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The Art of Human Playgrounds

Taught by Aura CuriAtlas (USA)


Wednesday, June 5th 


Columbia College Chicago

(72 E. 11th St, Chicago, IL 60605)

Workshop fee: $50

Planning on attending multiple workshops? Consider purchasing a workshop pass.

Dive into AC's creative world through Partner Acrobatics, Contact Improvisation, and Collaborative Creation. Learn the foundations of these partnering practices and how they interact, giving you a limitless movement vocabulary to generate material and cultivate collaborative relationships. You'll work with other artists to move together, climb on each other, and collaborate to devise new artistic material. This work is athletic but attainable - no experience or partner is necessary but come prepared to get sweaty, to tell stories, and to surprise yourself with what you're able to accomplish!

Joan and Dan founded Aura CuriAtlas in 2013 to find magic in ordinary situations presented in unusual ways. Blending dance, theatre, and acrobatics to tell stories, the company keeps the qualities of lightness (Aura), strength (Atlas), and play (Curiosity) at the center.  We value a relationship with our audience that is based on community and an easy exchange of ideas. Our lightheartedness, athleticism, and reliance on physical storytelling make our stories accessible to audiences of many different ages and backgrounds.

Joan Gavaler (Co-Artistic Director) is a Virginia choreographer who has created over 65 works and been a driving force behind four professional companies. She relishes collaborative discovery and has worked with poets, visual artists, composers, musicians, actors, directors, acrobats, and physicists on dance and theatre projects.  She has been invited by over 60 organizations to present and teach in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, including presentations on the Alexander Technique in Lugano, Switzerland, a dance residency at Beijing Normal University, performances for American Dance Guild showcases in New York City, and movement consulting for the Virginia Shakespeare Festival.  Joan is a Professor of Dance at the College of William & Mary.


Dan Plehal (Co-Artistic Director) is a director, performer, and teacher in Chicago.  He specializes in blending acrobatics and theatre, drawing on his work with theatre and dance companies and acrobatic training centers in Europe and the U.S.  He has performed in and directed professional productions ranging from musical theatre to mime to Shakespeare, with companies such as the Walnut Street Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Pig Iron, Gravity Optional, Sinfonicron Light Opera Company, Familie Flöz, Red Dot Theatre, The Home For Wayward Artists, Lifeline Theatre, BoHo Theatre, and Steppenwolf Theatre.

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