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“Movement Matters” Choreographers Explore Dance and the Liberal Arts This January

January 2, 2015

Project Funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation To Foster Creativity and Learning

Middlebury, VT—This January, three choreographers will be in residence at Middlebury College as part of the three-year project “Movement Matters,” funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Maree ReMalia, Kate Speer, and Makeda Thomas will be working with teams of faculty in their mutual explorations of dance and academics. The choreographers’ residencies will include master classes on January 13, 14, and 15, as well as a final presentation of their work on January 26, all at the Kevin P. Mahaney ’84 Center for the Arts.

In 2013, Middlebury College received a $310,000 performing arts grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support “Movement Matters.” This multi-year interdisciplinary endeavor brings emerging dance artists together with Middlebury faculty and students to create innovative research models that foster embodied scholarship, merging the relationship between learning and life.

Makeda Thomas is a well-regarded dance scholar and artist, the recipient of numerous grants and awards including her induction into the Caribbean Hall of Fame for Excellence in Dance in 2012. She earned a BA in English and Dance from Hofstra in 1999, and her MFA in Dance from Hollins University in 2009. Thomas is a 2013 Creative Capital Grantee. Her 2008 solo “FreshWater” was embedded into MIT’s “Black Matters: Introduction to Black Studies,” and toured throughout the U.S., Mexico, Zimbabwe, and Trinidad. She has served as a Cultural Envoy for the U.S. Department of State and is the Director of the Dance & Performance Institute in Trinidad & Tobago. As a dancer, Thomas performed internationally with Ronald K. Brown’s EVIDENCE, Urban Bush Women, and Rennie Harris/Puremovement.
Photo Matt Karas

Kate Speer has just completed her MFA at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She earned her BA in Dance and Biology at Swarthmore in 2008. She has performed works by Gesel Mason and David Dorfman, and has also taught as a graduate assistant in both biology and dance. She has presented research at UCLA’s Dance Under Construction Conference, the Society of Dance History Scholars (SDHS) and the Congress on Research and Dance (CORD). While based in Philadelphia from 2008–2011, Speer was an artist in residence at Mascher Space Cooperative and a member of Philly Contact Collective. Her studies in Madagascar and France have deeply influenced her dancing body and research interests.

Photo Heather Gray




Maree ReMalia is a dance artist currently based in Washington, DC. Born in South Korea and raised in Medina, OH, she earned her MFA in dance at the Ohio State University and her BA in Education for Social Change and Cultural Studies at Prescott College in Arizona. In 2012, she earned her certification to teach the Gaga movement language through the first official Gaga Teacher Training program in Tel Aviv, Israel. In addition to her affiliation with regional companies, ReMalia has performed works by choreographers Meghan Durham, John Giffin, Bebe Miller, Ohad Naharin, Ming Shen Gu, and Noa Zuk. Her choreographic work has been produced in Pittsburgh, New York, and Cleveland.

Photo Garrett Jones



As part of the Winter Term residencies, each choreographer will give a master class—Makeda Thomas on Tuesday, January 13; Maree ReMalia on Wednesday, January 14; and Kate Speer on Thursday, January 15—all from 10:30 A.M.–12:30 P.M. in the Dance Theatre of the Mahaney Center for the Arts. A free, culminating presentation of all the choreographers’ final work will be held on Monday, January 26 at 10:30 A.M. in the same space. Each artist will present her findings for approximately 30 minutes, followed by a 10 minute question and answer period. The master classes and presentations are free and open to the public.

After the three artists depart at the end of January, the Movement Matters steering committee will select one to become the Middlebury Interdisciplinary Choreographer, working on campus for a two-year appointment from fall 2015 to spring 2017.

All of the "Movement Matters" Winter Term residency events will be held at the Kevin P. Mahaney ’84 Center for the Arts, on the campus of Middlebury College. The Mahaney Center is located at 72 Porter Field Road in Middlebury, just off Route 30 south. Free parking is available. For further information, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or go to

Mahaney Center for the Arts
Middlebury College
South Main St./Route 30 South
72 Porter Field Rd.
Middlebury, VT 05753
(802) 443-3168 phone
(802) 443-2834 fax