Assistant Professor of Modern/Contemporary Dance
Deborah Goffe is a performer, dance maker, dance educator, performance curator and intermittent video artist. She is founder of Scapegoat Garden, a Hartford-based collaborative dance theater company, which has served as a primary vehicle and creative community through which Deborah has explored the intersection of dance with other media. A graduate of the University of the Arts (BFA, Modern Dance) and California Institute of the Arts (MFA, Dance Performance and Choreography), Deborah earned a Professional Certificate from Wesleyan University's Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance in 2013 where she explored curatorial practice as a way to nurture the health and vitality of local dance eco-systems.
In 2012, the Connecticut Dance Alliance honored Deborah for Distinguished Achievement in Dance. In service to her work with Scapegoat Garden, Deborah has granted Artist Fellowships from the Connecticut Office of the Arts (2005, 2013), the Greater Hartford Arts Council (2007), and the Surdna Foundation (2008). In 2010, Deborah was invited to participate as New England Emerging Choreographer at the Bates Dance Festival in Lewiston, Maine. In that same year, she served as a yearlong Artist-in-Residence at Hartford’s Billings Forge Community Works.
From 2011-2012, Deborah served as dance coordinator at Charter Oak Cultural Center, working closely with area dance-makers to re-envision the Greater Hartford dance community through the Homegrown Dance initiative. As an educator, Deborah has taught dance and related courses in a several institutions, including California Institute of the Arts; CREC Center for Creative Youth; Trinity College; CulturArte, a youth arts summer residency program in Cape Verde, Africa; and was for ten years a faculty member of the dance department at CREC Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. In the fall of 2013 Deborah served as a visiting assistant professor of dance at Wesleyan University. Deborah is thrilled to have joined the Five College Dance Department this past fall as assistant professor of modern/contemporary dance at Hampshire College.
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 equal parts 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 use of the written word to contextualize and process embodied experience. Our work will be bolstered by study of theoretical underpinnings of contemporary dance practices, with particular focus on Urban Bush Women, a renowned American dance company whose work will be a regular presence in the Five Colleges throughout the academic year. We will share our work informally sharing at the conclusion of the semester, with possible performances early in February 2021. No previous dance experience is necessary. (keywords: dance, performance, art making, critical dance studies, time and narrative)
How do we reconcile our customary approaches to dance technique classes, making processes, and the embodiment of another choreographer's vocabulary? In this course, we will engage this question by activating the study of contemporary dance technique in relationship to their applications in creative practice and performance contexts. Building on the technique class as a foundation and point of departure, we will focus on deepening sensation, clarifying points of initiation in the body, expansive use of space and weight, connectivity and increasingly complex phrase work. Over the course of the semester, this work will give way to the development and elaboration of emerging movement material, allowing then to coalesce into choreographic structure. The results of our process will be shared informally at the close of the semester and may be performed more formally in S21 concerts as the group determines. (keywords: dance technique, dance performance)
How does one sustain a life in the arts? While this question looms large for lovers of the arts, a host of other questions lurk just beneath the surface: How is success defined and redefined? Where are the points of entry and who are the gatekeepers? How do performance, making, educational, community-engaged, curatorial, and scholarly practices relate to one another and to the organizational structures that support them? What is the role of place? Drawing inspiration from the interconnectedness inherent in ecological frameworks, this course will function as a think tank of sorts, inviting dialogue around the evolution of existing arts infrastructures and our place in their futures. Through critical discourse, research, and entrepreneurial strategies, and with special emphasis on performing arts, we will imagine holistic and innovative approaches to sustained arts engagement that are responsive to social, cultural and economic realities. This course is geared for upper Division II & III aspiring practitioners, administrators, entrepreneurs, curators, scholars, cultural critics, and advocates of the arts.
This course in intermediate-level dance technique will build on students' previous study of modern dance technique. The studio will be our laboratory for a semester-long exploration of a wide range of modern dance concepts with a focus on deepening sensation, clarifying points of initiation in the body, expansive use of space, connectivity and increasingly complex phrase work. Along the way we will give continued attention to alignment, spatial clarity, breath, increasing range of motion and the development of strength and stamina. Ultimately, the goal is for each student to engage a holistic approach to contemporary/modern dance technique - moving beyond rote mimicry toward dynamic, fully expansive movement exploration. The hope is that this will form the basis of a sustainable and deeply engaged movement practice - one that may inform a lifetime of embodied creative process.
In this creative process course, dancers from across the Five Colleges will work intensively with choreographer, Deborah Goffe, in the creation of a dance work for performance in Hampshire's Winter Dance Concert (February 2020), with a second possible performance in the Five College Dance Faculty Concert later that month. Through this process, students participate as artistic collaborators in the development of a new choreographic work, which will deepen, diversify and challenge rehearsal and performance capacities. In this context, students will experiment with the integration of a wide range of experiences, including movement practice, creative process, and theoretical frameworks. The first class of the semester will function as an audition workshop. Concurrent study of dance technique at any level is recommended. Participation in HACU-0215 is strongly encouraged.
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 (S20).