David Neumann

on leave fall semester

As artistic director of the advanced beginner group, work presented in New York City at P.S. 122, Dance Theatre Workshop, Central Park SummerStage (collaboration with John Giorno), Celebrate Brooklyn, and Symphony Space (collaboration with Laurie Anderson). Featured dancer in the works of Susan Marshall, Jane Comfort, Sally Silvers, Annie-B Parson & Paul Lazar’s Big Dance Theatre, and club legend Willi Ninja; previously a member of Doug Varone and Dancers and an original member and collaborator for eight years with the Doug Elkins Dance Company. Over the past 20 years, choreographed or performed with directors Hal Hartley, Laurie Anderson, Robert Woodruff, Lee Breuer, Peter Sellars, JoAnn Akalaitis, Mark Wing-Davey, and Les Waters; recently appeared in Orestes at Classic Stage Company, choreographed The Bacchae at the Public Theatre, and performed in a duet choreographed with Mikhail Baryshnikov. SLC, 2007– 

Undergraduate Courses 2021-2022

Theatre

Choreographic Strategies and Theatre

Open, Component—Year

This course will explore methods of creating original theatre through a choreographic lens as a way of assembling the various building blocks from which theatre is made (sound, image, movement, language, design, etc.), as well as through the influence and manipulation of time. The semester will begin with structured prompts and assignments largely completed in class, eventually moving into self-generated collaborative projects with some work to be completed outside of class. One of the main focuses of this course is the attempt to articulate, through open discussions, one’s creative process and choices therein. Through analysis of said exercises, students will more clearly come to know one another’s work and methods. Students will be asked to create movement sequences, collaborative projects, and other studies as a way of encountering the use of assembly, juxtaposition, unison, framing, interruption, deconstruction, and other time-based art practices. Readings will include manifestos and selections from an array of artists, essays, and excerpts of various theatre practices from around the world, as well as video examples. As students will be working within various levels of physicality, wearing loose, comfortable clothing is encouraged. No dance or movement experience is necessary; to find value in this course, one only needs curiosity and a willingness to jump in.

Faculty

Movement for Performance

Open, Component—Year

In the fall semester, this class will explore the full instrument of the performer; namely, the human body. Each class will open with a warmup, encouraging a listening approach to functional alignment, breath and core support, movement effort, and more. Through a strong use of improvisational scores and strategies, the class will build an ensemble movement language while honing solo, partner, and group skills in movement. Working from what is readily available in one’s body and also movement from one’s culture or lived experience, this class allows students to enhance their dynamic range from large, full bodied, locomotor motions to subtle and interior experiences of movement. No movement background or particular physical ability is required—just a healthy mix of curiosity, humor, softness, and courage. In addition to occasional reading handouts, there will be opportunities to view excerpts of performances of professional theatre and dance that pertain to core themes of class. Please wear loose, comfortable clothing. In the spring semester, the class will also explore the full instrument of the performer; namely, the human body. A daily warmup will open the body to larger movement ranges while introducing students to a better functioning alignment, efficient muscle and energy use, full breathing, clear weight transfer, and increased awareness while traveling through space. A combination of improvisation, contact improvisation, set phrases, and in-class assignments—creating short, movement-based pieces—will be used to explore a larger range of articulation that the body reveals regardless of the words spoken on stage. In all aspects, the goals of this class are to enable students to be courageous with their physical selves, more articulate with their bodies, and more personally expressive in performance. No movement background is required—just a healthy mix of curiosity and courage. In addition to occasional reading handouts, there will be opportunities to attend rehearsals and performances of professional theatre and dance in New York City. Please wear loose, comfortable clothing.

Faculty

Graduate Courses 2021-2022

MFA Theatre

Choreographic Strategies and Theatre

Open, Component—Year

This course will explore methods of creating original theatre through a choreographic lens as a way of assembling the various building blocks from which theatre is made (sound, image, movement, language, design, etc.), as well as through the influence and manipulation of time. The semester will begin with structured prompts and assignments largely completed in class, eventually moving into self-generated collaborative projects with some work to be completed outside of class. One of the main focuses of this course is the attempt to articulate, through open discussions, one’s creative process and choices therein. Through analysis of said exercises, students will more clearly come to know one another’s work and methods. Students will be asked to create movement sequences, collaborative projects, and other studies as a way of encountering the use of assembly, juxtaposition, unison, framing, interruption, deconstruction, and other time-based art practices. Readings will include manifestos and selections from an array of artists, essays, and excerpts of various theatre practices from around the world, as well as video examples. As students will be working within various levels of physicality, wearing loose, comfortable clothing is encouraged. No dance or movement experience is necessary; to find value in this course, one only needs curiosity and a willingness to jump in.

Faculty

Movement for Performance

Open, Component—Year

This class will explore the full instrument of the performer; namely, the human body. A daily warmup will open the body to larger movement ranges while introducing students to a better functioning alignment, efficient muscle and energy use, full breathing, clear weight transfer, and increased awareness while traveling through space. A combination of improvisation, contact improvisation, set phrases, and in-class assignments creating short, movement-based pieces will be used to explore a larger range of articulation that the body reveals regardless of the words spoken on stage. In all aspects, the goals of this class are to enable students to be courageous with their physical selves, more articulate with their bodies, and more personally expressive in performance. No movement background is required—just a healthy mix of curiosity and courage. In addition to occasional reading handouts, there will be opportunities to attend rehearsals and performances of professional theatre and dance in New York City. Please wear loose, comfortable clothing.

Faculty

Previous Courses

MFA Theatre

Contemporary Collaborative Performance

Component—Year

This course will provide a critical and supportive forum for the development of new works of original performance, focusing primarily on where current dance and theatre combinations find inspiration. In the first semester, students will explore contemporary theatre-building techniques and methodologies from Dada to Judson Church and beyond. The majority of time will be devoted to lab work, where students will create their own short performance pieces through a multidisciplinary approach. Students will be asked to devise original theatre pieces that utilize methods such as solo forms, viewpoints, chance operations, and creations from nontheatrical sources. In addition to the laboratory aspect of the class, a number of plays, essays, and artists’ manifestos will be discussed. In the second semester, students will collaborate on a single evening-length work, utilizing theatrical and nontheatrical sources in an attempt to speak to our cultural moment. Please note: The second semester will require additional developmental/rehearsal time outside of class. In addition to class work, there will be several opportunities to visit rehearsals and performances of professional theatre and dance in New York City.

Faculty

Contemporary Collaborative Performance: Grad Projects I

Component—Year

This course will provide a critical and supportive forum for the development of new works of original performance, focusing primarily on where current dance and theatre combinations find inspiration. In the first semester, students will explore contemporary theatre-building techniques and methodologies from Dada to Judson Church and beyond. The majority of time will be devoted to lab work, where students will create their own short performance pieces through a multidisciplinary approach. Students will be asked to devise original theatre pieces that utilize methods such as solo forms, viewpoints, chance operations, and creations from nontheatrical sources. In addition to the laboratory aspect of the class, a number of plays, essays, and artists’ manifestos will be discussed. In the second semester, students will collaborate on a single evening-length work, utilizing theatrical and nontheatrical sources in an attempt to speak to our cultural moment. Please note: The second semester will require additional developmental/rehearsal time outside of class. In addition to class work, there will be several opportunities to visit rehearsals and performances of professional theatre and dance in New York City.

Faculty

Directing, Devising, and Performance: Devising With Media

Component—Year

Through the creative reuse of mass media, this course is designed to introduce students to a performance strategy based on sampling ​existing text, video, and sound. By stripping found media materials from their original context and arranging them in new ways, participants will explore the methods and politics of appropriation in performance work. By then extending those techniques into embodied practices, students will experiment with various methods of extracting movement, text, and intention from those source materials. Biweekly workshops on text, sound, and video manipulation in a collaborative format will alternate with experiments in performance composition and lectures on the historical use of appropriation in a variety of art forms. Participants should have an interest in both performance and performance technology, though experience in either is not a prerequisite. Each semester of the course culminates in a major performance project.

Faculty

Grad Lab

Component—Year

Taught by a rotating series of Sarah Lawrence faculty and guest artists, this course focuses on developing the skills needed for a wide variety of techniques for the creation and development of new work in theatre. Ensemble acting, movement, design and fabrication, playwriting, devised work, and music performance are all explored. The class is a forum for workshops, master classes, and open rehearsals, with a focus on the development of critical skills. In addition, students in Grad Lab are expected to generate a new piece of theatre to be performed each month for the Sarah Lawrence community. These performances may include graduate and undergraduate students alike.

Faculty

Graduate Lab

Component—Year

Taught by a rotating series of Sarah Lawrence faculty and guest artists, this course focuses on developing the skills needed for a wide variety of techniques for the creation and development of new work in theatre. Ensemble acting, movement, design and fabrication, playwriting, devised work, and music performance are all explored. The class is a forum for workshops, master classes, and open rehearsals, with a focus on the development of critical skills. In addition, students in Grad Lab are expected to generate a new piece of theatre to be performed each month for the Sarah Lawrence community. These performances may include graduate and undergraduate students alike.

Faculty

Movement for Performance

Component—Fall

This class will explore the full instrument of the performer; namely, the human body. A daily warmup will open the body to larger movement ranges while introducing students to a better functioning alignment, efficient muscle and energy use, full breathing, clear weight transfer, and increased awareness while traveling through space. A combination of improvisation, contact improvisation, set phrases, and in-class assignments creating short, movement-based pieces will be used to explore a larger range of articulation that the body reveals regardless of the words spoken on stage. In all aspects, the goals of this class are to enable students to be courageous with their physical selves, more articulate with their bodies, and more personally expressive in performance. No movement background is required—just a healthy mix of curiosity and courage. In addition to occasional reading handouts, there will be opportunities to attend rehearsals and performances of professional theatre and dance in New York City. Please wear loose, comfortable clothing.

Faculty

New Genres: I EXPECT YOU TO DIE—Algorithms and Performance

Component—Fall

I EXPECT YOU TO DIE is a special collaboration between New Media Lab and Theatre. The course will explore the algorithm as an expression of mind, a type of consciousness, a method by which we unpack and reorganize research and source material, as well as utilize as a set of rules that the performance can follow. In this inaugural version, Ferraiolo and Neumann will have students mine various James Bond films with lines of inquiry into the cultural, sociopolitical, artistic/aesthetic, and philosophical structures found there. Blending code, video mapping, and performance, students will then write a series of algorithms that “remix” the scripts, visuals, gestures, and narrative elements of three classic Bond films to create an entirely new stage version of the Bond villains and their eternal struggle against 007. The class will meet once a week for the first eight weeks, then add four evenings and one daytime weekend for three more weeks as it shifts into a rehearsal process, culminating in two performances.

Faculty

Theatre

Directing, Devising, and Performance

Open, Component—Year

Through the creative reuse of mass media, this course is designed to introduce students to a performance strategy that synthesizes an experimental performance practice from existing material. By stripping found media materials from their original context and arranging them in new ways, participants will explore the methods and politics of appropriation in performance work. By then extending those techniques into embodied practices, students will experiment with various methods of extracting movement, text, and intention from those source materials. Biweekly workshops on text, sound, and video manipulation in a collaborative format will alternate with experiments in performance composition and lectures on the historical use of appropriation in a variety of art forms. Participants should have an interest in both performance and performance technology, though experience in either is not a prerequisite. The course culminates in a rehearsal and performance period.

Faculty

Directing, Devising, and Performance/Something From Something Else: Mass Media, Live Bodies, and Contemporary Performance Strategy

Intermediate, Component—Year

This course will explore the interaction between media and “liveness” in the process of making original, collaborative performance work. By combining embodied processes with the creative reuse of mass media, this course is designed to introduce students to an experimental performance strategy that incorporates design elements throughout the playwriting and production process. By stripping found media materials from their original context and arranging them in new ways, participants will explore the methods and politics of appropriation in performance work. By then extending these techniques into embodied practices, students will experiment with various methods of extracting movement, text, and intention from these source materials. Class workshops focusing on text, sound, and video manipulation in a collaborative format will alternate with experiments in performance composition and lectures on the historical use of appropriation in a variety of art forms. Participants should have an interest in both performance and performance technology, though experience in either is not a prerequisite. The course culminates in a rehearsal period and performance.

Faculty