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BAX | Brooklyn Arts Exchange announces the 2019 Teen Arts Conference

 BAX | Brooklyn Arts Exchange announces the 2019 Teen Arts Conference


BAX | Brooklyn Arts Exchange


BAX | Brooklyn Arts Exchange


Saturday, March 16, 2019 - 10:00am

BAX | Brooklyn Arts Exchange

For over 20 years Brooklyn Arts Exchange's annual Teen Arts Conference (TAC) has provided teen performing artists (ages 13-18) across New York City with the opportunity to come together as part of a wider cultural community of learners and practitioners. This free, daylong conference, for invited participants, offers a range of theater, dance, and performance workshops as well as panel discussions facilitated by leading professionals in the field. The conference culminates with a Performance Gala in the BAX Theater, where the teen groups perform their work for each other and a public audience.

Each year the conference engages in current and thought provoking issues affecting both our political and performance worlds. It both implicitly and explicitly considers the intersection of arts and activism and the radical act we embody by working as creative collectives. This year, we are again offering a lens to frame and unify our time together throughout the conference. We will look at the ways our creative practices can be used intentionally as a vehicle for social justice and activism, and, in particular, to address systemic racism in the United States. We’ll also connect our generative processes to our ability to imagine and act towards change; art as a vehicle to inspire and manifest the alternative world we want to live in.


Pre-Conference Kick-Off Event
Led by Irondale’s Young Company
Monday, March 4, 2019

Irondale’s Young Company builds trust, empathy, and communication skills by starting each year with an intensive improvisation unit. Young Company members learn about each other and ways to relate to each other through a variety of games and exercises. And on March 4th, we are excited to share some of these processes with participants in the 2019 BAX Teen Arts Conference!

Young Company members will facilitate a handful of their favorite games and exercises with an eye towards celebrating the unique qualities of each of participating group. We’ll also start building a greater sense of the ensemble among all the groups. Our session will end with a student-led introduction of one of Young Company’s signature art forms, Soundpainting.

Teen Arts Conference
Saturday, March 16, 2019

Morning Workshops

Following morning orientation, the conference kicks off with three different back-to-back, high-energy technique workshops in dance, theater, and performance led by expert performers and arts educators (each hour-long session includes three different workshop choices):

10:00-11:00 am

Forces of Nature
Billy Schultz

This workshop will explore scene creation by looking at the energy of different emotions and different forces of nature as a source of inspiration. As people we all experience a wide variety of emotions. Different situations put us in different emotional states. Using nature as inspiration, we will explore different emotional states with “forces of nature” as inspiration. What does nature, made human/put into a character look like? A hurricane in a courtroom. Drizzle in a job interview. Fog during a police interrogation. How can observable states of nature inspire character choices? What happens with two characters with very different states collide? Participants will leave with a solid approaches to developing theater work while tapping into the confidence-building, respectful and dynamic power of team work.

Juggling as Revolutionary Practice
Ben Weber

Our contemporary moment is one in need of truly radical change. How do we develop the tools to become the revolutionaries our society needs now? What if committing to the serious study of juggling, even for one hour, could help us hone our persistence, our focus, our self-worth, and our interdependence? In this workshop, we will learn solo juggling basics with scarves, balls, and clubs; we will practice juggling passes with one or more partners; and we will generate simple juggling routines. Whether you are a complete beginner, a confident juggler, or a person seeking to ignite your revolutionary spirit, then this workshop is for you.

Drag Performance
Kelindah Schuster

This workshop will touch briefly on the tradition of drag performance in Brooklyn and how it has exploded as a result of Ru Paul’s Drag Race and queer pop culture in the mainstream. Through full group ensemble games and improv exercises participants will explore expressive movement, lip sync, comedic caricature and clowning. Individually, artists will experiment with writing prompts about what gender performance means to them personally and the role gender plays in their daily lives. This workshop will culminate with an informal and optional share of in-process work and reflections.

11:05 am-12:05 pm

This Body presents Body Confidence
Diane Tomasi

This workshop will use play to gain confidence, body-positivity, build community and find voice.
An upbeat, judgement-free and social workshop for all people of all genders, sexualities, body types and levels that uses dance, tumbling and partner acrobatics to build strength, flexibility and coordination. Exploring various levels of cartwheeling, handstands/hand-balancing, rolling and weight sharing one will gain communication skills and confidence in relying on one’s own body as well as trusting that of a partner(s).

Inside the Cypher: Improvisation through Conversation, Hip Hop as Dialogue
Juan “Coel” Rodriguez

In this workshop, students will explore improvisation through practices that stem from hip hop/street style dance and culture. The most valued practice being the act of having a conversation within your dance and with others. This will include a variety of call and response structures, partner based tasks as well as exploring cyphers (dance circles). Hip Hop experience is not required but we will be exploring improvisation through that cultural lens.

Activating Imagination in Performance
Maira Duarte

In this workshop, students will explore different ways to activate the imagination in performance. In the warm up, we will use anatomical imagery to reveal the body’s relationship to its contents, structure, and the space. Participants will be given improvisational movement scores to play with different levels of emotion and physicality. The goal is to maintain an active imagination so that the fantasy the performer is creating can be truly shared with an audience.

12:10-1:10 pm

Swing Dance
Helen Tocci

Meet other dancers, show off your rhythm, and have a swinging time as you explore the footwork, turns, and partner connection of this vintage dance.

Hip Hop
Skye Montante

In this choreography-based hip hop class we will use bare feet, top rocks, classic hip hop grooves, individuality, and lots of laughter and creativity to learn, breakdown, and rework an original hip hop dance phrase.

African Diaspora Movement
Dani Criss

Through various movement styles of the African Diaspora, students will gain a toolbox for Community Building, Strong Noble Voices, and Responsibility.

Afternoon Panels
The morning workshops (and lunch) are followed by three different moderated panel discussions taking place simultaneously (from 2:00-3:00 pm) during which professional and pre-professional artists share original work and discuss their creative process. This is a professional development experience to see, hear, and ask questions about the process of generating work.

Following the afternoon panels and a dress rehearsal for the evening public performance, participants will share a community meal together to network and exchange ideas and information with peers from various training schools, public and private high schools, and recreation and community groups.

7:30 pm

Performance Gala
$5 tickets at the door

The conference will culminate with an evening Performance Gala showcasing the participating teen groups’ original works. This is open to to public.

2:00-3:00 pm

Artist Services Show/Talk Panel
Moderated by BAX Artist Services Staff

During this panel, view three short performances by professional artists who are developing work within BAX’s Artist Services Program: Ita Segev, Alicia Bauman-Morales, and Antonio Ramos. A guided talk back will follow. Bring questions!
Where do I get My Tortillas?

Developed by the collective Dance to the People, Where do I get My Tortillas? is an open call, inquiry, and project for black/brown/latinx/immigrants/people of color/latinaomericanos/sudamericanos/chicanos, BUT ALSO ANYONE who has felt the pressure of referencing their “exoticism” as a (fill the blank) artist (queer, womxn, trans, immigrant) in order for their artistic work to be seen, to access funding, and/or spaces. In this open forum, participants will join founding Dance to the People member and artist/educator/choreographer, Maira Duarte, as she shares work and facilitates a discussion about the labels and stereotypes that have been put upon her and us through the process of OTHERING. Participants need only bring their questions … You know, THAT question that you’ve been asking yourself for a while. Maybe more brains can come to your aid!

Hip Hop & Cultural Lineage in American Theater from “Jam on the Groove” to “Hamilton”
José Joaquin Garcia & Pop Master Fabel

This panel will feature musicians and dance artists Pop Master Fabel, old school hip hop legend, and one of the NYC’s most versatile singers, José Joaquin Garcia. Both born and raised in NYC, Garcia and Pabon (“Fabel”) will talk about how their childhood cultures and neighborhoods — Lower East Side and Spanish Harlem — were key influencers in developing their musical passions and unique artistic styles. Collaborators for over 20 years, Garcia and Fabel will share snippets of their own choreography and music and discuss how cultural lineages and dance traditions continue to shape the NYC hip hop scene today.

2019 Conference Participants

  • BAX Dance Performance Workshop Level II and III (DPW II and III)
  • Irondale Young Company
  • 407 Moves
  • Cora Dance Youth Company
  • Jessica Lewis Arts Youth Company
  • MCC Youth Company
  • Performance Lab Workshop (Drawing from YouthWorks, BAX’s teen classes,
  • and BAX cultural partners, including Life Lines)

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