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AMANDA SELWYN DANCE THEATRE expands signature dance education program Notes in Motion Outreach Dance Theatre

by Michelle Tabnick
January 31, 2019
Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre
77 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10012
(212) 995-9446
Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre has been offering its unique dance educations program through its arts education arm Notes in Motion Outreach Dance Theatre since 2000. We became a vendor of NYC Department of Education in 2005 and since that time, have been offering a wide array of residency, professional development, interactive performance, and after-school programs that teach ballet, modern, jazz, African, tap, hip hop, yoga, Latin dance, and more. 

This year, Notes in Motion Outreach Dance Theatre is active in 16 schools across Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan and Queens with programs for students from Pre-K through 12th grade. These programs are united by a singular approach to arts education, The Movement Exchange Method, in which students take on leadership roles in their own learning, have creative input in the design of the curriculum, participate in critical discussions of the work of their peers, and develop collaborative skills. Programs foster self-discovery, risk-taking, and making connections between different topics, themes, and areas of learning, aiming to provide access to the art form of dance to inspire the next generation of dance appreciators. 

Students are physically active throughout class sessions, practicing improvisation exercises, developing technical skills, working in small groups, and creating original dance performances. They process their learning through class discussion, writing, drawing exercises, and audience feedback sessions. Notes in Motion teaching artists provide classroom teachers with detailed lesson plans and follow-up activities prior to the beginning of the residency. Residency sessions explore specific themes, target age-appropriate learning objectives, and follow a five-part structure: 

- Warm-up: Students learn technical skills through repeated and progressive exercises in the center and across the floor. 
- Improvisation: Students physically explore the given class theme through structured and guided activities.
- Choreography: Students develop original movement phrases, create group dances, or learn set phrases of choreography. 
- Performance: Students prepare for a culminating performance event and learn performance skills. 
- Reflection: Students process learning through observation, analysis, & constructive criticism.

With new Dept. of Ed ELL funding and City Council Rivera CASA funds for the 2018-2019 school year, Notes in Motion programming is in 16 NYC Public Schools!

NEW School Partners:
-PS 290 A.C.E. Academy of Scholars, Queens
-Brooklyn School for Music and Theater
-Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts, Manhattan
-The Earth School, Manhattan
—-Brooklyn Independent Middle School

Continuing School Partners:
-PS 63 STAR Academy, Manhattan
-PS 78 Anne Hutchinson School, Bronx
-PS 112 Bronxwood, Bronx
-One World Middle School, Bronx
-East Village Community School, Manhattan
-The Neighborhood School, Manhattan
-Murray Bergtraum High School, Manhattan
-PS 89, Queens
-PS/IS 323 Brooklyn
-Amistad Dual Language School, Manhattan
-PS 312 Brooklyn

Since 2000, Notes in Motion Outreach Dance Theatre has brought arts programs to over 36 schools and over 65,000 students in New York City with programs in all 5 boroughs that reach diverse student populations from PreK-12th grade. As a vendor of the NYC Department of Education, the programs reflect the NYC Dept. of Education's Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in Dance. Notes in Motion creates long-lasting arts partnerships with schools and inspires the greater community of each school with the beauty, magic, and vitality of dance. These are not cookie-cutter programs. Each program is custom-tailored to the specific needs and population of each school partner. Notes in Motion Teaching Artists work collaboratively with classroom teachers at every stage from program planning, implementation, performance/community sharing, assessment, and evaluation. They guide students through a unique creative process, creating connections with other academic subjects and fostering active learning-students are creators, improvisors, and collaborators. Notes in Motion has an Education Ensemble of 35 experienced Teaching Artists with advanced degrees and extensive performance and choreography backgrounds in several dance styles and techniques.

Notes in Motion Outreach Dance Theatre | Teaching Artist Biographies

Dalit Agronin, originally from Dallas, TX, graduated in 2016 Magna Cum Laude from Muhlenberg College with a BA in Dance and Psychology. While at Muhlenberg Dalit had the opportunity to study abroad in Israel at the Jerusalem Academy of Music & Dance studying Gaga as well as work in the Allentown School District teaching a 6 week dance program to middle school students as part of her Psychology Senior Thesis. Since graduating Dalit has had the privilege of attending both ADF summer and winter intensives as a staff assistant as well as the Carolyn Dorfman NJ Summer Dance as a Scholarship student. While in the city Dalit has been dancing and performing with a few companies in the New York area and also choreographing and producing her own work. Dalit is so excited to be part of the Notes in Motion family.

Michelle Applebaum was born in Rome, Italy. She completed her dance studies in Ballet, Modern and Contemporary dance with a Ballet Diploma at the Balletto di Roma in 2006. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Performing Arts in 2011, at La Sapienza University and her Master of Science in Performing Arts in 2014, at Roma Tre University. She Taught Ballet, Modern and Contemporary dance to children and adults at Danzarmonia School. She danced with various Italian Choreographers, and worked for Theatre and Dance Festivals in Rome. She then moved to New York City, where she worked as Administrative Intern for Awaken Dance Theater, as Marketing and Social Media Coordinator for Kate Weare Dance Company, as Fundraising Manager for Idaco NYC. She currently dances, teaches and is Social Media Manager with Dance To The People. She teaches Ballet at Art Plaza Cultural Center and is a Dance Educator at Citizens of the World Charter School. She is a Social Media Assistant for Mare Nostrum Elements Dance Company.

Brianna Biffignani is originally from St. Louis, MO.  She grew up dancing competitively at Dance Elite and was a member of Ashleyliane Junior Dance Company for three years. Brianna graduated with a BA in Theater and Dance with her emphasis in Dance from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville in May of 2017. Throughout college, she performed in faculty and student choreographed concerts under the direction of Kristin Best Kinscherff and Omar Olivas; along with productions of "Red Hot and Cole", "Shrek: The Musical", and "Hairspray". She was able to attend the American College Dance Festival for four years to perform as well. Brianna also served as the president of the University Dance Organization and was a member of the University Dance Company. She has had the opportunity to work with artists such as Sidra Bell, Chicago Dance Crash, Lucky Plush, Big Muddy Dance Company, and LehrerDance.  Brianna has recently moved to New York City in September of 2017. Since moving, she had the opportunity to perform in the opening of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, under the direction of NappyTabs. Brianna also began working as a company trainee for MoveDIPR and was their social media intern. She is very excited to join the social media team at Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre/Notes in Motion Outreach Dance Theatre!

Shelby Blezinger-McCay is a passionate soloist, chamber player, educator, and experimental musician who desires to explore the vast art of percussion and music within today's communities and cultures. Shelby is a recent graduate from the University of North Texas with a Master's in Percussion Performance with emphasis on Contemporary Performance Practice. She has also received a bachelor's degree in Music Education from Auburn University. She currently resides in New York City as a freelance percussionist and educator. She has been grateful to have recently performed and collaborated with the New York Vituosi, multiple theater productions, and solo artists. Sharing the experience of music within collaboration has thankfully brought many opportunities to her. She recently traveled as an ensemble member and clinician with the World Percussion Group, and also performed across the world including USA, Poland, and China as a soloist and chamber percussionist.

Carrie Demos holds her B.A. in Dance from Colorado State University and is a graduate of The Foundations of Dance Education, Dance Education Laboratory at the 92nd St Y. Carrie has served on faculty at the 92nd St Y Harkness Dance Center and is currently on faculty with Peridance Capezio Center's Young Movers/PeriChild program. Carrie has additionally been honored to serve as a Teaching Artist for New York City Ballet Education and work with The New York City Department of Education in collaboration with the Dance Education Laboratory to further advance standards for dance education by serving as a Co-Facilitator for the NYCDOE's 2015 Universal Pre-Kindergarten Teacher Training and as an Adjudicator for the Arts Achieve Initiative.

Carlita Ector is a Raleigh, North Carolina native, based in NYC. She attended UNC Greensboro (BFA Dance Performance & Choreography, K-12 Dance Teaching License]. Carlita taught dance at P.S. 198 before extending her teaching to various teaching artist programs in NYC. Each year, she leads a dance teaching tour for all levels, ages Pre-K through University. She especially enjoys sharing dance with Special Needs and Bilingual students. If she's not teaching in the studio, you can find her onstage.

Manon Hallay was born in France. She started dancing in the Conservatoire de Tarbes and went to Bordeaux at 13 to study in a pre-professional course. Two years later she was accepted to the Royal Ballet School of Antwerp and had the opportunity to work with choreographer as Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui or Michael Shannon. She moved  New York four years ago to integrate the Alvin Ailey school as a scholarship student. She has been a member of Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre since 2014 and she is now Artistic Director of Les Ballets Nomades. She is excited to be a teaching artist with Notes in Motion this year.

Geneva Jenkins attended Alvin Ailey School, the Juilliard School and is a graduate of Fordham University.  She has worked with Nathan Trice Rituals, later serving as rehearsal director; performed in Daniel Ezralow's show "WHY BE"; worked with Donald Byrd's Spectrum Dance Theater and has collaborated with and served as a rehearsal director for Francesca Harper.  Geneva has also worked with Olivier Weaver's company, Whim W'Him, performing works by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Juanjo Arques.  Geneva taught and guested in Europe, the Caribbean, USA and Canada. She has taught Forsythe improvisation at The Ailey School, Joffrey Ballet School, Peridance Capezio Center among others.  Geneva has created choreography for fashion photography and presented her own choreography along with directing and teaching dancers and actors in many schools and arts programs including New York University, Ailey/Fordham BFA Program, and the Susan Batson Studio in New York. She is excited to work with Notes in Motion's community of artists and educators.

Annalisa Ledson is an arts administrator, teaching artist, performer and choreographer based in Brooklyn. She has created and performed in new works all over the city including, HERE, The 14th Street Y, The WorkShop Theatre, Joe's Pub, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, and The Actors Fund Arts Center. She is a teaching artist with Downtown Manhattan Youth's after school program and has been teaching classes at various summer camps for the past ten years. Annalisa is on the artistic committee and co-producer for National Choreography Month and is an associate artist with THEATRE 4the PEOPLE. Graduate of Drew University with awards in excellence in acting and choreography.

Fatima Logan-Alston received a B.F.A. in dance and choreography with a minor in African-American Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA.  As the Artistic Director of VashtiDance, Logan-Alston has presented work for the Powhatan Arts Council and the Glenn Allen Cultural Arts Center. She has danced with Chuck Davis's African-American Dance Ensemble and Ezibu Muntu African Dance Theatre, Roque Bey Dance School Theater, and Roots in Revolution.  In New York, Fatima currently dances with Forces of Nature Dance Theater, Harambee Dance Company. In addition to her work with Notes in Motion, Logan-Alston teaches dance residencies at many schools in the New York area with Young Audiences/New York.

Ashley McQueen graduated with a BFA in Dance from Webster University in St. Louis (Class of 2013) and is currently pursuing her MFA in Dance from Hollins University, Class of 2018. Throughout her time in St. Louis, McQueen developed a strong network of artists and professional experience. She performed with Common Thread Contemporary Dance Company under Jennifer Medina for two seasons, as well as occasional project-based work. She was twice invited by ANNONYArts to independently choreograph/direct two evening length concerts at Satori, An Artist Space. As a Kranzberg Exhibition Series Guest Artist, McQueen choreographed Laune, a site specific dance performance on rideable lawnmowers for Laumeier Sculpture Park. The work culminated in a film installation, Harmony in 3, by Zlatko Cosic that remained on exhibition through February 2016.Since moving to New York in Fall 2015, McQueen performed with shawnbibledanceco., Sans Limites Dance, Eunoia Dance Ex, Artistic Abandon, and Bom Diggs. She also presented work at HeForShe Arts Week NYC, Dance Astoria Festival, Take Root at Green Space, Tiny Dance Festival, Amalgamate Artist Series, Sans Limites Dance Winter Concert, Marie-Christine Giordano Salon Series, and BIPA Festival of Cultures.In addition to directing and choreographing for Smashworks, McQueen freelance performs throughout the city, teaches for Pure Barre West Village, and works as a Teaching Artist for the West Side YMCA.

Skye Montante began studying ballet at Petaluma School of Ballet at the age of 8. In later years as she was introduced to other forms of dance; she found her true calling with Hip-Hop and Contemporary styles. She continued her dance through college and graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA in Dance. While in school in San Francisco, she taught youth and adult classes at ODC School of Dance, City Dance Studios and after school programs and summer camps. Before moving to New York, she was performing with a Hip Hop company; Funkonometry, and two contemporary companies; Binki Danz, and Alive and Well Productions. She is looking forward to teaching dance and growing with youth in New York City.

Vera Paganin was born in Milan, Italy, where she began her professional training at the Centro Studi Coreografici Teatro Carcano, and she graduated in ballet and modern dance in 2012.  After her graduation she won a scholarship for the Henny Jurriens Stichting Summer Intensive in Amsterdam, where Miki Orihara gave her a scholarship to study at the Martha Graham School in New York, and she moved in the City in 2013. After a few months she was asked to join Graham 2. She danced many principal roles in distinguished venues such as the Met Museum, and in 2015 she obtained her Teaching Training Program certification. She has been dancing with Alison Cook Beatty Dance since summer 2015. Vera returned to Europe for a year in 2017, where she danced with Aconcoli Dance by Elena Albano in Milan, and she collaborated with the pianist Xavier Boot for the Nationale Indiëherdenking in the Netherlands, along with teaching Graham Technique workshops in Milan, Sardinia, Rome and Utrecht. Since she has been back to the US, Vera has also danced for several independent productions such as "Enter the Luminous" by Miriam Barbosa, experimental projects with Fooju Dance Collaborative by Adam Dickerson, and she just joined H.T Chen & Dancers as an apprentice. This is Vera's first season as a Teaching Artist with Notes in Motion.

Rachel Schemenaur joined Notes in Motion as a teaching artist in April 2016. She holds a BA in Dance from Oral Roberts University. She also currently teaches at Stuyvesant Heights Christian Church Early Childhood Center, and assistant teaches at Mark Morris Dance Center. Before moving to New York, Rachel danced for Contemporary Dance/Fort Worth in Texas.

AJ Sharp, originally from Garden City, Michigan, is a dancer, choreographer, and dance teacher in NYC. She is a graduate of Oakland University with a BFA in dance. AJ has had the pleasure of working with artists such as Alexandra Beller, Lindsey Dietz-Marchant, Meg Paul, Dusan Tynek, Take Root Dance, The Median Movement, and currently with Cora Dance. She was chosen for Doug Varone's Choreography Intensive in 2015, where she was mentored by Doug and presented a new work at 92 Y. AJ is excited to continue teaching, performing, and creating in NYC.

Jeremy Smith is a freelance percussive artist whose interests lie in the vast array of modern and folkloric percussion traditions from around the world such as those found in South America, Africa, India, the Middle East, and jazz. He is currently an accompanist at Steps on Broadway, Peridance Capezio Center, The New School, and Ballet Hispanico. He received his Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School.

Sarah Starkweather is a contemporary dancer and ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor based out of New York City. Since 2009, Sarah has performed over 100 times with professional companies from Texas, Missouri, and New York. Sarah has presented her own work at festivals and venues in San Antonio, TX, and St. Louis, MO, as well as at The Center for Performance Research in Brooklyn, NY. Sarah holds a BA in Psychology from The University of Texas at San Antonio. Sarah is a founding member of the San Antonio Dance Fringe, and continues to teach technical, choreographic, and leadership workshops across Texas and the United States through MA Dance.This is Sarah's fourth season as a principal dancer with Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre and third year as a Notes in Motion Teaching Artist. 

Rochelle Wilbun was born and raised in Memphis, TN where she received her training from Classical Ballet Memphis and New Ballet Ensemble, alongside informal training from her church and community. She continued her modern dance  and ballet training in high school at Phillips Academy Andover and Boston Ballet School. Currently, Rochelle is a senior at Columbia College studying Dance and Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. As a part of Barnard/Columbia Dances at New York Live Arts, Rochelle performed in works by Pam Tamowitz, Alexandra Beller, and Joanna Kotze. Most recently she performed with Beth Gill in New York Fashion Week and with Marguerite Hemming's and Arielle Rosales's #wefree #UnleashYourDuende workshop. Rochelle's work has been showcased through CoLab Arts Collective and The University of Amsterdam. Rochelle is excited to join the Notes in Motion Teaching Staff.

Anna Zekan is from Newport, OR where she began dancing at the Newport School of Artistic Movement under the direction of Nancy Mittleman. She continued her training at Colorado College where she performed works by Patrizia Herminjard, Shawn Womack, Debra Mercer, Tsui-shuang Lai, and Casey Avaunt. After graduating with a B.A. in Dance and Creative Writing, she relocated to NYC to attend the Martha Graham School, and has since performed with Maher Benham's Coyote Dancers, Alice Klugherz, and Fooju Dance Collaborative. Zekan is also a published writer and instructor at Pure Barre West Village. This is her first season as an ensemble dancer and teaching artist with Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre/Notes in Motion.

Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre creates original and dynamic dance theatre that raises questions, challenges social norms and values, and magnifies humanity through dance. Productions pivot around core themes and through an interplay between athletic and pedestrian motion, activate emotional expression, character, and narrative in a rich and abstract collage. Presenting dance in an immediate, mature, and inclusive way, we engage audiences from start to finish and beckon a response of thought, feeling, and soul. www.amandaselwyndance.org

Founded in 2000, Amanda Selwyn Dance Theatre has presented over 70 productions at NYC venues including Tribeca Performing Arts Center, New York Live Arts, Dance Theatre Workshop, Dance New Amsterdam, Danspace Project, Ailey Citigroup Theater, The Kumble Theater, John Jay College, and Mark Morris Dance Center. We have been presented twice at Jacob's Pillow, Westfest, DUMBO Dance Festival, Dixon Place, Dance Teacher Summit, COOL NY, Movement Research, and Pushing Progress Series. We have toured to festivals, presented open rehearsals, interactive performance events and workshops, and offer arts-in-education programming through Notes in Motion Outreach Dance Theatre to children in the NYC public schools.
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