This month's Artist-in-Residence is Brooklyn, NY based art-song choreographer, Diana Yourke. Diana grew up as a dancer in NYC and by middle school, was part of a young artists dance company called Dancewave. During her 4 years with Dancewave she learned and performed the works of Twyla Tharp, Mark Morris, Bill T. Jones, Douge Varone, David Dorfman and Donald Byrd. Diana recieved a degree in Vocal Performance from the Ithaca College School of Music. In her Junior year she began to suffer from severe jaw tension that evolved into a physical syndrome similar to fibromyalgia. She began extensive study in many forms of somatic education including Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, The Rosen Method, Laban Movement Analysis and Body Mind Centering. After graduating college, Diana became a Certified Movement Analyst (CMT) at the Laban Institute of Movement Studies in NYC. For her thesis she decided to choreograph a piece of Classical vocal music, which was an art song by Samuel Barber called the "Crucifixion" which she had sung in college. Diana chose to both sing and dance the piece. Since then, she has been pursuing choreography of art song as a means of healing.
I sat down with Diana to discuss her interests and goals as an Artist-in-Residence.
Monel, Executive Intern: So, Diana what bring you to Earthdance?
Diana: I have always wanted to give myself the time and space to really connect with nature and find inspiration in the wilderness. I think that being steeped in silence and forced to listen really deeply to the sounds of the earth allow one's spirit to speak answers that are not accessible in louder environments, namely Brooklyn, NY, where I'm from.
Monel: What are you goals for your Artist Residency?
Diana: First and foremost to be as non-judgemental of myself as possible and secondly, to learn about my voice as an individual artist. I think that one's voice as an artist is a very powerful tool for healing of the self and the planet. And this is also a goal of mine.
Monel: How are you enjoying your time so far?
Diana: I am LOOOOVVVIINNNGGGG it!!!!! I love being part of this community. I feel so held and secure among the staff and the extended community of Earthdance. Not to mention, the incredible studio space that is available and endless access to the beauty of nature. And the food is great too.
Monel: Awesome. Do you think you'll want to continue a relationship with Earthdance?
Diana: For sure! Now that I've found this place, I have a feeling this is the beginning of a very beautiful addiction (to coming here).
On Wednesday, May 1st, from 8-9 p.m. at Earthdance, there is be an incredible opportunity to experience Diana's teaching and style of voice interaction. The workshop Diana will be leading is called "Finding the Embodied Voice." She will be leading the group in exercises which allow the individual to find an east of vocal production through an ease of physical expression. Diana's work focuses on teaching others the tools of self-awareness to learn how to produce sound that nourishes the body.
Diana will be previewing her work-in-progress on May 12th at 7:45 p.m. before the Music and Movment Jam at 8-10 p.m. To experience Diana and learn about her process, please come early before the jam to check it out!
To watch a video of Diana's performance, please check out her videos!