Leslie Guyton - The USA

Leslie Guyton is a dance & theater director based out of Brooklyn, NY. She's the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the Movement Workshop Group, a dance theater company which creates innovative contemporary dance works with a company of dancers, actors and musicians. She has created her own technique with the company called “Shape and Intention” which centers around harmonizing dance technique and physical acting to make a well-rounded performer. She has been invited to Russia’s Summer International Dance Lab 2013 to share her technique with dancers from all over the world.

She is also a freelance choreographer and was nominated for a Grammy in 2013 for her music video for Foster the People’s song Houdini. She assistant directed Under Construction with Anne Bogart and SITI Company in April 2011. Other freelance credits include a dance mash-up advertisement for Adidas and a
music video for Apollo Run’s Inevitable Small Rebellions.

Guyton was awarded Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical or Play with Music at the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity 2011 for Wanderlust. Most recently Guyton was awarded the 2012 Planet Connections Artist Grant and the APAP Cultural Exchange Fund Travel Grant.

Guyton observed rehearsals with Pina Bausch's Tanztheater Wuppertal in Germany, Spain, Portugal, England, and the US in 2007 and 2008. Guyton was Assistant to the Executive Director at the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance from 2009-2010 and was a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab in 2009.

Under Guyton's direction, the Movement Workshop Group has created four evening-length pieces each inspired by an element. Her works have been presented at such institutions as Dixon Place, La MaMa ETC, John Hancock Hall, the A.R.T.'s Club Oberon, Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center, The Brecht Forum,
Montauk's Sole East and Movement Research at Dance Theater Workshop. The Boston Globe chose Dust to Dust and Moontides as "Dance Pick of the Week" in 2006 and 2008 respectively.

The Composition class will be an opportunity to expand what students know about how to choreograph, direct or compose live performance. Led by Artistic Director Leslie Guyton, the course provides unique insight into how the Movement Workshop Group creates new work and offers students the opportunity to create and perform in their own work collaboratively with other students.
We will explore the conceptual and physical nature of using shape and intention; the physical form and meaning that shapes can embody. Exercises will involve everything from how one can create conceptually driven creation of dance/theater pieces to exploring structured movement improvisations. Students will be asked to create and perform studies, direct one another, and share and discuss ideas and solutions with peers.

Improvisation is an invaluable creative mode that will help dancers recognize, embody, and develop sensations and ideas in motion. Internal and external perceptions will be refined while looking at movement from many points of view; Dancers learn from actors’ focus on a psychological landscape, while actors learn from dancers’ focus on physical expression.
Through highly structured improvisations drawing from Michael Chekhov, Moment Work, Viewpoints, and Grotowski physical acting, attendees act from external and internal impulses, learning to more fully embody a character’s emotional life and more emotionally fulfill a character’s embodiment. Improvisation encourages the dancers to live, breathe and be in the present moment. We will work to create an honest and authentic environment to play and create, exploring the medium as individuals and within partnered exercises. We will explore the power dynamic between audience and performer; how performers can be powerful before an audience, take ownership of one’s impulses and learn to lead instead of follow. Please wear clothing you can move in.