Chris Aiken is recognized internationally as a contemporary dance maker and teacher of dance improvisation, performance, and contact improvisation. His work has evolved through long-term collaborations with Angie Hauser, Andrew Harwood, Kirstie Simson, Ray Chung, Peter Bingham, Mike Vargas, Olivier Besson, Cathy Young, and Patrick Scully, as well as musicians such as Mike Vargas, Peter Jones and Andre Gribou.
Kathy Couch is an artist, educator, advocate, and award-winning designer living in Northampton, MA. Working in mediums of light, space, collaboration, and improvisation, Couch creates works in traditional and non-traditional spaces both nationally and internationally. She uses language, light, and readymade objects to craft experiences of engagement that allow audiences to contemplate moments of being and activate their vital role as contributors to the work and the world. She teaches Lighting Design at Amherst College and is a founding board member of the Northampton Community Arts Trust that seeks innovative ways to preserve and steward space for imagination and creativity. Resist and imagine…
Scotty Hardwig is a dance and digital media artist, choreographer, improviser and teacher originally from southwest Virginia. His research practice stems from the confluence of digital technology, cyberculture and the moving body. Scotty is currently an Assistant Professor in Movement, Performance and Integrated Media at Virginia Tech, where he is creating and producing work at the intersection of technology and the body. He is also a certified Gyrotonic© Trainer, and a freelance artist creating works for screen and stage across the U.S. and abroad. http://hardwigdance.com/
Born and raised in the heart of Miami, Shaneeka Harrell(also known as 'sha') is an accomplished dancer, choreographer, vocalist, and actor. Her work as a collaborator with Tony-award winning choreographer Bill T. Jones includes: a company member with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company (2001-2007); Assistant Choreographer on The Seven for New York Theater Workshop; original cast member of Fela! On Broadway (2009-2011); original cast member and dance captain of Mr. Jones’ workshop for Super Fly the Musical and most recently, teaching incarcerated young adults of Rikers Island Correctional Facility. Other theater and dance performance credits include: cast member of Richmond Triangle Player’s production of Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England, cast member of Miami Theater Center’s productions of The Love of Three Oranges and Inanna and the Huluppu Tree, dance company member of Jawole Willa Jo Zollar‘s Urban Bush Women (2001-2002) and guest artist appearances with Hattie Mae Williams’ Tattooed Ballerinas, Letty Bassart's Thought Loom and Tania Isaac Dance Project. Additionally, Harrell choreographs, directs, produces and performs in her own interdisciplinary work.
Angie Hauser is a BESSIE award-winning choreographer and performer. She is a principal collaborator with Bebe Miller Company contributing to the work as a dancer, performer, and writer for 20 years. She has created performance with Chris Aiken for 15 years often bringing together musicians, dancers, and designers. In 2019 Aiken and Hauser toured Japan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan presenting their performance work, teaching workshops and connecting with local dance communities. Other collaborators and influencers of her work include Jennifer Nugent, K.J. Holmes, Darrell Jones, Kathleen Hermesdorf, Paul Matteson, Xan Burley and Alex Springer and musicians Mike Vargas and Jesse Manno. She teaches dance technique, choreography, contact improvisation, and improvisation internationally. She received her MFA from Ohio State University and is currently an associate professor and chair of dance at Smith College in Northampton, MA.
Julie Iarisoa (dancer, choreographer, videographer) As a Malagasy living in Madagascar, traveling is a luxury, even to go from one city to another ... and to travel to another country is almost a whole year's salary without counting the difficult steps to obtain a visa even to visit a country within Africa ... I therefore allow myself to travel through my desires and my soul as it is still accessible ... a trip around my navel... The reason why I still exist as a free and independent woman artist today is that I still allow myself to live free, to want, to think and to dream... everyday I'm fighting for living instead of just surviving because to give up life is to accept to die at small or high fire.
Jennifer’s practices are profoundly inspired by Daniel Lepkoff, Wendell Beavers, Patty Townsend, and an ongoing collaboration with Paul Matteson. She danced with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company from 2009-2014 and David Dorfman Dance from 1999-2007. Jennifer is working on a new solo project, Up Against, which uses dance (steps, improvisation, shape, and gesture) as a way to articulate personal story, curiosity, and allow the vibration and energies that surface within the process of being in the studio to reverberate inside the performance. She was an artist in residence at the Bodies in Motion Festival supported by APE@Hawley and the School for Contemporary Dance and Thought in Northampton, MA. Jennifer teaches a weekly class and has developed a monthly pedagogy collective ~ Pedagogy/Poetic Entry ~ through the online platform Freeskewl Northampton, MA.
Andrea Olsen, dance artist, author, and educator, is a Professor Emerita of Dance at Middlebury College, and a certified teacher of Holden QiGong and Embodyoga®. She is author of a triad of books on the body: Bodystories: A Guide to Experiential Anatomy, Body and Earth: An Experiential Guide, and The Place of Dance: A Somatic Guide to Dancing and Dance Making with colleague Caryn McHose, and numerous articles and chapters in anthologies. Recent projects include continuing the Body and Earth: Seven Web-Based Somatic Excursions film project with Scotty Hardwig and Caryn McHose (http://body-earth.org), and touring an evening-length dance work: Awakening Grace: Six Somatic Tools.
Jennifer Polins is a curator, mobilizer, movement practitioner and performance maker, bridging somatics -performance practices- and contemporary dance techniques for over 25 years. Jen is the founding director of The School for Contemporary Dance and Thought, holds an MFA in dance from Hollins University/The American Dance Festival and is a 2014 MCC choreographic fellow. Jen is also the assistant programmer for A.P.E.@Hawley. She has danced professionally in America and Europe, starting with the Joffrey Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet and then the Zurich Operahouse Ballet companies before migrating to a professional career in contemporary performance art. Jen is specialized in rigorous improvisational practices and worked closely with many mentors most notably- Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen, Nancy Stark Smith, Steve Paxton, and Lisa Nelson. Jen is certified in Pilates, Gyrotonic, Gyrokinesis, Yoga, and Massage. She studied Body Mind Centering for over 10 years and all of these somatic practices deeply affect her curation, teaching and making. Jen is guest lecturer in the Five College Dance department. She is the co-founder of Wire Monkey Dance where produced over 20 productions throughout America, Europe and Asia. Jen lives between Berlin and Northampton where she creates work, curates artists, connects communities and teaches. With SCDT, Jen is in close collaborative relationships with A.P.E.@ Hawley, San Francisco’s La Alternativa, Boston’s New Movement Collaborative, and Northampton’s Community Arts Trust. Jen is working on the creative team of the Ponderosa TanzLand Festival beside Stephanie Maher. She has collaborated most recently with Maurice Fraga, Joy Davis, Jen Nugent, Stephanie Maher, Peter Schmitz, Sarah Shelton Mann, Paul Matteson and James Morrow.
See her work HERE.
Jenna Riegel, originally from Fairfield, Iowa, is a dance artist, maker and educator. Jenna holds an M.F.A. in Dance Performance from the University of Iowa and a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Maharishi International University. During her eleven-year performing career in NYC, Jenna danced with Daara Dance (choreographer Michel Kouakou), Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company, Shaneeka Harrell, Tania Isaac Dance and johannes weiland. She toured and performed nationally and internationally as a company member of David Dorfman Dance, Alexandra Beller/ Dances, Bill Young/ Colleen Thomas & Company and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company. Jenna taught classes in contemporary technique in New York City at Gina Gibney Dance Center, New York Live Arts, Mark Morris Dance Center and 100 Grand Dance. She has been on faculty in the dance departments of Barnard College, The Juilliard School and Virginia Commonwealth University. In addition, she has taught master classes at The Joffrey Ballet School, Columbia College, NYU, The New School, Ohio State University, SUNY Purchase, Bard College, Connecticut College, Hollins University, Dartmouth College, Williams College, Skidmore College, University of Maryland, University of California-Berkeley, the American Dance Festival and the Bates Dance Festival. Jenna is currently an Assistant Professor of Theater and Dance at Amherst College.
Peter B. Schmitz has been involved in the creative and performing arts for over four decades as an actor, dancer, choreographer, and educator. With an MFA from Smith College, Peter has served on the Theatre and Dance faculties of Middlebury and Amherst Colleges and has held residencies at many universities. As a professional dancer/choreographer, Peter has worked throughout the United States and in Holland, Germany, France, England, New Zealand and Turkey. He was a founding member of Dance Gallery, a small modern dance company, a member of Creach/Co in New York City for over eight years, and has performed in the works of Wendy Woodson and Present Co., Yanira Castro/acanarytorsi (Bessie nominee for performance 2013), Tamar Rogoff, Richard Colton/Amy Spencer, Jim Coleman and Terese Freedman/Freedman Coleman Dance, and, most recently, he is touring with Ann Carlson in doggie hamlet. He received a “Best Performance” award in the San Francisco Film/Video Festival for his work in a film by Wendy Woodson, “Trout”. He has choreographed for New World Theatre, Medicine Show Theatre and Potomac Theater Project and is a member of Actors Equity. Peter is on the Board of Directors of A.P.E. (Available Potential Enterprises) in Northampton, MA, and he teaches and performs internationally. He lives at Bramble Hill Farm in Amherst, MA with his husband Joey Schmitz.
As one of the few oboists around focused on experimental new music and sounds, Batya Sobel views her art as an offering of vulnerability. Sobel is an oboist, composer and improviser based in Western Massachusetts.
Lisa Thompson is the Associate Director of A.P.E. She was previously a member of Dance Gallery, a resident dance company at A.P.E. from 1977 to 1990. Lisa has also taught yoga in the Northampton community for over 20 years. She is a certified yoga instructor receiving her teacher training primarily from Eileen Muir and Peentz Dubble. Lisa has taught both students and faculty/staff at Smith College since 1998 and currently teaches faculty/staff classes, with Paul Menard. She has previously taught at Karuna and is a member of the Iyengar Institute of Western Massachusetts community.