Teaching

“I got to see Amy O’Neal teach at Velocity Dance Center during my visit last weekend. Wow! She’s a wild woman—but also grounded. In the improv warmup, she gave funny/wise instruction. When balancing on one leg, she said, “When you feel yourself losing your balance, transform the struggle to the other side.” Transform the struggle. She taught a phrase that was a true hybrid: modern dance swoops sprinkled with ballet attitude turns and a touch of popping and locking. But more than that, it had the imprint of an original point of view.”

Wendy Perron, Editor in Chief, Dance Magazine, 2011

 

After 15 years of teaching at Velocity Dance Center in Seattle, Amy is moving on to new things. 

Fall 2017 Teaching Schedule

On going in Los Angeles:

The Sweat Spot

Rhythm is a Dancer | Sundays 6:30-8 pm


Upcoming Workshops:

Sept 2, Oct 7, Nov 4, and Dec 2

House Dance Workshop every first Saturday of the month through 2017.

at The SweatSpot in Los Angeles 1-3 pm


Descriptions of Classes and Workshops taught by Amy O.

These classes can be configured to fit any situation, level of experience, or time frame.  They can be taught as weekly classes, one-off workshops, or a special series. 

Rhythm is a Dancer

What is your personal relationship to rhythm? Is it natural? Is it forced? Are you a slave to it? Do you desire a deeper connection to it? Rhythm is a Dancer aims to bring all kinds of dancers together from different styles, levels of experience, and cultural backgrounds. The class is a facilitated freestyle exploration of concepts designed to challenge your own personal relationship to music and rhythm. Whether you want to get better at picking up choreography in class, get out of a freestyle rut, be a better dancer at the club, bring something new to the cypher, or simply get better at dancing to the beat. This class is all about how to feel and shape time. We will explore various attitudes around dancing to music in different cultures to further understand our own biases and personal blocks, to potentially open us up to a new perspective. We will explore all kinds of music that is purposefully curated for each class.

House

Is a social dance primarily danced to House music that has roots in the clubs of Chicago, Detroit, and New York.  House is a feeling. It is community. It is freedom from oppression and rooted in the Black and Latinx queer and trans community. As a teacher in this culture, I respect this history and give thanks. House dance is influenced by many cultures and styles, is improvisational in nature, and emphasizes fast and complex footwork with fluid movements in the torso, as well as floor work. We will drill basic House vocabulary, play with rhythm, vibe off each other in the cypher, play with movement concepts, and maybe learn a sequence. Amy is inspired by the House dancing and teaching of Marjory Smarth, Dani Tirell, Caleaf Sellars, Tsunami Amii Nixon, Free Vergara, Onye Ozuzu, Rennie Harris, and Dufon Smith.  Amy first saw members of Circle of Fire crew dancing House in the clubs in Seattle over a decade ago. Her first House teacher and mentor is Sekou Heru in NYC.  With friend and colleague, Dani Tirrell, Amy is the co-founder and co-organizer of Seattle House Dance Project.

Contemporary Dance Technique

A thorough and focused class for the curious, tapping into the body’s innate stability and movement patterns. A simple and effective warm-up to build connection, strength, and awareness is followed by  improvisation work with imagery and technical play.  Phrase work focuses on musicality, attention to detail, and challenging ideas of aesthetics. The container of Contemporary dance is broad and constantly evolving.  Deepen your ability to commit to the ever changing moment. For nearly two decades, Amy O has been known for mixing and sampling in her dance vocabulary to create a unique and personal language of her physical experience.  She participates in Hip Hop and House dance culture and brings in the philosophies and values of this culture into her teaching.  She has also been inspired by the teaching methods of Emio Greco, David Zambrano, Kathleen Hermesdorf, Crystal Pite, Ohad Naharin,  Wade Madsen, Rennie Harris, Onye Ozuzu, and Eric Pranzarone.

Street and Club Dance Styles (for colleges and universities)

Amy is passionate about spreading knowledge about the history and cultural contexts of dances that often get lumped into a category called Hip Hop dance, when Hip Hop dance itself is very specific and often misrepresented or misunderstood. This course teaches students the differences between Hip Hop party dances, Breaking, Popping, Locking, LA Style or Commercial Style, Street Jazz, House, Vogue, Waacking and several other regionally specific styles that have gained momentum over the past decade such as Krump, Turfin, FLXN, Chicago Footwork, Memphis Jookin, and more. Amy brings in the local expert practitioners of each of the styles covered to share their stories in the dance, teach the fundamentals of the style, and talk about why the style exists.  Amy facilitates dialogue and acts as a dance translator for those who come from a different backgrounds so that the culture can be more deeply respected and understood.  Amy taught this course at Mills College in Oakland CA in Fall of 2015 and the University of Washington Dance Department winter quarter 2017. Amy’s entry point into Hip Hop culture were the party dances of the 80’s and 90’s that she learned from friends at school, birthday parties, watching music videos, and sneaking out to clubs.  She knew she was a dancer in social dance settings more than in ballet or modern class. For eighteenyears, her work as a dance artist has combined aspects of the social dances of her childhood with the formalism of contemporary performance.

Dance Composition and Improvisation

Amy O has been teaching composition and improvisation for over a decade to all levels and ages of experience. She is passionate about empowering her students to connect to their innate ability to create.  Her methods are inspired by a wide range of influence and practice that span a eighteen year professional career. Some people and methods who have directly inspired how she teaches this class are David Dorfman, Pat Graney, Crystal Pite, Tere O’Connor, Kathleen Hermesdorf, Bebe Miller, Onye Ozuzu, Molly Scott, Rennie Harris, Hip Hop culture and the cypher, dancing in clubs, being the lead singer of a band, and 20 years of collaborating with musicians in her performance work. She was the co-founder of The Young Choreographer’s Lab produced by Seattle Theater Group, which merged with Velocity Dance Center to form the Seattle Youth Dance Collective where she developed programming and mentored ages 14-21 in the development of their personal choreographic voice. She continues to teach this class to all ages and all levels of experience.

The Lec Dem

Amy O is available to speak about living and working as a dance artist.  She enjoys sharing her process and can screen her dance films, performance documentation, or perform a short solo.  She has been a guest on many discussion panels over the years and enjoys engaging in dialogue around issues in the field.

 

Past Teaching Residencies, Workshops, and Lectures

The Beacon: Massive Monkees Studio (Seattle WA)

Debbie Reynolds Dance Studio (Los Angeles CA)

Spoleto Festival USA (Charelston SC)

Mills College (Oakland CA)

University of California Berkeley

50 Cent Tabernacle at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (San Francisco CA)

Broadway Dance Center (NYC)

NYU Playwright’s Horizon School (NYC)

100 Grand (NYC)

DUOMO Space (NYC)

Ryan Heffington’s The Sweat Spot (Los Angeles CA)

Cal Arts

University of Hawaii (Hilo HI)

Maui Arts and Cultural Center (Kahului HI)

Kahilu Theater (Waimea HI)

Okinawa Prefectural Museum (Okinawa, Japan)

ProDanza Italia (Castigliencello, Italy)

Reed College (Portland OR)

Florida State College (Jacksonville)

Riverside City College (Riverside CA)

Grand Valley State University (Allendale MI)

University of Washington (Seattle WA)

Cornish College of the Arts (Seattle WA)

Washington University (St. Louis MO)

University of Idaho

Idaho State University

University of Montana

Texas Women’s University (Denton TX)

University of Oregon

Northwest Vista College (San Antonio TX)

Conduit (Portland OR)

Dance New Amsterdam (NYC)

STG Presents: Dance This (Seattle)

Velocity Dance Center’s Strictly Seattle

The Young Choreographer’s Lab and Seattle Youth Dance Collective