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Movement Break: Care

Sunday, November 15 2020
7:00 PM EST


SPACE and Mechanics’ Hall are pleased to announce Movement Break: Care, the first edition of a new ongoing series dedicated to conversations about dance and performance among Maine artists, practitioners, presenters, and audiences. Each gathering will be guided by a theme that will then inform the gathering’s conversation and movement break. For this first edition, the topic is “care.” This year has been an urgent reminder to consider care throughout all aspects of our lives: our bodily health, mutual community aid, artist advocacy, and cultural care in a polarized moment. 

The virtual event will begin with an offering of “show & tell,” where selected dance artists will offer reflections and brief work samples related to how they are interpreting, receiving, or exploring care. The group will then take a movement break, a virtual opportunity to move together, led by Kristen Stake of The Living Room. The event will close with a group Q&A that may relate to the artists’ work, the topic of care, or any other idea that comes up during the gathering. 

Register above; we will share the Zoom meeting link day-of.

Movement Break is made possible by the Onion Foundation with additional support from the Warren Memorial Foundation and Maine Charitable Mechanic Association.

For this event, our featured artists are:  

René Johnson

René Goddess Johnson was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and raised in the suburbs of Portland, Maine starting at age 6. She rose from modest roots to become a distinguished director, producer, actress, educator, dancer, choreographer, playwright and theater founder. As the Founder of the 4-year-old Theater Ensemble of Color (TEoC), she created a strong institution committed to social justice and racial equity as well as historical education. An outstanding teacher and performer, René has worked for Mayo Street Arts, University of Southern Maine, Deering High School, Colby College, The School Around Us, Waynflete, The Waldorf School and Acorn Productions. Through the years, Ms. Johnson has taught every grade level from birth through major universities and corporate settings. Johnson serves as a member of Black Artist Forum, The Third Place and the Lorem Ipsum Theater Collective.

Michelle Mola

In performance, Michelle Mola has appeared in full-length productions by writer, choreographer Jack Ferver. Their work Chambre 2016 was nominated for a Bessie Award for Outstanding Production. As a movement coach, Michelle has worked with clients in film production, stunt coordination, theater and dance companies from coast to coast, including Jeremy O. Harris’s A Boys Company Presents: ‘Tell Me If I’m Hurting You’. You can read about this play put on hold in the July issue of Vogue Magazine. As a dramaturg, she has worked with the choreographer Sara Juli for the full length solo performance Burnt Out Wife 2019. Michelle founded Peaks Body in 2020, personalized Pilates services for recovery, maintenance, and exercise variety She lives on Peaks Island just off the coast of Portland, ME. 

Brian Crabtree 

Brian Crabtree has been dancing and making dances for over thirty years in Boston, New York City, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and his beloved hometown of Portland, Maine. For eight years he was a dancer in Ram Island repertory Dance under the direction of Daniel McCusker. There he performed in the works of several choreographers including Lucinda Childs, Doug Varone, Maida Withers, Yvonne Rainer and Mr. McCusker. He formed an independent group to show his own early dances called Random Moves Dance Collective. He moved to Boston in 1994, and produced several projects of his own and in collaboration with Marjorie Morgan, Caitlin Corbett, Jody Weber, and Audra Carabetta. His dances have received support and recognition from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Cambridge Arts Council, Dance Umbrella, Somerville Arts Council, and This That Productions. He has shown work at Dance Complex and Green St. Studios, and has twice been a resident artist at Boston Center for the Arts. His dances have been favorably reviewed in the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, and Boston Phoenix. He returned home to Portland in April of last year.

Adanna Jones

Adanna Kai Jones is an Assistant Professor of Dance in the Department of Theater and Dance at Bowdoin College. She received her Ph.D. in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside, and her BFA in Dance from Mason Gross School of the Arts—Rutgers University. She has performed in professional dance companies based in NYC, including the “Julia Ritter Performance Group” and “Souloworks” with Andrea E. Woods. And in general, her research remains focused on Caribbean dance and identity politics within the Diaspora, paying particular focus to the rolling hip dance known as winin’. From 2017 to 2018, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow for Faculty Diversity in the Dance Department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. As a fellow, she expanded upon her latest research project, which uses multi-sited, transnational ethnography to track the ways in which Caribbean choreographers play an integral role in the support and preservation of contemporary Caribbean identity politics within the US. Effectively, her research puts both Dance and Caribbean Studies into a critical dialogue with African-American Studies by attending to the ways these dancers complicate US-based constitutions of black identity. In July 2015, she choreographed “Wine & Tales” in Port of Spain, Trinidad, which was presented by New Waves! 2015 and the Dancing While Black Performance Lab. And in June 2018, she choreographed and performed “Remembering D’Angelo’s Untitled” in New York City at Field Studies 2018. Both performances were rooted in her ethnographic fieldwork on the wine, Caribbean Carnivals, and the sexualization of Caribbean bodies.

Kristen Stake

Kristen Stake is a Portland dance artist who champions community, improvisation, experimentation, and self-care through the Living Room Dance Collective. During the pandemic, she is offering outdoor, socially-distanced dance-making gatherings for
choreographers.Visit FMI.

These four artists were nominated because of their artistry and thought leadership. Future events will feature more artists nominated by their peers. In this way, we hope the series can include voices from the multitudes of dance communities in our state. 

This community conversation for performing artists and presenters could take multiple forms in the future. Please send suggestions to

Graphic by Pickwick Independent Press artist, alrtomas.

Movement Break: Care is presented by SPACE and Mechanics’ Hall, with Bates Dance Festival, and The Living Room Dance Collective.

Are you a Maine artist looking to fund a project? Apply to our American Rescue Plan Project grant program today. Deadline: June 26th at 11:59 PM.