Moving Meditation Drop-in Classes with Ilana Silverstein

Ilana Faye Silverstein has performed with Daniel Burkholder/The Playground, Dance Box Theater, Lotta Lundgren, Christine Stone Martin and other independent artists in the D.C. area. In addition, her work has been presented by the Philly Fringe Festival, Gaia in Washington DC and The Source Festival. If you’re interested in taking class with Ilana, she currently teaches Moving Meditation drop-in classes Sundays 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at Joy of Motion Dance Center Atlas. Moving Meditation is a course based on Contemplative Dance Practice developed by Barbara Dilley. Learn more about the class from Ilana:

The goal of the class is to suspend self-consciousness, self-doubt and abusive training of the body. I will introduce a simple structure and we will all go for it together. We will settle into our bodies and check in with our thoughts in the moment. And then, we will play. I have found those who meditate enjoy this invitation to take the mindfulness practice into motion. And those who dance, appreciate the direction of a few minutes of stillness.

The class is based on Contemplative Dance Practice, a combination of sitting meditation, personal warm-up and group improvisation. I have been teaching the practice for 10 years, sporadically. What would it be like if more of us in DC were familiar with it and started practicing together regularly?

This post is a revised version of a story posted to Joy of Motion Dance Center’s Dance is for Everyone blog.


Janet Jackson Dance Workshop at Joy of Motion/Atlas

Quynn Johnson taught a Janet Jackson dance workshop at Joy of Motion/Atlas last Friday, October 1st. Even though it was a Friday night, there were still plenty of dancers in attendance. About 30 people of all ages and experience levels came to learn choreography from some of Janet’s most popular videos including Together Again, If and Pleasure Principle.

Just like the Lady Gaga dance workshop Quynn taught back in July, there was a lot of choreography to take in. Most people were both mentally and physically drained by the end of the workshop, but everyone seemed to have a great time. Unlike last time, she did a short warm up to other Janet Jackson songs and had us switch lines a few times so everyone could have a chance up front. She also split us up into two groups so we had more room to “perform” at the end.

I would have personally liked to have learned choreography from Janet Jackson’s Nasty Boys, Rhythm Nation and All For You, but maybe next time? And perhaps Quynn will take my suggestion to teach a pop dance workshop based on Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears videos?! What can I say? I’m a teenie bopper at heart.

If you’re interested in seeing what choreography we learned at the Janet Jackson dance workshop, watch the videos below. I’ve given the times so you can identify which parts we did.

Together Again (0:40-1:12)

If (3:36-3:58)

Pleasure Principle (3:14-3:30 and 2:41-2:48)

danceDC Weekend Event Guide 10/1-10/3

Tonight I’ll be at Joy of Motion/Atlas for Quynn Johnson’s Janet Jackson Dance Workshop. I already know part of the choreography from the If video, but looking forward to see what other videos Quynn has in store. Rhythm Nation perhaps? Pleasure Principle?!  I’m also planning on heading to the Crafty Bastards Art Festival in Adams Morgan for the all day breakdance battle. And if that wasn’t enough, I’ll be at the prelude ceremony to the MetroDC Dance Awards at the Kennedy Center this Sunday. Hope your weekend is full of dance. 

Friday, October 1st

Saturday, October 2nd

Sunday, October 3rd

Dance at the 2010 H Street Festival

Last Saturday’s H Street Festival offered tons of food, music and fun. There was the chance to arm wrestle a DC Roller Girl, sing karaoke at Sticky Rice, play air guitar with the Baltimore Rock Opera Society and of course DANCE. I took a free class at 4pm with Quynn Johnson at Joy of Motion’s studio in the Atlas Performing Arts Center. She previewed two of her upcoming pop video dance workshops including part of Janet Jackson’s ‘If’ video (shown below) and Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller.’ She even did a throw back to her previous Lady Gaga workshop by teaching choreography to ‘Alejandro.’

After taking some quick pics of the cars in front of Atlas, I made my way to the Sprenger Theatre for a performance from Step Afrika! From start to finish, this stepping group had the crowd clapping, yelling and dancing. They started off with a couple ensemble routines then had an entertaining battle of the sexes with two guys and two girls fighting it out (through dance of course) for the audience. The girls won, no question. Before Step Afrika! wrapped up their free performance they had everyone on their feet to learn some basic stepping moves. They even had an encore combination to dance the group off stage after their bows.

Did you catch any of the dance performances and demonstrations at the H Street Festival? If so, tell us about them in your comments. For more videos of Step Afrika!, check out my YouTube page.

Dance Asia 2010 Performance at Atlas Performing Arts Center

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities hosted the Dance DC Festival at the Atlas Performing Arts Center on H Street NE last weekend.  The event celebrated global movement and cultural dance through a series of free workshops and performances, including Dance Asia 2010 which took place last Saturday, August 21st at 5pm.  This performance featured traditional dances from Malaysian, Indonesian, Filipino, Chinese, Indian and Mongolian cultures.

My friend Haffa and I hopped on the Red Line at Dupont Circle and got off at Union Station.  If you go out the back entrance toward the parking lot, you end up on H Street NE and the walk is about 10 blocks to Atlas Performing Arts Center.  Later on, I found out that 15th and I Street NW is one of the X2 stops so I took that bus back to my place near Logan Circle.  It will probably be the way I get to H Street NE from now on.

I was really looking forward to Dance Asia 2010 as I come from an Asian background myself, but was sadly disappointed by the performance overall.  I felt like the performers were not performing, but instead going through the movements half heartedly.  The host was a beauty pageant contestant who did a poor job introducing each act.  It seemed like she was reading the script for the very first time and it was clear that there was no pronunciation instruction beforehand.

There were of course some highlights.  The group who performed Indian folk dancing featured two little girls who charmed the audience.  Their second act was also captivating as the performers actually looked like they were enjoying themselves.  The Fairfax Chinese Dance Group brought some color to the performance with joyful music selections and red props.  And the Filipino-American Heritage Dance Ensemble got the crowd going with their rendition of the tinikling (video below).  For more videos from the performance, check out my YouTube page.

Did you go to the Dance Asia 2010 performance?  What did you think?   Do you agree with my thoughts on the show?  What other traditional dances would you like to have seen?

danceDC Weekend Event Guide 08/20-08/22

Thai dance at Silom Village BangkokLots going on this weekend.  Hope you all can make it to the Dance DC Festival at Atlas Performing Arts Center.  Free workshops and performances celebrating global movement!  The picture to the left is one I took at Silom Village in Bangkok of traditional Thai dancing.  Maybe they’ll have some of that this weekend?

Also wanted to let you know about DCypher dance auditions tonight from 9pm-11pm at Joy of Motion Friendship Heights.  Click here for my post about their show in July or here for audition details.

Friday, August 20th

Saturday, August 21st

Sunday, August 22nd

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