Co-Artistic Directors: Karen Schaffman, ERic Geiger, and Anya cloud
Anya Cloud is originally from Alaska and Montana and is currently based in San Diego, CA where she teaches dance at CSU San Marcos and co-directs PADL West. She also teaches/facilitates improvisation and contact improvisation nationally and internationally, most recently at Ibiza Spain Contact Festival, Freiburg Germany Contact Festival, and Salt Dance Festival.
Anya's work as a dancer and dance maker always places primary value on cultivating radical aliveness and possibility in the body. Collaboration is central to her artistic practice and she has worked extensively with other dance artists, filmmakers, designers, musicians, theatre artists, writers, and visual artists. Anya's work has been produced by REDCAT (LA), Highways (LA), Pieter Performance Space (LA), La MaMa (NYC), Movement Research at the Judson (NYC), ArtPower! (SD), Conduit (PDX), and Bare Bait Dance (MT). In addition to her own work she has had the pleasure of working with and/or performing for Sara Shelton Mann, Karen Nelson, Jane Comfort, Kim Epifano, Meg Wolfe, Yolande Snaith, Leslie Seiters, Eric Geiger, Karen Schaffman, Mary Reich, Brian Gerke, Jes Mullete, and Kitty Sailer among others.
Current projects include a teaching and creative residency at the University of Alabama for her work with Eric Gieger Fingertips Toward Floor, Head Follows or The Lazy Sexy Peepshow, performing as a guest with Headwaters Dance Company in Montana, and performing her solo Mud Loves Love by Sara Shelton Mann at the Yerba Buena Arts Center in San Francisco in December 2015. Right now, Anya is interested in vigor, permeability, specificity, and wildness. In 2013 Anya earned her MFA in Dance Theatre from UC San Diego.
Eric Geiger, M.A. Interdisciplinary Studies (Scenic Design and Dance), was a company member of the Bill T Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company in New York City, the Lyon Opera Ballet in France, Djazzex Modern Dance in the Netherlands, and V-TOL Dance in London. As a guest artist he has performed with ODC in San Francisco, Lower Left, under the direction of Nina Martin and Gabriel Masson Dance. In San Francisco, he facilitated movement workshops for The Medea Project, Theatre for Incarcerated Women, directed by Rhodessa Jones. Eric is the Associate Artistic Director of McCaleb Dance in San Diego, collaborating with Artistic Director Nancy McCaleb, where he has performed, choreographed, and designed scenic elements and costumes for numerous works.
He was a part of the Hybrid Authorship Project alongside Joe Alter, Liam Clancy, D.J. Hopkins, Ashley Johnstone and Craig Wolf, collaboratively creating the evening length work Still Undecided. Eric has also performed with Ron Estes, Jess Humphrey, Rachael Lincoln, Karen Schaffman and Leslie Seiters in Kalpa 1: My Life as a Turtle under the direction of Sara Shelton Mann. In the summer of 2010 he participated in the Solo Performance Commissioning Project choreographed and directed by Deborah Hay in Findhorn, Scotland and currently performs his adaptation of Art and Life. He has also created with Liam Clancy and Tara Knight making spontaneous dances with the camera, collaborated on the full evening work titled BARK, with Liam Clancy, Karen Schaffman, and Leslie Seiters, performed in Leslie Seiter’s work Unicorn and More Unicorn, as well as performing in Rebecca Salzer's screendances Stereoblind and Before Us.
Eric, together with Co-Artistic Directors Karen Schaffman and Anya Cloud, launched PADL West a 501(c)(3) organization committed to fostering innovative embodied research through art and conversation. He is also a full-time faculty member of the Department of Theatre and Dance at UCSD where he guides through courses that continue to challenge and shift the perception of what dance is and can be. Eric is also in his fourth year of training as a Feldenkrais practitioner.
His most current works include:
Bigmouth Strikes Again with Jess Humphrey
Kingdom For Sale (better history)
Ladybug with sound by Blair Robert Nelson
Fingertips Toward The Floor, Head Follows or The Lazy Sexy Peep Show with Anya Cloud
Karen Schaffman (dance artist, performer-scholar, and curator) is a life-long dancer exploring sensorial perception, enlivening memory, and the politics of transgression. Karen earned a Ph.D. in Dance History and Theory from the University of California Riverside (2001) under the mentorship of Susan Leigh Foster. Her dissertation was based on contact improvisation in the 1990s with regards to identity politics, authorship, and ways the form both resists and conforms codification. She has presented extensively at conferences and her writing has been published in Taken By Surprise: An Improvisation Reader (Wesleyan, 2006) and Contact Quarterly.
Karen was among the first students to graduate from the European Dance Development Center in Arnhem, The Netherlands (1991) where she transformed her movement-thinking. Afterwards she became faculty at TuT, School for New Dance and Theatre in (Hannover, Germany, 1992-1994). She continues to travel to teach, lecture, and perform at several universities and festivals in Germany, Holland, and Hungary, including University of Koeln, ArtEZ, and Kontakt Budapest, among others.
She is especially grateful for her extensive studies with Deborah Hay, Eva Karczag, Nina Martin, Lisa Nelson, Mary Reich, and Nancy Stark Smith, considering them most influential to her embodied knowledge.
Karen resides in San Diego. In 1994, she co-founded Lower Left, and co-initiated numerous co-productions with Sushi Performance & Visual Art (1994-2006). Lower Left taught and performed regularly at Sushi and toured to Fresno, Seattle, Yaroslavl (Russia), San Miquel Allende and Mexicali (Mexico). Over the last decade, she has collaborated and performed with many artists including Veronika Blumstein, Liam Clancy, Anya Cloud, Kristine Diekman, Eric Geiger, Sara Shelton Mann, Peter Pleyer, Omar Ramos, Mary Reich, and Leslie Sieters.
Her most recent collaboration with Angela Guerreiro (2012-2014), The Live Legacy Project: Correspondences Between Germany Contemporary Dance and Judson Dance Theatre Movement with Angela Guerreiro, culminated in a weeklong symposium tanzhaus NRV Duesseldorf and was generously funded by Tanzfond Erbe, a dance heritage grant (the-live-legacy-project.com).
Currently, Karen is in her third year of a professional training program at The Feldenkrais Institute of San Diego, under the leadership Elizabeth Beringer. She is employed as Professor at California State University San Marcos, where (since 2001) she forges cross-disciplinary learning and Dances Studies.
PADL West is grateful to Lower Left, who passed on the non-profit status. Founded in 1994 by Jane Blount, Nina Martin, Mary Reich, and Karen Schaffman, Lower Left was an integral part of cultural life in San Diego for over a decade. Today, Lower Left spans several cities (see www. lowerleft.org). Lower Left leaves a legacy of cooperation and collaboration to the regional area.