Meg Foley aims for you to have a different kind of dance experience than just shuffling your feet or mindlessly jumping around to music.
“I’m offering the opportunity for people to be in their body in maybe a more ‘felt’ kind of way, to really connect with the experiences of embodiment,” said the choreographer. “How does my body feel? What are the sensations I’m having?”
Foley will direct participants in the Embodiment Dance Party on Friday, November 3, to high-energy music at The Galleries at Moore.
“I invite people to think about a particular part of their body,” she said. “I’ll yell out ‘elbows,’ or ‘What’s happening with the elbow,’ without the requirement to mimic another person.”
A participant in one of her first dance sessions called it an ‘attention massage.’
“That felt really accurate,” she said. “It opens up more space and possibilities in your own physicality in the way a massage might.”
Foley follows up the Embodiment experience on Sunday, November 5, with Dance Church.
“Dance Church is something I started that was directly inspired by my experience with ecstatic dance,” she said. While going to college in southern California, she and a friend would seek out ecstatic dance events on Sundays. Ecstatic dance focuses on spirituality and paying attention to how your body is moving.
“You follow the rhythmic flow in a group of people, independent of a club environment, and create kind of a collective energy in the room that’s open to all different ways of dancing,” she said.
She’s excited to bring this particular event to The Galleries.
“Dance Church has happened almost entirely in a dance studio, so I’m excited to see it in a different space,” she said.
Foley is creative co-director of The Whole Shebang, an interdisciplinary arts space and studio in South Philadelphia that hosts workshops and classes and provides studio rental to artists. Her work has been presented locally by the Philadelphia FringeArts Festival, Vox Populi Gallery, and Icebox Project Space, and in New York City, Los Angeles, Canada, Germany and Poland. She teaches at University of the Arts. Dance is what she loves.
“I have a history of when I was younger of being a club dancer, and so the experience of clubbing and dancing in those environments has always been pretty influential for me,” she said.
She completed a six-year project in November 2016 that she called 3:15, where she would create a dance every day, no matter where she was, at 3:15 p.m. Now she’s opening up her dance world to others with Embodiment and Dance Church.
“For me, it’s about enjoying moving and having a really rich body-positive movement experience with other people,” Foley said.
Embodiment Dance Party runs from 8:30 – 10 pm November 3; Dance Church is from 11 am – 12:30 pm November 5. These events are part of the Bodyworks exhibition and are FREE and open to the public. They will take place in the Levy Gallery for the Arts in Philadelphia.