Sara Shelton Mann with Jesse Zaritt

Sara Shelton Mann has been a choreographer, performer, and teacher since 1967. She was a protégé of Alwin Nikolais and Murray Louis in New York City before moving to Canada where she met Andrew Harwood and fell in love with Contact Improvisation. In 1979 she moved to San Francisco to work with Mangrove, now Mixed Bag Productions, for which she serves as artistic director. One of its early manifestations was the company Contraband, launched as a performance group and research ground combining the principles of contact, systems of the body and spiritual practice into a unified system of research. Among her awards are a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, seven Isadora Duncan Awards, including a special achievement award for “erasing time: celebrating 30 years a radical dance legend” (Sara Shelton Mann with David Szlasa and Norman Rutherford), Djerassi Artist in Residence Awards, Headlands Center for the Arts Residency 2016, Lifetime Achievement Bay Guardian Award, 10 Women Who Made a Difference, Bay Guardian “Goldie” Award, and Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists award (2016). Her Movement Alchemy training is an ongoing teaching project and is influenced by certifications and studies in the metaphysical and healing traditions. Sara’s performance work is a platform for collaboration and research in consciousness.

Jesse Zaritt's work engages drawing as dancing - a visual and physical practice linked to dreaming, drafting and materializing futures. His choreographic, performance and teaching practices research the ways in which excessive, contemplative and resistive dance practices change how movement arises in the world and how dancing participates in processes of social transformation. A series of solo works made between 2008 and 2022 interrogate attachments to Jewish ritual and community, seeking to queer dominant paradigms of familial/national belonging, religion, gender and sexuality.

Jesse has performed his solo work in Taiwan, Uruguay, Korea, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Israel and throughout the United States. He has performed with Shen Wei Dance Arts and in the work of Netta Yerushalmy and Faye Driscoll; he is an artistic adviser for Driscoll's ongoing projects. Zaritt is an Associate Professor at the University of the Arts (PA) and currently works in creative dialogue with Sara Shelton Mann.

Living Legacy Artist | January 23-Feb 5, 2024

moving alchemy: puzzles/propositions/journeys

Legacy Artist Sara Shelton Mann and collaborator, Jesse Zaritt, came to MANCC from January 23 to February 5, 2024 to further develop their body of work, a series of duets and solos that have been in process since 2018, entitled moving alchemy: puzzles/propositions/journeys. While they were in residency, they also worked on the further development of a manual, entitled MOVING ALCHEMY, that aims to make Shelton Mann’s deeply considered teaching methodologies accessible.

Shelton Mann’s pedagogic philosophy has been in development over her 60-year career as a choreographer, performer and teacher. It investigates how training and performance converge into technique or how techniques and training converge and converse with performance. These methodologies are informed by Shelton Mann’s rigorous study of somatics, metaphysics and healing modalities; the work is born through the alchemy of her embodied attention and intention over decades of practice. Shelton Mann and Zaritt used their time at MANCC to develop the text of the book, imagining how it could work in professional and educational settings. They engaged with FSU students and the Tallahassee community in a two-day workshop to explore how the manual activates dancers alongside their live facilitation. During the workshop, the participants experimented with Shelton Mann’s practices, which opened their eyes to new ways of moving, as well as informing Shelton Mann’s own studies.

In addition to the workshop and studio rehearsals, Shelton Mann and Zaritt also conducted a showing where they shared their work with FSU School of Dance faculty and the surrounding community. While they were at MANCC, Shelton Mann and Zaritt met with Darrell Jones, fellow MANCC artist and Professor of Dance at Columbia College Chicago/FSU Visiting Professor. They also experimented with projection and audio recording, as they continued to develop their performance work. For both, the movement connecting research, teaching and creating performance is essential and inevitable. The questions that arose through this blending of practices provoke urgency, a relational urgency that asks for witnesses, a meeting of the other within and beyond ourselves.

  • Sara Shelton Mann and Jesse Zaritt in residence for <em>moving alchemy: puzzles/propositions/journeys</em>
  • Sara Shelton Mann and Jesse Zaritt
  • Shelton Mann and Zaritt
  • Zaritt and Shelton Mann
  • Zaritt and Shelton Mann
  • Zaritt and Shelton Mann
  • Sara Shelton Mann leads a relational improvised study workshop for FSU students and alum
  • Shelton Mann leading workshop
  • Shelton Mann leading workshop
  • Shelton Mann and Zaritt in workshop
  • Jesse Zaritt and workshop participants
  • FSU School of Dance students during Shelton Mann's workshop
  • Zaritt and Shelton Mann demonstrating during workshop
  • Shelton Mann and workshop participants
  • Shelton Mann and participants during the second day of the workshop
  • Sara Shelton Mann during a recording session
  • Jesse Zaritt and Sara Shelton Mann in residence for <em>moving alchemy: puzzles/propositions/journeys</em>
  • Zaritt and Shelton Mann
  • Shelton Mann and Zaritt
  • Drawings made during improvisatory practice
  • Shelton Mann and Zaritt in conversation with former MANCC Artist and current FSU School of Dance<br>Visiting Professor Darrell Jones
  • Shelton Mann and Zaritt
  • Shelton Mann and Zaritt
  • Zaritt and Shelton Mann
  • Work-in-Progress showing with FSU School of Dance community members
  • Zaritt and Shelton Mann perform during showing
  • Sara Shelton Mann
  • Jesse Zaritt
  • Projected animations by Jesse Zaritt during showing
  • Jesse Zaritt
  • Zaritt and Shelton Mann
  • Shelton Mann during post-showing discussion

Featured Artist

Faye Driscoll

February 22 - 24
Carolina Performing
Arts, UNC Chapel Hill


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