Aleesa Cohene and Ame Henderson 

In collaboration with

Jared Gradinger, Christina Knight, Jessi Knight, Grayson Millwood, Daniella Sanader, Angela Schubot and Laurie Young

Two, Four, Six is a project by Aleesa Cohene and Ame Henderson, developed in collaboration with three pairs of dance artists, each with longstanding shared practices and different points of relation: Grayson Millwood and Laurie Young (lovers); Christina and Jessi Knight (sisters); and Angela Schubot and Jared Gradinger (collaborators). During the project’s first phase in Los Angeles, the couples engaged in a Gestalt-based model for couples and group therapy developed by psychotherapists Drs. Bob and Rita Resnick. For the isthmus program—the project’s second phase—Cohene and Henderson are once again joined by the six dance artists, this time engaging as individuals, and writer Daniella Sanader. The group will work together on collaborative score-making and the co-creation of a shared embodied practice in video, language, and movement. For the second phase, group work will be supported by Toronto-based Gestalt therapist Shan Qi. Building towards a choreographic score and subsequent exhibition, the artists will centre the group process in Two, Four, Six around dialogue; beginning with a question developed by the Resnicks: “How can I be connected to another and maintain a self?”

Two, Four, Six is presented in partnership with Public Recordings, Toronto.

Research Materials

This public board collects notes, instructions, and research materials produced by Aleesa Cohene, Ame Henderson, and their collaborators during the isthmus program at Mercer Union—including recorded fragments of movement research provided by the participating dance artists, alongside text-based responses, contributed by writer Daniella Sanader. In collecting the notes, gestures, and questions that emerged during this phase of Two, Four, Six, this board lays the groundwork for the project’s future iterations.

Preview Research Materials below or click here to view on the website.

isthmus | Winter 2021

Aleesa Cohene’s work has been exhibited in festivals and galleries internationally, with solo exhibitions at Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography, Toronto (2017); Reykjavik Photography Museum (2013); Gallery Suvi Lehtinen, Berlin (2012); and Glasmoog Gallery, Cologne (2010). They hold a Masters of Visual Studies from the University of Toronto and completed a fellowship at the Kunsthochschule für Medien, Cologne under German experimental filmmaker Matthias Müller. They have participated in artist residencies in Canada, Denmark and the Netherlands, and have won grants and prizes in Canada and Europe. Their work is part of the permanent collection of Oakville Galleries and numerous private collections.

Ame Henderson is a choreographer and performer of settler ancestry from Nuu-chah-nulth territory on the west coast of Vancouver Island and now living and working in Tkaronto/Toronto. With a practice that spans publication, performance and exhibition, her work activates dance and choreography to propose experiential modes of being together. She collaborated regularly with Toronto Dance Theatre (2013-2019) creating the works voyager (2014) with the songwriter Jennifer Castle; Noisy (2017) with musicians Robin Dann and Matt Smith; and RING (2019) with composer Sarah Davachi. Her projects produced by Toronto collective Public Recordings include performance encyclopeadia (2013), co-created with Evan Webber; relay (2010); and what we are saying (2013), which have toured nationally and internationally.

Jared Gradinger is an interdisciplinary artist working in the fields of performance, dance, social art, gardens and ecology. Since moving to Berlin in 2002, he has been developing long-term collaborations and unique artistic practices that connect community, performance and Nature whilst exploring different forms of co-existence. His starting point is, ‘What can we do together that we cannot do alone?’ He has a long term artistic collaboration with Angela Schubot, with whom he creates extremely physical works dedicated to experimenting with new forms of co-existence through an unconditional togetherness, most recently in co-creation with Nature. He is currently researching regenerative strategies in the context of art production.

Christina Knight is Assistant Professor of Visual Studies at Haverford College. Knight’s work examines the connection between embodied practices and identity, the relationship between race and the visual field, and the queer imaginary. She is currently completing a book manuscript that focuses on representations of the Middle Passage in contemporary American visual art and performance. Additionally, she is the director of knightworks dance theater, which she co-founded with her sister in 2013.

Jessi Knight is a dancer, teacher, and choreographer from Pittsboro, N.C. After graduating from Duke University with a self-designed dance degree emphasizing music and education, Jessi embarked on a teaching and choreographing career that has afforded her the opportunity to teach and perform both nationally and internationally. After spending four years in Denver, Colorado as a member of the internationally acclaimed Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, she moved back to her home state of North Carolina where she continues to choreograph and perform on a project by project basis for her company knightworks dance theater.

Throughout his career, Grayson Millwood has worked in over 50 countries creating and performing in theatre, dance, opera, installation and film. He has worked with choreographers such as Meryl Tankard, Nasser Martin-Gousset. Benoit La chambre, Joachim Schloermer, Constanza Macras and Sasha Waltz, and with video artists Julian Rosefeldt, Janet Cardiff and Eve Sussman. Grayson is a co-founder and co-director of The Farm, a performance collective based on the Gold Coast in Australia.

Angela Schubot from Berlin, artist, dancer, researcher and bodyworker/healer, with roots in Peru and Toronto, works since 2009 with Jared Gradinger, creating works on the debordering of the body and plant consciousness. She develops methods of “Radical Softness” and “Flow Work,” is a certified practitioner of perceptive pedagogy and fascia therapy/Method Danis Bois. Since 2012, her artistic practice has been researching methods to acknowledge non-human principles and beings and to interact with them. These include solo works, a.o. the trilogy “Körper ohne Macht” (2015), and long term research works, a.o MOSSBELLY, developing “bodies of multiplicity“ in deep communion with plant nature.

Daniella Sanader is a writer and reader based in Toronto. Her arts writing has been published by a number of publications, galleries and artist-run spaces across the country. She holds an MA in Art History and Gender Studies from McGill University and was a participant in the 2018 Critical Art Writing Ensemble at the Banff Centre.

Laurie Young is a Berlin-based Canadian dance artist who focuses on the embodiment of unauthorized histories and their representation and how relationships are choreographed between human and other than human beings in the theater, museum and city. She has been busy with transdisciplinary projects between arts and science and is a triple fellow of Volkswagen Foundations Arts and Science and Motion. Laurie was named Visiting Dance Artist 2019-2020 at the National Arts Centre. Her work has been presented internationally in both theatre and museum settings.

Shan Qi, RP MSSc, is a somatic, trauma-informed Gestalt psychotherapist and trainer, who has worked deeply with survivors of catastrophic trauma using phenomenological relational heart to heart humanity. Shan has a private practice in Greater Toronto Area. She is a graduate of the Developmental Somatic Psychotherapy Program in New York, and has completed training in Somatic Experiencing, the Neuro-Affective Relational Model, Psychodrama and sensory awareness. Shan has great passion for body process as a support for dialogue, while she believes the body is a connection between our past and future and it can only stay in the here and now. Shan enjoys the creative process of groups, and she has led Gestalt Embodied groups for different organizations including Gestalt Institute of Toronto, and WeSupport Mental Health network program.

Rita F. Resnick, Ph.D., has been Faculty Chair of the Gestalt Associates Training Los Angeles (GATLA)’s European Summer Residential Training Program since 1991 and a faculty member since 1986. In addition to private practice in California, Rita trains psychotherapists in the United States, Australia, and Europe in both Gestalt and Couples Therapy. Her professional interests include the exploration of innovative and supportive approaches to supervision and a devoted, passionate (and self-serving) interest in the area of women growing older, menopause, and mid-life vitality. In 2016, Rita published a chapter in Women in Gestalt Therapy, eds. Adriana Fecova and Breatrice Wimmer—voices of female Gestalt therapists from Europe, USA and Israel who have contributed to the development of Gestalt therapy. 

Robert W. Resnick, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Gestalt/Couples Therapist trainer, was trained/certified by Perls and Simkin in 1969. Chosen by Perls to introduce Gestalt Therapy to Europe that summer – he has spent 16-18 weeks annually training in Europe for the past 50 years. Winner of the APA Div. 29: 2019 Distinguished Award for the International Advancement of Psychotherapy. Creator of Individual and Couples (with Rita Resnick, Ph.D.) Gestalt Therapy demonstration films. Founder/Core Faculty – GATLA European Summer Residential Training – approaching an unprecedented Golden 50th anniversary, outside of Vilnius, Lithuania, in July 2021. His first clinical practicum was driving a New York City taxicab.

isthmus is a connection; a site forged between places. This collaborative research commission invites artists whose thinking and work are bolstered by peer exchange and participatory forms of knowledge assembly. Presented on the Mercer Union website and using Miro, commissioned projects bridge geographies and temporalities between artists, their collaborators and publics; gathering a multiplicity of voices and artefacts while architecting new connections through virtual workshops, tours, screenings and live conversation.


Image: Marco Braunschweiler