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Workshop (Edmonton): Presence and Action in Performance – Mile Zero Dance

The Virgin Trial – Alberta Theatre Projects
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Workshop (Edmonton): Presence and Action in Performance – Mile Zero Dance


5-day Intensive with Maxine Heppner
A Workshop based in the practices of ACTION THEATRE, created by master improviser Ruth Zaporah.
Monday, January 21st – Friday, January 25th — 9:30am – 12:30pm

$150.00 Early Bird before December 21st
$200.00 after December 21st

Studio E (9533 Jasper Avenue), Edmonton AB
Please contact Katrina at or call 780-424-1573 to register.

ACTION THEATER™ technique offers a map towards increasing one’s awareness by turning the mind inside out. Because we place the activity of the mind into action, we can observe its ways, examine who we are and how we operate. Then, we can consciously redirect our functioning, quiet the busy mind and allow for new choices. It helps the performer recognize their habits and moments of ‘turning off’ and instead offers pathways where the mind and body rejoin, where there’s no disparity between action and being. It increases performers’ presence in the moment. Performers feel more connected to their experience, connected to their partners. They feel embodied and alive.

The ACTION THEATER™ exercises don’t set up life-like ‘scenes’. Instead, life-like and non-life-like situations arise through physical explorations within forms and frameworks. The forms are open, content-less, and address how we organize specific aspects of behavior or experience. Awareness and play are fundamental to the practice, as both are portals to spontaneous imagination. Within this orientation, the artist is no longer bound by the conventional interpretations of reality. They are free to roam throughout the grand spectrum of possibilities, discovering who they are in the moment. Every exercise acts as a mirror, reflecting back to the artist their patterns and flights of freedom. ACTION THEATER™ also develops a better understanding of ensemble architecture, the use of space, and composition. ACTION THEATER™ includes sound/vocal work, language and movement.

THE WORKSHOP is suitable for everyone interested in body-based improvisation who wishes to enhance and refine their expressive imagination, develop vocal, verbal, and physical performance skills; dancers, actors, dance/movement therapists, teachers, etc.


ACTION THEATER™ is an internationally recognized body-based improvisation technique originated in the 1960’s by Ruth Zaporah.

Originally a trained dancer, Ruth was asked to teach movement to Maryland University theatre students and she was struck by how difficult it was for them to get into their own bodies. She had them improvising simple movements before “improvising” was really accepted, and quickly became fascinated, even obsessed with improvisation. Then with the introduction of voice, which led to language, language led to content and feeling….she has developed a unique approach into performance. Nearly 50 years later, artists from around the world travel great distances to study and perform with Ruth.


MAXINE HEPPNER is a dance creator, performer and educator based in Toronto. Since the 1970’s Maxine is known for ‘bold’ projects ranging from intimate chamber pieces to massive site-specific ensemble works and festivals. She established “Across Oceans” (1996) to investigate collaborative art making across viewpoints, generations, and cultures as a response to 3 decades of international work across North America, Eastern Hemisphere, and Europe, in professional and community settings. Her personal practice attends to energy as the fundamental source of communication and creation.
Maxine studied and performed ACTION THEATER from 1991-98, along with Ruth’s main teachers including Sten Rudstrom, Cassie Terman, and Sabine von der Tann. She is a trained teacher of Action Theater™and has integrated it into her own practice these many years. In this workshop she will share the roots of this training.

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