Ensemble-in-Residence: Catalyst

Ensemble-in-Residence: Catalyst

What is this summer’s ensemble-in-residence Catalyst all about?

Neva Cockrell shares her vision…

Catalyst is being born from a three-part idea. The work for this summer’s residency is to unpack all three ideas through daily research, training, art-making and discussion.

Ready? Here are the three parts…

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I’ve been working at the intersection of dance and theater for the past 8 years, asking if they can actually exist without each other. Sure, it’s possible to make work that is closer to dance and work that is closer to theater, but they are both grounded in bodies, from the smallest facial gesture to the largest full body movement. Both are lived forms of communication from one human to another. And in my opinion, the most watchable performers are breathtakingly present, fully embodied, aware that their right big toe is touching the ground as they scream text and bounce their torso from side to side. This type of embodiment comes from a fierce commitment to physical training and mental awareness. I want to build a training technique that draws on the benefits of multiple schools of thought including: dance, physical theater, strength training, Alexander technique, yoga, free movement, Capoeira, Contact Improv, and ensemble training.


I understand it less, but I also believe that the best devised work is created by companies that train their bodies and voices together. Why is it that work created from this foundation moves me so much more? I don’t believe it’s just that the performers are better, I believe training impacts the work, both the structure and the content. I am looking to build a company where the only sacred thing is training, and we let the work come from that. We let the work arise out of our bodies, our lived experiences. This summer we will work the line between training and creation, seeing where the overlaps are, and what exists there.


I believe that this type of body training that makes performers look like the most alive people you’ve ever seen, is the same physical training that would hugely benefit the average person as a daily workout. Now, of course the level of intensity and exercises would have to vary based on experience and fitness level, but who doesn’t want to train their body to be strong, flexible, supple, graceful, intelligent, and aware? I haven’t encountered daily workouts that encourage a high level of fitness, combined with a high level of kinesthetic intelligence and movement through space — all of which increase general quality of life. To take it even one step further, I suspect that if a person were working out daily using the same technique as a group of professional performers, they’d be curious to see the shows that come out of that technique, because they too have a felt experience of the training in their bodies.

So the goals this summer are to develop a training technique that has a Performer Track (for professional and pre-professional performers) and a Public Track (for everyone!), and use the training to develop the beginnings of a new show.

***Possible branding ideas below. All are in early stages of development, including the name. Have suggestions? Please send them to neva.cockrell@gmail.com!***


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Catalyst Training Technique

Catalyst training develops strength, agility, flexibility, and cardiovascular capacity while building high levels of kinesthetic intelligence, and efficiency in movement patterns. This full-body workout will leave you feeling strong, energized, and awake to your body and mind.

Catalyst training combines a wide variety of movement techniques into a dynamic hour-long workout that is fun, challenging, and great for your body. A variety of class levels makes the program appropriate and beneficial for a wide range of ages and ability levels.

Catalyze your health. Catalyze your life.


 Related links:

Call for Dancers and Performers

Art Monastic Laboratory

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