Body Watani (body-as-homeland practice + Arabic dance) Workshop with Leila Awadallah, Aug. 2-6

Please join us for a one-week workshop process with teaching artist, Leila Awadallah. Leila’s works emerge from physicalized reflections and questions around the notion of body-as-homeland by integrating lands, ancestors, and embodied memories’ with traditional Arabic dance forms and historical / present day engagement with both political and settler colonial impacts on bodies / movement / spaces / places. Her research, artistry and activism locates in the context of indigenous Palestine as well as more broadly in Mediterranean and SWANA regions. The week will culminate in an informal studio sharing and discussion. Participants have the option to join for the workshop component only or join for optional morning technique classes.

Workshop Schedule:
Monday, 8/2 & Wednesday, 8/4 at 11:45am-1:15pm and 2:00-4:30pm
Tuesday, 8/3 & Thursday, 8/5 at 11:45am-12:45pm
Friday, 8/6 at 11:45am-1:15pm and 2:00-4:00pm

Tuition: $215


Optional Open Classes (9:30-11:30am):
Monday, 8/2 – Ballet with Abdo Sayegh-Rodriguez
Tuesday, 8/3 – Modern with Alia Kache (Artistic Director of Kachal Dance and former Rehearsal Director of Ailey II)
Wednesday, 8/4 – Ballet with Abdo Sayegh-Rodriguez
Thursday, 8/5 – Modern with Toni Pierce-Sands
Friday, 8/6 – African Dance with Shaylin Watson (dancer with EVIDENCE, A Dance Company)

Open Class fee: $15/class (Please pre-register via email at 24-hour in advance. Payment for Open Classes will be received at the door)

Leilawa (Leila Awadallah) is a Palestinian American dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker based between Minneapolis and Beirut. In 2019 she began developing Body Watani, an emerging dance project and practice reflecting on notions of home/land through movement research and performance. Now in creative partnership with her sister Noelle Awadallah, they will premiere Body Watani’s first piece, TERRANEA at the Candy Box festival. Leila has received multiple fellowships, grants and residencies to research her practice and create original works; most notably the Jerome Hill Fellowship (2021-2023), Amalgam Residency (2021), Arab American National Museum Residency (2020), Jerome@Camargo Residency (2020), Springboard 20/20 Fellowship (2018-2019), Daring Dances Choreographic Residency & Fellowship (2019), and the Jerome Travel & Research Grant (2018). Her performances and films have been presented extensively in the Twin Cities, the broader Midwest region, and in Lebanon. She received two awards for her performances in festivals at the Lebanese National Theatre (2019). Leila’s artistry as a performer and choreographer is rooted in the formative experiences of working with Ananya Dance Theatre (2014-2019) and co-creating the Kelvin Wailey dance project, as well as her BFA in Dance from the University of Minnesota.

Welcome LaTia Childers as School & Community Engagement Coordinator

Join us as we welcome LaTia Childers as TU Dance’s new School & Community Engagement Coordinator. After working as TU Dance’s Education & Community Engagement Coordinator, bringing with her the knowledge, experience, energy and passion to continue the work that we have done in the past with our community, ​LaTia ​has taken on the new role ​and will be responsible for coordinating under TU Dance’s artistic director Toni Pierce-Sands supervision, all school related  activities. ​She worked closely with ​former ​School Coordinator Maxine Yamazaki, gaining all the necessary experience to ​continue the work. ​

LaTia’s has led the partnership with Sheridan Arts Dual Immersion School, a project supported by a Minnesota State Arts Board Arts Access grant. She will continue her work to revitalize the partnership with academic schools and other organizations while coordinating all activities related to the school.

About LaTia:
Finding interest in dance at the age of 3, LaTia continued to indulge her passion for expressionism through movement. Exposure to Graham and Horton technique, the movement LaTia most identifies with, began at F.A.I.R. school where she attended 6th-8th grade. LaTia continued her pursuit for physical expression through her college experience at the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities campus) where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Dance, May 2014, and Mankato State University (Edina) where she is pursuing her Master’s in K-12 Dance Education and Pedagogy. During her artist journey, she has been involved with myriad of artistic collaborations that include the Ordway (Dance To Learn), TU Dance (pre-professional intensives), ACDFA (American College Dance Festival Association) attendee and participate, participant of the 2014 Fringe Festival and many other dance endeavors. LaTia has danced professionally with Threads Dance Project located in Minneapolis, MN as well as Minnesota Dance Ensemble in Saint Cloud, MN. She has also attended Arts Advocacy Day as a student, an independent contractor, as an arts educator, and a board member of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts Advocacy Leader. LaTia plans to continue her Arts Education and Advocacy by actively serving on the MCA board, lobbying at both state and national levels to protect the 47% of the Legacy Amendment, encourage district participation in CreativeMN, and continue her pursuit in higher education/ conferences/ and workshops. LaTia has most recently been appointed to the Board of the Perpich Center for Arts Education and looks forward to sustaining and developing collaborative partnerships as the Education & Community Engagement liason at TU DANCE.


This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and culture heritage fund.


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