EXPRESS DANCE is an approach developed by Allen and Karen Kaeja for student’s grades K to 12. With over 25 years of teaching experience in the public school system, they have taught EXPRESS DANCE to more than 40,000 learners. EXPRESS DANCE encourages students to discover new ways of learning dance from their own movement lexicon in a constructivist approach, receptive to diverse forms of personal and cultural expression, enabling students with little or no dance experience to discover dance in authentic ways. Based on their book EXPRESS DANCE: Educators’ Resource for Teaching Dance, co-written with Carol Oriold, recommended by the Toronto District School Board curriculum guidelines as a teacher resource, Karen and Allen Kaeja have developed a sought after approach to teaching dance in the education system.
We offer workshops and residencies for high school students and workshops for high school teachers.
“EXPRESS DANCE is a gift to educators and students, being the sum of years of artistic integrity and educational commitment on the part of Allen and Karen Kaeja. It is an empowering way to free the creative spirit and to give physical voice to concepts and ideas. Using the EXPRESS DANCE method, generalist teachers feel confident in their abilities to teach and assess dance. Through EXPRESS DANCE the students become the originators and the creators. This is thrilling art in action!” – Christine Jackson, District Wide Coordinator for the Arts, Toronto District School Board
Using his expertise as the creator or co-creator of 19 films, Allen Kaeja offers a unique opportunity for dance and media students to develop skills and gain experience in the hugely promising field of dance for the screen. These hands-on workshops explore the marriage of the moving mediums of dance and the camera and include discussions, screenings (Kaeja films and other respected directors) and filming choreographic work, while exploring the technical, practical and artistic challenges involved in producing a dance film. Lectures and workshops can be modified to meet the needs and interests of your participants or audience.
We offer workshops and film screenings (including holocaust-specific content) for high school students and post-secondary programs, as well as workshops for high school teachers and public conference/festival events.
“Allen Kaeja’s choreography is remarkable for its contemporary movement with narrative structure allowing the work to be accessible to the general public.” – Judy Gladstone, Executive Director, Bravo!FACT
Allen and Karen Kaeja’s partnering style, known as “Kaeja Elevations”, has played a vital role in the creation of their 20 dance-on-screen films and over 100 stage creations. Momentum, anchoring, and the architectural structure of the body complimented by gravity, creates the unique characteristic of their style – encouraging the ability to have both partners in a state of propulsion and flow. Allen’s choreographic works are a tribute to his unique understanding of the architecture of elevations and momentum. Hundreds of arts and non-arts programs have experienced this exhilarating and accessible approach. Rooted in Contact Improvisation, the elevation techniques rely on the architectural structure of the body complimented by gravity – momentum, propulsion, and breath – and “capturing” a partner’s centre as he or she travels through space. Allen Kaeja’s background in capture/release techniques of wrestling and Judo set the stage for kinetic explorations, harnessing the potential of non-traditional areas of the body such as the forearm, ribcage and thigh. Kaeja Elevations are developed by Allen Kaeja, from two decades of refined exploration and collaboration with Karen Kaeja.
“Allen and Karen Kaeja rank amongst the best authorities in Canada in contact improvisation. Their partnering work is inspiring to watch and, as teachers, they bring to the classroom an incredible expertise, knowledge and energy.” – Nadia Potts, Ryerson University Former Dance Department Chair
A note about our education offerings:
For all our education offerings, several combination options are available to suit the needs and interests of participants. We offer programming that investigates relevant concepts to our artistic inquiry and that combine a journey of physical intrigue, momentum, qualities, images, and fascination. Programming may include elements such as:
Techniques and Performance Skills : Contact Dance, Kaeja Elevations, Improvisation, Working in Ensemble
Creation Skills: Creative Process, Dance-Score Writing, Composition, Mentorship
Artist Talks: Dance Film Screening/Discussion, Artist Aesthetics Discussion