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Home » News » Legacy Artist Sara Shelton Mann and Collaborator Jesse Zaritt MANCC Residency and Workshop

Legacy Artist Sara Shelton Mann and Collaborator Jesse Zaritt MANCC Residency and Workshop

Published March 25, 2024

Sara Shelton Mann and Jesse Zaritt

Legacy Artist Sara Shelton Mann and her collaborator, Jesse Zaritt, came to MANCC earlier this spring semester to further develop their body of work, moving alchemy: puzzles/propositions/journeys, a series of duets and solos that have been in development since 2018. During their MANCC residency, Shelton Mann and Zaritt led a two-day workshop that was open to FSU’s School of Dance students and the public.

Students and community members engage in an exercise, as part of the workshop hosted by Mann and Zaritt.

The workshop was held on January 27th and 28th in Montgomery Hall. 18 people were in attendance, from both FSU’s School of Dance and the public. During the workshop, Shelton Mann and Zaritt led the dancers in an improvisational score, starting with trios, in which they alternated moving in various stages of “solo, neutral, follow.” This improvisational score was developed from Shelton Mann’s teaching methodologies and pedagogic philosophy that has been in development over her 60-year career as a choreographer, performer and teacher.

Student journaling as part of the Mann Zaritt workshop.

FSU’s School of Dance Junior, Gemma Leary, stated, “I really enjoyed how the improvisational techniques we were given got us out of our heads. The movement-based practices were about finding your natural mode of movement and not being like anyone else. There was a large community aspect to the improvisation; we interacted a lot with each other and figured out how to find ourselves within the interpretation of what other people were doing. This experience really showed me the importance of letting go, not forcing anything, finding the natural improvisational moments and being okay with other people watching.”

During her MANCC residency, Shelton Mann and Zaritt worked on finalizing a book, MOVING ALCHEMY, which aims to make Shelton Mann’s teaching methodologies accessible. The workshop gave them insight into how the teaching practices and methodologies activates dancers alongside Shelton Mann and Zaritt’s live facilitation, as well as opening students’ eyes to different movement practices, ways of improvising and choreographic tools.

Sara Shelton Mann and Jesse Zaritt’s talk with students and community during workshop.

FSU’s School of Dance Alum (Class of 2020), Ryker Laramore, who also participated in Shelton Mann’s workshop, stated, “I was fascinated by how quickly I was able to relate the movement practice I jumped into so quickly for the first day of the workshop with both Jesse and Sara. Initially, it had seemed as if I wouldn’t have grasped the vocabulary behind the practice for some time…and I may never. I had a very enlightening experience realizing how this is used as a choreographic tool in addition to how it fits into my daily practices as a human just trying to be. It’s something I hope to hold onto and perhaps share the thought of with others.”

While at MANCC, in addition to conducting the workshop, Shelton Mann and Zaritt continued to develop their performance work through movement and writing, with a work-in-progress showing at the end of the residency. For both, the movement between the areas of research, teaching, creating, writing and performance is essential and inevitable. The questions that arise through this blending of practices, for them, provoke urgency, a relational urgency that asks for witnesses, a meeting of the other within and beyond themselves.

Shelton Mann and Zaritt are continuing to tour their collaborative work informed by their MANCC residency, having just recently performed at the Dance Mission Theater, SFCA on February 16-17th. The artists’ next stop will be at San Diego State University on March 23rd.