University of Rochester

EVENT: inspireDANCE Festival Brings NYC Choreographer to Rochester

January 16, 2014

Community Invited to Attend 24 Workshops, Performances

The fourth annual inspireDANCE Festival, organized through the Program of Dance and Movement at the University of Rochester, will showcase a rich diversity of dance and movement styles including contemporary, hip-hop, ballet, Irish dance, Capoeira, yoga, and more. The festival, which runs from Thursday, Feb. 13 through Tuesday, Feb. 18, will offer more than 20 workshops and performances on the University's River Campus.

This year, the festival features performances and workshops taught by critically acclaimed New York City choreographer and dancer Heidi Latsky, formerly a dancer with Bill T. Jones and founder of the modern dance company Heidi Latsky Dance. During a week-long residency, the choreographer will bring her teaching philosophy to students at the University of Rochester and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology, and to the Rochester-based company, BIODANCE.

Latsky will bring the intensity, passion, and emotion she is known for to Rochester's Strong Auditorium with a performance at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 14. The performance will feature both able and disabled professional dancers from Heidi Latsky Dance, modern dance legend and Brockport faculty member Bill Evans, and students from Rochester and NTID who will perform a Movement Symphony that blends choreography with American Sign Language.

"Heidi's time here will provide our students with the tremendous opportunity to work with a world-class choreographer and artist in an original creative process and perform on stage with professional New York City dancers," said Missy Pfohl Smith, director of the Program of Dance and Movement. "It's an unusual experience for student dancers to interact and collaborate with members of the deaf community as well, so this provides a very real community-based learning opportunity."

Latsky also will lead a master class on Saturday, Feb. 15, which explores her innovative methods of choreographing for both dancers with and without physical disabilities. Building on a simple task, Latsky will direct the participants through a series of directives to come up with a short piece of choreography that participants will perform for each other. All dance levels are welcome to participate.

Festival Class Passes, which allow participants to attend any of the classes, workshops, and performances, are $18 through Thursday, Feb. 13, on sale at the Common Market in Wilson Commons. Festival Class Passes purchased after Thursday, Feb. 13, are $25, sold at the door. Separate tickets for the Heidi Latsky Dance performance are $5 for students and $15 for the general public, available at the Common Market and at the door. For ticket and registration inquiries or more information, call 585.273.5150, email or visit

Launched in 2011 by Arielle Friedlander '11, as a part of her Kauffman Entrepreneurial Year project, the festival has expanded rapidly in just four years, adding a sixth day and attracting nationally acclaimed choreographers and dancers. This year's festival is supported in part by a grant from the NYS Presenters Network as part of a Presenter/Artist Partnership Project. This initiative has been made possible through a Partnership Grant by the New York State Council on the Arts Presenting Program.

While the inspireDANCE Festival concludes on February 18, Latsky's work will remain in Rochester through a residency with BIODANCE, a dance company led by Pfohl Smith. In a collaborative concert titled Hot Off The Press, BIODANCE will perform Latsky's masterwork Solo Countersolo and will be joined by University dance faculty member Anne Harris Wilcox's Present Tense Dance. Tickets for the performances, which run February 21 through the 23 at Geva Theatre Center's Nextstage, are available online at

Select Events for the inspireDANCE Festival include:

inspireDANCE Kick-Off Event "UR Dances"
Thursday, Feb. 13, 8 p.m., Spurrier Dance Studio
The inspireDANCE Festival kick-off features a number of student dance groups performing five-minute pieces that showcase the rich diversity of dance styles at the University.

Bartenieff Fundamentals Workshop with Bill Evans
Friday, Feb. 14, 2 to 3:30 p.m., Spurrier Dance Studio
Modern dance legend and Brockport faculty member Bill Evans leads a workshop on the Bartenieff Fundamentals, which focus on total body connectivity and strengthening of core muscles.

"Acquiring Dance Literacy" Lecture Demonstration with Ivan Sygoda (tentative)
Friday, Feb. 14, 3:45 to 5:15 p.m., Spurrier Dance Studio
Lecture led by Ivan Sygoda, founder of Pentacle Artist Representation in New York City.

Heidi Latsky Dance: Two Works and an Interlude
Friday, Feb. 14, 7 p.m., Strong Auditorium
The festival's capstone event features New York City dancers, Bill Evans, and student dancers from Rochester and NTID.

Master Class with Heidi Latsky
Saturday, Feb. 15, 10:30 a.m. to noon, Leibner-Cooper Room, Goergen Athletic Center
In this master class, New York City dancer and choreographer Heidi Latsky will introduce simple but profound tools to aid the creative process.

Indulgence Hip Hop Workshop
Saturday, Feb. 15, 1 to 2:50 p.m., Leibner-Cooper Room, Goergen Athletic Center
Student performance group Indulgence leads a workshop on hip-hop dance.

Eddie Murphy Irish Dance (Hard Shoe) Workshop
Saturday, Feb. 15, 3 to 4:30 p.m., Leibner-Cooper Room, Goergen Athletic Center
Workshop led by Eddie Murphy, founder of Drumcliffe School of Irish Dance and the Drumcliffe Dance Project.

inspireJAM: B-Boy, B-Girl and All-style Battle
Saturday, Feb. 15, 4:30 to 7 p.m., Leibner-Cooper Room, Goergen Athletic Center
Some of the region's most exciting street artists will battle one-on-one in an all-style battle or b-boy/b-girl battle. For those interested in battling, e-mail Smon Cheewapansri at

Bharatanatyam Classical Indian Dance Workshop
Sunday, Feb. 16, 12:45 to 2:15 p.m., Spurrier Dance Studio
Participants will learn about the classical Indian dance form known for its beautiful, emotional approach to movement.

Contemporary Dance Workshop with Sami Johnson
Sunday, Feb. 16, 2:30 to 4 p.m., Spurrier Dance Studio
Sami Johnson '11, past president of Louvre Performance Ensemble, leads a workshop on contemporary dance.

Living Yoga, Living Anatomy
Monday, Feb. 17, 9 to 10:45 a.m., Spurrier Dance Studio
This class will focus on breath awareness and will encourage participants to slow down to experience the subtle movements within that support life and movement. Through the practices of meditation, pranayama (yogic breathing), yoga asanas, discussion, and a resting posture, participants will discover resources for awareness, stress relief, and embodiment.

Capoeira-Brazilian Art Movement
Monday, Feb. 17, 4:50 to 6:20 p.m., Spurrier Dance Studio
Immerse yourself in Brazilian culture by learning about the country's popular art form that mixes elements of martial arts with dance.

Hip-Hop Culture & Breaking
Tuesday, Feb. 18, 8 to 9:15 p.m., Spurrier Dance Studio