SANDRA KAMMANN, Founding Director
Offer transformational gatherings and visionary performance events that prove disarming and exhilarating in their bold authenticity, nourishing participants and audiences with new paradigms and compelling messages for our time.
Driven by activist passion and anthropological training, I create multi-art performances that challenge culturally imposed paradigms. I seek to inspire audiences to discover deep meaning in their lives and communities. Performance has an innate power to inspire audiences, and as a choreographer, director/playwright and performing artist, I am keenly interested in this transformational potential to expand the boundaries of human consciousness.
Sacred embodiment practices and mindful presence in the natural world are integral to my creative work. The cross-cultural study of ancient and contemporary transformational ritual was the focus of my M.A. in Cultural Anthropology, and my ongoing research into these embodied pathways continues to inform my work. Employing authentic enactments and ritual theatre in collaboration with other artists, I intend to continue creating a body of evocative and powerfully communicative works.
Sandra Kammann is a choreographer, theatre director, performing artist, playwright, cultural anthropologist and educator. She is Founding Director of we the temple, a non-profit organization exploring the inherent power of performed ritual and Mindful Presence practices to expand and alter consciousness. Her research in authentic enactment and transformational ritual culminates in creation of mythic, visionary performances and public enactments. Sandra’s latest work, Duir-Wyyd: The Dreamer’s Doorway, informed by research on shamanic traditions of ancient Ireland, premiered in The Women’s Voices Theater Festival, 2015. Crack Between theWorlds: the goddess returns, Sandra’s adaptation of Aeschylus’ The Eumenides, was produced to critical acclaim by Studio Theatre’s Secondstage, garnering a Helen Hayes nomination for Best Musical Production (Deborah Wicks La Puma, Composer & Music Director). Creating multi-art performance projects for many years, Sandra has directed both professional and community based performance companies in a wide range of venues, almost exclusively with live music composed specifically for her works. She danced professionally in NYC, and for the internationally acclaimed Maida Withers Dance Construction Company. Sandra holds an M.A. in Cultural Anthropology, Dr. Ruth Krulfeld (Emeritus), Thesis Advisor and an M.F.A in Performance, Professor Maida Withers, Thesis Advisor, graduating with honors from The George Washington University.
C.V. Available Upon Request firstname.lastname@example.org
Kammann’s striking production [is] a moveable feast”
Nelson Pressley, The Washington Post
“A truly inspired and magical blend of dance, music, poetry, and visual arts…If you ever get a chance to see them, drop all other plans, find however much it costs and just GO.…Feminist visionary performance” art at it’s very best”
Siobhan Cavanagh, NYC Womanews
“…A remarkable feast both rich and nourishing”
“…a pure, honest, strong sense of the feminist spirit…it is a work about reclaiming power, about rejoicing.”
Mary Koepke, Plexus: San Francisco Bay Area Women’s News
“Interesting work…worth seeing”
Sue Beving, Washington Times
“…imaginative choreography by Sandra Kammann”
Pierre Ruhe, Washington Post
“Sandra Kammann danced, sang and signed [with] high energy and expressivity”
George Jackson, The Washington Post
“The entire play is well written and choreographed [and] the performers are passionate and uninhibited”
Kristin Kellog, Washington Times
Travelling to Greece on a Cotlow Research Fellowship from The George Washington University, Sandra employed site-specific research techniques to study the relationships among sacred landscape, myth and theatrical/ritual performance.
Based on her research, Sandra wrote & directed Crack Between the Worlds: the goddess returns, an adaptation of Aeschylus’ Greek tragedy The Eumenides. The piece includes addition of a Greek Chorus of citizens singing an original score with lyrics from The Hymns of Orpheus, which garnered a Helen Hayes nomination for Best Musical Production (Deborah Wicks LaPuma, Composer & Music Director). After a laboratory performance at The Dorothy Betts Theatre (Marvin Center, GWU), the world premier was produced to critical acclaim by Studio Theatre’s Secondstage in 2000, and is included in Sandra’s M.A. thesis discourse. Sandra continues to offer residencies inspired by ancient Greek theatre and ritual culture.
As founding Artistic Director of Sisters of One Eye dance/theatre troupe, Sandra’s work reclaims and validates lost and hidden images of women’s lives, vibrantly reweaving them into humanity’s cultural threads. Her works include storytelling and personal narrative, and employ poetic text, ethnographic research and embodied ritual. The troupe’s full evening multi-art productions Living Strong Throughout the Land, Caves, Yah-shen and the Golden Carp http://youtu.be/xRqWCLDf3po , Blood Mysteries, and The Burning Times were presented at universities, festivals, and activist venues on the east coast corridor, including Voices Burning II Women’s Theatre Festival, The Asian American Theatre Festival, The University of Pennsylvania Women’s Theatre Festival, Sanctuary Theatre at Casa del Pueblo, Dance Place, Sisterfire, The Red Door Women’s Performance Series (Detroit), Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland, The George Washington University, and The National Women’s Studies Association National Conference at Towson State University.
In 1998, Sandra joined the first international Tara Dance delegation on pilgrimage toIndia and Nepal, during which she engaged with the Tibetan Buddhist community-in-exile. She worked with children and nuns, and danced for the Tibetans in Buddhist temples and public offerings, including for His Holiness The Dalai Lama. This ongoing project of East-West exchange involves sacred dance ritual based on the ancient Buddhist prayer The Twenty One Praises of Tara. The ritual practice is now being taught to Tibetan nuns throughout India and Nepal under the auspices of H.H. the Dalai Lama. Sandra is part of a worldwide network of women trained and authorized to teach this ritual. www.taradhatu.org
Attending the Earth Summit in Brazil for the Omame International Arts Project for the Environment, Sandra performed at Rolling Thunder at The National Theatre(Brasilia) with the acclaimed Maida Withers’ Dance Construction Company, living and rehearsing with local artists and teaching in the community.www.maidadance.com/maidawithers.html After the dance tour, she travelled into the Brazilian rainforest, living on the Amazon River & Rio Negro. Sandra travelled into thePeruvian jungle and highlands in August 2013, journeying to many ancient sites and participating in sacred ceremony with chacaruna Jorge Luis Delgado. Sandra led her Sacred Dance Company to Costa Rica in 2007, offering performances and events in the Nosara community. Participating in a team-building project for educators on the northwest coast of Wales, Sandra learned collaborative skills, sea kayaking and rappelling.
Sandra leads Dances of Universal Peace, the communal practice of chanted mantric texts and embodied prayers from global spiritual traditions www.dancesofuniversalpeace.org, and practices the energy-healing arts of Chi-lel and Kundalini Yoga. She leads Moving Voices Sacred Dance, and has led sacred dance programs for over 20 years, including performing and teaching at regional and national Unitarian Universalist conferences, and receiving UU grants for both regional outreach projects and educational youth retreats. Sandra has lead ritual in Code Pink, Season for Non-Violence and Interfaith Harmony events, and works with performing artists, spiritual communities, activists, educators, children & youth, Family Therapists, ministerial students and all those interested in transcendence and creative expression.
As an educator, Sandra offers Performing Arts Residencies through The John F. Kennedy Center Community Partnership Initiatives Program (DC). She taught acting and improvisation for The Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory (DC) for over twenty years, receiving an Outstanding Teacher award and training new faculty members. She continues to train performing artists in her studio. Sandra was founding director of Fertile Ground Youth Contemporary Dance & Choreography Training Program, which for 30 years trained young artists as contemporary dancers, improvisers, collaborators and creators of original choreographic works. The program included sponsorship of guest residencies with Coyaba West African Dance/Theatre, Contemporary Ballet choreographers, and Improvisation artists, and received support from the Arlington County Arts Commission to produce full evening concerts at Gunston Theatre I and Thomas Jefferson Theatre (Arlington, VA). Sandra is continually developing Anthropology Express!, a series of educational residencies in which students experientially explore and integrate knowledge of other cultures through the lens of the arts, culminating in original theatrical productions and art exhibits. This dynamic curriculum is offered for Community Partnership Programs through The Kennedy Center, What a Wonderful World! programs, and for Peace Camp Retreats. Culture areas currently include Tibet, Native North American Nations, Celtic traditions, Ancient Greece & Minoan Crete, Australian Aboriginal and Andean/Incan.
In addition to appearing in her own works, Sandra danced professionally in NYC with the Beverly Brown Dancensemble in the 1980’s, with Maida Withers Dance Construction Company in the early 1990’s, and has appeared in many other east coast companies and venues. Her contemporary dance training includes Elizabeth Price (Nancy Meehan/Hawkins), Cathy Ward (Hawkins), Beverly Brown (Brown/Hawkins), Colette Yglesias (Limon), Maida Withers, Liz Lerman, Helen Rea, Wallflower Order (San Francisco), and Crowsfeet (Vermont); Improvisation training with Nancy Stark Smith, Maida Withers, Jack Guidone, Sally Nash, and Beth Burkhardt. Sandra completed the Studio Theatre Acting Conservatory three year training program with Joy Zinoman in Contemporary Realism, Character & Emotion, Shakespeare, Greek Tragedy, and Comedic Styles. She also trained with Susun Weed in Wise Woman ritual traditions and herbal medicine, and with Vicki Noble, ritualist and creatress of the Mother Peace Tarot.