who we are

GRACIE WHYTE (she/her)

In 2010 I was introduced to floorwork technique through Jorge Crecis, Spanish choreographer and teacher at The Place, London Contemporary Dance School. Our rep for that season had a lot of floorwork so Jorge was our most frequent company class teacher and I consider this to be the beginning of my floorwork journey. Jorge comes from a sports science background and his type of floorwork is full of momentum and athleticism and often incorporates additional items to heighten awareness (throwing water bottles around the room while also taking class, for instance). This time in London was also formative for me in studying other types of floorwork such as Flying Low and capoeira

 

When I relocated to LA from London in 2014, I started my own class and have continued to develop my personal branch of floorwork technique, which has continued to evolve and change over the years. When Laura and I started teaching together in late 2014, that process became even more collaborative and floorwork became an integral part of our teaching identity in LA. 

 

LAURA BERG (she/her)

I was introduced to floorwork by Stephanie Nugent in 2010 at CalArts. Her approach to floorwork was very much rooted in release technique and yoga. Stephanie focused a lot on imagery, meditation and breath to help dancers relate to the floor. My training with her had a really nice theme of softening (“butter down” is a phrase she is infamous for). She was also highly influenced by yoga so we did a lot of arm balances and slow, controlled transitions in and out of the floor. Stephanie is a contact improv queen and I got to participate in many classes and jams with her and her contact community while in college. She frequently discussed the relationship between the floor and a human partner, which has been vital to my understanding of how to relate to the floor. Through my college years I also received very informative training from Becca Lemme, whose floorwork style is more about utilizing momentum and releasing unnecessary tension, as well as brilliant Countertechnique workshops and courses at CalArts.

 

After college I started learning from and working with Gracie, whose floorwork style at the time felt smaller, more meticulous, more muscular than Stephanie/Becca’s and also super FAST! And such my floorwork knowledge had been infinitely expanded! Since then, I’d say my interest in floorwork is mostly rooted in a deep excitement by creating new material/pathways/uncovering something new (creative exploration) and the physical challenge of it all. 

 

GROUND GROOVES

The “Ground Grooves” name was born in 2016 and was a weekly floorwork class we ran in alternating weeks with Mollie Wolf until the pandemic. In 2020, Mollie went to grad school and we took over the name, brand, created an online studio, and expanded our in-person offerings. 

 

The class has evolved quite a bit over the last 7-8 years. It started as a release technique, floorwork, and WHYTEBERG (our choreographic platform) rep class. Then slowly transitioned into a release/floorwork class, until eventually becoming more acutely focused on floorwork as we felt there was a need for it in the LA dance ecosystem.

 

The style of floorwork we teach has evolved significantly as well. Some of the movements we do today were used in the very first iteration of the class, but the quality is different (more lush and articulate) and the style of teaching is also different (more focused on transitions, textural quality, and specificity). The Ground Grooves vocabulary has expanded a lot since its beginning days, inspired by experimentation, the people who come to class, and the needs of our personal bodies as we worked through major injuries. 

 

There are many martial arts and dance forms we were not personally trained in that we see as being part of the same floorwork family. A great example is breaking. Although we aren’t bgirls, we are influenced by all the amazing bboy/girl/humans who are in our community and see the direct influence that incredible art form has had on what we teach. 

our facilitators