Donnell Oakley is a choreographer, performer, and teacher based in NY(2002.) She has been collaborating and creating roles with Amy Chavasse Dance & Performance, Steeledance, and Doug Elkins Choreography Etc. for a little over a decade. Donnell cofounded everything smaller with Jessica Jolly and David Schmidt from 2002-2008 as well as LMnO3 with Deborah Lohse and Cori Marquis from 2014-2020, making comedic dance theater works, touring nationally. Donnell has been creating work under her independent company, Donnell Oakley Makes Dances throughout her career in New York and has received creative residency support from The Silo, The Lumberyard, SUNY Brockport, The Joyce, and The Yard (Bessie Schönberg Choreographic recipient, 2013.) She has taught and/or set work at various colleges and festivals including University of Michigan, UNC School of the Arts, NYU Tisch School of the Arts, ADF, The Beijing Dance Festival, and has been a teaching artist at Gibney Dance Center since 2015. BFA: UNC Greensboro (2001)

Contemporary Technique

Class begins by spreading into the floor. We will find a dynamic relationship with it and acquire simultaneous support through space and our senses. It will be a layering process; finding our obvious physical support systems, noticing what influences our choices, and allowing everything to inform the moment as opposed to distracting us from it. We will be readying both mind and body to find a genuine awareness from moment to moment as well as permission to play within the given structure. The class will culminate with a phrase using various movement qualities of momentum and fluidity as well as carving, tension, bracing, inversions, bound energy, gesture and subtlety. I’ve been influenced by many artists and the through line is falling through and around center comfortably. I enjoy playing with whatever outcome presents itself.

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