(Not) Dancing On My Own

Embodied Play

Cover Image:

Photo of Jessi Stegall by Ilya Vidrin

Theater and dance games are meant to be practiced “together” – in the same space, often with plenty of physical contact. The value of spontaneity, including being “present”, tuning into one another, letting things happen without forcing them to happen, exchanging self-consciousness for self-awareness, are all based on developing a way of being together that is honest, curious, and free. In this workshop we aim to push the boundaries of the virtual experience toward the same playful goals.

Tickets to this workshop series are available on a sliding scale of $5 or $10, and free to those in need. Scaled ticket prices are designed to increase program accessibility; please select the ticket price that you are able to contribute, to support our programs.

This workshop, Embodied Play, is part of the participatory workshop series, (Not) Dancing On My Own. Additional workshops are Embodied Inquiry on Wednesday, February 3rd and Embodied Dialogue on Wednesday, February 17th.

(Not) Dancing On My Own is a participatory workshop series pairing ethics and movement. After a meditative opening and interpersonal check-in, participants will be invited to physically engage with the form (texture, volume, shape, etc.) of their surroundings, including doors, floors, walls, and furniture. Through the lens of dance, participants will physically consider relationships with objects as subjects to investigate the possibilities of partnering. The workshops will conclude with a guided discussion of shared agency and opportunities to encourage individual and collective well-being.

In a time of physical distancing, this workshop series forms a narrative arc, inviting participants to move from guided observation to facilitated play to personal practice with their surroundings. Workshops will be co-led by dance research-practitioners Ilya Vidrin, Jessi Stegall, and Valeria Solomonoff.

Ilya Vidrin is a performer, educator, and researcher at the intersection of performing arts, philosophy, and interactive media. Born into a refugee family, Ilya’s research and artistic practice interrogates the complex ethics of human interaction, including the embodiment of empathy, cultural competence, and social responsibility. He has been an artist-in-residence at the Harvard ArtLab, National Parks Service, Interlochen Arts Academy, and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Alongside his creative practice, Ilya pursued undergraduate studies in Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience at Northeastern University and graduate work in Human Development and Psychology at Harvard University. He went on to complete a PhD focused on ethics in physical interaction funded by the Centre for Dance Research in the United Kingdom. Ilya is currently a postdoc at Northeastern University and the director of the Partnering Lab, an applied research initiative dedicated to investigating ethics in social interaction.

Originally from Rosario, Argentina, Valeria Solomonoff has firm roots in the practice and philosophy of Tango. She was the founder and co-director of the groundbreaking company TangoMujer, the first all-female tango ensemble in the world. Valeria focuses her inquiry into relations of power, collaboration, and dynamics of gender, with an aesthetic that highlights non-traditional stories. She has been honored for her work as choreographer and director, including an ACE Award for “Tango por Ellos”, two HOLA awards for “Tango Fever” and for “Doña Flor y Sus Dos Maridos”, Best Soloist at Rosario Biannel (Argentina), and several ACE award nominations for her show “Tango Intimo”. Most recently, Valeria choreographed for the hit musical Evita at New York City Center and for the feature-length film “The Caller”. She has been Resident Fellow at the Center for Ballet and The Arts, and is currently faculty at NYU Tisch.

Jessi Stegall is a multimodal artist with backgrounds in dance, physical theatre, and mixed media. A graduate student at Harvard Medical School, Jessi’s research focuses on the intersections and ethical underpinnings of arts-based therapeutic interventions. She earned a B.S. in Expressive Art Therapy at Lesley University and is a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts. Jessi is a research associate of the Human Flourishing Program at Harvard University, and has been an artist-in-residence at the Harvard ArtLab, National Parks Service, and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.


New Museum Digital Initiatives are generously supported by Hermine and David B. Heller.

Support for Education and Public Engagement programs is provided, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund; and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.

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