Homage to Joan Skinner.
Tictac Art Centre organizes a two-day homage to Joan Skinner (1924-2021), a major figure of the dance and the creator of the Skinner Releasing Technique. We will host several activities such as a SRT™ workshop by Lily Kiara, performances, a concert, projections, and more.
Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th of June
More information below.
A 2-day workshop of Skinner Releasing Technique™ will be guided by Lily Kiara.
Saturday 26th: 13:30 to 16:30
Sunday 27th: 14:00-17:00.
For more information & registration, please click here.
For a special Crude Saturday, we will host performances by several artists who were in contact with or influenced by the work of Joan Skinner. After a short break, the songwriter Lily Kiara will give a short concert of 30 min. to complete the evening.
Saturday 26th at 18:00
In Tictac’s gallery, we will present a video-archive from the 90’s showing Joan Skinner’s work involving other artists from NYC including David Zambrano, Jeniffer Monson, Ishmael Houston Jones, Jenniffer Lacey, DD Dorvillier. Additional documents, artwork and installations will be on display all around Tictac’s building.
Open to the public both on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00-18:00.
About Joan Skinner:
Joan Skinner had a lifetime of achievement in the worlds of dance performance and pedagogical innovation.
Early influences included studying dance from the age of six with Cora Belle Hunter, formerly a graduate student of Mabel Ellsworth Todd, author of the groundbreaking “The Thinking Body” in 1937.
Shortly after graduating from Bennington College, Vermont, in 1946, Martha Graham personally invited Joan to join her company, having noticed her in several student performances. Soon Joan was performing major works alongside Merce Cunningham, Paul Taylor and others, and teaching at the Graham school. During this time she was also studying ballet at the School of American Ballet and was particularly impressed with the teaching of Anatole Oboufhoff, a former partner of Pavlova. In 1951, having left the Graham company, Joan began working with Merce Cunningham at his studio.
She performed in the revolutionary “Sixteen Dances” and “Suite by Chance”, and was one of the Cunningham soloists for the American Dance festival on Broadway in April 1953.In the following four years, her performing career flourished, including through lengthy and gruelling cross-country tours. During one of them, she sustained a ruptured disc, a serious injury threatening her future in dance. It led her to Alexander Technique teacher Judith Liebowitz in New York in 1955. The principles she learned there would prove very influential in her later exploration of movement technique.
After a period of study, Joan was able to resume a rigorous, challenging dancing career without further injury. Following 1957, Joan increasingly focused on teaching, primarily at the University of Illinois in Urbana, Illinois, where she received her Master’s in dance in 1964; as well as at the Walker Art Center and the Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. She also taught experimental classes, in which she began to evolve her own distinctive approach to movement training.
As a dance faculty member at the University of Illinois in the early 1960’s, Joan was encouraged by her friend and mentor Margaret Erlanger to experiment with graduate students in refining her own approach to technique. It was these students who coined the term “releasing”, to describe their feeling-state throughout Joan’s experimental classes. Among these students were Mary Fulkerson and a handful of other notables who continued practising, developing and communicating these principles following graduation. Joan eventually became head of the modern dance program at the University of Washington in 1967, where her experimentation continued.
What we now know as Skinner Releasing Technique took shape from the early 1970s, as she refined and codified the material and approaches she was developing. A formal teacher training programme first appeared in the mid-1980’s. Since that time over 120 teachers have been trained to pass on Joan’s gentle, rigorous and poetic approach to movement, which remains as distinctive and radical as ever. Joan Skinner retired in Seattle, Washington with her husband, jazz composer Jim Knapp. After a long and accomplished life Joan Skinner passed away on the 7th of march 2021, aged 97.
Skinner Releasing Technique (SRT)™ is an innovative approach to dance and movement training, developed by Joan Skinner. A detailed, refined and expansive technique. It is designed to ease the tension by promoting effortless moving and integrated dynamic alignment of the whole self. The teaching strongly draws on guided imagery and hands-on partner studies, supporting an experiential understanding of both the technical and the creative process in movement. There is an ongoing fine-tuning in allowing ourselves to consciously fall into unknown creative territories. It engages many layers of the physical and the imagination that are involved when we dance and create, inside as well as outside.
Embodied listening, inner spaces, presence, dynamic stillness, softening and allowing are some of the essential areas of practice in Skinner Releasing (other than release), that support action into newness. Softening supports the releasing of strength through efficiency and responsiveness. Allowing encourages listening, to one’s own dancing first. This way we can become more available. In the technical work and in creating dances, directing and allowing are side by side, as are stillness and action, receptivity and fierceness. Joan Skinner says: “Letting go is a discipline”. It is a continuous practicing.
SRT™ is different from what has come to be known under the name ‘Release Technique’ in several ways. To name a few:
* It is process oriented, releasing other than release. It trains dancers to be deeply in touch with their own bodies continuously evolving;
* The alignment is approached as multidimensional dynamic alignment, also dynamic stillness;
* It brings together technique and creative process through the use of imagery and they way you are working from imagery in class. It is directed to the becoming aware and evolving of your own individual process and imagination.
* Part of the class, you can work with eyes closed to deepen your inner experience of the dance. Integration of inner awarenesses and outer focus is practised, playing with eyes open and closed.
* There is a possibility of transformation through the use of specific imagery inside the body while moving. It is about experiential understanding and when an image or any offering is actually felt in the body, it changes the dancing self.
A first book about SRT™ is in the making. It is expected to come out in 2021.
Online Skinner Releasing Network for resources and teachers: