BALLET ~ MODERN ~ JAZZ ~ AFRICAN
Newport School of Artistic Movement (NSAM) offers classes in Contemporary Ballet, a fusion of ballet, modern and jazz dance to students ages 3 to adult in beginning through advanced levels.
NSAM offers rigorous and insightful training for those interested in professional dance careers as well as those looking simply for the benefits of physical exercise and the enjoyment of understanding dance and the creative process more thoroughly.
NSAM is concerned with the student as a whole person. Through technique students develop grace, balance, flexibility and endurance, as well as, self-discipline and confidence. Through carefully guided improvisations students come to understand the power of movement to communicate their feelings and ideas both in literal and abstract forms.
Improvisations and studying the process of choreography also serve to develop leadership and problem solving skills while encouraging creativity and collaboration.
NSAM aims to produce thinking dancers who are both technically proficient and dramatically charged.
Students of NSAM study what is commonly described as, Contemporary Ballet: a fusion of ballet, modern and jazz dance techniques. It is the philosophy of NSAM that dance is a language, thus the greater the variety of types of movements (or words) one masters the better one is able to communicate.
Each style of dance reflects different qualities of movement and stresses the use of different muscle groups. By incorporating a variety of styles in the technique part of class, students learn to “cross-over” from one style to another in a fluid manner.
Classes are designed to develop not only the student’s physical skills but also to stimulate the mind as an active part of the process.
NSAM teachers seek to provide a more thorough understanding of dance by analyzing with students functional anatomy, physiology, dance history and what we communicate through various movements.
Learning Through Improvisation
In addition to technical training, NSAM seeks to spark each student’s creative energy and cultivate individual expression. Carefully guided improvisations are often used in class to introduce students to elements of choreography and theater. These improvisations also serve to stimulate individual creativity, enhance problem-solving skills and foster cooperation and communication between all. Improvisations are also used to introduce basic concepts of music, drama and the visual arts.
Originally from New York, Nancy Mittleman has over 35 years of dance and theater expertise. She has danced, choreographed an acted for companies on both east and west coasts including, Sundance, Ashland Dance Co., SUNY Experimental Dance Ensemble, Mimisma, Egami Story Theater, Magic Touch and Porthole Players Ltd. Mittleman was one of the founding members of Red Octopus Theater Co. in 1977, founded Newport School of Artistic Movement in 1975 and Pacific Dance Ensemble in 1987, serving still as Director of the latter two. She has taught, lectured and showcased choreography throughout Oregon, as well as in New York, Canada and Japan.
Mittleman has studied with such luminaries as Martha Graham, Charles Weidman, Leslie Watanabe (jazz), Jamey Hampton (Pilobolus), Daniel Lewis (Limon), Riichard Haisma (Murry Lewis Dance Co.), Alwin Nikolais Dance Co., Percival Borde (African), Pearl Primus (African), Armgard von Bardeleben (Graham), Bela Lewitsky and the NYC Ballet. Mittleman’s teaching and choreographic style incorporates ballet, modern, jazz and various ethnic forms of dance.
Mittleman’s considerable experience teaching movement and theater in schools includes 17 years serving as an Artist-In-Residence in Oregon and Canadian schools. Committed to the arts in education she has worked for over 30 years to integrate the arts into public school curriculums. In 1990 Mittleman received the Honor Award form the Oregon Dance Association for a History in the Making.
With an extensive background in anthropology, music, art and science Mittleman enjoys weaving these various elements into her work. Living in the coastal community of Newport, OR, with its rich Native American heritage, has provided the perfect opportunity for her to work closely with members of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz, to bring to life Native legends through the magic of dance. Her passion for science also inspired her to work for Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, developing and running summer theater programs, where students wrote scripts integrating marine biology and Native American studies to create original theatrical performance pieces.
Mittleman’s work to expand cultural awareness was further expanded in 1990 when she founded an exchange program with the Toshitsuna Ensemble from Tokyo, Japan, which she and Japanese director, Takako Toshitsuna, ran for 12 years. Mittleman continues to celebrate cultural diversity, working with Senegalese Master Drummer, Mamadou Thioub to incorporate African dance and drumming into her work.