With every class I looked forward to exploring new ways to allow my body to move in the safe, open environment that Maree created. I found my individual movement style throughout my time in her classes without the pressures of a structured dance world, which I needed as a less experienced dancer. Expanding and exploring my mind and body everyday with Maree and my peers was always the best part of my day.
– Cennellis Baron, BA Dance/Minor Creative Writing ’19, Point Park University
Just wanted to tell you how spectacular last night’s performance (I’m not sure “performance” is the right word–“embodiment?”) was. I have never been so drawn in and engaged before! I started out wondering, “are they all dancers? Are none of them trained? I usually find myself looking among the dancers for the “best” one, trying to decide whether my eye is “good enough” to tell the difference. It never occurred to me to ask that last night. This time all I saw were the bodies, all of them perfect, the movements and the emotions they drew out of me. It made me look at dance in a whole new way. One body was as beautiful as another. One movement as lovely as another. I know I am attempting to express this without the proper vocabulary, but….wow!! Just wow. Thank you. Thanks for a memorable evening.
– Virginia Bates, audience member, Movement Matters: Two Years in Process
Maree’s class taught me how to unapologetically be myself as a dancer and human. Her integration of activism through dance showed me all the different pathways art opens up. Not only that, but her infectious energy made coming to class a delight and not a chore. She is a rare gem of a teacher.
– Cecilia Benitez, BFA Dance/Minor Psychology ’20, Point Park University
I used to think of dancers as virtuosos: they leap and bend in ways that most of us cannot. Turns out that’s true, but not in the way that I thought. Dancers leap and bend in intellectual and emotional ways. It’s been a privilege, through Movement Matters, to listen to the human spirit on frequencies that I didn’t know I could hear. As an academic community, we typically build intellectual structures behind walls of lingo. Engaging in movement, or witnessing others’ movements, strips away our cognitive defenses and reveals our emotional blueprints. The dancer is incredibly vulnerable before our eyes, and we might have no cognitive scaffolding on which to hang our reactions to his or her movements. When we move in a Gaga class, we struggle to communicate a truth that only we know, in a test of our integrity. Movement Matters taught me that movement is a form of communication that cultivates vulnerability and compassion. Dance insists on authenticity on the part of the performer and the observer, and respects the uniqueness of each person. There are lessons to be learned here: you can’t do my dance for me, and I can’t presume to speak for you. The following is a sentence: Movement Matters.
– Pamela Berenbaum, Professor Global Health, Middlebury College
Maree ReMalia is an enchanting mover whose creativity is driven by her wild imagination and spontaneous outlook. Her ability to see the many and unexpected uses of an object or space is what makes Maree amazing to any creative situation. However, what makes Maree stand out the most is her empathy and deep love for the people that she surrounds herself with.
– Robert Clores, BFA Dance ’19, Point Park University
I was a Barr Hill fan
I was inspired by the students and delighted by colleagues
I was ready to dance!
People thought I was a muppet
People thought I work hard and laugh harder
People thought I held knowledge in my mind, in my body
People thought I loved egg salad sandwiches way more than I actually do
People thought I had something to offer, and I’m grateful
I want people to know that I grew and learned every moment
I want people to know that the first gen student event will stick with me forever
I want people to know that Maree brings out something in me nobody else can
I want people to know that I was really nervous
I want people to know that I can’t wait to cross paths again someday
-Adil Mansoor, Collaboration in the Arts Course Co-teacher
Maree’s class played a pivotal role in my dance education. She opened my mind to the many roles one can play in the dance world, specifically in a time where doubt kept saying otherwise. She shared her knowledge and connections of local dance artists who use their craft as a form of advocacy and/or community impact. She made me feel safe to question and explore other options that did not encompass a traditional concert dance trajectory. Thanks to Maree I continue to search for my artistic voice through dance and other newfound passions that make me feel like myself. Her soul and spirit has helped me shine.
– Stephanie Perez, BFA Dance ’20, Point Park University
Maree’s work is a voyage of self-discovery…for those on stage, and those in the audience.
–Liza Sacheli, Director, Mahaney Center for the Arts
As an artist with a strong contextual practice I was impressed with Maree’s ability to fully engage with the communities with which she was working. She did not simply present a project or give instructions for a performative action but rather listened and became equal partners with students, professors, community members, and other artists. It is a patient yet rigorous process of understanding and exploring movement to the benefit of all, not simply the practitioners of movement. So often I see and experience the trappings of collaboration, a process that leads toward a result but never fully delves into what a collaborative process can be. Maree not only collaborates in the process but it feels as if she collaboratively works with her partners to figure out the meaning of their collaboration before the work begins, I suppose she begins before the actual beginning, if that even makes sense. I suppose I am alluding to Maree’s ability to remain in a state of preparedness and openness, always working out the angles and the possibilities. She responds to the unique demands of each partner group with which she works….this is a beautiful thing to behold and to be a small part of.
– Blaine Siegel, collaborator
Working with Maree has changed my life for the better and I could feel the ripples of her community building as I interacted with the professors, students, community members and staff at Middlebury. When we work with Maree she asks us to bring our raw, creative, and accepting selves. She asks us to support and respect each other, she leads by example. Her often open ended experiments in movement create a space for us to let go of, at least some of, our inhibitions and expectations. In this way she creates a fertile ground for making new connections and pathways plump with possibility. By creating these very special spaces to work, learn and create she is teaching each of us how to interact with communities in a way that supports and respects each individual and the group. She lets us be a delicious soup rather than asking us to melt into sameness. Her work ethic sets the tone for everyone around her, we want to work as hard as she does even though that may be an impossible task she asks us to fully commit and we do. Each time I traveled to Middlebury I felt that Maree’s commitment to each aspect of the residency she showed us again and again that “Movement Matters.”
-Jil Stifel, collaborator
Above all else, Maree created a safe space for exploration. In her class I felt free to move in new ways, and to do so without judgement. I learned to trust and embrace the process of creating with an open mind and heart.
– Haley Tarling, BFA Dance/BA Psychology ’20, Point Park University
As a middle aged writing teacher I found myself dancing in the old Warner Greenhouse at twilight. At one moment a former student and I were pressing our heads against the greenhouse glass. In another my whole body explored a large expanding plastic bubble. People sat outside the greenhouse on lawn chairs. Were we performing for them? Were they examining us? What was the information in my body telling me to do?
We moved in and out of imaginary bathtubs, and at laptop keyboards. We moved on tables in a seminar room in Old Chapel. We danced the Chateau Lounge. Now we’re dancing in Axinn.
Where does dancing end and writing begin?
-Catharine Wright, Senior Lecturer Writing and Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies, Middlebury College