Faculty and Staff

Karena Birk

Part-Time Lecturer

B.A. (summa cum laude) Classics, University of Washington
M.F.A. Dance, The Ohio State University

Email: khg@uw.edu
Mailing: Box 358530, 18115 Campus Way NE, Bothell, WA 98011

Teaching

I value dance as an expressive and communicative art form, and a vehicle for self-discovery. At the heart of my approach to teaching dance is the belief that studying it should be challenging, surprising, and fun. In dance class, students have a chance to engage with their studies on the intellectual, emotional, and physical levels. Additionally, dance does not happen in a vacuum; it is a social form. It links people both in the moment, and through time via the history, traditions, and lineage one is immersed in when dancing. In my class I seek to give my students a window onto the rich and vibrant history of dance, and show how, in their explorations of movement, they are part of a community of people through the ages who have sought to ask and answer questions through art.

Recent Courses Taught

BCUSP 197 Studio Arts: Dance
BISIA 213 Intermediate Ballet

Research and Professional Activity

My research and professional activity centers around staging historical dance works from their Labanotation (dance notation) scores, and performing in new dance works. As I learn a work’s choreography from its Labanotation score, I also research its history, social context, and impact. Through staging the work on dancers for performance, I gain an understanding of how the work and its historical meaning relate to the dancers and world of today. As a performer, by participating in the creation and performance of new dance works, I stay engaged with the current issues and directions in the field. I have staged a number of works dating from the 19th and 20th centuries, including Doris Humphrey’s The Shakers, excerpts of Helen Tamiris’ Negro Spirituals, and Fanny Elssler’s La Cachucha. I currently perform with Redd Legg Dance, Catherine Cabeen-Hyphen, and Seattle Dance Project.

Selected Publications, Stagings, and Performances

Air for the G String and The Shakers Dance Notation Bureau Library News, Vol. 8, No. 1, Fall 2013. Pp 1-3.

Staging of The Shakers, Doris Humphrey, 1931. For the University of Washington Dance Program’s Chamber Dance Company 2013 season.

Staging of Air For the G String, Doris Humphrey, 1934. For the University of Washington Dance Program’s Chamber Dance Company 2013 season.

Staging of En Dolor, Ethel Winter, 1944. For the University of Washington Department of Dance’s Chamber Dance Company 2012 season.

Staging of Negro Spirituals, Helen Tamiris, 1928-1941. For the University of Washington Department of Dance’s Chamber Dance Company 2012 season.

Performed in Fire!  A 60-minute group work inspired by research into the life and art of Niki de Saint Phalle. Choreography, Catherine Cabeen. On the Boards, Seattle, WA, 2013.

Performed in An Irritating Cerebral Itch 50-minute group work. Choreography, Kristen Legg. Broadway Performance Hall, Seattle, WA, 2013.

Performed Gravitas 10-minute solo. Choreography, Catherine Cabeen. In BOOST Dance Festival, Erickson Theater, Seattle, WA, and Catherine Cabeen and Company Hyphen 2012, Velocity Founders Theater, Seattle, WA.

Performed in All of the Above 10-minute quartet. Choreography, Catherine Cabeen. In Catherine Cabeen and Company Hyphen 2012, Velocity Founders Theater, Seattle, WA.

Per formed in may I…(my life as it is now) 15-minute group work. Choreography, Kristen Legg. In BOOST Dance Festival, Erickson Theater, Seattle, WA, 2012.

Performed in Where They May 50-minute group work. Choreography, Catherine Cabeen. Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle, WA, 2012.

Did You Know?

Forty-six percent of UW Bothell's first year students are the first in the families to attend college.