Workshops and Master Classes
Mariah is available to teach master classes and workshops for any age group! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Here are descriptions of her most popular offerings:
Using Dance in Peacebuilding
Based on Mariah's thesis at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, she gives lectures and workshops on how and why dance is well suited to reaching peacebuilding goals - such as healing trauma and building community through development of empathy, trust, reflection, tolerance and conflict resolution skills - as well as best practices. Her research is based on a case study of Irish Modern Dance Theatre's Fall and Recover, a dance performed by two professional dancers and eleven survivors of torture and asylum seekers to Ireland. The process of making and performing Fall and Recover was not only incredibly healing for the participants involved, but also helped spread awareness about torture and asylum issues in Ireland and abroad. Other artists with such healing, community building or peacebuilding goals can learn a lot from this example.
Presented as guest lectures at Emerson College (December 2011), Endicott College (October 2012 and 2013), Boston University (November 2012, 2013 and 2014), Boston Center for the Arts (2012), Brandeis University (March 2013), Project Social Impact (2013 & 2014), Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (2015), and Drew University as part of the Andrew W. Mellon Arts and the Common Good Initiative (2015); at the International Peace Research Association's Conference in Japan in November 2012; and as the Keynote Speaker for North Shore Community Mediation Center's Youth Summit in April 2014.
"I can't say enough great things about Mariah! The workshop she led for my continuing ed class at Tufts University on dance as a means of peacebuilding and healing for torture survivors was phenomenal. She deftly combined active participation, theoretical concepts and compelling examples in a way that captivated all of us. She was able to get everyone moving by leading the activities so that they felt comfortable and accessible ... even the shyest participants joined in with enthusiasm. Students were still raving about Mariah a week later, and their feedback at the end of the term confirmed that her presentation was one of the most exciting and memorable parts of the course."
—Elke Jahns-Harms, PhD – Instructor of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
"Your presentation was really inspiring, modifying people's mental and physical states by movement. I would have never thought of that in a million years. You have shined the light in areas I never knew. Thank You! The whole presentation was coherent and thoughtful. I especially loved the interaction activity, and how you got us to share our feelings after that experience. Thank you for taking the time to come talk to us. We truly appreciate it."
—Boston University Student
"Thank you for taking the time to come to our class and expose us to such a unique piece of healing. I was in such awe and disbelief of the history that these brave souls went through and their journey to healing. Your presentation was very powerful. I felt that the connections you made through our dancing and then through the actual choreography in the videos made me realize the depth to which these people were hurting. I can’t thank you enough for sharing this incredible experience with us!"
—Boston University Student
"This workshop was very interesting to me because it really showed how powerful dance can be in changing peoples' lives....it showed evident proof that dance can be a form of therapy and can be used as a form of healing. In my opinion, this workshop provided me with more fuel to keep doing what I am doing because dance does make an impact in others' lives and it does mean something. A lot of times, I feel like people only look to dance as a form of entertainment and forget that it can be used for so much more. I think that this workshop encouraged me to want to push myself farther with dance from both a choreographic perspective as well as a dancer perspective. As graduation approaches, I am not sure what is in store for my career that involves dance, but I know that I am always going to need it. I have always had the drive to constantly want to help others and if I can do that through dance then maybe that can be something I look into for my future past Drew."
—Drew University Student, October 2015
Have you ever wanted to learn to communicate an idea without words? To make a piece of art using just your body moving through space? If yes, this choreography class is for you! We will explore a variety of choreographic tools for generating movement material, and then expand to looking at different ways to structure the material into meaningful compositions. The first half of each class will be dedicated to improvised explorations of weight, space, texture, and dynamics, followed by presentations and constructive feedback of students' work on take-home choreographic assignments. No experience required, and all forms of dance are welcome. Only requirement is a willingness to move and create!
First conducted for MIT students as an eight session class during Independent Activities Period, January 2012
Dance and Leadership: "Innovation is an Art, Not a Science: Using Movement to Spur Creative Thinking"
Our bodies inform us as well as our heads do, but are ignored in our working lives. Have you ever found that simply taking a walk with someone to talk about important things makes the conversation more meaningful? So why do we sit in conference rooms instead of walking and talking? To think creatively, we must keep moving. The goal of this innovation workshop is to teach movement-based tools to spur creative thinking in your daily work, and to recognize and access you and your organization's full potential in terms of innovation and creativity. More specifically, the workshop will:
— Demystify the artistic process so that the rigorous pursuit of creativity can be used to support personal goals
— Instill creative habits of mind, and
— Foster the belief that anyone can create something out of nothing.
First conducted for the Arts and Leadership Initiative at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University: March 2012. This workshop is often co-taught with Erica Dhawan
, a Harvard and MIT trained facilitator and expert in leadership development.
Master Classes in Modern Dance: Technique, Improvisation, Partnering or Performance
Experience Mariah's unique style of movement or hone your understanding of "classic" modern dance with a workshop in May O'Donnell technique! (May O'Donnell was one of Martha Graham's lead dancers and went on to develop her own stylized warm-up that preserves the technical aspects of Graham's exercises while being friendlier on the body.) Specialty classes focusing on improvisation, partnering and performance can be combined with technique or offered separately.
Mariah has taught master classes internationally in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Ghana, as well as closer to home in studios throughout New York and Massachusetts, including UMass Amherst in September 2012.