Archive for the ‘Dance’ Category


Inside Dance Conversation with Rennie Harris Puremovement

July 13, 2018

Celebration Barn – Bates Dance Festival

In the days leading up to their performances at the Bates Dance Festival, choreographers and performers will fan out across Lewiston-Auburn and as far away as Portland to reveal the secrets and stories behind their work in a series of free Inside Dance Community Conversations.

Celebration Barn is proud to partner with Bates Dance Festival to present one of these conversations with Rennie Harris Puremovement on Monday, July 16 at 7:00 PM. The event is free. Box Office: 207-743-8452

Rennie Harris has taken hip-hop dance from inner-city streets to a mainstream audience. In so doing he has transformed both art form and audience, and has proven that hip-hop can transcend boundaries of race, religion, gender and economic status. With his company, Rennie Harris Puremovement, this North Philadelphia native is internationally known for such works as the spiritually driven “Facing Mekka” and the critically acclaimed “Rome and Jewels,” a hip-hop opera that transports “Romeo and Juliet” into the world of rival B-boys and street gangs which premiered at the Bates Dance Festival in 1999.

“There’s the option to buy a ticket and sit in the theater to watch beautiful, dynamic contemporary dance,” explains Bates Dance Festival director Shoshana Currier, “but with our new program, there’s now the option to meet a dance artist at the public library or the YWCA and chat about their work. So the festival can be meaningful in different ways to different people.”

Additional conversations will also take place July 2 to August 1 in Lewiston, Auburn, and Portland.

For the full schedule of free Bates Dance Festival events, visit

For mainstage performances, visit Information about Concerts on the Quad appears at



July 3, 2018

In the spirit of dancing

Camp Hollywood 2014 LA Shag “San/I want my Dime Back”. This will make you wanna move!



July 2, 2018

So interesting

The following videos are from Big Geek Daddy and the Upworthiest – fun, interesting, some emotional, and some to share with students.


Portland Ballet

June 14, 2018

Portland Ballet

Portland Ballet received an Arts Learning grant from the Maine Arts Commission (MAC) for the 2017-18 school year. I had a chance to visit the program during the winter and was so impressed with the commitment the teenagers were making to the dance program. The following information provided by the Portland Ballet staff will give you a glimpse of the program and it’s history.

Founded in 1980, Portland School of Ballet (PSB) has been the premier dance education center of southern Maine for over three decades. Professional and inclusive, the School is dedicated to bringing dance to people of all ages and skill levels, while at the same time maintaining it’s focus on training young men and women for professional careers. In a unique partnership with schools across southern Maine, our CORPS Program allows for qualified high school students to pursue pre-professional dance training as a compliment to their academic studies. PSB’s Syllabus Program (for dancers ages 7-19) is a six level program in which classical ballet taught according to a developmental curriculum. Along with our Young Dancer Program, which is focused on dancers ages 3-7, Adaptive Dance for students with special needs, and adult classes for life long learners, Portland School of Ballet’s highly trained faculty and experienced management enrich the lives of all levels of students in the Portland Area and beyond.
In 1994, Portland Ballet established an innovative partnership with Portland High School, resulting in a pre-professional performing arts high school curriculum this is unique in the state and has spread across the region. Qualified students continue to be granted early release, when necessary, to Portland Ballet for three hours of daily intensive study in ballet, variations, jazz, modern, dance history, pedagogy and stage craft.  Participants may earn transcript credit in Physical Education and Fine Arts.  Today, a variety of schools may arrange academic schedules to embrace CORPS, whose students have gome on to BFA programs like Butler University and The Hartt School, to prestigious summer prgormas like New York City’s School of the American Ballet and Boston Ballet, and professional positions at American Repertory Ballet and Dance Theater of Harlem.
The benefits of being an active member in the CORPS program are numerous and these dancers develop skills in areas they are able to use in every walk of life, not just those applicable in the ballet studio or on the stage. Students are able to fine tune skills they are already developing such as time management, communication styles and adaptability as they navigate the usual work load of a high school student on top of the of the demands that come along with this program. In addition to this, I think one of the biggest benefits dancers take away from the lessons learned in the studio is that of a deep knowledge for how use of respect and discipline create an amazing space in which they are able to not only understand themselves better but can appreciate what others are capable of as well. In ballet, respect for the art form, for the teacher, for others in class and for one self is probably the most important thing that is taught from generation to generation in the classroom. With that understanding of respect a discipline follows that enables the growth of ballet technique and this is the basis for artistry to thrive. The benefit of this process is the ability to express oneself.  When we are able to do this a confidence is instilled that stays with us through all walks of life.  Being a part of the CORPS program and having the opportunity to focus completely on developing oneself as an artist leads to these young adults gaining a better sense of who are they are and who they are able to become.
As educators of these young adults we hope they are able to use the skills learned at the barre and on the stage to help them achieve their goals of becoming professional dancers. But this does not cover the whole scope of our ambitions for them. Becoming a professional dancer has many obstacles, many of which are beyond one’s control, and having gone through the process ourselves we realize that only a percentage of our students may be able obtain a job as a dancer. This does not give us pause. We understand that the abilities learned in the ballet classroom apply to so many aspects of life and passing  these lessons down to our students is extremely fulfilling. Our hopes for these young dancers is that when they step beyond our walls the respect, discipline, self awareness and confidence go with them to help shape their lives. We look forward to seeing how what they have learned in the studio has helped propel them in the direction of their own dreams, whether they become a professional dancer, a patron of the arts or any other wonderful part of our community.
If you have questions about the CORPS program please contact Nell Shipman, Artistic Director at or Milena Hartog, Assistant to the Artistic Director at

Maine International Conference on the Arts

June 6, 2018

USM – September 27, 2018


Join the Maine Arts Commission at the University of Southern Maine Portland Abromson Community Education Center, where we will explore art making, arts education, capacity-building strategies and skills, and more – all specifically for Maine artists, arts educators, and arts organizations.

Please join us Thursday, September 27 at USM in Portland for the opening reception with entertainment at 5 p.m., followed by Maryo Gard Ewell’s 7 p.m. keynote.

Schedule and Early Bird registration

Thursday, September 27 | 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. 

      • Pre-conference Sessions – Discussions on Rural Community Development, professional development for Arts Educators, and Maine craft and traditional art apprenticeships  
      • 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. – Opening Reception: A celebration of the arts with keynote speaker and performances
      • Keynote Speaker Maryo Gard Ewell– Rural Community Development in and Through the Arts

Friday, September 28 | 7:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

      • 7:30 a.m. – Continental Breakfast/Networking
      • 8:15 a.m. – Maine Artists Idea Lab : 6 speakers using the fast-paced and engaging pecha kucha-style format will knock your socks off with their newest innovations. Confirmed speakers include Lucas Richman, Music Director, Bangor Symphony Orchestra; Rene Johnson, Executive Director, Theater Ensemble of Color; Erin McGee Ferrell, Visual Artist; Kaitlyn Young, 2018 Maine Teacher of the Year; Jeremy Frey, Passamaquoddy basketweaver;
      • 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. – 20 professional development sessions in 5 tracks running concurrently
        • Leveraging Investment. Learn to attract and leverage greater investment through corporate sponsorships, development planning, capitalization and more
        • Visibility. Discuss ways to increase awareness of creative opportunities, as well as their value to communities and local economies. Participate in a new, two-part workshop by MICA 2016 superstar Matt Lehrman, “Opportunity Everywhere, Parts I & II. Or attend a dynamic session hosted by DataArts/The Cultural Data Project on ways to connect your data to stories about your mission and impact, for more effective communications with key stakeholders
        • Arts Education. Participate in sessions on fostering PK-12 arts education and lifelong learning programs, including Creative Aging and Traditional Arts
        • Cultural Tourism. Gather the information you need to enhance experiences and leverage cultural tourism. Hear from organizations on their successes creating experiences outside of traditional venues, or attend a Rural Community Arts Development session facilitated by Maryo Gard Ewell.
        • Building Capacity. All you need to know on strategies for sustainability and increased impact, from an intensive on strategic planning with Julie Richard to a session on The Role of the Arts in Communities in Crisis.
      • 12:30 p.m. – Maine Arts Awards Luncheon hosted by ArtsEngageMe
      • Pop-up performances throughout the day

Teaching Artist Professional Development

May 28, 2018

MAC offers workshop June 22

Teaching Artists Brian Evans-Jones, Karen Brooks, Tim Christensen, and Dana Legawiec

PreK-12 Teaching Artist Professional Development Workshop

The Maine Arts Commission (MAC) invites Teaching Artists to a one day professional development opportunity on Friday, June 22, 2018, 8:45 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. The workshop will take place at Viles Mansion/Governor Samuel Cony House, 71 Stone Street, Augusta. The cost is $25.00 and the workshop is limited to 20. REGISTRATION is available.

Whether you are a veteran teaching artist looking to build on your practices and expand your reach in the PK through grade 12 environment, or a new teaching artist looking to be included on the Teaching Artist Roster and start working in the schools or community arts programs – this workshop is for you!


Teaching Artists Tim Christensen, Tom Luther, Brian Evans-Jones

The workshop is focused on the role and benefits of a teaching artist. We will address how to structure and market a residency as well as tips for communicating and collaborating with educators (including teachers and administrators), and community arts representatives.


  • Information on applying your expertise as an artist to the structuring of your lessons and residencies.
  • Hands-on experience in relating the learning standards and assessments to your work.
  • Participation in sessions that are planned to fit your needs as a teaching artist.
  • Promoting yourself and your work as a teaching artist.


  • Argy Nestor – Director of Arts Education, Maine Arts Commission
  • Brian Evans-Jones – Poet and Creative Writing Teacher and Maine Arts Leadership Initiative (MALI) Teaching Artist Leader
  • John Morris – Teaching Artist/Dance Educator, member of MALI Design Team
  • Kate Smith – Pre-K-3 Music Educator Central Elementary School, So. Berwick, member of MALI Design Team
  • Kris Bisson – Grades 6-8 Music Educator Marshwood Middle School, MALI Teacher Leader

John Morris

Learn more about the MAC Teaching Artist programand visit the Teaching Artist roster.

5.5 teacher contact hours are available for attending all day on June 22.

NOTE: In order to apply for the MAC Teaching Artist Roster, artists are required to attend the workshop on June 22. The Commission will be accepting applications for the roster in the fall of 2018.

If you have any questions please contact Argy Nestor at

If you need a special accommodation to fully participate in this event please contact Kathy Shaw at by June 8.


Benefits of Dancing

May 24, 2018

How dancing  reverses brain aging

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