Meet the 2020 ODEO Conference Presenters!

Town Hall Moderator: Subashini Ganesan

Subashini Ganesan is an artist, arts administrator, and the Creative Laureate of Portland. As an artist, Ganesan founded Natya Leela Academy where she choreographs and performs potent and universally relevant expressions in Bharathatyam. As the Founder and Executive Director of New Expressive Works (N.E.W.) she stewards a vibrant performing arts venue in Portland, that celebrates and supports multi-cultural independent performing artists to teach, be in residency, and create bold new works. Ganesan serves as a Community Advisory Committee member of the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center's (IFCC) and as a member of the Teacher Advisory Council of the Portland Art Museum. As the Creative Laureate of Portland, Ganesan serves as the official ambassador for the broader creative community in Portland. Ganesan and N.E.W. have received RACC’s 2018 Juice! Award and White Bird’s 2019 Community Engagement Award, for making affordable space possible to artists and arts organizations.

Session Descriptions and Bios

Photo by Intisar Abioto

Engaging Youth Dancers in the Classroom

Sarah Beth Byrum, Studio Director

Session Description: As a youth dance educator, finding the balance between correct technique, healthy practices, and creativity can be difficult. This workshop will introduce new ideas on engaging youth dancers in the classroom through practical exercises, imagery and behavioral management techniques. The workshop will focus on ages 3-7 years, but can easily be adapted to encompass any youth teaching situation. As a youth dance educator for over twenty years, this workshop will include a wealth of information, tips, and discussion about how to best develop a love of dance in our youngest students.

Sarah Beth Byrum received her Bachelor’s Degree in Dance from the University of Oregon and founded All That! Dance Company that same year. Sarah Beth was published in Spotlight on Dance and featured in Family Fun Magazine. She was the recipient of prestigious Gerald E. Bruce Award by the Ford Family Foundation. She has also been awarded by the National Dance Educators Association, Oregon Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, and Phi Beta Fraternity for the Arts. Sarah Beth was also honored by the University of Oregon's Dance Department with their prestigious Community Partnership Award. Her expertise has been published in Dance Studio Life magazine and she is an ambassador for the worldwide Dance Studio Owners Association. Sarah Beth's passion for dance has led her to produce over fifty full length concert events, as well as being the founder and creative director for the Nutcracker Remixed production. She has received countless awards for her choreography and the technical proficiency of her students, but her true passion is in the classroom. Sarah Beth shares her love for dance with students of all ages from toddlers through adults and her biggest achievement is the relationships formed with each of them.

Kaeja Elevations: The Art of Flying /Together

Timothy Cowart, Associate Professor, Head of Dance at Western Oregon University

Session Description: This partnering workshop involves creative inquiry into the practice of giving and sharing weight. It is rooted in the foundational skills of contact improvisation where participants take time to explore the sensation of their own bodies moving in relation to others. These nuanced actions are complemented by gravity, propulsion, breath, and flow. Workshop participants will follow a through-line of momentum that will take them into lifts that can be described as outright flying. Kaeja Elevations is a dance partnering system defined and created by Allen Kaeja, and was developed from over three decades of refined exploration and collaboration with Karen Kaeja from Kaeja d'Dance of Toronto, Canada. Come to class and lets fly together.

Timothy Cowart has performed nationally and internationally as a company member of the Bella Lewitzky Dance Company, The Pittsburgh Dance Alloy, and Impact Production's "Dayuma" and the "Masterpiece." He has also performed with Elizabeth Streb/Ringside, Minh Tran and Company, and The Dance Theatre of Oregon. Cowart is an Associate Professor and is the head of the dance program at Western Oregon University. Before coming to Western Oregon University he served for 14 years as Chair of the Dance Department at DeSales University in Center Valley, PA. His research interests include modern dance partnering techniques, Dance Film, and the life, work and influence of pioneering dancer/choreographer Michio Ito (1883 – 1961). Cowart is certified in Kaeja Elevations, DanceAbility, Arthur Murray's ballroom dance and in STOTT Pilates techniques. He teaches course work in all levels of modern dance technique, improvisation, dance composition, introduction to ballroom, contact improvisation, dance partnering, the evolution of ballet and modern dance, dance in world cultures, senior research seminar, kinesiology for dancers, and dance on camera. He received a B.F.A. in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University, an M.S. in Arts Administration and an M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Oregon.

Visceral Movement Theory™ - A practical application of injury prevention and power in dance. A contemporary approach for dance kinesiology

Samuel Hobbs, Artistic Director push/FOLD

Session Description: Visceral Movement Theory (VMT) is the movement-partnering language of push/FOLD, developed from the internal biomechanics of the human form by Artistic Director Samuel Hobbs. Through lecture and practical application, participants learn how our blood vessels, nerves, and organs dictate the overall efficiency, mobility, and power of our movement, while our fascia acts as a sensory organ for dynamic proprioception. This lecture and class helps reestablish the “Why’s” behind our dance techniques and the feedback cues we provide our students and reframes our understanding of the human body in motion based on current science. Participants explore the application of true physical power, reinforce how dancers can work smart, not hard, and learn how fascia is the guiding force in movement, momentum, and transitions in choreography. VMT is a method to increase power and utility within all dance and partnering disciplines, as well as a pathway for recovery and injury prevention.


Samuel Hobbs was a university track athlete before his exposure to Modern dance performance in 2004. Hobbs shifted his studies from Mathematics and Computer Science to the Visual and Performing Arts—Dance, Art, and Music, and began performing professionally in 2005, graduating from Western Oregon University in 2007.


Hobbs’ professional career spans leading roles in ballet productions in both Oregon and Washington States, and national and international performances with Rainbow Dance Theatre, Minh Tran & Co., and BodyVox. Samuel has also taught dance both nationally, and internationally, as an instructor of contemporary movement and partnering.


In 2016, Hobbs founded his company push/FOLD, composing music and choreographing works acknowledged for their immersive athleticism and momentum-based choreography. His signature movement style, called ‘Visceral Movement Theory™’ (VMT), fuses Hobbs’ dance and athletic background with his studies in Osteopathic Manual Therapy. His works have performed throughout the Pacific Northwest.


Hobbs currently resides in Portland, OR as a director, composer-choreographer, dance instructor, and dancer. He works outside of dance as a manual therapist practicing Osteopathic Visceral Manipulation and as an instructor of Massage and Bodywork.

D251 Looking at Dance introductory dance course offered at LCC

Jodi James, Dancer and Physical Therapist

Session Description: D251 Looking at Dance is a strictly online, introductory dance course offered at Lane Community College. Students explore the historical, cultural, experiential and aesthetic aspects of dance as a continually evolving art form. What makes this online introductory dance course so unique is not only the breath of dance forms to which the students are exposed, but the format in which they are delivered as well as the integration of kinesthetic experiences. These kinesthetic experiences allow the students to realize and embody the concepts, movement genres and cultural relevancy that they are seeing and reading about. It is unusual for an online dance course to incorporate embodied experiences which is what makes this course so unique. It is integral for students to experience dance in their own bodies in order to understand the fundamentals of dance. This presentation for ODEO will introduce the curriculum design for D251 as well as explore salient features of the course in detail. Further, I will facilitate a few of the kinesthetic experiences with conference attendees

Jodi is a physical therapist, somatic movement educator, dance-artist and teacher. Jodi has been studying and treating dance-related injuries and movement dysfunction for almost two decades. As an experienced movement teacher, she has helped her students hone their artistry while promoting efficiency, versatility and joy.  She delights in working with individuals who seek to move more efficiently, explore their own embodied awareness and pursue true and lasting change. Prior to enrolling in physical therapy school, Jodi was an Assistant Research Professor with the Arts, Media and Engineering Program at Arizona State University.  For five years, Jodi developed curriculum and conducted research that integrated the movement arts and sciences.  While at ASU, she was also on faculty with the Dance Department, teaching Dance Kinesiology, Laban Movement Analysis and Modern technique courses. Since then Jodi has been practicing physical therapy and integrating her wealth of expertise in somatics into her treatment style.  Jodi owns her own clinic, Soma Potential, and in addition to treating there, she also teaches Looking at Dance at Lane Community College.

Teaching Dance in a Third World Country

Rachel Martin, Missionary dance instructor

Session Description: How we can impact children and adults living in group homes, impovrished countries, and low economic areas, perspectives on teaching dance in a third world country and the changes it effects, practical advice on how to get your group from point A to point B serving in a forgien country.

I have been a dance educator for over 25 years. I understand school for 15 years in Oregon before moving to Baja Mexico. I was certified with dance educators of America. When I move to Mexico I had to let my certification go because that was money that can be used towards the education of my students. I have been teaching in Mexico for 6 years. I am also a certified counselor specializing in crisis and trauma.that comes in very handy with my work here with impoverished children and the safe homes for children removed from human trafficking.

Devising "More Than Mother": Interdisciplinary Challenges and Benefits of Community-Based Dance Theatre

Anna Miller, Christine Madzik

Session Description: Devising “More Than Mother”: Interdisciplinary Challenges and Benefits of Community-Based Dance Theatre. Co-creators Anna Miller (Dancer/Producer) and Christine Madzik (Actor/Director) share their creative process for devising “More Than Mother”, a dance theatre piece that explores the pressures and isolation surrounding modern day parenthood. Miller and Madzik discuss the challenges and rewards of coming from two different artistic modalities and offer participants an opportunity to experience their heart centered, presence-based methods.

Anna Miller began her dance career with Dance Theatre Oregon in the 1990’s. After studying dance in New York City, she returned to the Pacific Northwest to develop her unique storytelling dance style. Miller has been directing and producing in the Eugene/Springfield area for the last 5 years. Miller is the creator and producer of the Glow Variety Show, a semi-annual production benefiting The Trauma Healing Project.


Christine Madzik has been performing, teaching, and directing in the Pacific Northwest for over 12 years. A graduate of the University of Oregon’s Master of Theatre Arts program, Christine is passionate about theatre as a tool for social transformation. Christine is a teaching artist for the Lane Arts Council, where she uses interactive theatre to address issues of bias and inclusion.

Creating and Conveying a Kinesthetic Experience of Place: A Creative Process for Screendance Collaboration

Faith Morrison, Artistic Director of Dance, Willamette University

Session Description: Drawing on elements of site-specific dance and screendance, this experiential movement workshop will investigate a creative process that intimately connects people to place. Participants in this session will be guided through a process of engaging in a sensory experience of place, and exploring different feeling states of place. Living in a culture rooted in technology, it can be challenging to find grounding within the natural world. This workshop will discuss ways of developing screendance that fosters a deeper connection between movement, film, and place. Facilitated improvisations will guide participants through practices for creating a kinesthetheic experience of place, and offer ideas for conveying this experience through the medium of screendance. Focus will be placed on collaboration techniques between choreographers and videographers. The creation and conveyance of a kinesthetic experience of a place will be explored both as a choreographic method, and as potential content for a course in screendance.

Faith Morrison is a dancer, choreographer, educator, and screendance artist based in Portland, OR. She is the Artistic Director of Dance at Willamette University where she specializes in dance technique, partnering, improvisation and composition. Faith holds an MFA in Dance from the University of Oregon, and a BA in Dance from the University of Montana. She has been on faculty as an Adjunct Professor of Dance and Visiting Guest Artist at the University of Montana, and held positions as a Guest Artist and Instructor at Oberlin College, the University of Idaho, and Pacific Lutheran University. Regionally, Faith has taught as a Graduate Teaching Fellow at the University of Oregon, and currently is an Artist in Residence at NEW Expressive Works. Her research combines elements of site-specific dance and screendance to investigate the creation and conveyance of a kinesthetic experience of place. Engaging in a collaborative creative process, Faith seeks to utilize dance and film as mediums to explore a physical, emotional, and sensual experience of place. Her screendance work, created in collaboration with filmmaker Robert Uehlin, has been screened at the ADF International Screendance Festival, Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema, 40 North Dance Film Festival, Northwest Screendance Exposition, VIBE film festival, Kinetoscope, Bodyvox Contact Dance Film Festival, and L.A. Live

Moving and Mapping: Personal History, Training, and Passion

Bonnie Simoa, Lead Dance Faculty - Lane Community College

Session Description: 

Together as a community of Oregonians who love dance and movement, we will explore the simple actions of breath in gravity. The pressure of “doing” and the tension of action, will be replaced with being in our full kinesthetic/sensory awarenesses. Guided visualizations will turn us to the impassioned  histories of our bodies, and we will explore with movement and images: Who are we?  From there, we will collaborate to create a visual expressions in the form of a mural/poster to be shared at the conference.

Bonnie Simoa holds an MFA from Mills College in Choreography and Performance, is a Registered Somatic Dance/Movement Educator and Therapist, Certified Yoga Instructor, and has been lead dance faculty at Lane Community College since 2002. Bonnie has performed in works by Marilyn Cristofori, June Watanabe, Jeff Slayton, Ellen Webb, Ellen Bromberg, Christopher Watson, Nita Little, Walter Kennedy, Mary Oslund, Alito Alessi, and Michio Ito; and created over 35 original dances. Her choreography has been performed regionally and internationally in Indonesia and Germany. Certified to teach Continuum in 2004 by founder Emilie Conrad, Bonnie infuses somatic principles into teaching dance technique, creative process, yoga and meditation. Her explorations into the potency of movement and its healing potentials have led her around the world to study Balinese dance in Bali, Individual Movement Art with Suprapto Suryodarmo in Java, and yoga and singing in India. She has researched Balinese dance and culture in Bali for the past 22 years. Bonnie directs Tirta Tari, a regional dance company dedicated to preserving traditional Balinese dance. She lives in Eugene with her husband Lytton, their two 9.6 lb rescue dogs Roxie and Sylvie, and their bunny Fondue. have and to hold

Amy Werner, Dance Physical Therapist
Session Description: “Who we are, what are we doing, and where are we going” is a natural introduction for one of the most important topics regarding the dancers’ body: turnout. As a dance medicine physical therapist with a passion for healthy dancing, I believe we can positively affect the future of dance by clearly identifying, defining and utilizing movement patterns that are integral to a dancer’s body. Almost no other foundational dance concept is as vital to understand as the execution of a healthy turnout. This movement session will be interactive with time divided between lecture and demonstration. Please wear clothes that allow visualization of the body (i.e. shorts and bare legs).

AMY WERNER Amy Werner, PT, DPT, is a Doctor of Physical Therapy that specializes in dance rehabilitation. She is the Director of Dance Medicine at New Heights Physical Therapy in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Werner spends her days treating dancers from 30+ Portland metro area dance studios and professional companies. She is the primary PT for NeuroTour, the organization that supports traveling Broadway shows, and she treats musical theater performers with backgrounds in aerial and circus. Seasonally, she volunteers at The Oregon Ballet Theatre, where she previously served for four years as the Care Coordinator for the company, overseeing an on-site health and wellness program and administering pre-season injury assessment screens. She provided student dance screens for the Oregon Ballet Theatre School for six years. Additionally, she hosts dance wellness events at her clinic, providing injury screening and workshops to professional dancers, parents and educators. Dr. Werner is a consultant with The Ellové Technique®, a cross-training class taught nationally in dance studios. She, and a representative from Ellové, recently co-presented at the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) conference in Montreal, Canada about integrating dance injury prevention, fitness and recovery techniques within the dance studio. Dr. Werner has also presented at Dance and Drill Coaches Association of Oregon (DDCA) and Oregon Dance Education Organization (ODEO).

Photo by Melissa Nornes

Panel Discussion: Higher Education

Sara Parker (PCC), Brad Garner (UO), Bonnie Simoa (LCC), Tim Cowart (WOU), Christian Cherry (UO)

Session Description: In this panel discussion moderated by Christian Cherry, Dance Faculty members from dance programs around the state will discuss the role of dance in higher education with attention to what we are doing, and where we are going. Questions addressed may include: what is the meaning of dance in higher education? Who are we teaching? Why does dance matter? What role does it serve? Amongst many others.

Sara Parker is a Portland, OR dance artist. She holds an MFA in Modern Dance from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City (2015) where she was granted a Graduate Teaching Assistantship and was the recipient of the Dee Winterton Award (2015). Additionally, she holds a B.S. in Dance from the University of Oregon in Eugene, OR (2009). Currently, Sara is a teaching artist at BodyVox Dance Inc. where she teaches her open Intermediate/Advanced level Contemporary Dance Lab and choreographs for the Junior Artist Generator (JAG) program. She also teaches at AWOL Dance Collective and at Portland Community College. Her choreographic work has appeared at The Headwaters Theatre (OR), Portland Community College (OR), Lane Community College (OR), Portland State University (OR), The Hult Center (OR), Lincoln Performance Hall (OR), Conduit Dance Inc. (OR), Northwest Dance Project Studio and Performance Center (OR), Mariott Center for Dance (UT), Mudson (UT), and the Ladies Literary Club (UT), The Brunish (OR), On the Boards (WA) and Portland Center Stage's at The Armory (OR). Sara believes that dance is a powerful catalyst for personal and communal revolution and her aim is to make a positive impact through choreography, performance, and teaching.


Bonnie Simoa was born and raised in California. She received her Master of Fine Arts in Dance with emphasis in Choreography and Performance from Mills College. Bonnie is a certified Continuum teacher and Registered Somatic Movement Educator and Therapist through ISMETA-International Somatic Movement Educator and Therapist Association. In 1990, she formed the Bonnie Simoa Dance Company, with performances throughout California, in Germany and Indonesia. Bonnie has studied with Anna Halprin, Nita Little, Ellen Bromberg, June Watanabe, Joe Goode, Margaret Jenkins, and Martin Kravitz; and has performed with Walter Kennedy, DanceAbility International, Christopher Watson Dance Company, Ellen Webb Dance Company, Ellen Bromberg Dance Ensemble, and the Mills Repertory Company. In 1996, Bonnie began her regular travels to Indonesia where she studies traditional dances of Bali: Legong, Teruna Jaya, Gambuh, Rejang; and Pribadi (Individual) Movement Art, exploring improvisational movement in temples, sacred places and Nature with Suprapto Suryodarmo in Java. Bonnie has taught in colleges and universities, and in the community since 1990. She has created over 30 dance works. In her teaching and choreography, Bonnie creates a supportive and nurturing atmosphere to explore and experience the inherent intelligence of the body, the magic of community, and the healing power of movement. Bonnie is Lead Dance Faculty at Lane Community College.


Tim Cowart has performed nationally and internationally as a company member of the Lewitzky Dance Company, The Pittsburgh Dance Alloy, and with Impact Production's "Dayuma" and the "Masterpiece." He has also performed with Elizabeth Streb/ Ringside, The David Dorfman Dance Company, Minh Tran and Company, and The Dance Theatre of Oregon. Cowart has taught in the dance programs at Western Oregon University, Lane Community College and at the University of Oregon and served as the Chair of the dance department at DeSales University for 14 years He currently serves as head of dance at Western Oregon University. He trained under Alito Alessi and has a teaching certification DanceAbility work. He also holds a certification in Stott Pilates. Since 1997 he has been performing with Co-Art Dance a contemporary dance company he co-founded with his wife Corrie.


Christian Cherry is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and performer whose output has been mostly in dance, theatre and collaborative performance. His work has been presented in a variety of venues in the U.S. and in Europe and Asia. Cherry's work at dance festivals includes 10 years (‘88-‘98) at the American Dance Festival in Durham, N.C. and the Bates Dance Festival ('01-'05) in Maine. He participated in two ADF/Seoul tours to South Korea. As a dance educator, Cherry has been part of several prominent dance departments. In 1983, he joined the Ohio State University Dance Department under the generous tutelage of Richard Schenk. In 1993, he moved to Tampa, Florida to join the faculty of the University of South Florida. In 1996, he took the music director position at the University of Illinois where he created works in a wide ranging output emphasizing electro-acoustic scores. Cherry moved to Oregon in 2001 as music director in dance at the University of Oregon with his wife and life dance partner, Sarah Ebert. Excerpts of work can be heard on his external website. As an associate professor of dance at the University of Oregon, Cherry has taught Fundamentals of Rhythm, Music for Dance, Accompaniment for Dance, Dance Improvisation, Production Technology, Contact Improvisation, Graduate Seminar, Aesthetics and Choreographer/Composer Workshop. His research includes collaboration and process in dance, and the poetics of dance. His responsibilites as music director include technical and supervisory support of musical and production elements of productions in the UO's Dougherty Dance Theatre. Cherry's responsibilities as music director include technical and artistic support of productions in Dougherty Dance Theatre at the University of Oregon. Cherry serves as both an artistic and academic advisor, Graduate Director in Dance and on various departmental, school and university committees.


Brad Garner is an Associate Professor of Dance specializing in Contemporary Dance Performance, Choreography, and Interdisciplinary Collaboration. He teaches courses in Modern Dance Technique, Ballet, Jazz, Partnering, Improvisation, Dance Composition, Student Dance Concert, and Dance Production. He also serves as Coordinator for the UO Faculty Dance Concerts and has been elected for two consecutive terms as a Board Member for the American College Dance Association (ACDA) Northwest Region (2014-present). Prof. Garner’s choreography is produced on his independent company, GARNERdances, with his interdisciplinary collective, Harmonic Laboratory (HL), and on students at UO as well as numerous university dance programs including; University of Alaska-Anchorage, University of Texas-PanAmerican, Arizona State University, Snow College, University of Iowa, Kent State, Scottsdale Community College (AZ), Minnesota State University-Mankato, and St. Olaf College. Harmonic Laboratory is a recipient of the 2016 Creative Heights Award from the Oregon Community Foundation for their full scale live production titled, TESLA: LIGHT, SOUND, COLOR, which tells the story of one of the most prolific and misunderstood figures in modern history, the physicist and inventor, Nikola Tesla.

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Oregon Dance Education Organization

PO Box 82813
Portland, OR 97282