The Latest

(Photo by Zach Nguyen)

To find out more about what I’ve been up to lately, check out my Spring 2020 Quarterly eNews, which I’ve included below. To receive these quarterly updates to your email, join my list. To follow what I’ve been hopping into in real time, follow Erinn Liebhard: Dance Artist on Facebook and Instagram!

 

Erinn Liebhard: Dance Artist

Hello from quarantine . . . ! . . . ?

That face about captures it . . . I’ve been oscillating between feeling shocked, inspired, worried and optimistic, and about a thousand other feelings, and know I’m not alone. I’m writing to you on Day 27 of me and my partner’s quarantine, which began prior to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz’ initial Stay at Home orders because we felt it was the right thing to do and we could.

This quarterly newsletter is going to feel a little different than normal, as it’ll give you a peek into how I’ve shifted what work I can home and into an online context rather than focus solely on upcoming events. While I’ll share about a couple of those too, as I’m hopeful they will indeed happen considering how late into the summer they are, I recognize and appreciate that even these dates may change given the ongoing Covid-19 situation with which the world is collectively grappling. Table of contents:

PERFORMANCE:

  • Postponed Events: Theater Unbound’s Girl Shorts Festival and Alternative Motion Project presents Number Nine
  • Upcoming Events (Fingers Crossed!)

EDUCATION:

  • Zooming from My Basement: A New Normal 
  • Keeping Students Moving: How Zenon and SPCPA Have Transitioned to Online Teaching
  • Creatively Adaptable: The Cowles Innovates to Continue Delivering Programming

The “Parting Inspiration” section will touch on the personal routines I’m both modifying and building to keep myself feeling professionally challenged, socially connected and physically and mentally healthy while embracing #StayHomeMinnesota for the benefit of the greater good.

For a more regular stream of what I’ve been up to during this strange time, follow my Erinn Liebhard: Dance Artist Facebook and Instagram pages. And keep my performance and education-based services in mind for when we’ve moved beyond this time: I specialize in groove, improvisation and interaction-driven jazz informed by social dance ideas and driven by jazz music, and teach a wide array of technique and lecture courses. I’m available for regular and guest teaching, as well as residencies. #HaveJazzWillTravel . . .  #WhenWeCanAndShouldThatIs !!

Thank you for keeping connected with me 🙂

Well Wishes,

Erinn

erinnliebhard.com
ekliebs@gmail.com
612-419-5549

PERFORMANCE:

Postponed Events: Theater Unbound’s Girl Shorts and Alternative Motion Project’s Number Nine


Photos from theatreunbound.com and alternativemotionproject.com

The end of March was shaping up to be exciting! I was supposed to have premiered new solo A Seat At, brought to life by the Julio Resende Trio’s jazz rendition of Radiohead tune “Airbag,” at the Girl Shorts festival of short new performance works by female-identifying folks that’s produced by Theatre Unbound. I was also excited to see my new group work assemblage (set to jazz music by the Christian McBride Trio and Joey Alexander) on stage, which was commissioned for and to have been performed by Twin Cities contemporary dance company Alternative Motion Project. The AMP show is potentially back on for July 10-12 at the Lab Theater in Minneapolis, and Girl Shorts is yet to be rescheduled. I’m planning to take the energy and material I generated around my Girl Shorts project (as well as photography I’ve been capturing) to create a solo dance film – at least one, actually. Keep your eye out!

Upcoming Events (Fingers Crossed!)


Photo by Bill Cameron of my work Feist(meist)er from Rhythmically Speaking presents The Cohort

I’m at this point still hopeful that my company Rhythmically Speaking will be able to hold our 12th annual summer show – the second edition of program The Cohort – from August 13-15 at The Southern Theater in Minneapolis, as scheduled. I’m crossing my fingers, given Minnesota’s “Stay at Home” order, that we’ll be able to start rehearsal soon. That said and as we all know, things continue to shift quickly, so I’ve began thinking about how we can modify our rehearsal schedule to accommodate, while keeping the August show on the books as is.

We’re also creating a series of summer workshops we’re planning to call the “Jazz Dance: Roots and Branches” series, titled and modeled after this awesome 2014 anthology of writings on jazz dance. We are partnering with The Southern and some very exciting to-be-announced guest teachers to offer four workshops, two on root forms to jazz (African Diasporic and Latin Disaporic movement) and two on branch forms (house and jazz funk). We are looking forward to these workshops helping cultivate lively connections between jazz’s roots and branches while bringing to life our company values of equity and rooted innovation. We are hopeful these workshops will happen this summer as planned: more to come.

I’m also hopeful that St. Paul Saints Baseball’s season will start as scheduled in mid-May: I love clowning around with these fools, the lovely folks who make up the Saints Entertainment Team. I never imagined having such a kooky job, much less sharing one with my hubs (the Nerd to my Nerdette), and now I cannot imagine a summer without it. The Saints management is making responsible decisions about when to start the season: keep your eye out for more by following Saints social media.

EDUCATION:

Zooming from My Basement: A New Normal

Welcome to my recently-created basement movement space. Prior to quarantine, our basement really didn’t get used much. It had a little couch left by the previous owner that we didn’t mind so it stayed, and a tap board that occasionally saw some play. Now, I’m down there nearly every day, taking or teaching class digitally, as well as leading myself through yoga, tap exercises and jams, working out with body and hand weights and creating little nuggets of new choreography. I’m feeling both quite frustrated by it’s carpet-over-concrete floor (it’s hard to turn on and hurts my back) and totally grateful to have so much nice-lookin’ space to move around in. 

Candid yet exclusive tour of my basement movement space.
Candid and goofy look into my experience taking dance classes via Instagram Live (i.e. by myself, in my basement, looking at a tiny phone screen).
The classes I’m taking are being offered either free or with suggested donation via the Venmo app, and through platforms like Facebook and Instagram Live and Zoom. It’s been challenging to take class through small screens and in a less-than-ideal space, but also totally inspiring to see (and support!) friends again, try out new-to-me movement ideas and to be able to take classes with incredible teachers and companies based all across the world! With the parameters of schedule (mostly) and geography (completely) removed, the amount of available classes has honestly been a little overwhelming. That said, I’m trying to see the chance to take all these classes, however modified, as a bit of a silver lining.

Keeping Students Moving: How Zenon and SPCPA Have Transitioned to Online Teaching


Photo from the Zenon Dance School Facebook page

I’m also trying to apply that same sense of ‘silver lining’ to my own teaching, as my work for Zenon Dance School and St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists (SPCPA), as well as some of my Cowles Center work, has moved online. As my most recently published teaching article suggests, I’m trying to embrace the spirit of “Thinking on Our Feet” as I adapt my teaching, seeing this scenario as a challenge from which I can learn. While I’ve been teaching via digital technology for over five years through my work as a Cowles Center Teaching Artist, in those scenarios, all of the students are in one place. For example, I recently completed a residency with 1st graders at my Ely, Minnesota elementary school: for those of you not as familiar with the ‘Land of 10,000 Lakes,’ Ely is a good four hours North of my location in the Twin Cities. I taught them, all in their school classroom, from the Cowles Center via the internet and through video conferencing platform GoToMeeting. 

Now that Minnesota schools have all transitioned to distance learning for awhile, all of the students in the dance classes I’ve been teaching are videoing in from their own locations. I’m sure many of you reading are familiar with this, either from transitioning your own work in an office or your own dance classes to such video conferencing technology. If you’d like to check out how I’m still fostering my groove, interaction and improvisation-driven approach to jazz dance in my current classes, drop in on ‘Friday Morning Jazz’ through Zenon Dance School (cleverly titled ‘Zenonline’ right now), this Friday 4/10 from 10-11am CST! All are welcomed to this open level class that skews toward intermediate-advanced material. To join, head to Zenon’s website at least 10 minutes in advance of class to register. Once you have, you’ll receive a link in your email to join via Zoom.

My teaching for St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists has also moved online, albeit a little differently. While Zoom technique classes are being offered twice a week, each grade band also gets a weekly assignment and book club opportunity, all offered by different dance program faculty. This is a major shift from their regular coursework, but an innovative one that I applaud the directors of the dance program for creating on such short notice. I’m looking forward to selecting my book club choice – I’ve already got several great jazz dance articles and videos in mind!

Creatively Adaptable: The Cowles Innovates to Continue Delivering Programming


Photo from The Cowles Center’s YouTube Channel

While the Cowles continues to offer options to deliver our current educational programming via distance learning, they are also adapting to try new things. This includes having their Teaching Artists (like me!) plan and record warm-ups, across the floors, movement activities and cool-downs for their YouTube channel that can be used by educators, parents and really, anyone, to get dancing while in quarantine (and beyond)! We’re calling this new programming “Cowles Classroom.” I’ve actually found it more difficult to record lessons than teach them live via video technology, because I’m more used to teaching live, and it allows perfectionism to sometimes get the best of me, causing me to re-record. That said, I’m grateful to have had this challenge, and think the videos are turning out great. Subscribe to the Cowles Center’s YouTube channel to see the rest as they get released!

PARTING INSPIRATION:


Image from plannedmovements.blogspot.comNew (and Old) SystemsI’m a person who tends to thrive on systems both personally and professionally, which means I’ve had to tweak old and build new ones during this strange time to thrive as best as I can. Quarantine has caused me to reevaluate my previous outlooks on my morning routine, news consumption and social media use, while building new systems to encourage purposefulness in food take-out and delivery service use, consumption of video-based entertainment and my bedtime routine.That said, my use all of these systems comes with the understanding that it’s important to be gentle with myself, and that occasionally ‘best laid plans’ are just that – better when thought of than put into action. To read more about how I’ve been modifying and building personal systems to keep myself feeling professionally challenged, socially connected and physically and mentally healthy while staying home for the benefit of the greater good, read this post on my personal blog.

A heart-felt thank you to everyone on the front lines, from medical professionals and home health aids to grocery workers and truck drivers, from funeral and sanitation service to postal, security and child care workers, and anyone I may have missed here. And a shout-out to all the parents now working and/ or and schooling their kids from home. And big love to, really . .  all of you. This is affecting us all in unique and individual ways, and I honor your experience/s.
Sending Wishes of  Wellness,

erinnliebhard.com
ekliebs@gmail.com
612-419-5549

Copyright © 2020 Erinn Liebhard: Dance Artist

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