On July 19th, I had the pleasure of hosting our first formally-informal works in progress cabaret. It was awesome. I was a cabaret in the sense that the vibe was intimate, with lots of space for audience response, and the line up had a rich variety of clever performers. Studio B was packed with both UMA regular students eager to see their teacher and classmates under a new light, as well as folks brand new to the space, who came to see their friends throw down.
Artsits included Amalia Waitr Lewis (@amalia_raye), Sanchel Brown (our current teaching resident, @trudancer92), Maddie Hopfield (@wibmd), Noa Schnitzer (@noatree), Lillian Ransijn (@lillianatora), and Ben Baker with Jamal (@tbbake and @tru_dalife). Everyone's work shimmered with inter-disciplinarity. I like performance where the artists are taking risks with their conceptual questions as well as technical capacity. Amalia timed her work through the chewing of ginger candies; Sanchel was a prism of gendered racial identity; Maddie messed around with apples and language; Lillian slithered through between grief and sexuality; Ben proposed a triptych of poetic moods of hip hop; with paper puppetry, Noa made us laugh and groan about what it's like to read the news these days. I was stoked by how attentive the audience was, with lots of tender and thoughtful feedback.
Most of the artists in this first go round were applicants to our summer residency. We had such a kick ass pool of applicants, I wanted to do harness that momentum, even though I couldn't offer them all residency positions. Vince and I have both had our own ups and downs in the arts funding/creative capital world; it can be a bummer than being an artist has come to require also being a fundraiser and grant writer. It felt really good to be able to curate a night of work I woulnd't have known about if not for the residency application process and to give these killer artist a low stress platform (and a month of free classes.)
Big thanks to the artists for sharing their work and for everyone who came out to support.
This is a Dance Party where students, family and friends are welcome to join us in dancing the night away! Whether you dance as partners, solo or in groups, all are welcome. Social dancing is a great way to meet new people, learn more, practice, improve and have lots and lots of fun!! Students this is a great way for you to practice the new moves and routines you’ve been learning in class with your fellow students, instructors and other local dancers.
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See you at the party!
Intro to Yoga (for newcomers to Yoga)
This is a 6 week intensive that provides a step by step process for starting a yoga practice. Introducing the names and alignment of basic postures, this series is for newcomers of all ages. It will provide a base of knowledge to enter any style of yoga. Instructor Alex Brazinski teaches at a comfortable beginner pace to build confidence for new movers; there's no pressure to keep up. Come learn about yoga!
When: Sundays 4:30-5:30 Nov 12-Dec 17th
Sign up here
Backbends and Handstands for All Levels
A 6 week intensive for individuals with a basic to advanced level of practice. This workshop teaches yoga-based methods of developing handstands and backbends. Instructor, Noah Julian, provides students with safe and mindful steps to unlocking new physical mobility and capabilities for performing feats of power and grace. Click to watch video of Noah.
When: Thursdays 6:30-7:30pm Nov 9th- Dec 21 (no class on Nov 23rd, Thanksgiving)
Sign up here
More Great Class Options @ UMA Philly Yoga and Workout Classes
SEPT 15, 16, 22, & 23 at 8 pm
SEPT 17 & 23 at 5 pm
UMA Philly founder Vince Johnson collaborates with virtuosic Cuban jazz musician Francois Zayas for a raw, up close duet, inviting the audience into the many layers and textures of identity.
“i.d.” is an uplifting journey through sound and movement that celebrates the complexity of race, culture and gender diversity. Vince Johnson is a former principal dancer for Rennie Harris Puremovement and Francois Zayas a former member of the National Symphonic Orchestra of Cuba. Johnson and Zayas’ virtuosities overlap as they effortlessly transform themselves through styles of dance and music. This shape shifting celebrates the richness of human expression and identity. Johnson fuses influences from hip hop, martial arts, and contemporary dance into aerodynamic expressions of grace and control. Francois delivers ear-bending beats that travel across a landscape of percussion instrumentation from around the world. Johnson and Zayas, both educators at Movemakers Philly and the newly launched Urban Movement Arts Philly have created “I.D” as dazzling and inspirational entertainment for all ages.
Development of “i.d.” was supported by The Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC) Forward Dialogues Residency.
Check out our Hip Hop H.I.I.T and Breaking Teacher BBoy Metal's footwork tutorial from this past summer. All our classes are beginner friendly, so if this looks fun to you but you're nervous about starting from scratch, don't worry! You'll be in good hands. Everyone feels like they have two left feet sometimes. And this stuff is an awesome work out!
UMA's founder & director, Vince Johnson, acting out in the street.
A note from Vince:
Lineage and intention are crucial concepts for me as a movement practitioner. I’ve been active in movement culture for almost my entire life, starting with the martial arts when I was 5. Since then, I’ve accumulated other practices. I’ve never stopped and in my most dedicated practices, martial arts tricking and hip hop dance, I’ve seen low points and success. I’ve been a scrub and I’ve also stood neck and neck with some of the best in the world. I say this to emphasize that I’ve encountered many training institutions and instructors throughout my career, the best and the worst.
Whenever I step into a place that has the purpose of teaching me how to move my body, the first thing that always comes to mind for me is what gives this person the nerve to tell me how to use my body. I hope the same skepticism comes to mind for you. You should what to know your teacher/coach’s level, successes, failures, time spent in the game and overall intention and philosophy in teaching. You should want to know these things for all of the obvious reasons, because you want to thrive.
I am quite sensitive to the difficulty of realizing physical change, learning new movements and skills. Often times it’s about an ongoing commitment to trial and error—lots and lots of error. Your training house should be composed of leaders that are dedicated to building you up. When they do not have the tools immediately before them, they must humbly and urgently go in search of the information needed to offer you support, or otherwise admit that said action is beyond their capability.
See you in class,