Helen Nolan teaches a contemporary fusion Dance workshop April 4th @UMA!
Sunday, April 4th @ 2:30pm
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Helen has been training in street styles such as hip hop foundations, house, locking and popping since she was in grade school in Boulder, Colorado. Later on she began to branch out to incorporate contemporary dance styles in her training. Since then, she has refined her own style through experimentation in choreographing, enjoying and exploring the interplay between the various styles she has under her belt. Helen has danced and toured with, in addition to choreographed for, LA based dance company Academy of Villains Contemporary and has sat as artistic director and danced for Colorado based company Side By Side Dance Co. founded by Larkin Poynton and Sarah Touslee.
In her workshop on April 4th “Contemporary Fusion”, Helen will present a version of what a fusion between contemporary movement and hip hop movement could be. She will introduce participants to her personal methods of movement generation within this blend of styles. Participants will also begin to explore and discover within their own bodies what movement possibilities are opened up when we experiment with this kind of fusion.
Get to know a little more about Helen and what to expect from her upcoming workshop below!
Could you talk about your relationship with choreographing movement?
An early inspiration for me was being interested in seeing how contemporary choreographers formulated their dances for the stage as opposed to for a cypher or street gathering. Different stories and emotions can be told by utilizing these tools in choreography. I like to take elements from both [contemporary dance and hip hop forms] and have them ping pong back and forth from each other. That will definitely happen in this class.
My love for choreographing really started in CO when I was dancing with a company called Side By Side Dance Co founded by Larkin Poynton and Sarah Touslee. They were 2 humongous inspirations for me in terms of pushing my preconceived boundaries of what making dances that aren’t clear cut hip hop dances but still uphold its principles can look like. What if we use hip hop vocabulary but perform to a different type of music? What if we use hip hop vocabulary and other movement strategically to tell a story in a dance? I’d also like to say my relationship to choreography really grew out of being a part of a supportive community who was excited to make stuff with me. It takes a village!
Today I use choreography as a tool for reflection and recontextualizing the world around me. I’m interested in using the practices of dancing, making, and watching choreography to question and make sense of things that sometimes aren’t so apparent in everyday life! I’m always working to expand my movement vocabulary to have more things to pull from.
How do you discover the movement that you decide to set in your choreography?
We’ll touch a little on that in class! Some of the improv work we do will be movement creation using one version of a process that I use sometimes. I come to choreography in a lot of different ways. I like to put myself through prompts or games to try to find different ways of combining movements together vs. listening to a song and trying to make a move that matches that part of the song. I try using limitations or choreography maps or other types of fun prompts to help spice things up and allow different results to come than I might have gotten if I just tried to pull moves out of my brain cold. After the initial exploration the next stage is usually revision and articulation of the nitty gritty details like musicality and texture.
What is your goal for this workshop?
My goal is not for everyone to look exactly like me at the end of the class. My goal is for the choreography and improvisation scores to be a guide into your own individual exploration and experimentation practice in your mind and body.
Sign up for Helen's workshop through our homepage!