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Dance troupe leads workshop at Brandon Wilde

Posted: Sunday, December 26, 2010

After a series of warm-up exercises, it was time to move.

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Keith Thompson and Sarah Levitt of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange demonstrated the concept of becoming a sculpture and relating their body movements to their partner's.

Then it was time for the residents of Brandon Wilde to give it a try.

Dottie Schmidt and Pauline Blandeburgo laughed as they came up with different movements during the exercise.

The two women said they attended the event because it sounded like it would be fun.

"It's been very different," said Blandeburgo.

The Liz Lerman Dance Exchange of Washington, D.C., was in the Augusta area for the Westobou Festival, where it performed Drift at the Imperial Theatre and later visited Brandon Wilde for a workshop.

"I'm so thrilled to be back home," Cassie Meador told the group.

Meador is a 1998 graduate of John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School.

"We are a dance company based in Washington, D.C., and we are multigenerational," she said. "The youngest members are in their 20s, but company members go into their 70s."

The company presented a 90-minute workshop, including residents in a simple workout using everyday objects.

Thomas Dwyer, one of the seniors in the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, led exercises using a few pages from a newspaper.

Besides getting the daily news, there are other benefits to the newspaper, he said.

"Another use can be to strengthen your hands," said Dwyer.

The techniques included crumpling the page up with one hand and then unfolding it.

Then he told them to twist the newspaper and hold it in front of them as they performed a series of stretches.

Avery Villines, Brandon Wilde's wellness director, said she was thrilled when she was contacted about having the group visit. What appealed to her most about the dancers was the group's multigenerational spin.

"It's most unique for a dance group to have a senior focus. That is huge," she said.



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