I am interested in collaborative work.
I like bringing people together and creating community through story, whether through dance, theatre, or storytelling events. I think it helps us all to hear others stories and learn how to share our own stories. Some things I do to foster community are: Theatrical Events - Dance, stories, and plays I write based on Jewish and biblical tales, altered a bit to help everyone hear the current issues in the traditional tales. The dance is usually Flamenco, but done creatively. Gathering Events - online or live events that are more than a salon or cabaret. Artists are invited to share some of their work on a theme, especially those related to nature, with interaction with the audience before and after presentations. We have opening and closing circle activities to aid in informal discussion, and make all feel part of the arts. These are usually offered through my Storydance Theatre company. Joyful Movement Classes - Part a Jewish version of yoga, part Gaga like exploratory movement, the classes offer mindfulness through movement and are adaptable to any age or experience level, including nothing at all. Embodied Torah Classes - Torah isn't just head stuff! I've studied with Liz Lerman and others who work with a physical study of Torah. Even those in wheel chairs will limited mobility have enjoyed these classes, realizing how deeply the Torah is physically alive in our movement.
I am a dancer, actor, storyteller, playwright, and teacher. My work is inspired by my Jewish background, and I am often re-writing and choreographing traditional Jewish tales from around the world, and biblical stories to current social justice issues. While I have a goal of creating enjoyment, I also want my work to teach, challenge, and ultimately create community. My dance medium centers on flamenco, but I have studied dance from world-wide traditions, from African and Indian to Irish and Persian. I think it is a great way to learn about other cultures and embodied values, and I love sharing my knowledge with others. I’ve worked with adults, seniors, children, and congregations of many traditions, taking techniques I’ve learned from master teachers like Liz Lerman to a local audience, offering embodied Torah classes for even those with no movement background at all.
I have extensive training in the performing arts, first in modern dance and ballet, then ecstatic and world dance traditions, including flamenco. Always interested in acting, I also studied acting and performed in college. Through workshops at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California I was able to study methods for combining acting and dance, while also learning from notable instructors, including Inbal dancer Margalit Oved, and Judith Rock of Body and Soul dance. I went on to earn a doctorate in Religion and the Arts at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, for intensive training in both performance and academics, studying with Jewish music scholar Ben Brinner, poet and scholar Naomi Seidman, and historian David Biale, while also taking advantage of excellent flamenco, Persian, and Indian dance instruction in the Bay area. Teachers included La Tania and Katherine Kunhiraman, and through a trip to Spain, Tibu Lubart, a noted flamenco dancer and direct descendent of Judah HaLevi. For my doctoral examines, I produced and performed in a show that featured dance related to Jewish history, while also writing exams on the arts in the Jewish community of medieval Spain. My dissertation of Sephardic Jewish women’s music and dance traditions resulted in the book The Miriam Tradition. In 2017 I published The Performance of Religion: Seeing the Sacred in the Theatre (Routledge), which draws on my experience as a performer as well as scholar
After returning to the Twin Cities, I focused more specifically on Flamenco, and has studied with master teacher Susana Di Palma for many years. Inspired by viewing and acting study at the Globe theatre in London, I gradually developed Storydance theatre, using a combination of storytelling, acting, and dance. I have written plays for the theatre, including Golmah – a feminist anti-anti-racist take on the Golem story- and The Garden: A Refuge, an eco-conscious interpretation of the book of Job. I’ve also performed at small venues and schools, in larger shows with Flamenco groups, featured as a soloist in Zorongo student shows, and performed nationally and internationally at conferences and events.
Teaching is important to me, and I use my skills as a performer to help think about what is really important, and to learn to listen to each other’s stories with empathy to build a justice and compassionate community. I have created and taught multicultural arts curriculum on history, culture, and literature for elementary through college students, and adult education, including World Creative Dance classes for K-12 students. I have also created and led workshops and classes on dance, movement, and religion for schools and seminars, including United Theological Seminary, The Graduate Theological Union, UC- Berkeley, Sabes Jewish Community Center of Minneapolis. This includes teaching yoga for all ages for wellbeing, and for further training and practice, completion of additional chaplaincy training incorporating dance and storytelling into spiritual care.
Embodied Torah Classes
Holistic Education Approaches to Jewish Education
Storytelling through Movement
Jewish Mindfulness and Movement classes
Adult Education on Judaism and the Arts