Antioch Midwest Zest Poetry Slam and Showcase with Performances by World Champion Slammer’s Ed Mabrey and Xero Skidmore

Lyrical Performance Forum Combines Poetry, Experiential Art and Community

Antioch University Midwest (AUM) is hosting its first Antioch Midwest Zest Poetry Slam & Showcase at 6 pm on Saturday, November 22 in the PNC Auditorium at 900 Dayton Street in Yellow Springs. The event will include featured performances by the current World Poetry Slam Champion (and Dayton native) Ed Mabrey; World Poetry Slam Co-Champion Chancelier “Xero” Skidmore; and San Francisco Slam Master Mona Webb, who is the event’s host. Antioch Midwest Zest

Poetry Slam & Showcase is open to the public, and poets are encouraged to arrive by 5:45 pm to secure a spot in the lineup.

A poetry slam is a competition where poets perform artistic, lyrical and impassioned renditions of their poems. Slight variations of the general guidelines set by Poetry Slam, Inc. are not unusual, however, a key rule that is required for any slam event is that judges are selected from the audience, and those scores are used to determine who advances.

At AUM’s event, five members of the audience will be selected to serve as judges. They will evaluate each performance on a scale of one to ten; performers’ high and low scores will be dropped, and the final score will be comprised of the average of the remaining scores.

The evening’s featured poets will perform, but will not participate in the formal contest. They represent some of the most elite performers and practitioners of the art form, and will lend their expertise and skill to AUM’s inaugural event.

Ed MabreyEd Mabrey, the current Individual World Poetry Slam Co-Champion, has won the title twice, and is the first person of color to win the title. Recognized as a trailblazer in the art form, he can be seen on Verses and Flow on TV ONE (season three). Ed is an internationally-recognized slam poet, Emmy-nominated actor, life coach, motivational speaker, and is driven by an incredible passion to create experiences with each performance – often through his poetry show production company Black Pearl Productions, LLC.

Xero SkidmoreChancelier “Xero” Skidmore is also the current Individual World Poetry Slam Co-Champion, and a nationally-recognized poet, educator, and organizer from Baton Rouge, LA who was enchanted with language at a young age. His largely self-taught writing and performance skills launched a career in teaching, coaching, slam poetry, music, and artistic nonprofit organization management. He is the executive director of Forward Arts, Inc. and lead teaching artist/program manager for its Wordplay Teen Writing Project.

Mona WebbRamona “Mona” Webb is an award-winning performance artist, poetry slam coach, and the artistic director of Project ABLE and Lyrical Minded415, an art-based “learning for equity” seasonal public school course in San Francisco. She is the executive director of the Eden LGBTQ Youth Foundation in the Greater Bay Area, and slammaster and host of The City’s Poetry Slam. Mona has a Bachelor of Arts degree in theater, is a conservatory-trained performance artist and is currently working on her Masters of Education degree.

To learn more about poetry slams, visit To learn more about the Antioch Midwest Zest Poetry Slam & Showcase, email

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Ardella Reliford Art Reception

Art Exhibit at Antioch University Midwest Explores Faces of African-American Women

Artist and Student Ardella Reliford’s Work on Display through September 30;
Public Invited to Open House on September 25

An exhibit on Antioch University Midwest’s (AUM) campus is bringing attention to the often overlooked paintings and visual images of African-American women. Part of the Antioch Art & Lecture Series, “faces that are never seen…” is an exhibition of work by student and artist Ardella Reliford, who is pursuing a master’s degree in Special Education at the University. The exhibition is currently on display through September 30 and the public is invited to a special reception from 5 to 6:30 pm on September 25 at 900 Dayton Street, Yellow Springs, Ohio. There is no cost to attend.

Ardella Reliford“I made an effort to paint subjects that are unknown, but represent an important segment of the population: African-American women who lived, worked and sometimes died without making a headline in the news or an important invention,” Reliford said. “Yet their contributions were just as great, and continue to be part of the glue that holds our society together.”

Reliford believes that “art transcends cultural boundaries and reflects the innermost aura we all possess,” which she demonstrates in her work. Reliford specializes in using recyclable items to create her art and, in addition to traditional techniques, experiments on “uncommon surfaces” such as a pancake griddle or a clothes iron.

faces that are never seen... by Ardella RelifordShe was born in the Delta region of Holly Springs, Mississippi and raised in Terre Haute, Indiana on a small farm. Reliford was the first in her family to attend college and graduating, taught art for a number of years in Dayton, Ohio public schools as well as area charter schools. She is also published author with her novel, Lacroix, in 2000 and her illustrated children’s book, Mr. Peevy Forgets, in 2001.

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Students Launch Dayton Ohio Toastmasters Chapter on Campus

Antioch University Midwest Students Launch
Toastmasters Chapter in Yellow Springs

Adult Students say Effective Communication is Essential to Success
in the Classroom and their Careers

Leadership and communication skills are crucial to today’s workplace and important to develop in tandem with academic studies.  Antioch University Midwest (AUM) students recognized this need and became the driving force behind bringing Toastmasters, the most recognized presentation-focused organizations in the country, on campus. Open to students, faculty and the local community, this chapter provides anyone interested the tools they need stand out and reach their education and career goals.

Amy Cotterman

Amy Cotterman, President of the Antioch Midwest”s New Dayton Ohio  Toastmasters Chapter

Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. Members participate in a low-pressure environment where they receive feedback and collaborate with others who share a similar goal: developing on-point communication skills for job interviews, career presentations and other public speaking opportunities. Chapters are self-directed and offer leadership opportunities to those members looking to improve their skills as Chapter officers.

“It has become apparent to me that the ability to communicate comprehension and mastery of the material is critical to our academic success,” said Amy Cotterman, Human Resources Administration Student at AUM. “Public speaking skills are also critical to our professional success and Toastmasters provides a recognized and accepted methodology to improve our skills in a way that positively impacts our resume.”

The effort dovetails with AUM’s focus on empowering student to be active participants in their education and create unique and individualized opportunities in which adult learners thrive. For many, speaking in front of a live audience is a fear akin to spiders, flying, and even illness. Overcoming the fear and continuing to hone presentation skills after graduation are two of the goals that AUM students hope to achieve when the chapter is formally established.

The initial open house meeting at AUM attracted 22 students, and netted 18 applications to join the group and formally create a Dayton Ohio Toastmasters Chapter. Once the group has 20 dues-paying members, Toastmasters AUM is considered chartered by the national organization and will receive national recognition. Organizers expect to reach that goal by the end of AUM’s open enrollment period on September 27.

Students have also created an AUM Toastmasters Facebook group for the initiative. The group, and the Toastmasters meetings, are student-directed and open to the community. The group meets the second and fourth Saturday of each month from 12:30 to 1:30 pm. The next meeting is September 20 in the Antioch University Midwest campus multi-purpose room at 900 Dayton Street, Yellow Springs, Ohio.

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Reggio Emilia Approach Certificate Program Added in Response to Teacher Requests

New Antioch University Certificate
Focuses on Student-Centered Training for Teachers

Reggio Emilia Approach Certificate Program Added in Response to Teacher Requests

Antioch University Midwest (AUM) launched a new hybrid course-based program aimed at meeting the needs of its current early childhood education teachers interested in integrating Reggio-inspired principles into their classrooms. The Reggio Emilia Approach (REA) is focused on seeing children as active contributors to their education, rather than the target of instruction. The REA program can be embedded as a concentration within a Master’s of Education degree or stand alone as a professional certificate for licensed teachers.

Reggio Emilia, ItalyThe first of its kind in Ohio, the Reggio Emilia Approach Certificate Program was added due to educator and AUM student demand, and its popularity among Ohio’s teachers. “Ohio has a strong network of early childhood educators who have been studying the Reggio Approach since the early 1990s and were eager to see courses that focus on the implementation of Reggio-inspired practices in our early childhood classrooms and programs,” said Julie Biddle, Ph.D., Core Faculty and Chair of the Early Childhood Education Program. “These educators were the impetus for creating this new certificate.”

Reggio Emilia, Italy

Reggio Emilia, Italy

The Reggio Emilia Approach originated in Reggio Emilia, Italy and was founded by educator Loris Malaguzzi. Many educators inspire and inform the ever-evolving teaching style. The REA is grounded in several key principles including the belief that children are active protagonists of their growth and development process; learning is a process of individual and group construction; and the teaching environment is organized to provoke and support learning.

The AUM School of Education’s Early Childhood Program is nationally recognized through the Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation (CAEP) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Boasting a 99% licensure pass rate, the accelerated program and cohort model provides students a close network and a true learning community with fellow peers. With the inclusion of this certificate program, they will have the tools they need to develop a learning environment in their classrooms that allows them to interact with the children in intentional, constructive, and creative ways that focus on their capabilities, competencies, and interests.

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Antioch Art Series: Faces that are never seen…

Faces We’ve Seen…

The paintings and other visual images of African-American Women in museums here and around the world have been largely ignored. African-American artists , both male and female, remain unknown to the general public. You have to make an effort to find the names of extraordinary African-American visual artists, Elizabeth Callett, Edmona Lewis, Lois Mailou Jones , Augusta Savage and many others.

Faces We Know…

I made an effort to paint subjects that are unknown, but represent an important segment of the population, African-American women, who live, work and (sometimes) died without making a headline in the news or an important invention. Yet their contribution was just as great, they are and continue
be part of the glue that holds our society together.

About the Artist

Ardella RelifordArdella Reliford was born in the Delta region of Holly Springs, Mississippi and raised in Terre Haute, Indiana on a small farm. She was the first in her family to attend college. She started her educational journey at Indiana State College majoring in Commercial Art and Art Education, and then finished up her degree in Art Education at Central State University.

Mr. Peevy Forgets - Ardella RelifordAfter graduating, Reliford taught Art for a number of years in Dayton, Ohio public schools as well as area charter schools. She is also published author with her novel, Lacroix, in 2000 and her illustrated children’s book, Mr. Peevy Forgets, in 2001 she  Currently, she is continuing her education with the pursuit of her master’s degree in Special Education at Antioch University Midwest.

Reliford believes that “art transcends cultural boundaries and reflects the innermost aura we all posses” and it is shown through her work. Reliford specializes in using recyclable items to create her art and uses a variety of mediums. In addition to the more traditional art mediums, she likes to experiment on “uncommon surfaces” such as a pancake griddle or a clothes iron to create art.


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Take Charge of Your Professional Development

Take Charge of Your Professional Development

Tips for helping yourself grow, even without your company’s support.

By Alexis Grant

Professional Development at Antioch University MidwestIt’s easy to get complacent about professional development when you’re employed. If you already have a job, why should you go above and beyond to improve your skills, especially if it’s not required by your company?

But making an effort to help yourself grow professionally will help you succeed, both in the short term and in the long term. And if you don’t learn new skills and acquire new knowledge and experience, you’re likely to fall behind your peers, which could be detrimental when you look to change positions.

“If you don’t [focus on professional development], you won’t be marketable in your field in five years,”Alexandra Levit, author of New Job, New You: A Guide to Reinventing Yourself in a Bright New Career, wrote in an email. “In this [employment] climate, you always have to be looking ahead to what is going to be required in your potential next role.”

Levit recommends focusing on transferable skills that are relevant across a variety of industries and positions. That way, even if you can’t use them now, they’ll likely come in handy later.

Taking charge of your professional development has become even more important since the recession, because some companies no longer have the funds to help employees grow beyond their basic duties. And since employees tend to have shorter stays with companies than they did years ago, companies may not see the value in training an employee they could lose. Of course, employee-retention experts say that’s exactly why companies should offer professional development: because it helps them keep and cultivate their best talent.

“Companies have less resources to do professional development because as they’ve cut back, everybody’s down to muscle and bone,” says Rusty Rueff, career and workplace expert at, a website that offers insight into careers and companies. “You have to take control of your own development … and find ways to make it happen.”

Here are 10 ways to help yourself grow professionally even without the support of your company:

1. Take a class. Just because you’re no longer in school doesn’t mean the classroom is off-limits. Plenty of universities offer classes for adults, often in the evening so you can attend around your job schedule. Online classes are another convenient option. Take a class on a topic that’s relevant for your job, or learn about something that’s totally unrelated for a change of pace. Either way, you’re growing, which is the over-arching goal.

2. Teach yourself a skill. You don’t always need structure or a class to learn something new. Pinpoint skills that are desirable in your line of work, and start practicing. Website-building or social-media skills are a perfect example, and they’re desirable across the board. Jump into a project, and learn the ropes as you go.

3. Volunteer. “Because [nonprofit] organizations are so hungry for hands,” Levit says, “you’ll get the opportunity to master leadership skills you might not have the chance to practice otherwise.” And, she adds, “you’ll be doing it in a real-world environment, which makes the experience better than if you, for example, took coursework or training seminars.”

4. Master an online tool. Even those of us who organize our lives via digital tools don’t always make the most of them. The Web is full of free video tutorials on how to use networks like LinkedIn and Google+, as well as tips on organizing your Gmail life. Think about how you can increase your efficiency, and scour the Internet for resources to help you accomplish that.

5. Seek out people who are on the career path you aspire to. Ask them how they got to where they are. With a little effort on social media, Rueff says, you can easily find out who holds a certain position—or who used to hold it—and reach out to them. Especially if you stroke their ego a bit, people are often happy to talk about the path they took in their career, as well as what worked and what didn’t. Learn from their successes and mistakes.

6. Shadow a colleague. Find workers within your company who do something you want to learn, and stop by their office occasionally to ask questions, Rueff suggests. You don’t need an official shadowing program to accomplish this, just your own initiative. “You will learn a lot by listening and watching, and a little bit by osmosis,” he says.

7. Find a mentor. Take that find-a-successful-person goal one step further and identify someone who’s willing to give you guidance and advice. Even if you don’t feel comfortable calling that person a mentor, having someone to run ideas by who has more experience than you can go a long way toward helping you make the right decisions. The key here is that they have to have an interest in helping you.

8. Read. Devour books and articles and blogs within your niche, but also pick reads that are outside of your normal professional box, Rueff says. “Read things that are outside of your own industry and experience, and then stop and think about, how can I relate that and apply it to my business?” he says.

9. Attend a conference. Figure out which conference is most worthwhile for people who work in your target industry and go, even if it means using vacation time. Not only will you learn new skills, you’ll also make new contacts. Emily Bennington, who helps new college graduates transition from the classroom to the workplace, advises researching who’s going and connecting with those people on social media before the event, so you can arrange an in-person meeting and facilitate a stronger connection.

10. Don’t neglect your “soft skills.” Most of us know our weaknesses, whether we need to be more organized or do a better job of meeting deadlines or simply prioritizing in a smarter way. Putting effort into improving those skills will make you more marketable no matter what field you’re in, says Joseph Grenny, an organizational-development expert and co-author of Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success. “Don’t do it for your boss,” Grenny says. “You’re doing this for you.”

Source: US News

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Antioch University PhD in Leadership and Change Announces New Healthcare Focus

Ph.D. in Leadership and ChangeAntioch University PhD in Leadership and Change

Announces New Healthcare Focus

Antioch University’s PhD in Leadership and Change program (PhDLC), a nationally recognized outcomes-based doctoral program, will now offer two distinct pathways towards the degree—a continuation of its highly successful interdisciplinary curriculum in the art and science of leading change with cross-professional cohorts and a new pathway specifically designed for those leading change in the healthcare field. The program will be enrolling students for its newly created PhD in Leadership and Change for Healthcare, with its first cohort starting in July 2015. With the same unique low-residency model, students can still live and work anywhere, coming together for three face-to-face residencies a year with significant virtual learning opportunities between the gatherings.

The new concentration offers an opportunity for those in leadership roles in a variety of healthcare organizations and a range of healthcare professions to engage in meaningful study and applied research that impacts and improves their practice. Aligned with Antioch University’s mission to further social, economic and environmental justice, and consistent with the program’s decade-long success in educating scholar-practitioners, students in the healthcare concentration will address topics such as relationship-centered care, community access, education and advocacy, socially responsible and ethical decision making, and leadership for navigating ongoing changes in healthcare environments. Healthcare leaders will be able to choose which of the program’s two pathways better suits both their style as a learner and their interest as a practitioner.

“Healthcare systems in the US and globally are in the midst of cataclysmic changes.  Current approaches to financing, delivery, service and organization are facing innumerable challenges,” said Dr. Laurien Alexandre, director of the PhDLC.  “Many healthcare professionals are daunted by the tasks ahead while millions face the stark reality of lack of access and/or insufficient care. Based on these challenges, the PhDLC recognizes the importance of bringing our socially engaged mission, distinctive pedagogy and unique delivery to those that are leading change within the rapidly evolving healthcare field.” She added, “Students in the healthcare concentration will immerse themselves in the program’s interdisciplinary breadth on the research and practice of leading change and apply it to the healthcare field within the context of a cohort learning community of other healthcare leaders.”

The PhDLC for Healthcare will:

  •  Highlight the theory, research and practice of leading change rather than the management of human and financial resources that is prevalent within traditional doctorates in healthcare administration.
  •  Offer an integrated curriculum in which learners move seamlessly between face-to-face and virtual activities, and between peer team-based learning and individualized self-paced progress.
  •  Emphasize research approaches that are both traditionally accepted and those that are challenging to the field as we take to heart that “evidence-based” is grounded in both quantitative and qualitative ways of knowing.
  • Focus on the expertise of students and integrate their professional experiences into the ongoing curriculum.
  • Hold an international residency to examine and learn from healthcare delivery systems in other countries.
  • Engage learners with an experienced team of senior-level full-time leadership and change professors coupled with field-based affiliate faculty from the healthcare sector.
  • Bring healthcare ‘change agents’ together three times a year for 3-day residencies, primarily held at the Ohio-based location of Antioch University.

More information regarding the program as it becomes available will be announced on the PHDLC website at For inquiries, contact the program at 937.769.1341 or by email:

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AUM Celebrates the Life of Student Lynne Henderson

AUM Student Lynne Henderson

Lynne Henderson

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Antioch University Midwest student Lynne Henderson on July 20, 2014.

A mother, grandmother and friend to many, Henderson had an inspiring passion for life. Her determination to continue her education after retiring led her to Antioch University Midwest where she was on the road to completing her bachelor’s degree in Human Services Administration.

“In class, Lynne always had something to contribute to the conversation,” stated Dr. Mary Ann Short, Core Faculty and Chair of Undergraduate Studies at AUM. “When we would have conversations in class, I can remember her starting off responses with ‘well…in my experience…’ and then sharing a story about either a life or work situation she had experienced which always enriched our class discussions.”

Lynne’s desire to pursue her human services degree at Antioch University stemmed from her love of people and her desire to help others.  She truly cared about people and in return, people cared about her. “In class, Lynne was a thoughtful student.  She didn’t jump into the conversation quickly. However, when she did have something to say, the rest of the students listened,” shared AUM Adjunct Professor, Karin VanZant.  “She portrayed herself as a mother to the rest of the students and they respected her insights and wisdom.”

Lynne Henderson and her family.Son, Brian Henderson, told us that his mother gave him what he considers to be the best part of himself. “In a world where all we know is temptation, pressures and outright cruelty; she taught me how to navigate the maze without losing compassion. She was a very kind, dignified and strong woman,” explains Brian. He recalls her talking about her experiences on campus and the random acts of kindness she received from classmates and faculty members.  “My mother really enjoyed every minute she spent at Antioch University.”

Antioch University extends its deepest condolences to Lynne’s entire family.  A guest book is available online for anyone who would like to share fond memories of their time with Lynne Henderson or who would like to write a kind tribute.

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Tips for Adult Students

5 Tips for Going Back to School as an Adult

Worried about Money? Study Time? Tests?


Whether it’s finding the money or worrying about tests, going back to school can be stressful for adult students. These five tips can make life a bit easier.

1. Get Financial Help

Smiling woman in cap and gown holding diploma

Getty Images

Unless you’ve won the lottery, money is an issue for almost everyone going back to school. Remember that scholarships aren’t just for young students. Many are available for older students, working moms, non-traditional students of all kinds. Search online for scholarships, includingFAFSA (Federal Student Aid), ask your school what kind of financial aid they offer, and while you’re there, ask about work on campus if you’ve got a few extra hours available.

2. Make a Date with Yourself for Study Time

Adult students studying

Getty Images

You have a full life already. For most college kids, going to school is their job. You may very well have a full-time job plus a relationship, children, and a home to care for. You’re going to have to manage your study timeif you’re adding school to your already busy schedule.

Choose the hours that make the most sense for you (early morning? noon? after dinner?), and mark them in your date book or planner. You now have a date with yourself. When something comes up during those hours, stay strong, politely decline, and keep your date to study.

3. Manage Test Anxiety

Meditate by Dougal Waters - Getty Images

Dougal Waters – Getty Images

No matter how hard you’ve studied, tests can be stressful. There are lots of ways to manage your anxiety, assuming you’re prepared, of course, which is the first way to reduce test stress. Resist the urge to cram right up to test time. Your brain will function more clearly if you:

  • Arrive early and relaxed
  • Trust yourself
  • Take your time
  • Read the instructions carefully
  • Answer the questions you know easily first, and then
  • Go back and work on the harder ones

Remember to breathe! Breathing deeply will keep you calm and relaxed.

Sleeping by Jupiterimages - Getty Images

Getty Images

4. Get Your Forty Winks

One of the most important things you can do when learning anything new is to sleep! Not only do you need the energy and revitalization that sleep provides before a test, your brain needs sleep to catalog learnings. Studies have shown that people who sleep between learning and testing score much higher than those who haven’t slept. Get your forty winks before testing and you’ll do much better.

5. Find a Support System

Networking by Stewart Cohen - Getty Images

Stewart Cohen – Getty Images

So many non-traditional students are going back to school that many schools have websites or organizations set up to support you.

  • Get online and search for “non-traditional students”
  • Stop at your school’s front office and ask if they have help in place for non-traditional students
  • Introduce yourself to other students like yourself and support each other.

Don’t be shy. Get involved. Almost every non-traditional student has some of the same concerns you do.


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DeSpain Publishes Book on Postmodern Movement Improvisation

Antioch University Midwest Core Faculty Member Releases New Book on Postmodern Movement Improvisation


Yellow Springs, OH- Antioch University Core Faculty member, Kent De Spain has released his new book titled Landscape of the Now.  De Spain’s book, which is supported by more than 20 years of research, takes readers on a deep journey into the underlying processes and structures of postmodern movement improvisation, while exploring issues that arise for the improviser in practice and performance.

Landscape of the Now: A Topography of Movement Improvisation“Over the course of several years I had the privilege of sitting down with several of the most renowned teachers of movement improvisation in the world,” said De Spain. “Combining their experience and wisdom with my research structure has significantly moved our understanding of the field forward. Readers interested in improvisation, cognitive studies, or human creative process will find Landscape of the Now to be highly informative,” he added.

Based on a series of interviews with master teachers who have developed unique approaches that are taught around the world – Steve Paxton, Simone Forti, Lisa Nelson, Deborah Hay, Nancy Stark Smith, Barbara Dilley, Anna Halprin, and Ruth Zaporah – Landscape of the Now delves into issues like the influence of an audience on an improviser’s choices or how performers “track” and use their experience of the moment. De Spain’s book also looks at the role of cognitive skills, memory, space, emotion, and the senses.

Whether read from cover to cover or pulled apart and explored a subject at a time, Landscape of the Now offers the reader a kind of map into the mysterious realm of human creativity, and the wisdom and experience of artists who have spent a lifetime exploring it.

Kent De Spain, Core Faculty and Chair of the Health and Wellness and Healthcare Consumer Advocacy programs at Antioch University Midwest, is an educator and multi-disciplinary artist with a special interest in health care and patient advocacy. He earned his B.A. and M.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles, and his Ed.D. from Temple University in Philadelphia. He was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Ohio State University, and has worked for many years as a professional choreographer and videographer, teaching movement practices, anatomy, injury prevention, and somatics to students and professionals in the United States, Mexico, Europe, and Asia. De Spain has been the recipient of several awards, including the Pew Fellowship in the Arts for Choreography and an Established Choreographer’s Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. He has published, presented and performed extensively in the areas of movement improvisation and dance and technology.

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