Donlin Foreman, Jennifer Emerson Foreman - Directors

On Common Ground is a partnership between Jennifer Emerson and Donlin Foreman that develops and produces dance educational and performance projects. Communication and collaboration are primary aspects of our work. We believe in dance as a central expression of our humanity - the common ground on which every person on this earth stands... Most of all - it is the touch and the breath and the eye's feeling of following the line of a movement into the heart. ~df


What We Do

Ongoing Teaching
Masterclasses/Workshops
Residencies
Outreach

Performance Projects
Collaborations
Choreographic Commissions
Choreographic Restagings/Repertory

Writing
Lectures
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Why We Do

Through dancing we are brought face to face with our shared humanity. Rather than the popular concept of "building bridges" to connect cultures and peoples, we focus on a point of view that encourages the recognition of our inherent commonalities. In this way, dance becomes a process through which the individual is able to deepen their understanding of themselves and in turn, others - we approach technique not as a series of exercises, but as the deep investigation of body language, our physical wisdom, that which connects us to all living beings and yields emotional recognitions. In his lecture, "The Way of Art," Joseph Campbell says:

The way of the mystic and the way of the artist are related, except that the mystic may come to regard the world with indifference, or even disdain. Whereas the artist [and for our purposes - the dancer] who has been held by his craft in love to the world as it is, cannot but recognize, with equal eye, the dog, the eater of dogs, the slayer and the slain, -- whether in fascinated esthetic arrest, in pity (shared suffering), or sheer terror - something of himself. *


This recognition of our shared humanity is the beginning of dialogue, which is not only transforming for the individual, but also for the community. Ultimately, this point of view may connect through our lives as a perspective for approaching all that we do.

*Campbell, Joseph. "The Way of Art." The Inner Reaches of Outer Space: Metaphor as Myth and Religion. Novato, CA: New World Library, 2002. p112.
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Who We Are

DONLIN FOREMAN
A 20-year veteran of the Martha Graham Dance Company, Donlin was coached and directed by Martha in all her major male roles. He performed with Eliot Feld Company, Jacques d'Amboise National Dance Institute, and La Scala Ballet; and has staged works for NJ Ballet, Ice Theatre of NY, La Scala Ballet, and North Carolina Dance Theatre. As co-founder/director/choreographer of Buglisi/Foreman Dance (1993-2005), Donlin choreographed 25 ballets and presented six seasons in NYC at the Joyce Theater, two seasons at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, the America Dancing series/Kennedy Center, the Melbourne International Festival and other international venues. He performed at the White House for President Reagan and holds numerous honors, with critical and professional acclaim for his performing and his choreographic work. He served as Professor of Professional Practice in the Dance Department of Barnard College, Columbia University from 1994-2010, has published a book of poetic writing, Out of Martha's House, contributed to the Martha Graham issue of Choreography and Dance, Dance Teacher and Dance Spirit magazines; and for two years chaired the Dance Panel of the New York State Council on the Arts. Donlin now lives in Harrisville with his wife Jenny and their two young sons. He is on the staff at the New England Center for Circus Arts.

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JENNIFER EMERSON
Graduated from Barnard College with a degree in Dance/Theater and earned her MA in Individualized Studyfrom NYU’s Gallatin School, focusing on dance, oral tradition, and pedagogy. As principal dancer for Buglisi/Foreman Dance, she was instrumental in the creation of fifteen new works, acclaimed "a sensuous oracle" (Newsday) and "...exceptional" (NY Post). In addition to being Company rehearsal director, she assisted in staging and coaching signature repertoire on NJ Ballet, Marymount Manhattan College, Juilliard School, Barnard, and Purchase College. Jenny toured the US with the Graham Ensemble, receiving the Coca-Cola Award for Artistic Excellence, performed at The Joyce and City Center with the Graham Company, and developed and implemented an arts-in-education curriculum for the Empire State Partnership program. She is co-founder of On Common Ground creating dance educational and performance collaborations. Following her family's relocation from NYC to NH, Jenny is now on the faculty at the Dublin School and serves as curator, mentor, and director of the John C. Russell Young Playwriting Lab at Andy's Summer Playhouse. She was on faculty at Barnard College and the Graham School from 1999-2010; is a certified pilates mat instructor; has been guest faculty at SUNY Purchase, Ailey, the Usdan Center for Creative and Performing Arts, and the Neighborhood Playhouse; and has developed and taught numerous outreach masterclasses and workshops focusing on dance as communication.

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