Building Somatic Confidence: Tools for Ballet & Improvisation

Event Type
Event Description

NOTE: this session is concurrent with "Disrupting / Belonging" featuring Nora Sharp's "Slouching Towards Technique: Gender dysphoria, physical correctness, and sense of belonging in dance class" and Chrissy Martin's “Neuroemergent Insurgence: Disrupting Methodology, Valuing Emergence, and Embodying Inquiry in Practice and Performance.”

Workshop-Presentation in Studio 300 (dress to move and bring something to write with/on)

Workshop: "Not Opposites- Embodying Ballet Technique through Somatics"

Through the experience of sensing and mapping their own bodies, this workshop with Emily Stein will provide an experiential example of this perspective. Participants will experience a Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement lesson, and then physically explore how a somatic approach might be applied to teaching ballet technique. The goal is to open dialog among teachers to expand the possibility for healthy, vital embodiment of the art of ballet.

Emily Stein is a veteran of Chicago’s dance scene, dancing, choreographing, and teaching. She is currently on the faculty of the Dance Center of Columbia College, teaching Ballet Technique, Experiential Anatomy, and Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement® courses, and on faculty of the Adult Open Division of the Joffrey Academy of Ballet. Her teaching career has encompassed professional and private studios, as well as higher education.

Presentation: "Improvisation and Somatics as Tools for Engaging Dance Experiences"

This presentation focuses on Rebecca Crystal’s background research, lessons, student feedback, and how somatic-based activities and improvisation can serve as a tool for meaningful experiences that highlight and celebrate each dancers’ individuality.

Rebecca Crystal recently completed a Master of Dance Education program through the Royal Academy of Dance in London.  She was awarded the Joan White Prize for her thesis research on creating engaging and meaningful experiences in the dance classroom through improvisation and somatic practices.  She holds a BFA in Dance with minors in English and Music from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as well as Dance Education PK-12 licensure from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  Rebecca taught dance full-time in Chicago Public Schools for three years and spent four summers on dance faculty at Interlochen Arts Camp.  She has taught at The Chicago High School for the Arts, Joel Hall Dance Center, The Old Town School of Folk Music, and Glenwood Dance Studio, and has worked as a Teaching Artist with Hubbard Street’s Movement as Partnership program in schools.  She has studied in Israel as a trainee with Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company and has studied Gaga with Ohad Naharin/Batsheva Dance Company.  Rebecca is also a dancer, choreographer, and co-director of the modern dance project Delve Dance Chicago.

About the American Dancing Bodies Symposium

In 2012, a curricular revolution took place at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago recognizing the American dancing body as a rich fusion of techniques originating in Africa, Europe and the United States. More than a decade since this transformation at the Dance Center, the impact locally and nationally has been profound. The 2-day American Dancing Bodies Symposium invites dance educators, enthusiasts, practitioners, scholars, and students to explore together the intersectionality of present-day dance: what's now and what's next in dance, on the stage, in the studio, and in the classroom?

Running Time
80 minutes
Dance Styles
Modern / Contemporary


The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago

1306 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605
(312) 369-8330