Kathy Westwater

BA, College of William and Mary. MFA, Sarah Lawrence College. Choreographer and dancer; choreography presented at Dance Theater Workshop, Brooklyn Museum of Art, and PS 122, among other venues, and archived in the Franklin Furnace Archive and the Walker Arts Center Mediatheque Archive. Recipient of awards from New York Foundation for the Arts and Djerassi Resident Artists Program and of commissions from Dance Theater Workshop, Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church, and Summer Stage’s Dance Festival. Previously a guest teacher at Bennington College, 92nd Street Y, and Trisha Brown Studio. Published writings include “Technology and the Body,” an interview with Merce Cunningham in the Movement Research Journal Millennial Issue, which she guest edited. SLC, 2001–

Course Information

Current undergraduate courses

Contact Improvisation

Year

This course will examine the underlying principles of an improvisatory form predicated on two or more bodies coming into physical contact. Contact Improvisation, which emerged in the 1960s out of the Judson Experimental Dance Theatre, combines aspects of social and theatrical dance, bodywork, gymnastics, and martial arts. We will explore movement practices that enhance our sensory awareness, with an emphasis on action and physical risk taking. Contemporary partnering skills, such as taking and giving weight and finding a common “center,” will provide a basis for further exploration.

Faculty

Dance Making

Year

Individual choreographic projects will be designed and directed by seniors and graduate students with special interest and experience in dance composition. Students and faculty will meet weekly to view works-in-progress and to discuss relevant artistic and practical problems. Whenever possible, the music for these projects, whether new or extant, will be performed live in concert. Dance Making students are encouraged to enroll in Lighting Design and Stagecraft for Dance.

Faculty

Experimental Improvisation Ensemble

Spring

This class explores a variety of musical and dance styles and techniques, including free improvisation, chance-based methods, conducting, and scoring. We will collaboratively innovate practices and build scores that extend our understanding of how the mediums of dance and music relate to and with one another. How the body makes sound and how sound moves will serve as entry points for our individual and group experimentation. Scores will be explored with an eye toward their performing potential. The ensemble is open to composer-performers, dancers, performance artists, and actors. Music students must be able to demonstrate proficiency in their chosen instrument. All instruments (acoustic and electric), voice, electronic synthesizers, and laptop computers are welcome.

Faculty

Current graduate courses

Contact Improvisation

Year

This course will examine the underlying principles of an improvisatory form predicated on two or more bodies coming into physical contact. Contact Improvisation, which emerged in the 1960s out of the Judson Experimental Dance Theatre, combines aspects of social and theatrical dance, bodywork, gymnastics, and martial arts. We will exploremovement practices that enhance our sensory awareness, with an emphasis on action and physical risk taking. Contemporary partnering skills, such as taking and giving weight and finding a common “center,” will provide a basis for further exploration.

Faculty

Dance Making

Year

Individual choreographic projects will be designed and directed by seniors and graduate students with special interest and experience in dance composition. Students and faculty will meet weekly to view works-in-progress and to discuss relevant artistic and practical problems. Whenever possible, the music for these projects, whether new or extant, will be performed live in concert. Dance Making students are encouraged to enroll in Lighting Design and Stagecraft for Dance.

Faculty

Experimental Improvisation Ensemble

Spring

This class explores a variety of musical and dance styles and techniques, including free improvisation, chance-based methods, conducting, and scoring. We will collaborately innovate practices and build scores that extend our understanding of how the mediums of dance and music relate to and with one another. How the body makes sound and how sound moves will serve as entry points for our individual and group experimentation. Scores will be explored with an eye toward their performing potential. The ensemble is open to composer-performers, dancers, performance artists, and actors. Music students must be able to demonstrate proficiency in their chosen instrument. All instruments (acoustic and electric), voice, electronic synthesizers, and laptop computers are welcome.

Faculty

Graduate Seminar I

Spring

Perspectives: A Graduate Seminar on Sreendance: In the Spring semester, we will survey a selection of works in film and video that capture dance as a moving image. Many of the filmmakers whose work will be considered are themselves dance makers or closely aligned and collaborators with dance makers, including Busby Berkeley, Maya Deren, Bob Fosse, Yvonne Rainer, Meredith Monk, Charles Atlas, Cathy Weis, Ralph Lemon, Sally Potter, and Wim Wenders, among others. Focusing primarily on film and video works from mid- to late 20th and early 21st century, this course seeks to develop understanding of how over this time period, coinciding with the emergence and availability of film and video technology and equipment, an artistic form referred to as screendance and/or dancefilm emerged. How screendance has both reflected and influenced developments in dance making practices will be of particular interest. Also of interest will be how iconic works of this form and the artists featured in them have impacted our culture and society. Selected readings for the course will explore the history, theory, and practice of this rapidly expanding field of interest. Students will keep a journal of the works viewed in class; write a research paper and give an oral presentation on a topic of their choice in consultation with the faculty; and attend screenings and discussions of the annual Dance on Film Festival at Lincoln Center.

Faculty

Previous courses

Composition

Movement is the birthright of every human being. These components explore movement’s expressive and communicative possibilities by introducing different strategies for making dances. Problems posed run the gamut from conceptually-driven dance/theatre to structured movement improvisations. The approaches vary depending on the faculty. Learn to mold kinetic vocabularies of your own choice and incorporate sound, objects, visual elements, and text to contextualize and identify your vision. Students will be asked to create and perform studies, direct one another, and share and discuss ideas and solutions with peers. Students are not required to make finished products but to involve themselves in the joy of creation.

Faculty

Contact Improvisation - Graduate

Fall

This course will examine the underlying principles of an improvisatory form predicated on two or more bodies coming into physical contact. Contact Improvisation, which emerged in the 1960s out of the Judson Experimental Dance Theatre, combines aspects of social and theatrical dance, bodywork, gymnastics, and martial arts. We will explore movement practices that enhance our sensory awareness, with an emphasis on action and physical risk taking. Contemporary partnering skills, such as taking and giving weight and finding a common “center,” will provide a basis for further exploration.

Faculty