Sunday, January 19, 2020

Do It Local!

JCWK Dance Lab's on Do It Local!

As part of my resolution to connect more in 2020, we've partnered with Do It Local - an awesome, community-focused app that offers digital deals from locally-owned businesses.

You can connect, too! Here's how:

1. Click here:

2. Enter JCWK Dance Lab's Membership code when you purchase a membership: FCEC4F63 (A portion of your purchase is donated to JCWK Dance Lab; part goes toward making Do It Local possible and 100% of that goes to getting you discounts from local businesses all year!)

3. Create an account on the website by using your email address and creating a password.

4. Download the Do It Local App onto your phone from iTunes App Store (Apple) or Google Play App Store (Android).

5. Open the Do It Local App on your smartphone and login using the email address and password you created.

6. Start saving! Start supporting! Start discovering more in Berks, Lehigh, and Lancaster counties!

Thank you, Do It Local and all of the folks and businesses who are involved! 
"Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community." ~Anthony Burgess 

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Sharing stories on BCTV

Thank you, Meggan Kerber, Executive Director of the Berks Arts Council and BCTV for the opportunity to talk about the Arts in Berks County!

Meggan and I had an exciting and engaging conversation about the possibilities and opportunities in Reading, specifically through the Arts at Alvernia University! Our evening was live on BCTV, but you can watch it over and over again here:

Friday, December 27, 2019

Looking back to move forward

2019 has been amazing in so many challenging and enlightening ways.

In the moment, there always seems to be more work to do. Reflection allows me to sink back into the past, ground, and move forward. During high school track, I learned that runners shift back before propelling forward in space. Training in martial arts taught me that there's a pre-action before the attack. An inhale before the exhale. This is also true in dance - the preparation in ballet, the lifting of the foot before creating a sound in tap, or the plie before the explosive jump.

As in dance, as in life.

Thanks for taking this moment to sink back with me, as I prepare to move forward into 2020. What are some gifts, opportunities, or conflicts that have informed your journey in 2019?

I've written about all of these adventures, individually, but it's a pretty cool to see them all in one place, here:

JCWK Dance Lab participated in 9 performances, including the first evening-length concert of my own work, with my own company. We performed in Philadelphia, Reading, Chester, Bethlehem, and Allentown, PA. In some aspect, all of these places have been "home" for me and the women who participated in HOMEbody. 

I created a performance in reflection of Alvernia University's presentation of Michelle Bryn's visual art in the Miller Gallery, as part of my Artist-in-Residency.

And, I continued my role as curator for KYL/D's InHale Performance Series. I stepped down from this position, in October, after curating for 11 years and co-founding the series in 2008.

Shout out to the Reading Theater Project's 5 Minute Fringe in WFMZ 69 News
Review of Shed in The Reading Eagle (by Susan Pena)
Highlight of my community teaching in The Reading Eagle (by Susan Pena)
Mindfulness for teens in English and Spanish in Motivos (by me)
Interview in Scene4 (by Nathan Thomas)
Preview of HOMEbody in The Reading Eagle (by Susan Pena)
Announcement of grants from Berks Arts Council 

...from the Berks Arts Council for HOMEbody at Alvernia University in November 2019
...from the Philadelphia Cultural Fund for HOMEbody in Philadelphia in February 2020
(I also wrote and received funding to support Alvernia University's Arts Series in 2020 as part of the Berks Celebration of Women in the Arts.)
------THANK YOU!!!-------

Dance for Wellness at Tower Health/ Reading Hospital's Rehabilitation Center continued from January- August.
Contemporary Dance for Every Body continued at the Restorative Center from January - May.

Thank you to everyone who has donated in 2019! Interested in helping out? Click here!
Stay tuned for more opportunities to support dance and support local in 2020.

Firsts in 2019: 
First state grant awards.
First mini-documentary about my process by Jake Buczewski (click here to watch it).
First full-evening of JCWK Dance Lab.

Other professional highlights:
In May, I took over as Managing Director of Alvernia University's Arts Series.
In August, I accepted a position as Visiting Assistant Teaching Professor of Dance at Drexel University for the 2019-2020 academic year.

May you find your roots in order to fly!!

pic by Juliana Wall

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Giving thanks for HOME

Thank you to everyone who came out to last week's performance of HOMEbody!

Wow! What an audience! What a feeling of community!

A few folks reflected:

"beautiful & thought-provoking" ~MK

"This evening totally felt like a family reunion - in a really good way!" ~MS

"I realized how much I want to move my body more after watching you. I need to move more." ~KW

"Amazing talent" ~JY

"Now, several days after the performance, I couldn't sleep - my dog woke me up. But I remembered you said in your opening that our heartbeat is our own rhythm. I never thought I had rhythm, and I could never dance, but that really resonated with me. And as I was laying there, not sleeping, I focused on the rhythm of my heart. And... that helped." ~KW

"breathtaking" ~EC

"I feel understood, as if all that I've been trying to communicate it clear and validated." ~audience member who identified as "female, student, artist"

Original pic by Thomas Kay

This week, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, may you find (comfort in) HOME in your own ways!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Details for HOMEbody's Thursday performance

We’re looking forward to seeing you on Thursday! 

Included are some details regarding Alvernia University's Arts Series presentation of JCWK Dance Lab. Please give yourself some additional time for parking, if you’re traveling by car.  

What: Alvernia Arts Series presents JCWK Dance Lab's HOMEbodyWhere: Francis Hall Theatre (on Alvernia's Main Campus in Reading, PA)When: Thursday, November 21 at 7:30pm 

The performance runs approximately 70 minutes.


Parking and campus map:  

TicketsYou can still purchase tickets online by clicking here. Please arrive early to claim your will-call tickets if you purchased online. Tickets will also be available at the door.  
Seating is general admission. 

*HOMEbody is supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

HOMEbody artist bios

In alphabetical order:

Laura Baehr, DPT & PhD candidate (Dance artist):  Laura Baehr is a movement artist, therapist and researcher who melds her interdisciplinary training in order to facilitate and inspire strength, confidence and quality of life through movement. Baehr earned her Clinical Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Temple University in 2019. She obtained her undergraduate dual degree in Dance and Neuroscience from Muhlenberg College. Currently, she is a graduate doctoral fellow at Drexel University studying the implications of chronic pain in individuals living with neurological conditions. Her performance background includes concert dance, mask work, and dance theatre. Her more recent collaborations are with Jessica Warchal-King and Caroline O'Brien. In addition to performance, she has taught in the Dance Department at Eastern University, the 2016 American College Dance Association annual conference, and is a Dance for Parkinson's Disease and Pilates instructor.

Jake Buczewski (Filmmaker): Jake Buczewski, a Reading native, is a visual artist, writer and filmmaker. He has a BA from Ithaca College in Communications with a concentration in screenwriting. At Ithaca, he wrote for ICTV. His films have been presented by KYL/D's InHale Performance Series in Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley Dance Exchange and Jill Haley.

Erin Coffey (Dance artist): Erin Coffey is from the Lehigh Valley, PA. She is a sophomore Fine & Performing Arts major with a Dance Concentration in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at Widener University. Coffey has been training for 17 years with numerous dance schools and professional dance training programs including the Joffrey Ballet School, American Ballet Theater and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She has performed with the New York City Ballet, DeSales University Dance Program, Artistic Edge Dance Company and at various intensives as well as with other artistic directors. Coffey was a company member with Repertory Dance Theater and studied under Trinette Singleton, Jennifer Haltzman-Tracy and Lynn Wiender. Her choreography has been presented by Widener Dance Company where she is a class teacher, choreographer, and Event Coordinator. Coffey is honored to be continuing her dancing and artistic expressions with JCWK Dance Lab and incorporating this work into research at Widener University.

Paul Fejko (Composer): Provocative, Challenging and Iconoclastic, Paul Fejko has always been quite fond of extremes. He can often be found treading on the boundaries of accepted limits and traditions. Art is exploration and provocation; improvisation is a wonderful vehicle for both. He is often chastised for mixing improvisation into repertoire ('taking too many liberties'), but it seems a one way comment; never has there been a charge leveled against the reverse - adding repertoire to improvisation. Fej finds the pipe organ to be his favorite solo instrument. It can muster more power and subtlety than an entire orchestra while having a responsiveness impossible from a large group of people. He is constantly challenging (often to the point of annoyance!) people to shed their preconceived notions of the organ as merely an instrument of religion, and to realize that in the first half of this century almost every movie house and many concert halls had organs. A good pipe organ is a virtuoso instrument of vast capabilities. Fej divides his time among many endeavors, most notably with theater and dance as a composer and conductor, but also as a concert organist and pianist.   To this one must add his work as a sound and lighting designer, photographer (the covers of three of his  ARKAY releases - Incantation, Tyme's Escape and OUTBURST!), audio systems designer, auto mechanic and sometime sculptor (witness the cover of ‘On Making the Flowers Dance’ - designed by Fejko with flowers by Gretchen Ernest. As of this time, he has recorded 13 CDs of large European and American organs, covering a wide range of existing repertoire and his own improvisations. He has been the long-time musician at historic Gloria Dei (Old Swedes') Church in Philadelphia, PA and is a musician with the Dance and Theatre departments at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. In 2003 he founded and is now the Artistic Director of 'The Chester Performing Arts Project', a foundation dedicated to bringing world class performing arts to the formerly depressed industrial city of Chester, PA. His André Café Acoustique in Chester is becoming well known in the region. Fej is a product of The Curtis Institute of Music (class of '75) where he studied with Alexander McCurdy, Rudolf Serkin and Max Rudolf. His first taste of opera came at Curtis from Dino Yannapoulos - a long-time stage director at the Met in NY. In 1987, Dino commissioned an opera from Fejko - Matteo Falcone - for the Academy of  Vocal Arts in Philadelphia where Dino was Artistic Director at the time. A review of Matteo can be found on the Press/Reviews page at this site. After Curtis, he connected with renowned dance scholar and pedegogist Nadia Chilkovsky and became music director at her Philadelphia Dance Academy - a source of many well-known dancers from the 50's through the mid 70's. During this time, he spent summers at the famed Marlboro Music Festival. In 1980 he headed east to become a musician with Maurice Béjart's Ballet of the Twentieth Century in Brussels, Belgium. From there he headed south to become Music Director of The Ballet of Lyon in France. During much of the 80's his time was passed between these two positions, but not without many forays into Italy and Germany for work with other smaller theater and dance groups. There were also many various and sundry organ and piano concerts! Because of this he is now able to converse in five languages. Fej has won first prizes for improvisation in Lyon (1981) and San Anselmo, CA (1990). At their Atlanta convention in 1992, the American Guild of Organists awarded him a second prize.

Sarena Kabakoff (Dance artist): Sarena Kabakoff is a native of Reading, PA and started her dance training at Berks Ballet Theater. Throughout high school, she performed multiple times a year in BBT performances and dance festivals across the state. She went on to attend college at Temple University where she had the pleasure of performing with Megan Mizanty, Laura Katz, and Janis Brenner and Company. She also interned with Dance Therapist Teresa Benzwie to teach special needs children academics through movement. She graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2013, receiving the Benzwie Dance in Education grant for her extensive work with children. After college she went on to dance with Philadelphia based companies: Jenkintown Dance Company, PIMA group, and FRED Dance Company. She also taught dance at the Conservatory of Music and Dance, Jenkintown Dance Arts, Beth Jacobsen School of Dance, and Imhotep Charter School. Her passion for dance also carried her to do outreach programs, using dance/yoga as a vehicle for healing at Safe Harbor (a program for grieving children), and in the greater Cancer Support Community. In fall of 2017 she attended an Expressive Dance Therapy program entitled, “Tamalpa” in Northern California. Since then she has been touring her yoga/dance therapy workshop called “Unpacking the Body,” in and around the Philadelphia area, as well as dancing for the band, “The Retinas,” in their most recent music video. In addition, she started her own yoga studio entitled, “Sarenity Yoga,” and has been dancing with Netco Dance Company for the 2018-2019 season. Sarena is passionate about movement’s capability to heal, to show us the stories we’ve been hiding from, and to move us forward into our own inner light.

Kyleigh Kover (Dance artist): Kyleigh Kover is from Moorestown, NJ. She is a sophomore at Widener University studying Fine Arts in the Doctor of Physical Therapy program. Kyleigh started her dance education at the age of two as a ballerina, tap dancer, and eventually jazz dancer at The Dance Workshop in Maple Shade, NJ. She also studied at Danec Xperience in Mt. Laurel, NJ, where she added genres of hip hop, acrobatics, musical theater, modern, and point. Kyleigh joined the Dance Xperience Company and performed in numerous dance competitions, community service events, and at Disney World. She has received several dance awards for her performances and original choreography. Additionally, Kyleigh attended Rutgers Mason Gross Summer Senior Dance Conservatory. Studying with Jessica Warchal-King has given Kyleigh a new outlook on dance and she has enjoyed educating others on how dance is a high impact practice. Currently, Kyleigh is an assistant teacher at Dance Xperience, musical theater teacher/ choreography chair of the Widener Dance Company, and Co-Captain of the Widener Dance Team.

Colin Lang (Lighting/ Technical Director): Colin Lang is a Philadelphia-based designer. Lang has designed a number of shows throughout Berks County and the Lehigh Valley as well as a variety of shows in many professional, community, and educational facilities. He is a proud member of IATSE, the stage technicians union. Lang also does a variety of other designing, programming, and tinkering. Thanks to his family and girlfriend for all their support. 

Nathan Thomas, PhD (all things Theatre at Alvernia): Dr. Thomas has been the director of the Alvernia Theatre program since 2003. A professional actor and director, Thomas has directed about 80 projects large and small over the last 16 years. Those projects ranged from the Classics to American and world premiers. Thomas studied with Arkady Katz, People's Artist of the Soviet Union, at the Vakhtangov Theatre in Moscow, Russia. He has written a monthly column for "," an on-line arts journal for 20 years, serves as Literary Advisor to the award-winning Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (CSC). Thomas has played Tevye, Shylock, Prospero, and Lear. 

And me, Jessica C. Warchal-King. 

Pic by Thomas Kay