scroll down to browse our debut modern classes!

Modern with Blakely White-McGuire

Music: Stephen Weinstock

Dancers: Jaryd Farcon and Maegan King

Modern with stephanie liapis

Music: Kai Ono

Dancers: Hsiao-Jou Tang, Jordan Risdon, Lindsay Lee

This hour-long class in Contemporary Modern Dance is a mixture of many sources, rather than a specific technique or historic dance language. It contains free-form universal movements (skipping, sliding, lunges), specific poses from yoga (“Downward Dog,” “Child's Pose,” “Baby Python”), a Martha Graham contraction (called, in the class, “Martha”), elements of aerobic-dance practices, maneuvers that Liapis has named for her personal associations (“Little Mermaid Pose,” “Beyoncé Moment”), and even splinters of ballet (“plié, tendu, bourrée). There is no question that the combinations have been developed according to how they make the dancer feel rather than how the dancing looks. The early warm-up exercises tend to be oriented to the floor, and the later combinations (growing increasingly longer as the class goes on) are for standing, as one might know this dynamic in a Graham class. However, there is no effort to sculpt the dancer's body into positions or specific moving images. Excitement, unbounded physicality, large distinctions between heating up and cooling down, and a kind of rocking alternation between ecstasis and meditation—all in one hour—is what the class offers.

Words are almost as important to this teacher as movement. During the class, she is continually talking the students through the combinations, using many analogies and metaphors to involve the imagination as well as the will to start, change intention, or stop. Liapis has a professional background that includes Doug Varone, Nicholas Leichter, Susan Marshall, the MET Ballet, and other organizations, but her background in academe is equally visible in her teaching.

It's fascinating to watch and listen to Liapis dance full-out, her “inhales” and “exhales” audible as she leads the three women in the room. Even so, anyone who wants to follow along via screens—a phone, a computer, a t.v..—needs to set up the position of the screen very carefully, since the different combinations are more or less “written” on the fly and you may need to rewind the film more than once to absorb the instructions.. One possible approach might be to take the class once or twice mentally before attempting to follow along physically. The combinations of the second half also require a lot of space, especially in last several. There is a musical accompaniment by pianist Kai Ono: For about the first half hour, it consists of chords played at different tempi and different volumes; in the second part of the class, the accompaniment connects the chords, providing inspiration for continuity of the movement.


Modern with Khalia Campbell

Music: Philip Hamilton

Students: Yazmeen Laidler and Martell Ruffin

Description coming soon!  

Modern with Laura Halzack

Music: Philip Hamilton

Students: Alex Clayton and Heather McGinley

Description coming soon!