A Workshop and Working Group for Dance Practitioners and Creatives

August 5-10, 2024

The University of Texas at Austin | Austin, TX

I believe that if we restore the body to its rightful place, we will fall in love with the world again.  Over and over, we will find ourselves reveling in the beauty of existence, experienced and known through our material form: the body.

On almost any day, I find myself wondering, What is the future of dance?  I think we have yet to realize dance’s full potential as a vehicle for inquiry, and I think the key to our future as dance professionals resides in understanding how our skills and knowledge can be used beyond the studio or stage.  How is dance relevant to a team preparing people for disaster readiness, a scholar researching spirituality, a business designing a story layout, or a federal program helping survivors of war-induced PTSD?  Dance practitioners currently exist in each of these scenarios, yet most dancers are not trained to consider themselves relevant to such pursuits.

The Intelligent Bodies, Creative Minds workshop and working group is an opportunity to imagine how dance-specific knowledge and embodied practices can be used in a wide range of contexts, conversations, and professions.  It is designed for body-based performers, practitioners, creators, or educators who want to discover new ways of thinking, moving, making, and working.

During the workshop, we’ll:

  • Experience a range of approaches to embodiment and movement
  • Use embodied practices and processes in unconventional ways
  • Apply dance-specific expertise to different contexts and projects
  • Develop long-term, individual projects that utilize dance in new ways or in novel contexts
  • Establish professional relationships to help us advance our projects over the long term

Workshop location:
The University of Texas at Austin

August 5, 2024 – August 10, 2024

  • Participants must come to all workshop sessions.  Daily activities are scheduled:
    • Monday-Friday, 9:30am-4:30pm
    • Saturday, 9:30am-1pm
  • There is no participation fee. All participants will be paid a stipend, depending on their chosen level of participation (see below).
  • Maximum cohort size is 10 individuals. This small group size facilitates in-depth collaboration and long-term working relationships.
  • Participants must meet the participation parameters (see below) and submit an application by July 12, 2024.
  • Participants must organize their own travel and housing. By request, folks attending from out of town will be connected to one another and/or to local participants to coordinate housing and/or travel together.

Option One: Workshop

  • Attend 2024 Intelligent Bodies, Creative Minds Workshop to expand your understanding of dance’s potential; develop a project plan to implement at your discretion after the workshop; and help create methods for dance practitioners to hone their expertise for use in a range of professional opportunities and endeavors
  • Total time commitment: August 5-10, 2024
  • Participation compensation: $800


Option Two: Workshop and Working Group

  • All of the workshop benefits
  • Participation in monthly working group meetings to help support your project
  • One-on-one meetings with workshop leaders, as needed, to support your project
  • Continued participation in the evolution of workshop methods
  • Total time commitment: August 5, 2024 – May 31, 2025
  • Participation compensation: $2,000
  • Dance practitioners in any form/movement tradition are welcome to apply, as are creatives in any form who are interested in embodiment.
  • Applicants should fit one of the following experience profiles:
    • have an undergraduate degree, plus a minimum of three years of experience working in the field/applying their dance expertise/embodied practices in a professional context
    • be in the process of completing a graduate program that includes the use of dance or embodied practices/processes
    • have graduated high school and have at least seven years of experience working in the field/applying their dance expertise/embodied practices in a professional context
  • Interested individuals must submit an application no later than July 12, 2024. Notification of acceptance provided on a rolling basis, and within one week of application submission.

About Leah Cox

When I was eight years old, dancing was a way to feel music and tether my emotions to the sounds and rhythms I heard.  Around the age of fifteen, I aspired to dance in a professional company, and I wondered how I would stand out from my contemporaries. In my undergraduate years at Texas Christian University, I studied dance, philosophy, and religion.  My love of the mind and the body turned out to be the ticket to my dance career.  In auditions, it was the interview conversation with choreographers that tipped the scale in my favor.  During those discussions, commonalities emerged, the most important being a shared conviction that dance could be used to investigate ideas and bring people together.  Dance was more than beautiful, virtuosic movement performed for others. 

Through my many professional roles–administrator, educator, performer, and choreographer–the one thing that has held steady has been my use of dance to discover new ideas, connect to others, and resource the wisdom of my body.  Intelligent Bodies, Creative Minds arises from my interest in failure, climate change, dance curriculum development, and dance’s relevance to contemporary society.  It is a project that enables me to collaborate with other people who believe dance can continually do and be more.  I am grateful to Planet Texas 2050 for its financial support of this work, and for offering a platform for interdisciplinary inquiry.  

As a dance practitioner, I currently hold the position of associate professor in the Theatre and Dance Department at The University of Texas at Austin.  I have been the dean of the American Dance Festival (2016-2022), a dancer in Liz Lerman’s Wicked Bodies (2017-2023), a Visiting Guest Artist and faculty member at Bard College (2009-2019), and a dancer and the inaugural education director for the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company (dancer 2001-2009, education director 2009-2015).  

Photo by Jamie Kraus, courtesy of Jacob’s Pillow

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© Copyright 2024 Leah Cox