UMA is committed to providing a safe and healthy workplace and learning environment for all our staff and students. We have developed the following COVID 19 Pandemic Rules and Guidelines for all of our in person dance classes. UMA’s goal is to mitigate the potential for transmission of COVID-19 (and all illness) in our workplace and throughout our communities. Full cooperation from all UMA staff and students is critical to our collective success. All UMA instructors, administrators, and students/clients are responsible for implementing and complying with all aspects of this COVID 19 Pandemic Rules and Guidelines. Our COVID 19 Pandemic Rules and Guidelines follows guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Pennsylvania Department of Health guidelines, and OSHA Standards related to COVID-19.
Controls for social distancing
Windows and doors will be open as much as possible to increase the flow of fresh air. Windows and doors may be closed during the afternoons and when heat and/or humidity are high so that the HVAC can be used.
Bleach solution to CDC standards: 60 seconds for nonporous items; 10 minutes for other items (CDC)
70% isopropyl and 60% ethanol alcohols may be used to disinfect in 20-30 seconds. (CDC)
3% hydrogen peroxide: 30 seconds for nonporous items; 6 minutes for other items. Hydrogen peroxide can also be diluted to 5 parts water to 1-part hydrogen peroxide without reducing efficiency. (CDC)
Additional EPA-register disinfectants can be found on the EPA website. (EPA List N Chemicals)
These protocols are based upon the following sources:
If you're a student in our adult program, you may not have yet gotten to take class with Rukus. He holds it down as a nain instructor at MoveMakers Philly, our youth hip hop education program. He's incredible with the kids; he's an endless engine of encouragement -- with a knack for cutting off kid mischief before it gets out of hand. Along with the breaking instructors in our adult program, Jerry Valme and Mark "Metal" Wong, Rukus also teaches all over the tri-state area with Hip Hop Fundamentals. If you need to energize your day, just put this You Tube clip of Rukus on repeat. You can work on your breaking stance at home in the mirror while he hypes up a bunch of toddlers.
UMA People is a series of profiles of UMA 'regulars,' though there's nothing regular about them! In UMA People shares stories about how people in our community found dance, found UMA, and what it all means to them.
Photos: Adriana Imhof
At a very young age, Lu Donovan's (they/them) was plopped into a Ballet class by their parents. Perhaps a common occurrence in suburban Boston. However, for Lu, “Unlike a lot of other people who have that experience, I just never quit. I never stopped doing it. It took me through the first 18 years of my life on a momentous path of training: 6 days a week, 4 hours a day.” Lu continued with Boston Ballet’s pre-professional training program until, when it was time to consider college, conservatory, or something else, mentors and teachers made it clear to them that “it wouldn't be possible for me to become a professional ballet dancer. Mostly because of body size and shape.” If you’re not familiar with ballet this might seem confusing. In the world of professional ballet, it’s not just about silhouette. It’s about 1 million other predetermined anatomical factors, such as one’s muscle development, metabolism, torso to leg proportions, and range of joint mobility, especially the hips. Mix that in with Ballet’s embedded traditions of racism, sexism, and classism, and it starts to be clear that, despite an entire lifetime of training, the cards can be stacked against an aspiring ballet dancer despite years of training.
When Lu decided to leave Boston Ballet and attend a liberal arts college, they experienced a “beautiful awakening about what dance is and could be.” Lu explains to me that at Boston Ballet discouraged exposure to other ballet studios or other styles of dance. The mindset was: “If you don’t go here, then you’re not a good dancer.” Moreover, the depressingly common belief that ballet is the one and only foundational technique for all other dance styles, was hammered home constantly in their early training. It wasn’t until they left Boston Ballet that they found out about the Dance Complex. The Dance Complex is housed in a labyrinthian historic building just across the river from Boston Ballet, in Central Square, Cambridge. It has been a home to a plurality of dance styles since the 90’s, and before that, in its former capacity as the Joy of Movement since the early seventies.
Lu laughs as they describe their first experiences of the contemporary and improvisation based styles they encountered in college, “I kinda got bullied out of being a bunhead when I showed up the first day in a leotard. Everyone was like ‘What are you doing?’” Lu got over the initial shock, and so did their peers, whose initial shade became a call to awareness, and eventually, a supportive community. Lu explains almost everything they made in university was collaborative; their growth was fueled by the acceptance and encouragement of their peers. “I was realizing I don’t have to point my feet and turn out my hips to be a dancer. It opened all the possibilities of style, movement, textures, that my body, and a body, could hold in dance. It showed me the infinite possibilities of what a dancing body could be.”
Lu graduated from Wesleyan University in 2018 with a dual degree in Dance and Critical American History. I asked Lu why Wesleyan. With the benefit of hindsight, they replied, “I think I liked that there was a lot of queer people.” Similarly, Lu moved to Philly in part because during early visits to the city, they appreciated the presence of queer communities. Before COVID precautions kicked in, Lu was organized a gathering of Queer dance makers. Lu explains, “I found a lot of queer people in my life when I moved to Philly. And the community is very vast. But the places where my queer community and my dance community overlap are fewer. Is this a problem that other queer people are facing? Is there a gap?” Lu explains that the event they were planning, now indefinitely postponed, was intended to be “a space where people could come together and be seen as queer and want to collaborate. To talk about ideas or recommend other queer photographers, designers, spaces, choreographers. To really bulk up that community."
Lu first came to UMA at the urging of friends Julia Bryck and Kayla Bobalek. Lu was attending Headlong Performance Institute (HPI), and found themselves missing dancing. (HPI is an extension of Headlong Dance Theater, a boundary blurring dance and physical theater company that's been an engine of Philly's dance/theater scene since the 90's). Short on funds, but desperate to move, Lu signed up for an 'Intro Month' at UMA -- back when we had a physical studio space -- and came to class every day. “I tried everything”, they said. That was about a year ago. Pre-COVID Lu was no longer at UMA everyday, but found a sustainable training rhythm; they took house regularly and often dropped in on UMA other classes, becoming a work study in early 2020. (Lu also shouts out Shannon Murphy's classes as another local favorite.) Lu says they feel safe being queer at UMA but the space, overall, with its many purposes and sub-communities, hasn't put forth a sense of queer community or collective for them. Lu says "queer people are there, we dance together on a regular basis" but Lu is "craving something a step further."
For Lu, the multitude of styles they’re able to train and explore at UMA is part of the expansiveness of queerness. Lu is invested in “all of the possibilities of how a body can move.” They explained, “I’m excited about researching and investigating in a dance context with myself and other people about gender and queerness, how a body looks, walks, moves through space.”
We launched an online platform on April 1! Check it out!
Nearly all of our regular programming is available, though class times have shifted slightly.
Learning online is different than learning in person. It's not for everyone. We understand that for some folks, we will have to find other ways to connect with you during quarantine. Similarly, learning to teach online is certainly an adjustment. This is an experiment for us as a business and community, during a bizarre and challenging cultural moment. It's no small feat especially as a quick pivot given totally unforeseen global circumstances. Big thanks to our teaching staff for their willingness to go with the unpredictable flow.
Drop in classes like waacking, b, house, hip hop, Afro-club, Afro-Cuban, and more are up and running! Many of your are familiar with these classes in a one hour format. Take note that online classes will be 45 minutes instead. We suggest getting yourself ready to go 10 min before class: clear some space in your living room, get some water nearby, and start to warm yourself. Not sure how to warm yourself up? Well, jumping jacks are tried and true. Roll your ankles one by one. Do a push up or two (or ten). You could also put on a favorite mid-tempo song and just go whatever feels good, going slowly, taking it easy. The goal is to get your heart rate up and mobilize your joints.
For those you want to dance it out every day, membership packages are still available. Membership online includes all live-streaming classes as well as recordings of classes from the last 30 days, so you will have lots to practice. It's also an opportunity to try a class you may have been curious about, but where too shy to test drive in person. Well, now is the time!
We miss you already.
Lily & Vince
collage: Mark "Metal" Wong
Informative and vaguely erotic. The best the wellness industry has to offer.
Rashaad Hasani talks about his journey as a popper and the roots of the dance. Rashaad is originally from Harlem/QueensNYC. He grew up in a family full of music and funky. When he moved to DC in 2003, he found mentorship with Junious “House” Brickhouse and would later become Aristic Director of Urban Artistry, an organization devoted to hip hops ancestry and future. Rashaad is a wealth of knowledge on the traditions of funk. This mini-doc made by UMA's Adriana Imhof walks through milestones of Funk music and dance while exploring Rashaad's relationship to genre.
UMA People shares the stories and testimonials of UMA students and community members. There are some really special people around here! So much love and gratitude to Will Morris, for being part of the UMA magic and our first feature in this new series.
We are delighted to welcome Lillian Ransijn as our Winter Artist in Residence. The Winter and Spring AIR cycles draw from within our staff and student community to support artists offering something exceptional at the intersection of genre, style, and discipline. (The summer AIR cycle is open to the public and the applications open around March.) We have seen Lilli perform at 'WORKINONIT' in the summer of 2018, as well as in Lily Kind's work at 'WORKINONIT: Deluxe' this past summer of 2019. Lilli is found getting her sweat on in many classes at UMA, especially Ron Wood's Movement Flow and Vince's House and Waacking classes. We are also grateful to the Lilli as a work/study who has been with UMA for two years. It is with a LOT of love that we offer her space to dig into it this winter. She will present a works in progress showing in January of 2020.
Lillian Ransijn is a Dutch/American dance theater artist. Raised in Wyomissing, PA, she followed her Magnolia-mouthed mama’s footsteps down to Emory University in Atlanta, GA, where she earned her BA in Dance and Movement Studies and trained and performed with Susan Eldridge/DENSE, Catellier Dance Projects, and Out of Hand Theater. In 2008 she founded her own ensemble, Ground Delivery Dance Theater, as a vehicle to experiment with the dance theater form. A 2016 graduate of Uarts/Pig Iron’s MFA program in Devised Performance, she is dedicated the cross-pollination of artistic forms through ensemble-driven work. Lillian has choreographed and performed with Amanda Byars, Blake Beckham/The Lucky Penny, Claire Porter, David Dorfman Dance Theater, Dance Truck, Duende Dance Theater, Ellisorous Rex and the Dance Machine, Fly-By Theater, Helen Hale Dance, 7 Stages, Theater Emory, and Wolfthicket/Lily Kind. She is a proud member of Moving in the Spirit's community, where she was as a teaching artist from 2008-2011 and guest choreographer for the Teen Apprentice Corporation National Tour. She feels most alive digging intimately into universal questions through the communal pursuit of artistic questioning.
Vince and Alex star in Episode 2 of Weirdos for Wellness has arrived.
Episode 2 “Getting Into Your Meat” introduces self-myofascial release techniques for pain management and improved performance. Fascia is a connective tissue that envelopes muscles and organs in order to distribute forces on the body properly. It's like an envelope that holds you all together so you don’t collapse into a giant meat bag. Sometimes the fascia and muscles develop what are known as “trigger points,” or “knots” that create sustained contractions in the tissues that do not release on their own. These knots can cause pain, stiffness/tightness, and muscle weakness. This can be caused by overuse of the muscles, sitting or standing in one position for too long, sudden contractions, etc. the list goes on.
But do not fret! You can resolve your pain and manage future issues by getting into that meat anytime, anywhere! The techniques in the video provide you with examples of how to release these knots through direct pressure and foam rolling. Research suggests working on particular muscles/facial areas or knots for at least two minutes to create lasting change. Set that timer and get to work!
Weirdos for wellness is a video series designed to fix all the problems in the world, starting with your own ouchies and boo boos. In addition to teaching yoga at UMA, Alex is an acupuncturist and body worker harassing intersecting Eastern and Western modalities to help athletes, physical performers, and everyday folks heal and prevent injury.
DONT MISS IT!
Saturday October 19, 2019
Rashaad Pearson, one of the most renown popping style dancers in the world, will be teaching a workshop at Urban Movement Arts on Saturday, October 19th 5-7pm. Popping is a style that features undulation, animation, contractions, speed change and lots of body control. Specificity and clarity are the name of the game. Rashaad is respected around the world for his musicality, funkiness, precision and soul. He is a great technician and historian of popping and hip hop in general. Folks in Philly often ask for a poppin' OG. Here is your chance Philly! Let's show up for Rashaad!
$20 online advance purchase
$25 at the door