Sue Bernhard is a master teacher who draws on her many years of experience in the field of contemporary dance. Her classes in Technique, Composition, Improvisation, and Repertory (both classical and contemporary) enable students to realize their full potential as both movers and creators. Sue is on faculty at Purchase College Conservatory of Dance and the José Limón Institute and guest teaches internationally. She was on faculty at the Juilliard School from 1994-2004 and has taught at Marymount Manhattan College, North Carolina School of the Arts, Hunter College, Long Island University, and the Modern Masters Series at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.
Limón-Based Technique for the Contemporary Dancer (All Levels)
Sue Bernhard’s classes approach technique as a tool for enabling the body to fulfill its most expressive capabilities. Through exploration of the Humphrey/Limón principles of breath, weight, suspension, opposition, fall and recovery, and release, the student will develop as a dynamic, expansive and versatile mover. Classes are comprehensively structured. Engaging warm up sequences and spacious movement phrase-work foster strength, articulation, and musicality. Healthy alignment is cultivated: defined as the most efficient channeling of energy to allow freedom of movement and fullness of presence. Attention is given to the creative dimension of being a performing artist, i.e. use of imagery, focus, and clarity of intention. Classes draw on original movement as well as movement from the Humphrey and Limón repertoire.
Dance Composition (All Levels)
This course allows and encourages the student to investigate creative processes in dance making, and the craft of choreography. Attention is given to methods of movement discovery and development, clarification of intention, and the awareness and furthering of students’ individual choreographic processes working alone and with others. Assignments focus on specific aspects of the craft that will enable students to develop a "toolbox" from which they may draw to support their individual creative voice. Students will participate in improvisation and movement exploration during class, studies created outside of class, the performance and observation of these studies, and discussions by the class of the works shown. The goal of the class is to nurture and reveal the unique artist in each student.
This course involves either the creation of a new work, setting of an existing work by Sue Bernhard, or exploring sections of material from repertory. Dancers are given insight into, and experience of, creative processes and explore dimensions for bringing a dance to life as a performing artist. Attention will be given to use of focus, presence, enlivening the space, dynamics, phrasing, musicality, awareness and connection with other dancers and communication with the audience.
“A gesture, be it a leap, turn, run, fall, or walk, is only as beautiful, as powerful, as eloquent as its inner source…Purify, magnify, and make noble that source. You stand naked and revealed. Who are you? What are you? Who, what do you want to be? What is your spiritual caliber?” — José Limón
Sue Bernhard has set Limón repertory internationally, at colleges and in workshops, including Limón: A Choreographic Offering, Psalm (excerpts), There is a Time, Concerto, and Primavera (from Dances for Isadora), Students grow through learning the work of a master choreographer by experiencing the expressive movement language of Limón in the context of specific choreography. Dancers delve into and apply Humphrey/Limón movement principles, i.e. suspension, fall and rebound, opposition, weight shift and succession, as well as specific stylistic elements. As dancers explore “tools” for bringing a dance to life as a performing artist, attention will be given to use of focus, presence, enlivening the space, dynamics, phrasing, musicality, awareness and connection with other dancers and communication with the audience.