Page 1

Ngoma R eader Washington, D.C.’s Dance Magazine

Shoulders Above the Rest…Exercises Every Dancer Should Do Dancer Spotlight... Alice Wells

Artistic Director Spotlight… Paul G. Emerson

Dancing From Above…Aerial Dance in D.C.

Photo Gallery… Plies, for Big Dreams…Inside Ngoma Center for Dance’s Summer DanceLab 2016 Dancing Up the Ladder… Doug Yeuell’s Determination

July / August 2016

Dance Metro DC Your Dance Community Auditions, News, Performances and more... Ngoma Reader Magazine Partner 2

Dance Loft on 14

Washington DC’s newest Performing Arts venue 4 Studio Spaces Black Box Theatre Conference Room Box Office Ample Street Parking Public Transit Accessible

Conveniently located: 4618 14th Street, NW Washington, DC 20011


Washington, D.C.’s Dance Magazine

Ngoma R eader Editor In Chief/Publisher Shawn Short

Editor Damon Foster

Contributing Writers and Editors Stephen Clapp Derek Clemente Damon Foster Ingrid Graham Donovan Johnson Tyler Lewis Tehreema Mitha Shawn Short Staff Photographers Jeremiah Jones Jade Enders Shawn Short Sergey Apasov

For advertisement information and news submissions, please email: 4

Table of Contents Volume 3 Issue 4 Feature

Photography Feature

6 Dancing Up the Ladder

14 Plies’ for Big Dreams: Inside Ngoma Center for Dance’s Summer DanceLab

By Damon Foster

Artistic Director Spotlight 10 Paul Emerson

20 Dancing from Above: Aerial Dance in D.C. By Damon Foster

By Jean-Remi Verella

22 Shoulders Above the Rest: Exercises Every Dancer Should Do

Dancer Spotlight

By Paul Medina

18 Alice Wells

At the Barre: Ngoma’s Summer DanceLab 2016 5

Yeuell and Anne Behrends (Photo by Eric Burt)


Dancing up the Ladder Dancer Turned Director Has yet to Miss a Beat By Damon Foster The current executive director of the Atlas Performing Arts Center, David Yeuell is revered and respected both locally and nationally for his creative leadership.

Call Doug Yeuell a dancer, an educator, a choreographer, a director, a creative problem solver, but this 56-yeard old dance lover simply sees himself as a man of determination. For nearly three decades, that determination has propelled Yeuell across the ranks throughout the Washington D.C. dance community.

The current executive director of the Atlas Performing Arts Center, Yeuell is revered and respected both locally and nationally for his creative leadership. He spent 25 years at the helm of Joy of Motion Dance Center, steering the popular dance studio chain through financial storms amidst an ever changing economy, expanding the company to three locations. At the heart of it all is Yeuell’s love for dance and community. “It can’t be stated enough how powerful of a conduit and equalizer dance is,” Yeuell explains. “We live in a world where we tend to define and judge people by what they do. But in a dance class, everyone is reduced to the same common denominator—we are all exposed—all wearing tights. In a dance I don’t hear people discussing what they do for a living. I hear dreams being shared.” Yeuell’s own dance journey did begin until he was in college, studying Russian at the University of Virginia. Yeuell performed in student productions, but primarily focused on a career in the government as an interpreter. After graduation, he moved to Washington D.C. looking for opportunity, only to be met with numerous rejections and Yeuell struggled to find work during the day, yet continuously took dance lessons at Joy of Motion Dance Center, then located in Dupont Circle. “I studied piano growing up. I can remember being so nervous when it came to recitals. I was only marginally proficient. There was a constant nagging fear in wanting to be good, but in dance classes the fearfulness went away, and I found myself ‘at home’,” Yeuell explained. “It was quite hard finding work with a degree in Russian, but even more so I was turned away for being gay. It was a much different D.C. 80s. I was considered undesirable due to my orientation and was told I would never be hired. I decided to put more focused time and energy on dancing and it became my great passion.” Dancing as often as he could and performing wherever he could, Yeuell starting gaining recognition demand at Joy of Motion. Soon after, Yeuell went from student to teacher to choreographer, creating work on student ensembles. His defining role at Joy of Motion came in 1989 when he was offered the position of executive director. Founded by Dr. Michelle Ava in 1976, the Joy of Motion had become a key in the local dance community, but was in financial duress and on the verge of eviction. And thus, Doug was presented with his first challenge in his new role. “I am a believer that life presents certain opportunities that will direct your life. When I was


Yeuell dancing (Photo by Travis Curry) 8

approached about becoming the director, Joy was going thru major personnel changes. I was also at the point of contemplating my own career path. I had been working comfortably in retail a number of years but wasn’t satisfied,” Yeuell said. “Being offered the weighted position executive director forced me to look at my life in a greater perspective. Was I capable, I asked myself? But I made up my mind fully that dance would be my path to make change in the world and help others. I quit retail. And went headlong, and never looked back.” And from that point, a revitalized Yeuell chartered a course of action that saved the studio from financial collapse and navigated three leasing deals that lead to Joy of Motion’s expansion from one studio location to three: Friendship Heights, H Street (at the Atlas), and Bethesda, MD. When Ava founded the studio, it was learning center for adults, but under Yeuell direction, youth programs were launched, providing a financial cushion. And although his leadership approach was robust and effective it was not without sacrifice. Yeuell went into debt, maxing out $25,000 in credit cards, even asking his father for loan to help keep the program afloat and staff paid. “In the life of any dance studio, money will always be an issue. There is no way around it,” Yeuell said. “But I was determined to find a way to keep the rent paid, keep the staff paid, and ultimately keep our students dancing. The more I experienced the impact dance was making in the lives of so many, the more I resolved within myself that this institution would not fail under my leadership. There was too much to lose. “There are so many moving parts to running a successful dance studio; and I am thankful for all those you trusted in my leadership abilities and stayed the course with me.” Rachel Pearl, director of communications and media for Joy of Motion iterated the studio owes much of its current success to Yeuell’s leadship. “Doug is one of the kindest people I know. During his 25 years at JOMDC, faculty, staff, and students could quite literally feel the joy he brought into a room,” Pearl said. “He worked tirelessly to make dance accessible to everyone, and was responsible for expanding every single program of the organization.

for adults and youth - we owe all of that to Doug.” And all while directing, Yeuell continued to teach, choreograph and perform. He formed his own dance ensemble called JazzDance, Inc. Yeuell’s intense schedule began taking a physical toll, and in 2014 he stopped all dancing due to a bi-lateral collapse artery which put him at risk for life-threatening blood clots. Yeuell found himself at another cross-roads. A call from local philanthropist Jane Lang would set him on a new course—assuming the helm as executive director of the Atlas Performing Arts Center. After 25 years at Joy of Motion Yeuell was ready to embrace his next course—one that would not be bare the physical demands as before, and present some new (and some familiar) challenges. The Atlas sits along the H Street corridor just east of downtown. I was once a movie theater, and one of the few buildings to survive the riots of 1968, when angry protestors devastated parts of the city in response the assassination of Civil Rights champion, Dr. Martin Luther King. Today the theater is a hallmark of the H Street community, and houses four performance spaces. Joy of Motion studio is attached to the complex—a deal Yeuell negotiated in when the company moved in. Now sees another opportunity to impact. “I see directing and managing much like choreographing. Once I understand parts I’m working with, I can see how to make the whole machine move,” he said. “Being executive director of the Atlas, I have an even greater opportunity to impact a community to build relationships, to share the gift of the live performance experience. There is still nothing like it.” Lang, whose name along with the name of her late husband Paul Sprenger are on two of the four Atlas theater, praises Yeuell leadership style, ever assured that she made the right choice. “I supported the choice of Doug Yeuelll to lead the Atlas as ED for several reasons: he is smart, energetic, undeterred by challenges, a quick study, knowledgeable about the arts, universally respected and an excellent manager,” Lang said. (Continue reading Yeuell on page 13)

“From our Award-Winning Youth Dance Ensemble to a class schedule that hosts nearly 300 classes each week 9

Artistic Director Spotlight

Paul G. Emerson Photo courtesy of Paul E. Gorgon

Paul Gordon Emerson likes to keep his hands busy. On any given day you may find him in a photo shoot, touring the globe, inking a business venture, or directing rehearsal. He is the co-founder and artistic director of Company E. In five years he has groomed and taken the company from a small start up to international touring ensemble. Make no mistake He’s not just some dance connoisseur—He’s artist who knows what he wants. Emerson shares with NR on what makes him tick and views on the changing landscape of dance in the Greater Washington area. How were you first exposed to dance?

I’m a New York City kid who grew up before Cable TV was the “thing.” Back in the day Channels 5, 9 and 11 used to run Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire musicals late at night – after 11:30. Somewhere along the lines I got hooked on them. So for me dance has always been about film – that’s how I met it and one of the elements that keeps me interested in it – how to you bring the art form to people who aren’t always able to, or inclined to, go into the theater to see it. Did you ever aspire to dance?

Sure. I actually did dance for about 20 years – which given that the first dance class I ever took 10

was when I was 27 tells you something about the false limits we place on ourselves as artists, as dancers and as people. Starting when a lot of people think they’re “aging out” always reminds me that you have to set yourself against other people’s definitions and boundaries and go for what you want, not what other people think you should want. For me to start so late and still get to dance at the Kennedy Center, at the Alexandrinsky in St. Petersburg in Russia and on so many, many stages around the world was a joy – and also one I was aware of in terms of its challenges as a Director and as a dancer at the same time. I don’t talk much

about my years on stage, but they form a vital part of the encounter with art I have today. What inspired the creation of Company E?

Company | E grew out of the fact that the core Company of CityDance “wasn’t done.” We believed – and still believe – that we have a lot to say, a lot to explore and a lot to offer. The fact that an organization I founded no longer wanted to do what I wanted to do, and what Kathryn, Tara, Rob, Jason and I wanted to do, was, if anything, motivating. Stepping out of something I’d spent almost 15 years on wasn’t easy, but when you’re a part of something special you take that, look at how to do better and make it better, and start again. What does the company’s growth signify to you?

More than anything the Company’s growth is a testament to its artists. When you’re a Repertory Company and a Company founded on the idea that art can matter on a global stage, you have a chance to work with anyone – to not be dependent on one person’s inspiration. But to do that you have to have the dancers for that challenge. Kathryn is a brilliant Co-Artistic Director. She guides the rehearsal room in ways that bring out the best in people, and the repertory, and the international work, attracts dancers, singers, composers and artisans in unique ways. Fundamentally you have to have the right business model and then you have to staff up that business model with the right art by the right dancers and the right “environment.” Plus, honestly, after all these years we know how to take a punch and get back up. This is a business of countless, and often incredibly painful, setbacks. But you have to believe in what you’re doing and you have to say “OK, that didn’t work, or we didn’t get that commission, or that grant, or that festival, but we’ll come back stronger next time.” That’s only possible when you believe in the people you work with. We’re very much a collective that way. Kathryn, Tara, Rob, Vanessa, Gavin, Kyoko, Alicia and Abby are the most exquisite artists I’ve ever been able to work with. Our growth is a testament to them. What qualities do you look for in dancers?

Passion. Integrity. Humanity. Curiosity. A deep

desire to take risks, touch people and find what’s special in the unexpected. The technique is actually the easy part. How you share, and how you explore, and how you approach the world with generosity – that’s what makes someone and something special. We end up in crazy places around the world. People have to want that as artists. If they do, everything is possible. How you would you describe the current state of dance in DC? How has it evolved in the last decade?

This is really the $64,000 question now. The last four months have seen the beginning of an astonishing generational change. With Fabian passing, with Carla and Deborah retiring, with Septime moving on, with the huge changes at ADI – it’s a seismic change. And its not been all that long since Doug left Joy of Motion and Liz stepped away at Dance Exchange. You’ve got an entire generation of leadership stepping away many at the same moment. What comes next? Who comes next? Who has the courage and the vision and the fortitude to redefine the dance landscape of Washington at a moment when the city itself is changing in front of our eyes. I think Brian and Step Afrika have and continue to do brilliant, groundbreaking work. Unique work. Who will stand alongside that work and invent and re-invent the next 20 years in the way Carla and Deborah and all these foundational leaders have. Its something Kathryn and I talk about a lot, because we see in Company | E a next generation of astonishing talent. Everyone has the ability to create extraordinary art, and each can do so in ways which startle. We are working hard to offer them not just opportunity to create, but explore how and what it is to direct. I see in them the potential to be major movers here – and we look at how to keep them in DC, how to turn that talent into something lasting. So I think it’s a unique moment, a transitional, potentially transformational moment. Why is dance education important to you, personally?

The key to the question there is the “personally” part. I can tell you as someone who started essentially by accident that my own dance education transformed the way I see the world, the 11

Photo by Francisco Campos-Lopez

way I see myself and the way I see the possibilities of the human form to share and to empower and to inspire. From the vantage point of the power of dance education in what we do at Company | E I see it upend stereotypes and preconceptions around the world. People in class together are people in sync. Strangers become friends become family. The human capacity for empathy is rarely more evident to me than in a healthy, whole classroom. When you deal with all the restrictions, uncertainties, insecurities and often outright hostilities of people before they step into a studio together, and then revisit those same things even an hour later, you’re left amazed. In that way, dance education is not simply the education of a body. It’s the education of a mind, of a whole person. That’s incredibly powerful, and transformative and far, far too rare. When you look at the countless studies – studies our policy makers and our grant givers far too often disregard for reasons that escape me – which show the physiological, psychological and sociological 12

benefits of a body and mind trained in movement, it seems almost impossible to imagine that it’s not a core curriculum. I will never forget a story told by a colleague when I was working with CityDance about a young student who had a family member murdered – shot dead – one day after school. In the midst of that grief she insisted that she be allowed to go dance in the program we were running. Her safe space, her whole space, was in that room with those people. Her grief was most manageable in the safety of that room. I’m not sure what else you can say more powerful than that – and why it matters to me personally. Three goals you have for yourself in the next 5 years?

To see all the dancers I have the honor to work with earn a living wage 52 weeks a year with health insurance. To see dance become a fundamental part of the DCPS curriculum, and to develop in it the chance for every kid to see the possibilities of movement

in their lives, whether they go on to seek a career, or just encounter the joy of the experience and the astonishing moment when an entire audience stands up just for them. To foster the future of the artists I work with every day to create their own careers – to pass along, and to help them make better, what we’ve done so far. What helps you balance your multiple creative hats?

Coffee. Three critical lessons you have learned as an artistic director?

That you have to trust yourself and the people around you, knowing that no matter what happens there will be people who agree and people who disagree with you, and that your responsibility to your colleagues and to the vision you share is everything. Endless people will tell you no. So what. Do what you believe.

your best when you’re unafraid. I think Dance Metro is stepping up. I think Atlas is stepping up, and adding their resources to the ones Dance Place and others offer. That has to keep happening, and happening in richer (and I don’t mean that only financially) ways. And people like you and Shawn who want to explore and inquire and speak. How do you find similarities in being an artistic director and a photographer. Does one experience assist you in the other??

The experiences are, for me, completely intertwined. As I mentioned at the top, I learned to love dance from my encounter with it on film. That was my gateway. Great dance imagery – really all great imagery – is about what happened just before the image and what will happen just after it. It’s the same in many ways in movement. (Yeuell...continue from page 9)

That you have no idea what a piece of choreography will actually look like until its on stage, and you have to be OK with that – and the ulcers which come with it. That the pursuit of new ideas is everything, and that the joy of the job is in the finding of something which astonishes you – and that that’s possible. Three things needed to keep dance in D.C. thriving?

More and better studios available and at more civilized hours for creators to create without having to practice at vampire hours. A better teeth-to-tail ratio – meaning a better idea to execution process in funding, mentoring, resources. The development of a financial structure to allow people to rehearse during the day as paid professionals. A much more deeply connected relationship between the major theaters in town and the artists work in DC. The Kennedy Center Local Dance Commissioning Project is a vital, fundamental part of the scene – because it offers funding, space at the Kennedy Center and “possibility.” There needs to be more of it – we make work well when we have time to make it, the resources to make it and the freedom to fail without risk. You’re at

“Doug has an infinite curiosity about how things work and wants to master anything he asks anyone else to do. He is joyful and fun to work with. I think his performance in this position has validated the selection – he has done an outstanding job under often challenging circumstances and pressures. He has met problems head-on and solved them. He has celebrated the joy of the life of the Atlas.” This the presidential election year, and much like the rest of world, Yeuell is paying close attention as Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton and Republican frontrunner Donald Trump battle to become the nation’s next commander-in-chief whose single word has far reaching ramifications. The results, Yeuell assures, will be felt in the arts community. “I don’t that there is any area not immune to the changes, a new president taking office brings,” he said. “I remember traveling to the White House and meeting President Obama for the Easter Egg Roll. I saw reading to a group of children—so sincerely. And I think—here is the leader of the free world taking time to read children’s books. What do you think that experience did for literary arts advocates. What pride might that have instilled in teachers or librarians throughout education. Let’s hope the next president is sensitive and embracing of the performing arts.” 13

Plies’ for Inside Ngoma Summer D

by Je


r Big Dreams a Center for Dance’s DanceLab 2016

ean-Remi Verella




Dancer Spotlight

Alice Wells Alice Wells is ready to take on Washington D.C. The newest addition to Dissonance Dance Theatre, Wells hails from Morgantown, WV. She has trained at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, BalletMet and the Atlanta Ballet. After dancing many corps de ballet roles in ballets such as Giselle, The Brown-Forman Nutcracker, Suite en Blanc, Square Dance, Coppelia, and Western Symphony, Wells is ready to shine. Where are you from?

Morgantown, WV How old are you and what’s your zodiac sign?

I’m 19 years old and a Leo! Where do you dance currently?

I just finished my second season with the Louisville Ballet and I am about to start my first season with Dissonance Dance Theatre. What’s in your dance bag?

Mostly the basics, flat shoes (pink and flesh colored), pointe shoes, jet glue, a Thera-band, my warm ups (pants, leg warmers, fuzzy socks, a long sleeve shirt), a lower back warmer that one of my best friends crocheted for me, a peanut butter chocolate Larabar, ginger chew candies, and headphones. iPhone or Android?

Definitely iPhone! 18

Who inspires you in the dance world? Do you have a dance mentor?

I certainly find inspiration from my favorite dancers, most notably Maria Kochetkova and Evgenia Obratsova. I also find daily inspiration from the dancers around me. I have a few dance teachers from my childhood that I would consider my mentors; I certainly wouldn’t be the dancer I am today without all of their tough love. If I had a superstar dance mentor though, it would have to be Dwight Rhoden. I have been captivated by his presence, choreography, and passion for several years. What do you love about ballet?

I think I’m so drawn to ballet because of its incredible level of difficulty. I like going into the studio every single day and knowing that there’s so much work I can do to improve my dancing. With that being said, I love that ballet also has to be made graceful and vulnerable; I enjoy being able to connect with the audience and help them to feel something with my performance. Favorite non-dance hobby?

Probably shopping or crocheting. What’s your dream dance gig?

I’ve always wanted to dance Juliet from Romeo and Juliet. It’s such a classic story, yet I am so touched by it every time I get to watch it, regardless of the version. I would love to be able to exhibit such strong emotion on stage. Sneakers, Boots, Chucks, Loafers, or High Heels (lol)?

High heels! The right pair can do wonders. Single or Dating?

Single What would be your funniest dance moment?

Oh my, there are many. One time, during my first season with the Louisville Ballet, we were rehearsing the Nutcracker, specifically Waltz of the Flowers. Our ballet mistress was giving notes to other dancers, so it was pretty quiet in the studio. I decided to take a few moments and practice the very final pose, which consisted of a sort of turning knee slide in which I had to travel pretty far to get to the correct spot. As I was practicing, I gave the turning knee slide a

Photo courtesy of Alice Wells

little too much force and ended up face planting on the floor like a starfish, causing a loud noise and everyone to look at me. Once I was deemed uninjured, the whole company had a pretty good laugh about it. Favorite dance moment?

When I was training at Atlanta Ballet, we performed Bruce Wells’ Pinocchio and I was so lucky to dance the title role. It was such a well done ballet, from choreography to costuming to dancers, and I have such a beautiful memory of that performance. Do you have a particular process in preparing for new roles?

As I learn the choreography, I like to create an ongoing and specific dialog that I play in my head with each set of steps that I can repeat every time I practice or perform the role. This really helps to create a more concise and genuine expression on stage, which makes it easier for the audience to understand what I’m saying. I then decide what’s

working and what isn’t and edit it throughout the rehearsal period. What keeps you motivated?

The way I feel when I’m dancing is something that cannot be replicated, so whenever I’m discouraged or frustrated, I try to put myself into a place where I can deeply feel that indescribable joy. That is usually enough to pull me out of a slump. How do you envision your dance career over the next ten years?

I feel like there’s still a lot of growth ahead of me, so I’m both excited and curious about how I’ll develop with Dissonance. I like to dream big and I aspire to dance for Complexions or Smuin Ballet someday. I am drawn to these companies by their excellent dancers and both the variety and quality of work that they do. Dancing or choreographing which do you enjoy most?

Dancing! 19

Dancing from Above: Aerial Dance is taking D.C. Off Its Feet By Damon Foster Imagine split leaps where feet never touch the ground. Imagine a place where bodies dangle in the air, twirling and bending, arching and extending momentarily defying the laws of gravity and perhaps human logic. Welcome to the world of aerial dance where movement theatre is air-bound. With at least six aerial dance companies calling the DMV home in recent years, the genre is on the rise, arresting audiences and artists alike. Aerial dance choreographer Sharon Witting has witnessed first-hand the explosion of aerial dance in Washington D.C. Her solo-company Elevate Arts is a mainstay amongst the aerial dance community “There is a freedom-in-flight that hearkens to the child in us, as we recall a time in our childhood when we let our imagination run wild. Who didn’t imagine flying as a kid?” said Witting. “Metaphors of light, freedom, and soaring are quite compelling. It’s a very profound experience. I have had students—adult students weep after a session. We are challenged to let go, but that can be hard.”

With at least six aerial dance companies calling the DMV home, the genre is on the rise. the “Mother of Aerial Dance” in the United States. Returning to the east coast, Witting searched diligently for aerial training spaces but her findings were dismal until she met connected with Jayne Bernasconi, founder of Air Dance Bernasconi. For two years Witting performed with the Baltimore, MD-based company. Her then-fellow Bernasconi company member Andrea Burkholder would go on to form their own aerial dance duet company, Arachne Aerial Arts in 2003. The two collaborated and performed as a duet for 8 years. Burkholder now resides in Milwaukee, MN “The hardest aspect about those early days was finding space with proper ceiling heights with stable support for safe training and performing. We trained in empty warehouses and nightclubs. Around 14-feet is ideal for low silks and hammocks,” Witting said. “We trained in nightclubs and warehouses for a while before we settled at Joe’s Movement Emporium. As far as performances, I like non-traditional dance spaces. I think aerial dance can complement other art mediums.” Jessica John, founder and artistic director of Vaudoux Aerian Dance Theatre recalls her early experiences with aerial dance.

Choreography for aerial dance, often linked with circus arts, consists of movement performed by dancers suspended in the air by an apparatus attached to the ceiling, allowing performers to explore space in threedimensions. The apparatus has its own motion, also affecting the how the dancer moves.

“I was first exposed to the aerial arts in 2009 when the Trapeze School of New York opened a location in a parking lot in downtown DC. I took my first aerial fabric class there and within a few weeks I was taking multiple classes per week and having my instructors come to my home for private strength coaching. I really went all in,” John said.

Witting holds classes at Dance Exchange in Takoma Park. And performs in a variety on venues. A trained modern dancer early in her career, Witting discovered aerial in 1999 while on a trip to San Francisco, CA where she participated in an aerial class taught by the revered Terry Sendgraff who is widely acknowledged as

“But I wouldn’t say I was exposed to “aerial dance” as a unique art form until a few years later when I met Brandy Leary at a workshop at the New England Center for Circus Arts. Brandy (founder, Anandam Dancetheatre,Toronto) along with Kevin O’Connor explore the body as a curious and shifting


Photo courtesy of Chris Jay

filter for diverse viewpoints and practices. They are multidisciplinary artists grounded in dance and installation art, as well as circus. I thought to myself, this is the practice that I have been looking for.” John founded Vaudoux in 2013. The company averages around seven members with occasional guest artists, and rehearses ten hours a week at Studio 180 Dance in Annapolis, MD. In addition, the company trains in ballet technique, acrobatics, and solo apparatus coaching. It was very important to me to give an outlet for talented youth artists to perform aerial dance more often that an annual studio recital. Vaudoux became that outlet. The company ranges in age from 11 to 39.     On the growth of aerial and circus arts in the DMV area John, who began dancing at age 6, John is both optimistic and cautionary in regards to the perception of the sub-modern dance genre. For instance, distinctions between circus, aerial work, and dance are still evolving. “There is an inherent tension between circus and dance. Circus shines a light on the feat, the spectacle, and virtuosic capacities of the human boady. I created Vaudoux to blur the lines between dance and

circus and to bring the vision of my childhood home to the stage. Circus may arguably be more versatile than dance--it has a larger spatial reach, a greater range of available intensities, and a more varied and individualized vocabulary--but it can be focused on technique to the exclusion of expression,” John said. “I think that until contemporary circus art forms like aerial dance reach past the spectacle, they will not have universal appeal. Dance is a language that audiences understand, appreciate, and connect with, while it continues to evolve. I can only hope that is the future of contemporary circus in this country. “US circus is in the midst of a historically unprecedented expansion. Fifty years ago, the circus was on the verge of extinction. But next year, for its fiftieth anniversary, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival will bring the rich history, mystique, and diversity of circus arts to life on the National Mall. It is a major turnaround, and DC is right in the middle of this resurgence. The ubiquity of Cirque du Soleil has helped DMV audiences view circus arts beyond the traditional traveling tent shows and now they want to experience it for themselves.” 21

Standing Shoulders Above the Rest By Paul Medina

Why is shoulder flexibility and strength crucial for dancers?

As we know the body is organic and can change at any moment. It’s important for dancers to understand shoulder flexibility is directly correlated to strength. Our body acts as a rubber band. What our body is missing, as compared to a rubber band, is the elasticity; they are strong because they are flexible. As we work with certain exercises our shoulders will begin to articulate in order to create effortless movement. Most dancers compromise their body by working on muscle groups from the rib cage down. One should begin by gaining a deeper understanding of the stability aspect of the shoulder. The glenuhumeral, or shoulder joint is comprised of the scapula (shoulder blade) and the humerus (upper arm). The joint is what is known as a ball and socket, meaning that the humerus, which is the “ball” sits in the ‘socket’ or the glenoid fossa of the shoulder blade and can glide around to create quite a wide range of motion. In laymen terms, put any type of round object in between your index/middle finger. Then rotate the ball 180/360degrees. That is how much range of motion a healthy shoulder should perform with. This is a common illustration of stability in the shoulder. It’s important for a dancer to loosen up a few other muscles in order to orient the head and neck. We have all seen dancers with popped rib cages and over extended spines, even impinged trapezius. In conclusion, learning how to transfer pressure from core to shoulder strength will create more flexibility in the joints and ligaments. Which will then allow for less injuries in neck, lower back and knees. Here are four strength/flexibility exercises a dancer should be able to perform.


One arm Latissimus Stretch- hold for 30 sec each side. Perform 2 sets

Supine double arm overhead shoulder HingePerform 2sets of 15-20reps. Making sure the dumbbell is moving over top of the head finishing with the dumbbell over the nose. It’s a back to front movement.

Overhead Figure Eight’s- Perform 2sets of 1520reps alternating sides. Making sure the weight doesn’t go below the chin nor above the hair line.

All Four Bridge- Perform 3sets of 30sec, 45sec, and 1min holds. Start with the butt on the floor then elevate into the bridge. All the fun starts up top.

All images courtesy of Paul Medina All external weight within these exercises vary depending on the level of anatomical function. Do not try a weight that could danger your physique. Paul A. Medina is the founder of Capital Energy Training, LLC. Check out more his fitness tips at 23

Community Directory African-American Managed Dance Companies African Dancers and Drummers Melvin Deal, Founder 1320 Good Hope Rd Southeast Washington D.C 20020 202-399-5252 africanheritagedc Cacho Dancers and Drummers Bonita Cacho, Founder/Artisitic Director 202-607-0164 Coyaba Dance Theatre Sylvia Soumah, Founding Artistic Director 3225 8th Street Northeast Washington, D.C 20017 (202) 269-1600 Dissonance Dance Theatre Shawn Short, Founding Artistic Director Resident Company of Ngoma Center for Dance P.O. Box 2377, Washington D.C 20013 202-540-8338 EdgeWorks Dance Theatre Helanius J. Wilkins, Founding Artisitic Director P.O.Box 73396 Washington D.C, 20056 (202) 483-0606 Farafina Kan Mahiri Fadjimba Keita, Founding Artistic Director 3802 34th Street, Mt Rainier, MD 20722 Just Tap/Sole Defined Quynn Johnson, Ryan Johnson Founding Artistic Director 24

KanKouran West African Dance Company Assane Konte, Founding Artistic Director P.O. Box 1338 Washingto D.C, 2013 202-518-1213 Lesoles Dance Project Lesole Z. Maine, Founding Artistic Director 3802 34th street. Mt. Rainer, MD 240-744-6694 Memory of African Culture Akua Femi Kouyate, Founder MAC, Inc. P.O. Box 50045, Washington, D.C. 20091 (202) 210-7120 Step Afrika Brian Williams, Founding Excetive Director 133 4th street NE Washington, D.C 20002 202-399-7993 ext. 112 Vision Contemporary Dance Katherine Smith, Artistic Director P.O. Box 48087 Washington, D.C 20002 301.909-VCDE (8233) Urban Artisty Junious Brickhouse (Founder) 8001 Kennett Street Silver Spring, MD 20910 202-431-4202 The National Hand Dance Association P.O. Box 70006 Washington, D.C. 20024

World Dance Companies D.C Contemporary Dance Theatre Miya Hisaka, Founding Artistic Director P.O.Box 9796 Washington, D.C 20016 202-316-5277 Furia Flamenco Estela Velez ( Director) Joy of Motion Dance Center 5207 Wisconsin Ave NW Washington, D.C 20015 (703) 568-4404 Jayamangala 8600 Waterside Ct, Laurel, MD 20723 (301) 617-2712 Maru Montero Dance Maru Montero, Founder Nomad Dancers Christel Stevens( Co Director) Adriane Whalen (Co Director) 4166 South Street, Arlington, Va, 22206 (703) 799-0282 Silk Road Dance Compay Dr. Laurel Victoria Gray, Founder and Artistic Director P.O. Box 11346 Takoma Park, MD 20913 301-585-1105 Tehreema Mitha Dance Founding Artistic Director 8509 Pelham Rd, Bethesda, MD 20817 (301) 581-9520

Community Directory Dance Schools and Institutions Angel of Hope Ministries, Inc Rev. Claudia H. Harrison Developing the Physical through Dance and Health Awareness Coyaba Academy Sylvia Soumah, Founder and Artistic Director Dance Place 3225 8th Street Northeast Washington, D.C 20017 (202) 269-1600 Dance Dimensions Dakyia Lambert (Artistic Director) 7979 Parston Dr District Heights ,MD 20747 301-420-1567

Duke Ellington School of the Arts The Davis Center Charles Augins, Dance Chair 3500 R street NW , Washington, D.C 202-282-0123

Howard University Theatre Arts Dept - Dance 2400 Sixth St NW, Washington, D.C 20059 202-806-7050/7052 dance Jones-Haywood Dance School Saundra Fortune-Green, Artistic Director 1200 Delafield Place NW Washington D.C 20011 202-441-1099

Dance Institute of Washington Fabian Barnes, Founder and Artistic Director 3400 14th street NW, Washington, D.C 202-371-9656

Making Moves Dance Collective Inc Amber L. Comer, Artistic Director Kellie N. Sellers, Artistic Director 5640 Sunnyside Avenue, Suite E Beltsville, MD 20705 301-220-1500

Dance Makers INC Ms. Robin Angelica Pitts, Executive Director 9901 Business Parkway, Suite L Lanham, Maryland 20706Â 301-731-0003

Ngoma Center for Dance Shawn Short, Founding Artistic Director P.O. Box 2377 Washington D.C 20013 202-540-8338

District Dance Arts Cristine Davis, Director Classes held at the Capoeira Spot 2008 Rhode Island Ave NE Washington, DC 20018

Northeast Performing Arts Center Rita Jackson (Founder) 3431 Benning Rd NE Washington, D.C 20019 202-388-1274

Divine Dance Institute Amanda Standard, Founding Director 505 Hampton Park Blvd., Suite R Capitol Heights, MD 20743 301-333-2623

Suitland High School Center for the Visual and Performing Arts 5200 Silver Hill Road Forestville, MD 20747 301.817.0092

Beatrice E. Davis-Williams 6218 3rd Street N.W. Washington D.C 20011 202-277-6110 Ubuntu Nankama Dance Studio 3802Â 34th Street, Mt Rainier, MD 20722 Words, Beats, & Life Inc. 1525 Newton Street, NW Washington, D.C 20010 202-667-1192 Baltimore Area Morton Street Dance Donna L. Jacobs, 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Ste. 108 Baltimore, MD 21211 410-235-9003 Baltimore Dance Tech Stephanie Powell, Director, 5130 Greenwich Avenue (Near Route 40 West) Baltimore, MD 21229 410-233-1101 Connexions School for the Arts 2801 N. Dukeland Street Baltimore, MD 21216 Phone:(443) 984-1418/1419/1420 Fax:(410) 669-4418 Dance & Bmore Cjay Philip, Director Coppin State University Vanessa Coles, Chair - Dance Physical Education Complex Rm 212 2500 West North Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21216-3698 25

Ngoma Reader is looking for committed, and enthusiastic writers to join its team. Is that you?


Ngoma Center for Dance

The Ngoma Reader (NR) is a bi-monthly online publication that gives literary voice to the minority dance artists of Washington, D.C.


Internships Experience the thrill and rewards of working in Ngoma Center for Dance and its programs! Whether you’re a high school student looking for summer employment, or a college or graduate student seeking a substantive internship supporting the arts in D.C., there’s no limit as to how far our opportunities can take you. At Ngoma Center for Dance, you’ll have the opportunity to gain insight into a budding dance organization, explore new career avenues and acquire lifelong skills. Our two programs, (1) Production, and (2) Administration, enable students to obtain job experience in a in the theatre and in the back office. The opportunities are endless—and they all start right here. Begin by finding out which program is right for you, or speaking with our director about an internship with Ngoma Center for Dance and its programs. Contact Shawn Short, Director at for more information. Check out more at Ngoma Reader is looking for committed, and enthusiastic writers and photographers to join its team. Is that you? The Ngoma Reader (NR) is a bi-monthly online publication that gives literary voice to the dance artists of Washington, D.C. QUALIFICATIONS: Current major/Interest in Journalism, Communications, dance, or English Strong news judgment Quick and accurate editing/writing skills Thorough attention to detail Knowledgeable in the local DMV dance scene and/or other arts-related events The ability to multi-task with little-to-no supervision

A strong work ethic and motivation to succeed A positive, good-natured, energetic attitude A commitment to unbiased writing Knowledgeable of AP Style guidelines

Interested writers send your writing sample and resume to: (In the subject line type: Potential Writer for NR Magazine) WWW.NGOMAREADER.ORG WWW.NGOMA-CENTER-FOR-DANCE.ORG


Ngoma R eader Washington, D.C.’s Dance Magazine

(c) Copyright Ngoma Reader 2016 All Rights Reserved 28

Profile for Ngoma Reader

NR Reader Magazine July/Aug 2016 Washington, D.C.'s Dance Magazine The Ngoma Reader (NR) is a Bi-monthly online publication that gives literary...

NR Reader Magazine July/Aug 2016 Washington, D.C.'s Dance Magazine The Ngoma Reader (NR) is a Bi-monthly online publication that gives literary...