top of page

This summer PANDA LABS return for 2 immersions into performance and dance development!


PANDA [Performance And New Dance Arrivals] are some of the longest programs offered at the Field Center and they are deep dives into living with one another as artists while training daily with established teachers in the field. Daily classes are punctuated by swims in the river, saunas, fresh food from our gardens, long naps in the library, field trips and performances at night.





Ideas of tuning and touch, balancing/negotiating self care with responsibilities for one another /our community. Returning to some CI proximity, I’m realizing how long it’s been since I’ve shared weight and also realizing the prominence of specific (and somewhat limited) approaches to weight sharing in my recent practice… or I feel limited and more alone than before pandemia. So, I love conversing about solo practice relating to partnered practice and back again. Literally, what are some tools… could we create a collective archive by the end of the workshop- naming prompts, mechanisms, etc… 

Our diversity is imperative to a vibrant creative - so how do we exercise each of our voices with respect and in conversation with the world around us, and how do we strengthen community through reciprocity, healthy competition, non-verbal communication and more (still relating this thinking to Suzanne Simards research in the social life of trees)… how does a commitment to this feed each of us, all of us.

What the hell am I doing - I wanna groove, be swept up, submerged… questions about expectations and sustainability and how to get in when it feels so distant / wanting to refine and practice and also expand and be a tornado and break open.

I’d like to dance a lot. Talking and reflecting is so valuable but I’d really like to emphasize the embodied thinking, processing, and reflecting too. to repeat something we did and see what happens. Like this idea of repetitive structures and passing through them - what happens by going back in again and again - to our expectations, revelations, boredom… 


How do we witness each other in motion, what is a warm up, how does movement become the language in which to express ourselves, how do we practice our unfolding ecology and dance for each other?

I would like to propose partnering, modes of physical listening, and follow along tuning practices as a way to heighten possibilities for physical feedback and feedback loops that helps us understand how we might go about languaging movement and composition.

As we pass through the repetitive structures and movement explorations we are constantly called to renegotiate our  relationship to self and remain present throughout this movement conversation. How is dance emergent, how do we seek this emergence inside being with and alongside movement, each other, the space we are in and beyond the immediate surrounding us.

An experience of how movement might live rather than become positioned.



A workshop, laboratory, test test for dancers, performance makers, and you

The laboratory will attempt to generate a precarious and curious space between engagement and refuge, being present with queerness, the ongoing impact of political-health-ecological crises, and the importance of shared dance and inquiry. We will hang out in playful and non-productive spaces, being in a contagious relationship to past and future, ghosts and desire. We will approach queer and decolonial futurities through practices of opening to the unknown. We seek a soft experience where political crises and dancing bodies can be woven into a single conversation. Where bodies are energies, always entangled within the ecologies from which they emerge. There will be time for performance making, showing, and discussing.


Ishmael and Keith’s work does not always focus on their subjectivities as racialized, queered, aged, or gendered bodies but these issues, identities, privileges and harms are always present, always available materials for improvising and other practices of less conscious or mysterious action. Play is risky and revealing. 


We offer 3 full scholarships for Black, Indigenous and People of Color [BIPOC] folks in each session. As well as 3 Work Trade spots in each session. If interested please select 'BIPOC Scholarship' OR 'Work Trade' when registering via the links above. For more information about the work trade exchange, go to the Work Exchange page.


Kendra Portier is a dance artist - a choreographer and practitioner. Her scholarship lives in embodied study, tested and realized through choreographic processes that shape thought, emotion, and texture through movement. Haunted by basic human themes and concepts that often seem metaphysical, Portier's current body of work is a multi-installment transdisciplinary study of color & choreography - the Color Studies. Her research primarily culminates in live performance, evolving through collaborative processes with her project-based collective, BAND.

Born at home in Ohio, Portier has facilitated and promoted dance across the globe from San Diego to Salzburg, Dushanbe to Athens (Greece, Georgia, and Ohio). She has held faculty and guest artist positions at numerous dance programs with significant and ongoing presence at Gibney Dance Center (NY) as well as Bates Dance Festival (ME). As a performer, Portier collaborates and performs with a range of artists, such as Lisa Race/Race Dance, JasmineHearnCollaborates, Betsy Miller, Sara Hook, Alexandra Beller Dance, Nicole Wolcott Dance, Vanessa Justice Dance, hoi polloi, Annie Kloppenberg, Launch Movement Experiment, and most notoriously, a decade long tenure with David Dorfman Dance. Portier received a BFA with Honors from the Ohio State University and an MFA in dance with specialization in visual design from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Currently, Portier is an Assistant Professor in the School of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at the University of Maryland, College Park, where she has been awarded the Maya Brin Endowed Professorship in Dance.

Headshot Shannon Murphy.jpg

Jennifer Nugent is a performer, educator, mother, and partner. Jennifer addresses her body, mind and being through questioning. She articulates internal experiences through performance and teaching; augmenting these practices by sharing and refining ideas in front of others—a transmission of spoken and gestural language. Her dancing is profoundly inspired by  Linda Rogers Albritton, Ann Cummings, Patricia Cummings, Beatrice LaVerne, Barbara Sloan, Bambi Anderson, Dale Andree, Gerri Houlihan, Daniel Lepkoff, Wendell Beavers, Lisa Race, David Dorfman, Patty Townsend, Thomas F. DeFrantz, Paul Matteson, and Janet Wong, Jeninfer has performed most notably with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company 2009-2014, Paul Matteson 2002-2020, David Dorfman Dance from 1999-2007, and Martha Clarke 2007-2008. Her most recent performance endeavors have included a solo show up against at Gibney Presents and projects with Joanna Kotze, Beth Gil, and Faye Driscoll. Jennifer currently teaches at Gibney Dance (NYC), Movement Research (NYC), Triskelion Arts (Brooklyn, NY), and Sarah Lawrence College, (NY)

Ishmael Houston-Jones is an award winning choreographer, author, performer, teacher, and curator. His improvised dance and text work has been performed in New York, across the US, and in Europe, Canada, Australia, and Latin America. Drawn to collaborations as a way to move beyond boundaries and the known, Houston-Jones celebrates the political aspect of cooperation.

Houston-Jones and Fred Holland shared a 1984 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for Cowboys, Dreams and Ladders, which reintroduced the erased narrative of the Black cowboy back into the mythology of the American west. He was awarded his second “Bessie” Award for the 2010 revival of THEM, his 1985/86 collaboration with writer Dennis Cooper and composer Chris Cochrane. In 2017 he received a third “Bessie” for Variations on Themes from Lost and Found: Scenes from a Life and other Works by John Bernd. In 2020 he recieved a fourth "Bessie" for Service to the Field of Dance. Houston-Jones is the DraftWork curator for works-in-progress at Danspace Project in New York. He has curated Platform 2012: Parallels which focused on choreographers from the African diaspora and postmodernism and co-curated with Will Rawls Platform 2016: Lost & Found, Dance, New York, HIV/AIDS, Then and Now both at Danspace Project.

Keith Hennessy dances in and around performance. Born in northern Ontario, he lives in San Francisco since 1982 and tours internationally. His performances engage improvisation, ritual, collaboration, and protest as tools for investigating political realities. Practices inspired by anarchism, critical whiteness, post/Modern dance, activist art, the Bay Area, wicca, punk, contact improvisation, indigeneity, and queer-feminist performance motivate and mobilize Hennessy’s work. Keith’s 2016-17 collaborators include Peaches, Meg Stuart, Scott Wells, Jassem Hindi, J Jha, Annie Danger, Gerald Casel, and the collaboratives Blank Map and Turbulence. Keith's recent teaching in universities, independent studios, and festivals includes Ponderosa (Germany), FRESH (SF), HZT (Berlin), Movement Research (NYC), Impulstanz (Vienna), Portland State University, Sandberg Institute (Amsterdam), St. Mary's, VAC Foundation (Moscow), and Warsaw Flow International CI Festival. Awards include the Guggenheim Fellowship, United States Artist Fellowship, a NY Bessie, multiple Isadora Duncan Awards, and a Bay Area Goldie. Keith's writings have been published in Contact Quarterly, Movement Research Journal, Performance Research (UK), Society of Dance History Scholars Journal, Dance Theatre Journal (UK), Itch, Front, and In Dance. Hennessy directs Circo Zero and was a member of Contraband with Sara Shelton Mann. Hennessy is a co-founder of CounterPULSE (formerly 848 Community Space) a thriving performance space in San Francisco. He earned an MFA and PhD from UC Davis.

bottom of page