Three weeks of '(release-based) contemporary classes' for professional dancers given by Andrea Boll, Gaia Gonnelli and Hillary Blake Firestone in Studio Dok in Amsterdam.
9th - 27th of November
in Studio Dok
Hillary Blake Firestone
photo by Mariette van Soesbergen
Hillary Blake Firestone (1974 / USA) received her BFA (cum laude) in Dance Performance and Composition from SUNY-Purchase in New York in 1998. Since 1999, Hillary has been based in the Netherlands, working as performer, choreographer & teacher. She has collaborated/performed with Desiree Delauney, Sarah Wookey, Kirstie Simpson, Nancy Stark Smith, Jan Langedijk, Frans Poelstra, Bianca v. Dillen & Beppie Blankert, amongst others.
Hillary's choreographic work has been supported through numerous residencies and fellowships, including The Puffin Foundation (USA), FAPK -National Arts Endowment (Netherlands), Dansateliers (Rotterdam), Danswerkplaats (Amsterdam), WP Zimmer (Antwerp), Rosas/PARTS (Brussels), and most recently, LeGroupe Dance Lab (Ottawa).
As a teacher of contemporary technique, partnering, composition, contact/improvisation and yoga, Hillary has given classes and workshops in conservatories, festivals, professional studios and for companies in Europe and the US. She is currently faculty of both the Choreographic (SNDO) and Modern Dance (MTD) departments of the Theaterschool Amsterdam, the conservatory program of the Amsterdam University for the Arts.
A detailed and vigorous class focused on the investigation of movement from the inside out. Information drawn from a wide range of techniques and physical practices (including Alexander technique, martial arts, yoga, modern/release dance techniques & contact improvisation) is integrated into a practice that includes consciousness-building exercises/experiential anatomy, repeating movement patterns, floor & standing exercises, and longer phrases.
Building up from the floor to standing material, emphasis is placed on sensory awareness as well as knowledge of physical structures within the body, thus promoting improved alignment, efficient power, and greater sensitivity. By understanding the origins of each movement, and the relevant connections within the body, we simplify and clarify our dancing, enjoying economy and ease, specificity of initiation, precise articulation, and increased versatility.
During the class, we look at alignment as a way to enable energy to flow easily through connecting chains of muscles and bones, encouraging groundedness & lightness. Conscious use of breath supports movement and frees the joints. Weight is investigated as a way to motivate and sustain movement, momentum as a force to direct us, and awareness of eyes/focus as a way of inhabiting space. Our range of movement qualities is consequently expanded through material that demands shifts of dynamic, size, initiation, texture and timing.
The class itself aids development of a strong center, explosive capacity, endurance, and strength; while simultaneously promoting qualities of softness, clarity, subtlety and openness. A dynamic training that supports the practice of engaged and individually expressive dancing.
Points of attention include: