Lailye Weidman

Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance
Lailye Weidman
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Lailye Weidman
Music and Dance Building 114

Lailye Weidman is a choreographer, dancer, and writer based in western Massachusetts.

Her recent projects include Showman, an homage to the resonance of hardcore music; Social Animal Please Tame Me, an ensemble dance theater work investigating consent and consensus; birthing room, a solo tracing textures of place and displacement; and Dike Dance, a site-specific performance and community dialogue in collaboration with scientists from the Atlantic Research Center. As a member of the Movement Party, she collaboratively produced Fleet Moves, an annual site-based dance festival on Cape Cod for four seasons. She is also a member of Femmelab, a queer research and movement collective. She teaches dance and dance studies in academic and community settings and is a contributing editor for Contact Quarterly.

Lailye received her B.A. in dance from UCLA and an M.F.A. in dance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her work has been shown at the Domestic Performance Agency, Movement Research, and the New School in New York City; Anatomy Riot and Pieter PASD in Los Angeles, CounterPulse and Joe Goode Studios in San Francisco, Green Street Studios and the Aviary Gallery in Boston, Figure One Gallery and the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Champaign, IL, and K77 Studio in Berlin. In 2018, she was an artist-in-residence with Meredith Bove at APE Ltd Gallery, researching creative companionship and “co-dramaturgy.” She has also been an artist-in-residence at Light Box in Detroit, the Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature, and Dance (iLAND) in New York City, at Hothouse UCLA, and the SEEDS Festival at Earthdance.

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Recent and Upcoming Courses

  • This beginning-level course invites students to develop movement, making, and performance practices as vehicles for thinking about and supporting new beginnings. The course will function as dance class, rehearsal, and research seminar where we will examine assumptions about whose bodies are afforded the opportunity to be expressive, and learn to trust what our bodies already know. We will also work to expand our capacities for embodied play, experimentation, meaning-making, physical and intellectual rigor, and employ a range of creative modalities (including use of the written word, video and digital media) to contextualize and process embodied experience. Our work will be bolstered by the study of theoretical underpinnings of contemporary dance, art-making and performance practices. We will share our work in a collaborative all-day performance event at the midterm, with a possible informal showing at the end of the semester. No previous dance experience is necessary. KEYWORDS:Dance, theatre, performance, movement, art

  • In this course, students engage in an in-depth rehearsal process toward a final performance that will be performed in the Five College Dance Concert hosted by UMass in the first week of December. The proposed investigation centers bodily negotiation of proximity, connection, contact, and vulnerability during this time of the lingering-pandemic. Together we ask: How has the risk of contagion registered in our bodies, shaped our movement, brought us together and pushed us apart? Can we return to togetherness without embracing denial and amnesia? How might we honor the power of our shared breath? Rehearsals will involve collaboration, movement creation, improvisation, writing, and dialogue. A few shared readings and viewings will accompany our physical investigations. Some contact improvisation and partnering principles will be engaged in our shared work, Prior study of any dance practice at the intermediate or advanced level suggested. Students must be invested in the process of creating live performance. Instructor permission/Audition required. KEYWORDS:Dance, repertory, performance, choreography, improvisation

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  • This course is designed for beginning and intermediate level dancers. The studio will be our laboratory for a semester-long exploration of contemporary dance concepts with a focus on opening sensation, clarifying points of initiation in the body, expansive use of space, and dynamic phrase-work. In motion, we will activate connection between periphery and center, time and weight, gravity and support-giving continued attention to alignment, spatial clarity, breath, range of motion, and the development of strength and stamina. In this course, a sampling of somatic techniques and knowledges will be introduced as a complement to dance technique. These somatic practices offer inroads to experiencing presence & sensation, examining one's habits and patterns, and expanding one's approach to the body. You will also be asked to reflect on the histories and knowledge you bring into class, articulate learning ambitions, and track new developments. The goal of this course is to support a sustainable and deeply engaged movement practice-one that may inform the development of a lifetime of embodied creative process. Keywords:Dance, somatics, technique, movement, body

  • n her book, Queer Dance: Meanings and Makings, Clare Croft proposes queer dance as a space of radical difference, where multiple identities, subjectivities, and politics collide, propelling artists and audiences into world-making action. This course will begin with Croft's text and expand into other creative and scholarly frameworks for considering the power and potential of queer dance. Rather than treating "queer" as a monolith, we will examine queer dance through various and intersectional lenses, centering queer artists of color, disabled artists, and trans and gender non-conforming artists as those who have defined and moved forward notions of queerness through dance. In addition to readings, we will engage with dance performances both live and on video. And, we will dance, move, and create choreography in dialogue with class materials and our group conversations. This course emphasizes the relationship between theory and practice as a key place for creating one's own queer methodologies. All levels of experience and identities welcome. Keywords:Queer, Dance, Choreography, Performance, LGBTQIA+ HAC

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  • Building on foundational principles of dance composition, students in this course will be invited to apply those principles to collaborative group choreographic processes. The studio will be our laboratory as we individually and collectively examine kinesthetic and aesthetic impulse, and the ways group process reconciles, expands, and challenges those. Employing design and chance methods, we will attend to the negotiations engendered by relations between makers, performers, audiences, communities, identities, and place as well as the inherent societal implications of making art of, for, and by the expressive body in space and time. Together, members of the class will work to support one another in developing a nurturing space for curious investigation, boundary expanding rigor, generous feedback, and playful discovery. Choreographic works that emerge from this semester-long process will be shared informally at the end of the semester and may be included in Hampshire's Winter Dance Concert (S23). Keywords: performance, art-making, embodiment, movement, choreography.

  • This course invites students to dive into choreographic thinking, movement generation, experimentation, and dance-making research. Together we will define and expand choreographic possibilities through weekly dance-making assignments-both solo and collaborative. Students will produce choreographic studies that address specific concepts, lenses, and methods for crafting dance. Specifically, we will explore dance as a poetic medium-using movement as an entry into dwelling with rhythm, phrasing, mood, and tone. We will reflect together on one another's work, looking to provide generative, generous, and insightfully critical feedback. Final projects will evolve over the latter portion of the semester and be performed in an informal showing. Other requirements include viewing live performances at the Five Colleges and in the community, viewing dance on video, and engaging with readings, discussions, and reflective writing assignments. No previous experience in dance is required. Concurrent study of dance technique is encouraged. Keywords: dance, choreography, performance, poetry, theatre

  • Athletes taking a knee, bodies marching in the street, dance movements that go viral. How can Dance Studies help us see and understand the urgency of [social] movement in our current moment? At the same time, how does dance challenge normative conceptualizations of history and politics? Exploring dance and embodied politics of the 20th and 21st century through the lens of Dance Studies, this course works from the perspective of "Critical Moves" proposed by late dance theorist Randy Martin: "Critical moves. Steps we must take. Movement that informs critical consciousness." The interrelationship between theory and practice will be emphasized through reading, writing, movement exercises, and creative workshops. Students will regularly read, write, and move; view and discuss performances; pursue a final research project through embodied, visual, and text-based methods; and work on a collective performance intervention that will take place on campus during the semester. No dance experience necessary, just open curiosity. Keywords: dance, performance, politics, activism, body

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