Marion Lorrain Spencer

Previous Courses


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.


Sensing, Devising, and Performance

Open, Component—Spring

Through the lens of experimental dance-theatre practice, this course proposes theatre as a container of one’s own making for the desires, needs, and realities of the body and the greater community to which it belongs. Centering the politics of care, this course explores improvisation and body-based inquiry including, but not limited to, movement, somatics, vocal sound, song, spoken and written words, and archetypal embodiment. Through workshopping these forms, participants will devise their own solo performance practices; create scores, texts, or compositions; and work collaboratively and instructively to create for and with each other. Our study will consider how to collect and integrate “material” from outside the body to further apply the interdisciplinary as a force for creation—all while being mindful of the body’s somatic response to said materials and particular responsibilities that we collectively have when considering appropriation. The capturing of these materials will include workshops on experimentation in various technological platforms, collecting found sound and language from our environment (aspects of the course will involve safely going outside of the ‘studio’ during class time), and students creating and sharing their own methodologies for harvesting. Group discussion will make room for critical dialogue around all terms that we use, and the course will include supportive readings to illustrate the precedence for these practices in our contemporary landscape.