Fueled by generosity and curiosity, Dance Exchange expands who gets to dance, where dance happens, what dance is about, and why dance matters. Dance Exchange collaborates across generations, disciplines, and communities to channel the power of dancemaking as a means for dialogue, a source of critical reflection, and a creative engine for thought and action. Founded in 1976 by Liz Lerman and under the artistic leadership of Cassie Meador since 2011, Dance Exchange is a non-profit dance organization based in Takoma Park, Maryland.
Much of Dance Exchange’s work across our 46-year history has focused on the intersection of art and science, leading to collaborations with scientists and educators in the fields of biology, physics, ecology, genetics, and more. In addition to FRIB, we’ve partnered with leading science organizations such as NASA, National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the European Council for Nuclear Research (CERN), and more. By cultivating a sense of wonder, inquiry, and discovery in the dances we make and the workshops we lead, we celebrate the important role of both dance and science in moving us toward a deeper understanding of our world.
What inspires and fuels our work at Dance Exchange?
Connecting across generations and communities.
Making art at the intersection of social relevance and community participation.
Deepening our relationships with scientists, educators, farmers, forestry specialists, creative aging experts, nonprofit and municipal leaders, independent artists, and families.
Growing partnerships with schools, universities, cultural institutions, traditional and non-traditional performing venues, and members of the philanthropic community.
Our work at the intersection of art and science offers an invitation to move as a way to notice our world, and to notice as a way to move our world. Discover ways you can move with us at danceexchange.org.
DANCE EXCHANGE PARTNERING ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES
Keith Thompson (he/him) (Creative Director) danced for the Trisha Brown Dance Company from 1992-2001, served as Trisha's rehearsal assistant from 1998-2001, and currently performs with and is rehearsal director for Liz Lerman. He has taught master classes globally, and his company, danceTactics Performance Group, has been featured at Montpellier International Dance Festival, Dixon Place NYC, Triskelion Art Center, Edinburgh International Fringe Festival, Theater X (Tokyo), and Taliesin West. Keith is associate professor and director of the dance department at Arizona State University, where he is also the inaugural faculty fellow at the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy.
Ami Dowden-Fant (she/her) (Director of Creative Engagement) of Richmond, VA, is the thriving owner/director of River City Dance & Performing Arts Theatre. She has worked with a variety of artists such as Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Robert Battle, and Liz Lerman. She has been awarded the Outstanding Choreographer, Performer Award (VA), and Style Weekly's Best Performing Arts Lessons (VA). Her work has been presented in the National American College Dance Festival (NYC) and Philadelphia Fringe Festival (PA). In 2009 she began her partnership with Dance Exchange, performing and leading workshops at Wesleyan University (MA), Department of Education (DC), and Belhaven University (MS). She was commissioned to choreograph for the William Penn School District (PA), Neighborhood Playhouse (NYC), and the Center of the Arts (VA). Ami Dowden-Fant is instilled with the gift to educate and inspire all willing movers of the many wonders of dance!
Clarence Brooks (he/they) (Dance Exchange Partnering Artist), Florida Atlantic University associate professor/director of dance, is a guest artist with Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble, David Parker and The Bang Group, and their own company, FAU Repertory Dance Theatre Ensemble. Brooks can be seen in the video documentary The World of Alwin Nikolais and their essay "Dancing with the Issues" was published in One Teacher in 10(Alyson Books). The recipient of several fellowships and awards, Brooks holds an MFA (University of Washington), four certifications, and sits on the boards of danceTactics, Natural Movers Foundation, Sokolow Theatre/Dance Ensemble, Miami Dance Futures, Humphrey Foundation, and several university committees.
Shawn Brush (he/him) (Dance Exchange Partnering Artist) is a NY-based dancer and choreographer. He dances for danceTactics Performance Group (with whom he is also assistant to the artistic director), Falcon Dance, and is currently on project with Dance Exchange. Shawn has previously danced for Maya Orchin, Laura Peterson Choreography, Stefanie Nelson, The New Collectives, Meagan Woods company, and Hillary Pearson. Shawn's own choreography, under Brush/McGrath(works) with his partner and wife, Molly McGrath, has been presented at Judson Memorial Church, Triskelion Arts, Dixon Place and Raritan Valley Community College. He is also a teaching artist and has taught at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, Raritan Valley Community College, and public schools across New Jersey. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with a BFA in Dance from Mason Gross School of the Arts in 2015.
Brit Falcon (she/her) (Dance Exchange Partnering Artist) is a performer, choreographer/maker, bodyworker, and educator. She has had the pleasure of performing with William Evans, Kista Tucker Dance, Inc., Steeledance, Bryan Baira, Donnell Oakley, Renegade Performance Group, Keith Johnson & Adriane Fang, Kendra Portier, and David Dorfman Dance. She has taught at numerous universities and festivals nationally and internationally, sharing her research in the intersections of dance performance, wellness, science, and ecology. Brit holds a BFA from The College at Brockport and is currently an MFA candidate in dance at the University of Maryland. She is the artistic director of Falcon Dance.
Esther Geiger (she/her) (Dance Exchange Partnering Artist) is interested in how things connect, and in finding connections by looking for essence. Links along her movement journey include modern dance (with a German Expressionist twist), Iyengar yoga, structured improvisation (mentored by master Richard Bull), and the Laban/Bartenieff Movement System (LBMS). Esther taught at Dance Exchange under Liz Lerman in the 1970s-80s and reconnected with the DX community in the 2000s. She is a Certified Movement Analyst (CMA) and has applied that work to playground design, movement education, unschooling, personnel management, and audio description. She has taught in LBMS certification programs in the U.S. and Israel.
Liv Schaffer (she/her) (Dance Exchange Partnering Artist) is a Bay Area artist and educator with a focus on intergenerational practice at the intersection of dance and social impact sectors. She holds a degree from Alonzo King's LINES Ballet BFA Program at Dominican University of California and has performed with AXIS Dance Company, DanceWorks Chicago, Robert Moses' Kin, and Dance Exchange. Liv is a community engagement artist with Jacob's Pillow and on faculty at the University of San Francisco's Performing Arts & Social Justice department, where she directs the Dance Generators, an intergenerational dance company. Liv's choreography has been presented by Jacob's Pillow Inside/Out, ODC State of Play Festival, Yerba Buena Gardens Festival/RAWDance SF, The Big Muddy Dance Company, and Western Michigan University.