OCTOBER 11-12, 2019

Shenandoah University, Winchester, Virginia

The Dance Division at Shenandoah University is excited to present the 1st Virginia Dance and Improvisation Festival (VIF) this October 11th– 12th, 2019 on the campus of Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA. This dance improvisation festival will bring together a diverse community of dancers, teachers, and movers to share, inspire, build and strengthen the improvisation and movement scene in the Northern Shenandoah Valley and the state of Virginia.

Created by Shenandoah University Dance Division Chair and Associate Professor of Dance, Maurice Fraga, VDIF will be open to anyone with an interest in dance, improvisation or movement, including students, professors, and professional dance artists from across Virginia and other regional areas. This festival will feature a compelling lineup of improvisation teachers offering workshops and classes on contact improvisation, choreography, movement games, meditation, and other topics.  

Relying on a coordinating committee of university faculty and professional dance artists to produce the weekend festival, VDIF will seek to create a lean organizational structure that leverages Shenandoah University resources for the benefit of the wider academic and improvisational dance communities. VDIF emphasizes financial accessibility, with participant registration fee for the day-and-a-half festival minimized to $10.

Hosting this festival at Shenandoah University will enable the Dance Division to present itself on a larger scale to the regional and national dance communities. It will also provide an occasion for participants to experience the beauty of the Northern Shenandoah Valley, immersing themselves in the welcoming communities of Winchester, the Dance Division, and Shenandoah University. 

Want to participate at the festival?

The 1st edition of the Virginia Dance & Improvisation Festival will include: an opening improv jam the evening of the 11th, followed by full day of classes on Saturday. The festival will conclude with a closing improv jam on Saturday evening. Registration for the festival is now available. In order to register for the festival, you must complete (3) forms and pay the registration fee: 1) Fill out and submit the registration form, 2) complete and submit the waiver form, and 3) complete and submit the photo release form. Forms 2 and 3 should be emailed to: vdifest@gmail.com Payment of $10 should be sent via Venmo to “Maurice-Fraga”.

VDIF Registration Form

VDIF Guest Teachers

Rebekah Chappell

Drawing on compositional improvisation techniques, we will spontaneously compose short dances together, investigating strategies for togetherness that acknowledge and honor our differences. We will explore how to make decisions as an ensemble while attending to the whole self and it’s multiplicities, complexities, and contradictions. Through improvisational writing, moving, and dialogue, we will consider how our histories and lived experiences inform our choice making. How can our movement explorations create a space to practice different modes of social engagement? 

Ryan Corriston

We will use our time together to prepare our bodies for motion, response and spontaneity. We will explore the sense of touch and responsiveness to touch with a partner. How do we suggest…how do we respond…how do we create and explore together? Some basic contact principles will be explored as well, to give everyone a good foundation for moving into the improv jam!

Adriane Fang

Class will be focused on exploring a sensitive and personal approach to dancing while maintaining technical proficiency.  We will examine the act of being present with an emphasis on responsiveness to self and environment.  Using set movement phrases which move progressively from simple to more complex movement patterns, we will examine various stimuli of space and sensation to encourage responsiveness and spontaneous choice-making in the moment of performance.

Maurice Fraga

My approach to contact improvisation is about listening to the body in order to break down barriers we set up for ourselves. Working through improvisational scores and partnering exercises, the participants will be able to unlock habits of movements that limit exploration and expression, finding a stronger sense of self-awareness and discovery that will aid them in how they relate to others in the dance studio and out in the world. The workshop encourages investigation of a stronger physical and artistic foundation to allow deeper exploration to the edges of their own dancing.

Charlie Maybee

This class will focus on methods of structuring tap dance improvisation through the interplay of melody and rhythm. We will attune our bodies to the intimate act of physio-musical conversation through a deep exploration of the ancient African musical structure of Call-and-Repsonse. Tap shoes required. 

Kora Radella

The movement research of Riding Resilience invites daring athleticism and gusto, as well as delicate attention to small details. We will propel through the space in guided improvisations exploring an area of research Radella calls “wild calm.” This concept probes how we can cultivate calm in the center of wild and transformative, high-octane motion. Full-throttle motion and three-dimensional roller-coaster dancing will be matched by the ability to calmly pause. Movers will experience empowerment by moving on the edge of control with resilience, while being able to adapt, change, and bounce back.

Emily Wright

Using movement, imagery, touch, and partner work, Experiential Anatomy combines an in-depth study of human anatomy with the creative investigation of personal movement. Exploring the body as an interdependent, dynamic system, we will expand our individual and collaborative movement possibilities through a range of functional and playful improvisation exercises that also develop greater self-awareness, balance, coordination, and self-regulation. Experiential Anatomy is ideal for dancers, bodyworkers, and movement practitioners or anyone with a desire to deepen their embodied awareness.


Ryan Corriston

Ryan Corriston danced in productions of Salome, The Magic Flute and Les Sacre du Printemps at the Metropolitan Opera and worked with Nancy Bannon, Andrew Robinson, Tiffany Mills, Martha Clarke and the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. He was a member of Doug Varone and Dancers from 2005-2011 and was artistic director of Harkness Repertory Ensemble at the 92nd Street Y from 2009-2011. He joined the dance faculty at James Madison University in 2013 and makes his home in Harrisonburg, VA. with his wife and kids.

Adriane Fang

Adriane Fang was a member of the internationally renowned dance company, Doug Varone and Dancers, from 1996-2006 and has worked with several other choreographers including Colleen Thomas and Wally Cardona. Currently on faculty at the University of Maryland, Adriane is the recipient of a 2007 New York Dance and Performance Award (“Bessie”) for her performance with Doug Varone and Dancers.

Maurice Fraga

Maurice Fraga is from San Francisco, California, and has earned B.A., M.A, and M.F.A. degrees in dance from the University of California, Santa Cruz, The College at Brockport, and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, respectively. He has danced for Ben Munisteri Dance, David Parker and the Bang Group, the Kevin Wynn Collection, Michael Foley Dance, Creach/Company, the Tiffany Mills Company, the Mark Morris Dance Group, O Vertigo (Montreal), and Fluxusdance (Dublin). He has taught in the U.S., Canada, South America and Europe. He is Chair of Dance at Shenandoah University, and is the director of his own dance company, Ekilibre. 

Adrienne Elion

Adrienne has been involved in the arts her whole life. She made her stage debut at eight months in The Music Man, and has continued ever since.   She trained dance with Monica Ryan, at the Carnegie Performing Arts Center, and currently attends Shenandoah University for a BFA in Dance and a Minor in Physics.  There, she is a student leader and helped create Student Performance Week, a Conservatory sponsored, first in the country, inter-disciplinary festival to feature student collaborations.  Adrienne constantly seeks new opportunities, and therefore is a wandering soul.  She has traveled all across America for both intensive training and internships, as well as travelled internationally for workshops and research.

Kati Freeman

Kati Freeman is from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where she trained at Contempro Dance Theatre for 14 years in various genres. Kati is currently continuing her dance training at Shenandoah Conservatory as a BFA dance major. She has been given the opportunity to perform in multiple mainstage performances already. Kati has also traveled to New York to perform Dot Kelly’s Run. for the Kat Wildish Showcase, and Tiffanie Carson’s Find Your Happy at the New York Jazz Choreography Project. Most recently, Kati traveled to Ikaria, Greece for Ekilibre Dance Company’s contact improvisation workshop.

Some Information

  • Dates – October 11th – 12th, 2019
  • Location – Winchester, Virginia
  • Cost $10
  • All participants are responsible for their own travel, housing, and food.
  • Each participant will need to fill out a registration form.
  • Open to all people interested in improvisation and movement.
  • Must be 18 years or older.


Get in Touch

PO Box 1733
Winchester, VA, 22604

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