Colleen Thomas Dance

"the beautiful and the ominous mingle in thoughtfully poetic ways" - Village Voice



This course uses improvisation, but begins to place emphasis on choreographic forms and structures through studies in compositional theories. Borrowing from traditional musical structures and experimenting in contemporary explorations of space and time, students will create complex movement studies, in abstract and in linear forms, concentrating on the solo and small group. Studies include pre-classic and classic forms.

Contemporary Technique

This release based technique class invites students to explore the edge of movement while working with an underlying line and technique. Emphasis on sensation, initiation and weight will be introduced in a floor warm-up that will expand to a standing exploration of the transition between form and space. This class focuses on the personal discovery of true alignment and the different pathways that follow. Students are encouraged to use alignment to fall off of it, release it, and manipulate it. The warm-up will also prepare the student to use initiation and weight for movement on the floor, out of the floor, and to the floor. Drawing from release, yoga, ballet and traditional modern dance techniques, this class culminates with learning a phrase that takes a journey through abandon and control.


Students explore their relationship to self, other, sensation, environment, and space. We explore impetus influenced by sensation, music, and influences imagined, emotional, and physical. Movement building exercises are created to build tension and to explore the mystery of listening and communicating with the body. We will use a variety of forms to explore and question new ways of moving.

Contact Improvisation

This course will examine the partnering technique that is now required of almost all contemporary dancers. Contact Improvisation is an important tool for the dancer as it can support the creation of most duets, trios, and larger group dance. Focus is placed on recent improvisatory forms, sensation building, center connection and finding the safe edges of risk. Students will explore their own weight and how it relates to other bodies. Emphasis is placed on listening and sensation rather than controlling or leading. Gender is insignificant: Women lift men. Men lift women. Students will explore the dynamic ride and risk taking of improvisation and trusting another body by giving and taking weight. Students will explore improvisation with one or more partners and will later use different structures in order to set improvised material.

Career Seminar

This seminar will offer the student an understanding of the different opportunities/ paths in the career of dance. We will discuss several transformations that may be achieved through the love of the art form. There will be discussion of varied directions; performer, teacher, choreographer, scholar, critic, and dance therapist among others. There will be an introduction to the concepts of improvisation and choreography and the differences between the two. We will also explore the countless applications of improvisation to other career paths. The students will be invited to explore their own individual movement voice in a few improvisational games.

Photos ©  Alex Escalante, Gary Noel, Ian Douglas, Ernesto Mancebo, Yi-Chun Wu, Judy Stuart and Michael Discenza