2018 FACT/SF Summer Dance Lab

[NOTE: Information about the 2019 Summer Dance Lab will be posted in February 2019.]

August 12 - August 17
10am - 4pm, Daily
San Francisco, California

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The 2018 FACT/SF Summer Dance Lab is a unique and integrated introduction to cutting-edge and practical approaches to contemporary dance training. The Dance Lab offers Countertechnique, Forsythe Working Methods, Improvisation, and FACT/SF Repertory as points of departure for inquiry, discovery, and discussion. The Dance Lab will also feature a section on professional development, Working Better for Better Work, led by FACT/SF’s Artistic Director, Charles Slender-White.

Within an open, investigative environment, 30 participants will spend 6 days learning and experimenting with new tools and information to heighten awareness, distill intention, have fun, get sweaty, and explore unknown terrain.


August 12 - August 17, 2018
10am-4pm, including a 45-minute lunch break.

The FACT/SF Summer Dance Lab will culminate with an informal public showing and discussion on Friday, August 17th, from 3pm-4pm.

Though sessions vary from day to day, a typical day might look like this:

  • 10am-11:45am – Countertechnique w/Joy Davis & Charles Slender-White

  • 11:45am-12:30pm – Break

  • 12:30pm-2:30pm – Forsythe Working Methods w/Nicole Peisl

  • 2:30pm-4pm – FACT/SF Repertory


Joe Goode Annex
401 Alabama St (at 17th)
San Francisco, CA  94110 


The FACT/SF Summer Dance Lab is designed for curious advanced and professional dancers. We are warm and open to you as a participant, and we want to learn more!

Interested dancers should send their application, as one compiled PDF, to workshop@factsf.org

Applications should include:

  • A brief bio

  • Current CV

  • 1 page Letter of Motivation

In your letter of motivation, please address the following:

  • Why are you interested in the Dance Lab?

  • What role does dance currently play in your life?

  • What past experiences have you had that inform your current dance practice?

(Note: Please do not include headshots or other images in your application)

Within two weeks of applying, applicants will be contacted by FACT/SF regarding their participation in the Dance Lab.


$250 (applications received by April 6th)
$325 (applications received by July 6th)
$400 (applications received after July 6th)

Note: Applicants are accepted on a rolling basis until the Dance Lab has reached capacity.


After being accepted into the Dance Lab, participants will be required to submit a non-refundable $100 security deposit to hold their space.

2018 FACT/SF Summer Dance Lab
Participant Name

Remaining tuition

Within two months of submitting their security deposit, or by August 1st (whichever is earlier), Dance Lab participants will be required to submit payment for their remaining tuition.

Remaining Tuition
Participant Name


Once notified of acceptance and successful processing of full tuition, participants will receive a Welcome Packet. Information will include: area attractions, directions, public transportation, parking, required liability waivers, Dance Lab Detailed Schedule, and supplemental information on Countertechnique, Forsythe Working Methods, FACT/SF Repertory, Working Better for Better Work, and other relevant contemporary dance practices, including articles, interviews, links to videos, and theoretical material.


If you have any questions or would like more information, please email the Dance Lab Registrar, LizAnne Roman Roberts, at workshop@factsf.org. Or, call 415.349.0878.


By continuously and sequentially directing and counter directing parts of the body through space, Countertechnique allows the moving dancer to work with an ever-changing dynamic balance. This dynamic balance reduces the pressure on the overall body structure and can be changed at any given moment. The consistent use of the counter direction in all movements is key to the technique; both the awareness and application of this principle is trained throughout the Countertechnique class. The Countertechnique theory is orga­nized around two principal notions: the ‘toolbox’ and ‘scanning’. The toolbox is the systematically organized collection of tools for body and mind with which Countertechnique works, often visualized as a virtual map that dancers carry with them. Scanning defines the process of dancers continuously and actively observing their mindset and body in order to choose the most appropriate tool(s) from the toolbox for the situation they find themselves in. Scanning allows dan­cers to make active use of the toolbox in their daily practice of training, rehearsing and performing. Countertechnique was developed by Anouk van Dijk throughout her twenty-five year career as a dancer, choreographer and teacher. Over the last fifteen years, the knowledge and experience she gained – in constant dialogue with her dancers – was gradually transformed into a detailed theoretical system and a teaching method, which now together form the Countertechnique system.

In the 2018 FACT/SF Summer Dance Lab, Countertechnique will be co-taught by Joy Davis and Charles Slender-White.


Movement can be a way to investigate consciousness, and research into consciousness can shape our presence and possibility for movement.

In this workshop, we will work with methods for compositional practice developed in the setting of the Forsythe Company. Within this practice, we will aim to establish an axis of orientation in relation to the statement above. We will thoroughly get to know principles provided by these methods, and allow ourselves to use these methods as a departure point and facilitator for engaging with various compositional fields. In this setting, we will work on achieving specific forms of presence and consciousness.

We will use our curiosity and access our sensation on physical and proprioceptive alignments and relationships as carriers of information and practice differentiation through reflection on how we work with the task at hand. We will also acknowledge our impulses in order to allow ourselves to move beyond thinking about the method towards the manifestation of shifts in presence and consciousness.

When working we will acknowledge the role of action-taking and situatedness. We will investigate how we react to new situations and also old situations, how we make decisions and create new situations. This will be the setting through which we can move from the bodily practice into the field of compositional possibilities.

We will also be working in dyads and triads and encourage the verbalization of the experience and the discoveries.


Over the past nine years, FACT/SF has established itself in the SF Bay Area with a unique blend of technical precision, intellectual rigor, and emotional expressivity. Working with sections from FACT/SF’s work, Remains, participants will learn complex phrase work while applying principles from Countertechnique and Forsythe Improvisation Techniques.


Working Better for Better Work: Tips on Being a Pro focuses on the logistical and administrative necessities for working effectively and equitably within the dance field. The session will cover basic strategies for presenting oneself in a professional manner, building a community and a network, maintaining and developing relationships, and articulating and pursuing artistic and professional aspirations. After over a decade in the field, Charles Slender-White has witnessed a great number of dance artists unintentionally misrepresent themselves. With helpful tips and frank criticism, we’ll work collectively to identify how we can consistently put our best foot forward. If requested, Slender-White will additionally review and propose changes to participants’ CVs.


Joy Davis is a dance artist, educator, and scholar. Under the moniker joy davis project, she produces collaborative and location-based dance performance since beginning in 2006. She was a Chicago Dancemakers Forum (CDF) Greenhouse Artist, received a choreographic residency at the Workspace for Choreographers in Virginia, and has premiered work in Northampton, Boston, Chicago, Nashville, Knoxville, Seattle, Philadelphia, and San Diego. She is currently creating a new work for New Dialect in Nashville, TN. She has danced in works by Erica Mott, Chris Aiken, Kathleen Hermesdorf, and Katie Martin; and collaborates with Mountain Empire Dance Collective, School for Contemporary Dance and Thought, and most recently with Sarah Gamblin and Matthew Cumbie. Joy began training in the Countertechnique with founder Anouk van Dijk in 2005 and completed the CTTT teacher’s certifications in 2012 and 2016. She has taught Countertechnique workshops at Gibney Dance (NYC), Moving Target (Boston), BodyVox (Portland), Fact/SF (CA), New Dialect (TN), Mocean Dance (Halifax, NS), Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation, and looks forward to joining the faculty at the American Dance Festival for the summer of 2017. Joy received an MFA in Choreography and Performance from Smith College and has since taught on faculty at Smith College, Wesleyan University, Harvard University, and the Boston Conservatory at Berklee.

Joy Davis is a dance artist and educator steeped in Countertechnique, improvisation, and performance. Her joyproject is a collaborative framework for the creation, production, and curation of multidisciplinary performance which elevates and contemplates inner life and social connectivity. She recently created works for New Dialect, Urbanity Dance, and Scottsdale Community College; collaborates with Alexander Davis, Mountain Empire Performance Collective, and School for Contemporary Dance & Thought; and has premiered solo work in Boston, San Diego, Seattle, and Nashville. Joy holds an MFA in Choreography and Performance from Smith College and was certified to teach Countertechnique in 2012. Her recent teaching endeavors include Gibney Dance, FACT/SF, Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation and Velocity Dance Center, Moving Target Boston, Lion’s Jaw Dance + Performance Festival, Arizona State University, and the American Dance Festival, amongst others.  She has taught as Visiting faculty at Smith College, Wesleyan University, and Harvard University. Joy is an Associate Professor in the Dance Division of the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. (Photo by Stephanie Mitchell)

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Nicole Peisl is a dancer, teacher and choreographer. She joined the Frankfurt Ballet in 2000 and has continued to work with William Forsythe as a member of The Forsythe Company until 2014. Peisl’s trilogy Vielfalt, Ueberblick, and Spiefeld I, II have been staged in Frankfurt, Dresden and Vienna. Peisl has also worked as a freelance collaborator with, among others,  Anouk van Dijk, Joseph Tmim, the Episode Collective (with Richard Siegal und Prue Lang), and with Daghdha Dance Company (with Michael Klien).

Nicole Peisl has worked widely as a teacher. She has taught dance at Impulstanz in Vienna, at Anton Bruckner Private University of Linz in Austria, the Justus Liebig University of Giessen in Germany, and the University of Limerick in Ireland. In addition, she is a guest professor at the University of Dance and Circus (DOCH) in Stockholm.

Peisl is a certified practitioner of Craniosacral Therapy (Milne Institute) and also Somatic Experiencing (Peter Levine).  In 2014 she moved to the United States to begin the Phd program in Performance Studies at the University of California, Davis. She lives in Berkeley with her family.

Charles has been a Countertechnique practitioner for 12 years, and became a Certified Teacher in 2012; there are 28 Teachers worldwide. Charles has taught Countertechnique at the University of Calgary, Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles), the University of San Francisco, CSU East Bay, L’Artere (Quebec City), Circuit-Est (Montreal), Love-In (Toronto), and at numerous dance centers throughout the SF Bay Area. He began his dance career in 2006 with Tatiana Baganova’s Provincial Dances Theatre in Yekaterinburg, Russia. In 2008, he returned to his native California to start FACT/SF in order to make his own contributions to innovation and excellence in contemporary dance. FACT/SF and Chunky Move (Australia) are the world’s only Countertechnique-trained dance companies. Over the past 8 years, Charles has created 26 works, with commissions by the US Department of State, CounterPulse, Acid Rain (Chelyabinsk), Dialogue Dance (Kostroma), the Yekaterinburg University of the Humanities (Yekaterinburg), and others. Described as ‘utterly absorbing’ and ‘mesmerizing’ (SF Bay Guardian), Charles’ work with FACT/SF has been performed throughout California, in Portland, Oregon, and in 7 cities across Russia, working with the US Department of State to share contemporary American culture with local Russian communities as part of their ‘American Seasons’ Program. Throughout 2012, Charles was a mentee of Elizabeth Streb as part of CHIME Across Borders at the Margaret Jenkins Dance Lab. Charles graduated with honors from the University of California, Berkeley, with degrees in Dance & Performance Studies and English Literature. (Photo by Kegan Marling)


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