Karen Bernard – Lecture/Demonstration and Workshops

Your work had a strong impact with our students and when I got reflection papers at the end of the semester, it was most apparent. Our comp class had many discussions about endings which you talked about in your workshop. The reactions to your solo were very interesting. Mostly it opened their mind to many questions and extended their range of what dance can be. The way you used video was new to them and they reacted positively to that, and loved your committed performance. It was also so wonderful to hear your ideas and to hear another voice.

—D. Chase Angier, Associate Professor of Dance, Alfred University


This 60 minute event begins with the presentation of Karen Bernard’s newest solo, Ouette. Loosely based on François Ozon movie Swimming Pool, Bernard’s character parallels the story’s protagonist, an elderly English novelist who, becomes involved in a dangerous sexual fantasy that is part her fiction and part her desire.  Bernard uses a laptop and projector to create different spaces evoking the imagined and real experiences.  With video footage of floor tiles, patterned fabrics and human silhouettes, Bernard creates a heightened film noir that is quickly fractured by the non-performative technical tasks of manipulating the lap top and projector.

After the performance, Bernard discusses her choreographic process and her collective influences that informed the piece. Questions and comments are encouraged to create a dialogue about the working process.

*This work requires no technical equipment; Bernard manipulates the projection, sound and lighting herself. *

Making Solo Dances

This 2-3 day workshop is designed as a series of sessions that support the creation of a solo study.  Each participant explores an aspect of their persona through individualized movements of intent and purpose.  Material is then developed through several formal structures that Bernard has defined for her own work.  These include: intuitive physical manifestations in response to music, execution of repetitive actions, placement in space and time, contradiction – humor and pathos, and raw idiosyncratic personal gestures.  The group uses feedback to draw out subconscious emotional content.

* Participants should bring own sound source, e.g. iPod *

Video Environments for Dance

In this three hour workshop dancers will shoot and edit abstract video images to create environments for their work.  Participants will discover how to find images that convey the atmosphere they seek, determine how to make decisions about editing, and discuss techniques for coordinating their videos with a live physical performance.  While Bernard will briefly demonstrate camera and editing techniques, this workshop is meant to be a hands-on experience for artists to experiment with a new method of creating original work.

* Depending on equipment availability *

Navigating the New York Dance Scene

This two hour discussion group provides a realistic look at the New York dance scene. Karen Bernard’s unique perspective as founder and Director of New Dance Alliance, a non-profit arts service organization, gives her a long-standing view on the life experimental artists.  For over 23 years, NDA has actively promoted innovative forms of dance, music, video, and interdisciplinary performance largely through Bernard’s annual Performance Mix Festival.  With her years of experience, Bernard can offer a wealth of information on performance opportunities, publicity, marketing, production and fundraising. 

** Travel, Per Diem, and Housing negotiated as applicable. **