Instructor Spotlight: Stephanie Turner
To Stephanie Turner, dancing means more than just getting a great workout (although it would be hard to not work up a sweat at her Beginning Modern Dance class on Wednesdays). Dance is a means of self-expression, a way to use the body not just as a functional apparatus to get through everyday life, but an artistic tool. Peek into one of Stephanie’s classes and you will likely find her students exploring a spectrum of dance and fitness elements, from yoga poses to floor work to rotations through space. The instructor emphasizes doing what feels right to each body, teaching several phrases that culminate in a colorful dance at the end of class.
We interviewed Stephanie to hear her take on creativity, dance, and listening to your body.
Can you give a brief history of your experience as a dancer and a teacher?
I have been working as a dancer, producer, choreographer, and teacher for 4 years since I earned my BFA in Dance Performance from Rhode Island College in 2010. I have taught Contact Improvisation and Modern Dance as a visiting artist at Roxbury Community College, Roger Williams University and Brown University, ongoing classes at AS220 and The Movement Exchange, and as an Adjunct Professor at Brown University.
I am the owner/director of The Movement Exchange in Pawtucket, RI, where I facilitate Contact Improv Providence and support/produce community dance events and education.
My choreographic work has been performed in Providence, RI at the RISD museum, The Movement Exchange, Rhode Island College; at Fidget in Philadelphia, PA and CRS in New York, NY.
What is your favorite thing about teaching dance?
My favorite thing about teaching dance is watching students grow into a kinesthetic awareness while finding freedom and self-expression through dancing.
What can students expect to learn in your Modern Dance class at AS220?
Students can expect to learn skills and phrases that stress both clarity and freedom. Rolling, sliding, inversions, release, fall/recovery, momentum, inertia, gravity, breath, suspension, and dynamic are qualities and skills you can expect to encounter.
What inspires your choreography?
My choreography is a collision of life and visceral daydreams. I am interested in creating experiences, characters, relationships, worlds that I want to exist and might not exist otherwise if not made into dance. Abandon, compression, play, necessity, color, irony, texture, momentum, spontaneity, exposure, and disorientation are things I consider.
What do you think makes the body particularly unique or successful as an artistic tool?
The body is a wealth of knowledge and experience, and unique to each person. Making art with the body requires presence and a willingness to be vulnerable. The body’s capacity for expression continually surprises me.
Check out Stephanie’s Beginning Modern Dance class, Wednesdays at 6:30.