International Conference "Theatre Between Tradition and Contemporaneity"
 Theatre - Dance - Music - Visual & Multimedia Art - Arts Administration - Performing Arts Training - Theatre Design & Technology

Storytelling Through Physical Impulse
Work in progress / Research Presentation by Dustin Whitehead - Assistant Professor of Acting, Director of BFA Acting, and Ashlee Wasmund - Assistant Professor of Dance, Director of BFA Musical Theatre & Dance at Western Carolina University, School of Stage & Screen. 

Ashlee Wasmund holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Acting from Western Illinois University, USA and currently proudly serves as the Program Director of Musical Theatre and Dance at Western Carolina University in North Carolina. She has been dancing, acting, and directing for over 25 years in a variety of capacities. As a dancer and choreographer, she has competed in both national and international dance competitions, performed in and choreographed for numerous concert-style dance productions around the globe, danced professionally with the former Ballet Internationale Company, and performed in NFL halftime shows. As an actor and director, Ashlee has worked professionally both onstage and on camera. In addition to her dance and acting training in the US, Wasmund also studied Dance Performance at the University of Sunderland, UK. She has performed in, choreographed, and directed shows for professional companies, academic institutions, and non-profit organizations; some of her favorites include Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, New Light Theatre Project, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, and First Folio Theatre. Prior to joining the faculty at Western Carolina University, Wasmund taught courses in dance, movement, acting and directing at the Chicago Academy for the Arts, Carthage College in Wisconsin, Concordia University Chicago and at various regional camps, studios, and workshops. She is a proud original company member of Midsommer Flight Theatre, a Chicago-based outdoor Shakespeare performance company, and an Associate Member with the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

Dustin Whitehead is an actor and filmmaker from Chicago IL. Dustin can be seen in numerous independent films as well as the nationally televised shows Chicago PD, Chicago Fire, and Your Worst Nightmare. Last Spring, he was in a production of An Enemy of the People at The Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Other Chicago theatre credits include Steppenwolf, Chicago Dramatists, American Theatre Company, Redtwist, The Inconvenience, Lakeside Shakespeare, and Congo Square. In addition to many years in the theatre, he has film production experience in narrative work, documentary films, and music videos. His most recent short film, Somewhere in the Midwest, screened at the Kansas City Film Festival, the Central Florida Film Festival, the New York City Independent Film Festival, and the Charleston International Film Festival. He is currently teaching acting at Western Carolina University. He received his BFA in Performance from Jacksonville University and MFA in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University. He also studied filmmaking in Singapore at NYU Tisch Asia.


We are interested in pairing improvised movement with the ‘actor to text’ relationship to explore innovative physical approaches to discovering truthful and visceral performance. By utilizing ensemble dance, gestural impulse, written text, and a Chicago based technique called 'Movement to Music', we will explore the heart of truthful human connection in performance.
Ashlee, Dustin, and a group of professional actors, dancers, and advanced students, will present a semi-polished/in progress exploration of impulsive movement to jazz music merged with a few prepared pieces of text to create a clear and aesthetically stimulating narrative. 
About Movement to Music: True comfort and confidence in the body can be accredited to truthful and personal impulses. 'Movement to Music' is a technique that starts at the very core of  those impulses - simply asking the question, “What makes us move?” We start with listening. As a group, we have a soft focus for the space. We listen to our own breathing and the breathing of others in the space. Then sound is introduced. The sound that we use is typically jazz due to its spontaneity, but other music has been interesting as well. Then the group (or “movers”) let the sound into their bodies. They allow the sound to “move” them. Then a partner enters the space. And it builds from there.
After we share, we will also lead a conversation around trusting impulses creating a dialogue between the performers and the audience/workshop participants.


Organized by IUGTE in collaboration with "ArtUniverse" and New International Performing Arts Institute