Lesley Farlow is a dancer, actress and vocalist. She has performed Off and Off Off Broadway, all over the U.S. and Europe, and has worked with such choreographers and theater artists as Douglas Dunn, Ann Carlson, Ping Chong, Meredith Monk, Phyllis Lamhut, Johanna Boyce, Moses Pendleton, and Judy Dworin among others. Her own work has been seen at Dixon Place, the Joyce/Soho and other New York venues. In addition, she has worked as a teaching artist with Hospital Audiences, ArtsConnection and ArtsExposure in the New York City public school system, as well as in public school systems in Rockland County, NY and Louisville, KY. She has used movement as a learning tool in the classroom to teach reading, writing, science and math and has helped teachers implement these techniques. Lesley is a choreographer for the Northampton-based company, The Performance Project, a theater company of formerly incarcerated men and women, and the First Generation Project, a new performance company of teenagers and young adults. Her own solo work combines movement, theater and singing. She is an Associate Professor of Theater and Dance at Trinity College and is a member of the Northampton Arts Council.
Christie Svane is a dancer and writer, and the director of The Blue Guitar Dance Studio and Performance Space in Easthampton. One of the creative forces of the Downtown Dance scene in New York in the ’70’s, she showed her multi-media performances at venues such as Danspace/St. Mark’s Church, Kiva, and on The Camera in The Body’s Hands, a dance/video program she co-produced on Manhattan Cable TV. She has worked with choreographers Steve Paxton, Lisa Nelson, Daniel Lepkoff, Nancy Stark Smith, David Gordon, Stephen Petronio, Ellen Webb, Pauline de Groot and Ann Woodhead, among others. She has taught at festivals and dance centers across Europe and the US, and was on the faculty of The School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam. Alongside her dance work, Christie has been involved in the founding of organizations to promote the arts: Movement Research (NYC), Clonakilty Cultural Center (Ireland), IDEA – International Dance Exchange Alliance (Amsterdam), and SPEAK (CA). She has also produced storytelling festivals in Ireland, and two public access TV series on art, dance and poetry. As a writer, she has published a collection of poetry, produced poetry/film collaborations, published many articles in the dance journal, Contact Quarterly, and served with California Poets in the Schools for two years. With her husband, guitarist Bill O’Haire, she also created and taught American History through Folk Songs workshops through Young Audiences of California, Inc.
Describe your organization or gallery
We are COMMUNITY ARTS PARTNERS, an organization in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, dedicated to expanding the presence of the arts in our community and in the schools. We see our role as facilitators to bridge schools and communities through projects focused on creating, displaying and celebrating the arts.
It has been well established that participation in and exposure to the arts empower children as creative problem solvers, able to ‘think outside the box’. Invention, imagination, and experimentation all play a part in art, bringing together the head, heart, and hands in the creative process. This integrating effect can have profound benefits for both individuals and communities.
Having their creativity appreciated by their community contributes greatly to a child’s sense of confidence and connection to the world around them. For this reason, we work to bring the art of children to public spaces. As a field in which there are no right and wrong answers, the arts teach open-mindedness, curiosity and respect for every individual’s point of view.