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About Teaching:

Ellis Wood and Ellis Wood Dance Company members teach classes to dance students, professional dancers, community members and children nationally and abroad. Wood’s teaching philosophy and goal is to inspire students to explore their own personal expression through structured exercises based in release technique. Technique classes are a combination of physically challenging movement phrases and guided dramatic content. Wood and her company teach: technique, composition, improvisation and repertory as well as community workshops that include modern dance, yoga, aerobics, stretching, use of voice, text and creative movement. The company also gives master classes, lecture demonstrations, informal showcases and leads discussions on various topics on modern dance.

Technique classes are based in release technique. Technique class begins with a full-bodied warm-up, which includes release exercises and possible floor work combined with more traditional standing work. The class culminates with an athletically challenging phrase that includes both highly technical elements and dramatic content – all developed from information given throughout the class. Composition classes stress the importance of solo work to define one’s style, and the ability to relate that to a group of dancers in a way that both enhances their abilities and expresses the choreographer’s vision at the same time. Finding organic pathways that lead from the students’ visions to dancers’ bodies is the goal. Improvisation classes use the effect that structured play has on the body – also informing students through gut reactions as to what their tendencies are and what choices they want to make surrounding their physical and dramatic habits. Repertory classes can either be the recreation of exact works from the repertory or a workshop using both repertory themes and phrases combined with guided material the students produce to make a new work

Wood’s community outreach projects and workshops held in conjunction with her own company performances, have crossed cultural, racial, religious, socio-economic, generational, and gender boundaries to bring dance to communities that might not otherwise have this opportunity.

Ellis Wood has taught as a Full Time Visiting Guest Artist for two semesters at SUNY Brockport. She has taught, set work and been in-residence for eight consecutive years at U.C. Berkeley. Wood taught, performed and set work at NYU, New World School for the Arts, Rutgers University, and Roger Williams University and others. She has also taught at multiple universities and colleges nationwide for the Stephen Petronio Company and Dan Wagoner and Dancers before starting her own company. Her company spent 2005 working in the NYC school system with Public School 150 in a yearlong workshop and performance process.

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