As a transnational fusion dance artist, Donna Mejia distinctive aesthetic dialogs the secular dances of North Africa and the Arab World with American Hip Hop dance and sub-genres of electronic dance. Donna also teaches the Brazilian Silvestre Dance Technique and is a primary representative after twenty years of practice. Donna received her Master of Fine Arts degree from Smith College on full fellowship, has been a guest artist in residence for eighteen colleges. In October of 2011 she was selected by the Fulbright Association to present the 2011 Selma Jeanne Cohen Endowed lecture for International Scholarship in Dance, notably for her paper “Digital Diasporas and Transnational Dance Communities: The Effects of the Internet on Identity Formation and Collective Cultural Memory.” She joined the University of Colorado at Boulder’s Theatre and Dance department in 2012 as the first Assistant Professor of tribal fusion dance globally. Donna continued her research on Digital Diasporas by producing the first academic Viral Dance Colloquium in 2014 (CU Boulder) and is currently working on several writing projects. She was the 2013 keynote speaker for Syracuse University’s Symposium on Public Diplomacy and was selected by USA Today as a prominent artist in their review of new images of Black Women in contemporary media (February 2015). Donna was the choreographer and solo dancer featured in the 2015 NYC off-Broadway production of 11 Reflections on September, and performed the show at the venerable LaMama Theatre (three week run), The Apollo Theater, and The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. She balances her time teaching and touring internationally to teach, lecture, and perform for private sponsors, festivals and community organizations. (http://donnainthedance.wordpress.com/)
2017 Cues and Tattoos Workshops
Translating Two Worlds to Each Other: Improvisational Fusion Dance and Contemporary/Modern Improvisational Dance- Friday March 31 – 9:00 am-12:00 pm
Improvisation is part of every dance genre, but the contemporary or modern dance community has delved into theoretical explorations that can translate usefully to tribal fusion forms, and even take some of our community’s ideas much further. Some of these concepts were artfully ellucidated by Nancy Stark Smith, one of the original dancers of the Contact Improvisation movement started in the 1970’s. She calls her system “The Underscore”:
- Arriving energetically/physically
- Skinesphere and Kinesphere
- Mobilizing/Agitating the Mass
- Categories of Experiential Movement: Connection, coincidence, attraction, repulsion, influence, confluence, divergence, intersection, contrast, resonance, collision and tangent
- Stages of Development, Reflection, Harvest and Resolution,
- Humorous concepts such as: telescoping, listening, observing, gapping, sway patterns, streaming, and the “idiot button”
This workshop will highlight some essential practices from the other communities of Improv dance, and introduce movers to Nancy Stark Smith’s framework for improvisational dance.
Our second inspiration for this practice will be GaGa technique, originated by Ohad Naharin of Israel’s Batsheva dance company. His transformative approach to dance practice has inspired leagues of devotees, and offers a rich entry point for improvisational dancing.
No modern or contemporary background is required, and light partnering will be included. This is a perfect laboratory to investigate what the spirit of dance does in your body when ALL phrasing and structure is set aside. Please bring note-taking supplies and wear comfortable attire that allows complete freedom of movement without self-consciousness or constraint.
Core-ography-Sunday April 2 – 9:30am-11:30 am
How important is your core alignment and musculature to your dancing? It is unequivocally and absolutely critical to an intelligent and coherent approach to any movement in any genre of dance. Donna Mejia has managed to maintain an active dance practice through multiple abdominal surgeries, pregnancy and more… all through a focus on core abdominal strength. In this workshop, Donna offers an array of exercises and practices intended to raise the intelligence of your lower back/lumbar region and abdominal wall. Please note that we will be utilizing a yoga mat for these investigations. Donna will illustrate how to use other common household items to further your training anywhere, regardless of whether or not you have access to a gym or dance studio. The integration of breath is the final “Jedi training” clincher to these transformative practices. Our goal is not a flat stomach; it is a formidably strong core that will support your grandest and most virtuosic possibilities. The good news is that this training has beneficial applications beyond your dance practice, so please bring those notebooks and questions and let’s dig in deelply!