Attack Theatre presented Adaptive Dance Series

Graphic reading: Adaptive Dance Series
A virtual weekend of free dance workshops designed for adults and children with emotional, cognitive, and physical disabilities.
June 3-5, 2022

The Adaptive Dance Series was a virtual weekend of free dance workshops designed specifically for children and adults with emotional, cognitive, and physical disabilities. Participants connected with a community of movers from across the country through a variety of dance styles. 

On June 4, 2022, enVISION directors ShaLeigh Comerford and Davian Robinson held a Modern Movement Masterclass where participants explored the intersection of movement and language using modern dance styles and individual thoughts and interpretations.

ShaLeigh Dance Works proudly presented Double Virtual Premieres of enVISION

Beyond Sight: The Making of enVISION by Argyle Rebel Films 

enVISION: Sensory Beyond Sight filmed by Palani Mohan

Group of 5 dancers, three male and 2 female, stand in a line smiling and embracing each other.

Last summer, ShaLeigh Dance Works premiered enVISION: Sensory Beyond Sight to live audiences opening the 89th American Dance Festival’s Season with five sold-out performances at The Fruit in Durham, North Carolina. Talented videographer Palani Mohan captured the show with high-quality multi camera shoots of the live performance. While creating this collaborative dance-theatre work, filmmaker Michael Washington of Argyle Rebel Films added another layer of collaboration: he documented the process. 

In September 2022, we invited the audience to join us both onstage and behind the scenes through this double premiere to take a closer look at what went into its making and to experience the virtual premiere of enVISION: Sensory Beyond Sight. We were thrilled to premiere the documentary and performance virtually with an artist chat-back directly following the documentary premiere.

The Virtual Premiere of enVISION: Sensory Beyond Sight, filmed by Palani Mohan, was an immersive interdisciplinary performance that did not solicit the viewer’s sight but rather all their other senses. Specifically conceived with and for individuals who are low-vision and blind, the work proposes a new sensorial experience of dance and theater. The work was presented to a live audience who could choose to experience the show blindfolded and invited six audience members to join the experience onstage. It premiered virtually on September 17th, and the audio description of the event was released on October 15th.

The documentary Beyond Sight: The Making of enVISION, was presented both virtually and in person at Westgate Wine Bar in Raleigh, NC on September 10, 2022 and with a virtual audio described release on October 8th, 2022. Michael Washington, the filmmaker, described the work as “a one of a kind documentary that showcases the creative process behind ShaLeigh Dance Works’ newest masterwork. Told by the artists themselves, ‘Beyond Sight’ is an unflinching look at what it takes to push boundaries and change the landscape of live performance forever.”

Chatham Life & Style called it “a new evolution in dance.” IndyWeek praised it as “astounding” and a “bold, immersive performance.” CVNC described it as “a sensational and poetically eye-opening performance,” and Beltline to Broadway chronicled it as “a new sensorial way to experience dance and theater.”

enVISION: Sensory Beyond Sight by ShaLeigh Comerford was co-commissioned by the American Dance Festival with support from the Doris Duke/SHS Foundations Award for New Works and was supported in part by The National Endowment for the Arts, MAP Fund, the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, the Durham Arts Council’s Annual Arts Fund and the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. www.NCArts.org

Premieres were screened globally as a YouTube Watch Party. The links below were used to access our pre-show materials:

Audio Program Track

Program Text PDF

Script PDF

As part of The American Dance Festivals’ 89th Season, ShaLeigh Dance Works proudly presented enVISION: Sensory Beyond Sight – an immersive performance that does not require a viewer’s vision

A chiaroscuro image of four dancers gently embracing a blindfolded woman with their hands and heads lightly resting on her. Photo by Slater Mapp.
Photo by Slater Mapp

On June 3-5, 2022, ShaLeigh Dance Works premiered enVISION: Sensory Beyond Sight to live audiences opening the 89th American Dance Festival’s Season with five sold-out performances at The Fruit in Durham, North Carolina. The performance was an immersive interdisciplinary performance that did not solicit the viewer’s sight but rather all their other senses. Specifically conceived with and for individuals who are low-vision and blind, the work proposed a new sensorial experience of dance and theater. The work was presented to a live audience who chose to experience the show blindfolded and invited six audience members to join the experience onstage.

The work brought together a team of collaborators around a single challenge: to tell a story through dance and theater beyond their visual dimension. The forty-five minute work was forged by the elaboration of new atmospheres over a specific journey that tells a collective story through textures, movements, sounds, music, scents, storytelling, and audience participation. Participatory audience members who were sighted wore a cover on their eyes as they entered the work from the beginning to the end of the performance allowing both sighted and unsighted people to share the experience.

Chatham Life & Style called it “a new evolution in dance.” IndyWeek praised it as “astounding” and a “bold, immersive performance.” CVNC described it as “a sensational and poetically eye-opening performance,” and Beltline to Broadway chronicled it as “a new sensorial way to experience dance and theater.”

NCDF Podcast with ShaLeigh Comerford and Jodee Nimerichter

This week NC Dance Festival director Anne Morris speaks with ShaLeigh Comerford, founder, and director of ShaLeigh Dance Works, and Jodee Nimerichter, Executive Director of the American Dance Festival (ADF) in Durham, NC. An annual festival bringing students and dance companies from across the US and internationally, the American Dance Festival plays a particular role in providing opportunities for students and audiences to experience the breadth and depth of modern dance. In this conversation, Jodee and ShaLeigh talk about how much can be learned by driving a bus, the kinds of education many artists are missing, and the importance of building and drawing on artistic networks.

Listen to the full podcast here: danceproject.org/in-process

Meadow Dance Named Best of 2021 for Outstanding Choreography by Chatham Life and Style!

ShaLeigh Dance Works was honored to present two new ADF commissioned works at Durham’s Mystic Farm & Distillery along with Nia Sadler, Gaspard&Dancers, and Soul Struck leading up to the world premiere of tHe aGe oF aNXiety by dendy/donovan projects!

Photo courtesy of ADF by Ben McKeown Photography

As a part of ADF’s first in-person event, SDW was honored to be commissioned to create two new site-specific works. Created specifically for this occasion and this site, the opening movement installation was entitled Moving, Still and was inspired by the idea of how we are all transitioning together in this time of COVID and the layers of effort and resilience that we have all had to discover.

Photo by Slater Mapp

In an interview with Ray Elliot for the Local Reporter, ShaLeigh said “Much of my work is usually dark and emotional. And it has these points of inquiry that dig deeply into my own personal curiosities. But for this, it was just, wow, we are together again. I just want to celebrate that. I just want this to feel like a gift to the audience.”

You can read more of that interview here: https://thelocalreporter.press/live-performance-returns-to-adf-with-outdoor-programming-and-focus-on-nc-artists/

Photo by Slater Mapp

The second movement Meadow Dance was created for 5 dancers and designed to visually interact with the incredible music score created by Mike Wall. It was incredible to design choreography that could partner the incredible landscape and expanse of the sky. The choreography featured the trajectory of movement and energy to highlight the very essence of the dancers in motion with the expanse of the open field.

Photo courtesy of ADF by Ben McKeown Photography

We were so grateful to Marie Muir at Durham Magazine for this incredible coverage! “ShaLeigh Dance Works’ company moved with precision across a meadow stage at Mystic Farm & Distillery, captivating the crowd.”

Last but not least, we were honored to be recognized by Chatham Life and Style in the outstanding choreography category for our piece Meadow Dance as a part of their Best of 2021 list! We are so grateful to The American Dance Festival for the opportunity and to all of our amazing performers!

SDW Performs at Lineberry Hall to benefit students at Governor Morehead School for the Blind

Holiday Magic Under the Stars

This past December, we were so excited to share a glimpse into our creative process for enVISION: Sensory Beyond Sight at this Holiday Charity event to benefit the students at Governor Morehead School for the Blind.

It was a special evening of all of us and most especially enVISION’s co-director Davian Robinson. He attended Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh, NC from 2004 – 2011. It was there that he first found his love and passion for dance.

We are grateful to Carolyn Marshall Covington at InSightful Visionaries for the opportunity to share our work!

enVISION: Sensory Beyond Sight is supported by MAP Fund, the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, the Durham Arts Council’s Annual Arts Fund and the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. www.NCArts.org

Open Call for Low-Vision and Blind Dance-Theatre lovers!

Multiple exposure photo of Co-Director Davian Robinson sitting on the dance studio floor by Slater Mapp.

We’re looking for enthusiastic low-vision and blind dance and theatre lovers to help us spread the love of inclusive performances. ShaLeigh Dance Works is developing an immersive dance-theatre performance that does not require the viewer’s sight, but rather all their other senses. We are seeking low-vision and blind participants who would be interested in joining our creative process this February and March 2022. No dance experience is necessary and all levels of abilities are welcome. This project is led by Artistic Director ShaLeigh Comerford in collaboration with Co-Director Davian Robinson, a low vision dancer and choreographer. 

To get involved, send us a message here: shaleigh@shaleighdanceworks.com

If you know anyone that could be interested, please feel free to share! 

We are grateful to our invaluable community partners Arts Access, Vision InSights, Dark Room Ballet, InSightful Visionaries, The American Dance Festival, and The Fruit. 

This project is supported by MAP Fund, the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, the Durham Arts Council’s Annual Arts Fund and the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. www.NCArts.org

ShaLeigh Dance Works Presents A Thousand Ways to Say Hello

ShaLeigh Dance Works Presents A Thousand Ways to Say Hello (WatchParty ONLINE)

Fri, Jul 30, 2021, 8:00 PM –Sat, Jul 31, 2021, 11:59 PM EDT

A Thousand Ways to Say Hello is a poetic virtual performance that is devoted to exploring the boundaries of connection within a virtual space. In a time when we must be distant, we are asking ourselves, how can we assemble, share weight, share power, and care for our bodies and each other in these times? How do we reorient ourselves within a virtual space and a chaotic world? We want to explore the line between distance and proximity, and how the most intimate moments can arise from finding new ways of making contact and showing up.

The work was filmed entirely on phone cameras in two locations—Durham, NC and San Juan, PR. It blends movement generated by each of the artists with original sound scores by Mike Wall. 

This project was supported by the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, and Durham Arts Council, local grants administrator.

Our Close Out to 2020

As a response to the current pandemic, we launched a series of Digital Residencies for our artists! The Digital Residency was a week-long platform to uplift the amazing artistry of each one of our talented company members. These dynamic artists shared their work over a six week span on our Instagram feed. We were thrilled to introduce a deeper look into these incredible artists who are a part of the heartbeat of ShaLeigh Dance Works.

SDW was a proud sponsor of Christmas Without Lights!

This past Holiday Season we were proud sponsors of Insightful Visionaries 3rd Annual Christmas Without Lights! We were thrilled to share E Pluribus Unum II, one of our favorite pieces.

Christmas for the Blind / visually impaired is a unique personal experience. Through the Spirit of Collaboration with other non-profits and local organizations, the event represents a cooperative effort to share the spirit of Christmas by giving back to the blind / visually impaired community.

We are so excited that “Memos for Migration” will be printed in An Ecotone Almanac. We can’t wait to share finished copies with you!

In “Memos for Migration,” choreographer ShaLeigh Comerford offers us new tools for moving and thinking, with a score based in the ShaGa movement practice. We recommend trying these instructions from any comfortable spot—a chair or the floor, lying on the grass and looking at the sky or lying in bed.

Invite the sensation of weightless amusement.
Cherish without loss.
Elevate to fortify the strength of your form.
Feel your senses growing astute and agile.

Find the full score at Ecotone Magazine – We hope it offers a grounding experience of lightness in these challenging times of heaviness and offer our deep gratitude to Ecotone for this invitation to share our first published ShaGa score.

To learn more or to order copies, be sure to follow Ecotone on FacebookInstagram, and/or Twitter.

We are now able to receive donations on Amazon Smile! Through AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of eligible smile.amazon.com purchases .

#ArtsGoBlack

In partial response to the challenge from the black lives matter (blm) movement to all segments of society that they address the issue of racial and social injustice in a meaningful way, the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute sponsored a series of zoom training webinars. SDW was honored to join this program with other organizational leaders to examine racism and its many forms, and the actions that we can take to address racism within our organizations and communities of service.

ShaLeigh Dance Works denounces white supremacy, racism, and racial violence. We will continue to stand with those working to dismantle all forms of oppression and intentionally invest time, resources, and energy into building a reality founded on cultural equity and justice for all.

Thank You Donors!

During this time of great uncertainty we’ve been comforted, encouraged, and humbled by the outpouring of generosity and support from our community. Remarkable people, organizations, community groups, and small businesses have all stepped up to support us.

We would also like to thank the Durham Arts Council, North Carolina Arts Council, Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, MAP Fund, Westgate Wine, VAE Artist Relief, North Star Church, and Foundation for the Carolinas.

To us, YOU are our heroes and we Thank You for helping us meet the challenges of this moment.