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Rhythm in the Desert

Our 2023 Workshop will be lead by Nic Gareiss

December 8th/9th/10th

Santa Fe, NM

We are thrilled to be hosting the first annual workshop in the desert Southwest for percussive dancers of many disciplines. Our goal is to provide unique and high quality learning experiences for dancers to broaden their skill set and rhythm vocabulary, while working to preserve precious historic dance styles for generations to come.

About Nic

One of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch," Nic Gareiss (he/they) has been hailed by the New York Times for his "dexterous melding of Irish and Appalachian dance" and called "the most inventive and expressive step dancer on the scene” by the Boston Herald. They reimagine movement as a musical practice, recasting dance as a medium that appeals to both eyes and ears. Born, raised, and residing in what some people call Michigan, Gareiss engages many percussive dance traditions, weaving together a singular dance practice marked by his love of clog, flatfoot, and step dance footwork vocabulary; improvisation; and musical collaboration. Gareiss received the 2020 Michigan Heritage Award, the region’s highest distinction bestowed on traditional artists. They have performed in seventeen countries including at London's Barbican Centre, the Irish National Concert Hall, the Munich Philharmonic, and the Kennedy Center and collaborated with The Chieftains, The Gloaming, Phil Wiggins, Colin Dunne, Liz Carroll, Bruce Molsky, Sandy Silva, Bill Frisell, Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas. Nic's graduate thesis was the first piece of scholarship to center the experience of LGBTQ Irish step dancers, he holds a MA in Ethnochoreology from the University of Limerick. 


About the Classes

(75mins) Appalachian Flatfooting: Flatfooting is a solo form of percussive dance originating in the Appalachian mountains of what some people call the United States with connections to West African, Indigenous, and Western European dance. Using the toe, heel, and ball of the foot to strike and slide across the floor, flatfooting articulates the rhythms of old time fiddle and banjo music. Wear smooth-soled comfortable shoes with a low or no heel for this class.

Friday 12/8 6:30-7:45pm

(90mins) Five Skills for Percussive Dancers: This class for intermediate-advanced percussive dancers outlines five skills which are germane, perhaps even crucial, for clog, flatfoot, tap, step dance, sean-nós, and other percussive dance footwork forms. By engaging footwork gestures and techniques from Ireland, England, Appalachia, and across what some people call Canada, we'll work to construct patterns and practices that will strengthen dancers' existing facility, as well as expand towards new technical and improvisational vistas.

Saturday 12/9 9:30-11:00am


(90mins)Dance the Tune: Traversing intersections and interstices of many traditional percussive dance styles, this class explores the sheer musical potential of your feet. Using imitation and idiomatic ornaments as well as extended techniques for shoe sounds and textures, we will learn to construct lines of rhythm imitating melody as well as create rhythmic counterpoint by setting up shoe-grooves and developing listening, responsiveness, and sonic sensing.

Saturday 12/9 1:30-3:00pm



(75mins)Dance in the Moment: This course empowers percussive dancers to improvise using their respective technique to access a place of personal connection with music and with other dancers, creating new choreography on the spot. Through guided exercises, students will develop and hone their ability to create extemporaneous movement in the moment, engaging with sound, text, and each other. 

Sunday 12/10 9:30-10:45am

Classes are $50/class, 20% discount for taking all four. 

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