SDW at Parliament

ShaLeigh Dance Works was honored to contribute to this community project by Michael Kliën of Duke’s Dance Program. About 100 participants stepped into this work of art to discover space to breathe, freedom from screens, a return to their bodies, and a retreat into strangeness. Groups gathered in the gallery for four days, six to 10 hours per day. Kliën previously presented versions of PARLIAMENT in Amsterdam, Greece, Brussels, London and New York.

“Since his early 20’s Kliën has been engaged in fundamentally deconstructing our civilization’s assumptions on choreography, dance and culture. He set out to redevelop choreography as an autonomous artistic discipline concerned with the workings and governance of patterns, dynamics and ecologies. In response to the urgency of our contemporary ecological situation, this new conception of choreography engages its social potential to pursue sustainable orders of human relations (Social Choreography). Choreography—as an Aesthetics of Change—assumes the creative practice of setting relations, or setting the conditions for new relations to emerge.” More information here

“The way our culture has choreographed dance has always been reflective of the larger tendencies of how we, as a society, deal with the unknown, the unframable, the foreign, the spiritual and the animal. (…) Our premise must not be to constrain movement into a set pattern, but rather to provide a cradle for movement to find its own patterns—over and over again.” – Book of Recommendations

The Nasher Museum presented PARLIAMENT at Duke: A Pioneering Work of Situational Choreography and SDW was honored to join on its closing day, Saturday, March 10th, from 10am to 5pm at Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

Building foundations, building future

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Anne Frank


We are entering the second half of our first full season. As I reflect on the journey we have taken, I am appreciating my core dancers and understanding the depths of how commitment allows for both transformation of work and self. When a single discovery such as this has boundless depth that echoes in its own reflections throughout the micro and macro aspects of life, a stronger foundation appears.

The arts have an incredible potential to empower us to become agents ourselves towards the healing and empowerment of others. Taking time to continually establish a foundation in favor of a platform that is dedicated to commitment, caring and collaboration has become an essential and ever-shifting learning process. As a culture, the human experience of emotion is marginalized and because of this, we are often unprepared for the emotions that arise in ourselves and others. However through movement, when we learn to welcome, allow, and give ourselves permission as a physical practice, we have an opportunity to re-establish this connection consciously. And through mentorship as a form of foundation building, we have the opportunity to ask questions that reveal the physicality of our hidden suffering and the complexities of our differences. This new foundation requires the unseen to become visible on both the individual and social levels.

I have often shared my belief that what we do in the studio affects our lives outside of it. This sentiment is expanding to a deeper understanding of the transformative power of giving a voice to the silent spaces within each of us. Something that stirred a great power site of transformation in the individuals I have worked with this past week was simply sitting in circles and asking questions after moving. The movement we shared then became a ritualistic way to reconnect with our emotions and personal mythologies while landing in our own bodies. It was the act of listening to others as well as expressing ourselves that created the relational experience. The interconnectedness seemed to redeem a sense of our body as a source of personal truth and then once shared through words, a source of cultural truth.

There is something to be said for building a tolerance to the truths that arise within ourselves, our relationships and our communities rather than changing them. The tolerance allows for the discovery of its alchemical potential. Nothing teaches this more than leadership. And I could not be more thrilled by the upcoming community projects that have arisen from this very discovery.


First NYC Tour since landing in NC

To the left you will see our dearest Hannah Nicole Marr concentrating deeply during our final rehearsal at Ripley Greer Studios moments before our showcase at Jazz at Lincoln Center with Booking Dance Festival. Beneath you will see Megan Rindoks and Anthony Otto Nelson Jr. rehearsing their duet. It was an incredible honor to bring these seven gorgeous movers to NYC and to perform for the first time in NYC since 2009.  It was a fast and furious trip this round, but we had an incredible experience.

We met up with our amazing photographer Zoe Litker for a shoot in Central Park at the iconic Naumburg Bandshell. And then shot a bit in the subway on our way to tech! The show itself was sold out and had a breathtaking vantage point of the city right behind the stage. We were honored to perform there and will be sharing those images captured from the show very soon.

But for now, we are back and are already in preparations for a rather full spring season! New show dates were just announced for a community project at the Nasher Museum of Art next month as well as a new movement installation at the North Carolina Museum of Art in April! We will return to NYC to perform at Dixon Place this May and present our first World Premiere collaboration at the PSI Theatre this June. We have a full plate and are feeling utterly blessed. We all benefited from a two week break upon our return from NYC, but it felt so incredibly good to come together again at last this past weekend.  Spring 2018, we are getting ready for you!