibdance summer intensive and now have found my home in Berlin for the next month! I am participating in B12, a new festival for contemporary dance and performance art in Berlin as my first assignment as Core Dance's new National and International Liaison! I am here building meaningful relationships with movers and shakers from around the world while workshopping and diving deep into personal movement research!
What is one thing you are looking forward to?
I am thrilled and enormously grateful to be kicking off this position with a month long trip to Germany to participate in B12. I will be workshopping with 7 different artists from around the world; engaging in personal movement research. My favorite part about this experience is that it will not culminate in any kind of performance but is simply a platform for personal investigation. Process. That is what Core Dance is all about so I am beyond excited to expand what a creative process can be for me. I am looking forward to meeting and moving with other artists, building meaningful and lasting relationships and seeing what the Berlin arts community has to offer! Even better, I can’t wait to bring back everything I have learned to share and deepen with Core Dance!
This week, we meet my super fabulous intern, Jordan! She joins us from Kennesaw State University, and will help me out as a Communications Intern this summer. Jordan's a dancer, cat lover, and fits in wonderfully here at Core Dance. Read on to learn all about her!
Hometown: Snellville, Georgia
Education/Training: Kennesaw State University, B.A. in Dance (graduating in December 2019)
Position: Communications Intern
Delights: Music, reading, the beach, my cats, and dancing!
How did you come to Core Dance?
I found out about Core through a professor at my school. During an advising session, she informed me Core was looking for interns. After looking at the Core website and seeing what they were all about, I applied for the Communications internship.
What is your favorite part about working here?
My favorite part about working here is the environment. Everyone here is so excited and passionate about their jobs, and it makes me excited to work on new projects with them. This translates into me being pushed beyond what I think I know everyday. With every assignment I am given, I learn something new about working on a different side of a dance company.
Fun things planned this summer:
I just got back from a study abroad trip to Israel, which was amazing! I have a few more trips planned, including Nashville, Disney World, Dallas, Indianapolis, and Tybee Island! When not traveling, working at Core, or in school, I'll be spending my summer relaxing by the pool!
To learn more about Jordan, check out her bio here. Keep following us to meet our many other wonderful staff and dance artists!
This week, we meet Core Dance company member Rose Shields! Rose received her BFA in Dance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts before moving to Atlanta to teach and perform. This upcoming season will be her seventh with Core Dance. We sat down with Rose to find out what she's up to this summer - check it out below!
"This summer is filled with a mix of teaching and training for me. Next week I will be teaching ballet, contemporary, and acrobatics at Good Moves' week long Summer Camp. Then, I finish out the month teaching acrobatics and contemporary at the Good Moves' Summer Intensive.
I have been taking part in a collaborative effort, spearheaded by Zerina Serulle, to offer free Summer dance classes to fellow dance artists. I've been taking classes with Scott Wheet, Jerylann Warner, Zerina Serulle, and Amanda Sieradzki, and I myself will teach on Wednesday, July 11th.
I'm taking ballet classes at Atlanta Ballet, and contemporary classes here and there and everywhere to keep myself in shape and somewhat sane. I plan to take classes offered at the Staib Workshop and with Jillian Bodnar and Callanwolde Fine Arts Center.
Meanwhile, I train my circus skills on my own time at The Space, with fellow artists building human pyramids, and with ELEMENT Acrobatics at In Flight Gymnastics. Nearing the end of my summer in July, I will be teaching dance with some of my Core Dance co-workers in Vero Beach, FL at the Riverside Dance Festival.
I keep busy, but I leave time for rest here and there."
This summer looks full of opportunities for learning, growing, and dancing for Rose! We can't wait to see how all her hard work this summer will pay off. Stay tuned to hear about the adventures of the rest of our company.
Hometown: Houston, TX
Education/Training: Agnes Scott College, B.A. in Theatre (expected May 12, 2018)
Position: Production management intern
Delights: Netflix, theatre, coffee, and dogs
How did you come to Core Dance?
I found out about Core Dance and the internship opportunity through my school’s job search engine. I was interested in learning about production management and working with a performing arts organization, different from theatre, that was close to my college. I got an interview and was offered the internship shortly afterward.
What is your favorite part about working here?
My favorite part about working at Core is the fact that I have gotten to work with almost everyone in the office and therefore been exposed to the other jobs involved with maintaining an arts organization and putting on performances. Something else that I have enjoyed is the fact I have gotten to do office work as well as hands-on tasks in the studio. While shadowing Sharon, I believe that I have gotten a good understanding of what being a production manager entails and I think that it could be a job possibility for me in the future.
What is one of your favorite memories of your time here so far?
One of my favorite memories of my time here is when I went to the performance of Patton’s piece. I loved the dance and the performance as a whole. I got to see the final product of some of the behind scenes elements that were talked about in the office as well as in the rehearsal that I attended. It was also nice to see the staff all together at the performance. I appreciate the company culture because it is very understanding and supportive, and I have felt that throughout all of my time here.
I usually try to stick to one post a week, but on Monday, I attended my very first march, and I have strong itch to write about it. Monday morning, our Core Dance company and staff bundled up and jumped on the MARTA to join the Martin Luther King Jr. March for Humanity. While we gathered with hundreds of other participants at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, I felt, for the first time since I moved here last fall, the importance of Atlanta’s history. At home in Rochester, NY, we don’t have too many landmarks for the civil rights movement. Here, in the true South, it surrounds us constantly.
As we folded into the crowd and got real close and personal with strangers, I could feel this vibration of energies coming together for the one vision of humanity. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that we followed the exact same path as the funeral procession for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, fifty years ago. To me, a 22 year old from Upstate New York, the march first felt like an exploration of downtown Atlanta. It was exciting to walk new streets of a city with which I am still fairly unfamiliar. But when Bernice King took the stage, I felt the significance of being physically in the same spot as a legend. I couldn’t believe that Martin Luther King Jr’s family was a few feet away, leading this united crowd. Some groups chanted in a celebration of life and an enthusiastic drum-line accompanied their voices, almost like the second line in a funeral. I wondered if MLK Jr’s family felt the same energy of that procession fifty years ago, a combination of mourning for our world and the determination to unite for change, today, in this march for humanity.
Although I wasn’t immediately aware of the significance of our path, it seemed that even the youngest marchers knew they were participating in a significant moment. One group of kids - no older than five or six years old - linked their arms and created their own chant of “MLK JR!” I was in awe. If they felt this strong need for change in kindergarten, who knows what they’ll achieve in the future. One girl was clearly the leader, counting in her fellow chanters with “A one, and a two, and a three!” I feel like if she has anything to say about our world in the next 15 years, we’ll be okay.
Yesterday morning, I took a very sweaty class with guest artist Frank Van de Ven. He created a circuit for us that included improvisation techniques like “rain walk,” where you think of the feeling of rain on your body, and “newspaper,” in which you let your body sink like a wet newspaper. Dispersed in between the improvisation were workouts - arms (pushups - yikes!), legs (squats and lunges), and cardio (jump rope). After finishing two cycles, I felt like I had completed a workout that should count for a weeks worth.
Last week, instead of a workout circuit, Frank taught a fast-paced class that focused on movement across the floor. I felt like I couldn’t completely loosen up in my arms, especially when the steps became complicated and I started thinking a lot. Some of the combinations felt like rubbing your stomach and patting your head! When I can’t figure out what step goes where, my tension goes into my upper body. A lot of dancers seem to hold their stress here, and Frank kept reminding us to loosen up. By the end of the class, I felt like I could finally let go and stopped thinking so much (even though I was messing up pretty consistently).
Frank lives in Amsterdam, and has worked with Core Dance in the past. This time, he is creating a piece entitled “Carrying Water to the Sea,” as part of National Water Dance. Core Performance Company will perform this Saturday at 4pm EST on Driftwood Beach at Jekyll Island, GA. In Houston, Core Dance is commissioning artists Lydia Hance and jhon stronks to create two other pieces for National Water Dance. Our Houston staff members are preparing for their performance, which will happen at the same time as ours here in Georgia. For more information on our performances this weekend, check out http://www.coredance.org/national-water-dance---houston.html and http://www.coredance.org/national-water-dance---houston.html
On March 2nd, I had my 6 month anniversary as Publications Manager here at Core Dance. It’s strange how the time flew by, but I also feel like I’ve been here forever. I’m beyond grateful for all that Core Dance has given me so far, and last week, I realized (again) how lucky I am, when I experienced my very first retreat. The time away felt much more like one big hug rather than 3 days of intensive discussions.
On Wednesday morning, we carpooled out to Lake Ruben, a 2 hour drive to North Georgia. My experiences in Georgia have been limited to the city, so I was excited to see a bit of the country. After we unpacked and settled in, I went on a walk (despite the super steep hills) to really take it all in. The house we stayed in overlooked the lake, with a boathouse and a dock to complete the picture-perfect landscape. The whole time we were there, I was bombarded with memories of my family’s old lakehouse, and evenings spent curled up on the couch watching the water.
The word “retreat” makes me think of naps and hot cups of coffee and relaxing with a good book. While some of our time at the lake was spent doing just that, most of the day we would dive deep into all things Core Dance. My position here is only my second “real” adult job since I graduated in May from college, and I haven’t experienced much of the corporate world. Still, I know that not every company organizes a time away for staff to connect, reflect, and come up with goals for the future. (Side note - Everyone was also responsible for cooking at least one meal. Who knew dancers ate so much quinoa and avocado!)
Although some of the discussions were exhausting and occasionally mentally draining, they were balanced out with meditation sessions, and the occasional time for napping or going on walks. Personally, I claimed a wonderfully plump corner of the couch, where I spent some quality time with my book during our breaks (I highly recommend The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan), and probably woke up Rose and Sharon in the middle of the night with my snoring (sorry guys). Technically, we were working for three days straight. But between the nightly games of Uno, handstands on the dock, and the endless teasing of me and my “spot,” it really felt more like one big sleepover.