Performance Group Residency Activities

In keeping with our mission, Shen & Bones Performance Group strives to create and share dance with the community as a way to encourage transformation, personal expression and healing through bodily means.

In addition to performances, the company is committed to offering dance-theater education and outreach in the form of master classes, workshops, lecture-demonstrations and residencies. Depending on the nature and scope of the engagement, Lani Weissbach, along with long-time company member Doug Lodge, is able to offer a wide range of movement experiences that can be tailored to suit the needs of each particular group.

Lani has been teaching dance and movement to people of all ages and varying needs since 1992. Her primary interest is to facilitate experiences that encourage each participant to explore an authentic way of moving and being while opening to new possibilities. Classes are designed to engage the whole self, and are taught in the spirit of discovery, in which the student becomes his/her own teacher. The work is accessible to people of all ages and abilities.

The following explanation of activities are an example of just a few of the possibilities for a residency.


A more formal presentation of the work of Shen & Bones Performance Group at a specific site or venue. This may be the culminating experience to a series of classes/workshops or lecture demonstrations. All involved participants as well as the general community would be invited to attend. Performances may range from one to two hours, and could include a number of shorter works (8-15 minutes each) and/or one or more longer pieces, 30 minutes to one-hour in length.

Lecture-demonstrations/Informal showings

A less formal blend of question/answer, performance, teaching and discussion can be fashioned into a one-hour lecture demonstration or showing and may occur in any number of settings including schools, museums, outdoor spaces, etc. This may be tailored to a variety of audiences, from civic groups to elementary school children.

Local Participants as part of a Shen & Bones Performance

A week or more of classes and rehearsals may lead up to the participation of the students in a Shen & Bones performance. An excellent educational opportunity as well as a boon to the box-office.


Lani is pleased to be able to offer a variety of classes geared toward different age groups and dance abilities. All classes may be adapted for beginning to advanced levels, depending on the specific population. They may be offered in the form of master classes or a more extensive workshop.

Butoh Improvisation

An introduction to the unique philosophy and practice of this rich art form. Among its many objectives, this class is geared toward: abandoning the ego and surrendering to the wisdom of the body and the intuition; learning to listen to oneself and one’s surroundings and responding sensitively; being “present” from moment to moment; discovering spontaneous, non-habitual responses; using imagery as motivation for movement; exploring the relevance and importance of Butoh both historically and personally through discussion, reading, writing and viewing.

What to Expect from a class in Butoh

If you have never seen, heard of or tried Butoh, prepare to have your mind and body stimulated and challenged in unexpected ways. Don’t worry if some of the concepts don’t make sense—try to approach this art form as you would reading poetry, where understanding arises intuitively and by unconnected fragments. This is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy freedom from “Western” logical constraints.

Dance-theater Choreography/Composition

Through improvisation, students will learn to manipulate and develop a clear concept through phrases of movement and other theatrical means. Different ways of approaching the creative process and generating material will be explored, such as through sound, the environment and personal narrative. As part of the experience, students may form smaller groups to create “pools” of text and/or movement, drawing from their spontaneous responses with the class material as well as from their own personal, social and cultural situations. This material may be interwoven with other groups’ “pools” to possibly be performed informally for the class and/or the public at the end of the class/workshop

Hatha Yoga

An integrated blend of asanas (postures) pranayama (breathing practices) deep relaxation (yoga nidra), meditation and yoga philosophy to connect body, mind and spirit. Designed to give students a taste of the vast and rich heritage of yoga, the class will incorporate methods from the Integral, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Kundalini and Viniyoga traditions. This class may be designed to focus on a more specific theme depending on the needs of the roup.

Dance-theater Improvisation

A fun, eclectic blend of a variety of approaches to dance-theater. The class will explore and manipulate building blocks of dance-theater improvisation: time, space, energy, form, sound, props and concept. A thorough warm-up for the body and voice will prepare students to journey through the full spectrum of possibilities–from timeless stillness to frenetic movement, from silence to multi-layered sounds. Working both individually and as an ensemble is an integral aspect of the class.

Somatic Modern Technique

A blend of modern dance techniques with principles of somatics, emphasizing the capacity for ease, freedom and dynamic power within the human body. Some of the concepts to explore will include: the Limon qualities of fall, recovery and individual “voices of the body”; the Hawkins stability and ease of pelvic movement; the Cunningham clarity of form, line and direction in the body and space; contemporary somatic techniques synthesizing gravity, momentum, natural alignment and core activation for the integration of the body as a whole. Metric and free-form rhythms will be explored, as well as short and longer movement phrases.

Shin Somatics

An exploration of the philosophy and techniques conceived by Sondra Fraleigh, director of the Eastwest Somatics Institute for Yoga, Dance and Movement Studies. Class exercises will include individual as well as partner work geared toward accessing the body’s self-regulating and self-healing capacities. This work is highly versatile and depending on the group, it could be geared toward either a therapeutic or purely educational objective.

The Energy Body

An exploration of the body-mind as a resonating field of energy and intuition, integrating a variety of Eastern movement forms such as Qigong, Yoga, Butoh, T’ai Chi and others. Students will learn to harness their own energy body more tangibly through a variety of exercises incorporating focused breathing, imagery, movement and stillness.