Sophomore year at Juilliard I'm bottom right between Stacy Aswad and Maggie Pihl Pelton

Sophomore year at Juilliard - I'm bottom right between Stacy Aswad and Maggie Pihl Pelton photo from the collection of Scott Warren Sharff

I was reminded of my college years last night when I managed to make it to 3 events in a row. As a student at Juilliard, in New York City, going to multiple performances was an almost nightly occurrence. I remember darting out from the Joyce Theater, having just seen Nikolais/Louis to make it up to NY State Theater in time to catch the last half of a City Ballet performance. Or hearing a percussion ensemble work by Steve Reich at Manhattan School of Music and trying to then make the curtain of Alvin Ailey at City Center. The only difference is we didn’t have cars then…it was the 1, 2, 3, A, C, B, D, 4, 5, or 6.

Amy Rydell

Amy Rydell

It wasn’t until Amy Rydell, my best friend at the time and daughter of  “On Golden Pond” director, Mark Rydell, came along in my senior year, that I learned to take cabs and the bus. Very civilized modes of transportation indeed.

Anne Meara

Anne Meara


Barbara Barrie

We used to see Ben Stiller’s comedienne mama Anne Meara on the bus as well as actress Barbara Barrie. I miss those days when there seemed to be more time for public transportation, but it would have taken over an hour and a half last night and 3 different buses to get to The Palisades area of DC from where I live in Maryland, to Key Elementary School, at the invitation of Kevin Roots, to learn more about Hapmudo, a system of self-defense based on fundamental offensive and defensive techniques taught there by Grand Master Yong Sung Lee. Originally from Seoul, South Korea, Grandmaster Lee came with his family to the United States in the 1970’s. After many years of teaching in Korea and the United States, Grandmaster Lee opened his own Studio on September 15, 1983. I didn’t know what to expect, but as I walked in I recognized a familiar face, Global Village publisher Matt Davis, and a few minutes later, another, Lily Mazahery. I’d studied some forms of kung-fu growing up but this was something wholly different in it’s approach.

Hapmudo is based on the theory of circular defense as opposed to direct defense. Direct defense may cause injury and may be unsuccessful against greater power whereas Hapmudo’s circular defense requires little power but much knowledge and skill. These delicate techniques will overcome brute force almost always.

The meaning of the word Hapmudo is “the way to combine mind and body power for World Peace”

Hapmudo is a complete Martial Art where you receive a full and well-rounded Martial Arts education. You will learn the Mental and Spiritual benefits of the Martial Arts as well as training in the Physical aspects. It is also includes training in 72 weapons starting with the nunchaku, staff, sword, fan, cane, rope, knife, etc.

For more information about Hapmudo instruction visit the studio’s website here.

HAP To combine, harmony mind and body • MU All Martial Arts • DO The way of, method of study

HAP To combine, harmony mind and body • MU All Martial Arts • DO The way of, method of study

Grand Master Yong Sung Lee throwing two opponents

Grand Master Yong Sung Lee throwing two opponents © Tony Powell

Grand Master Yong Sung Lee teaching how to use empty hands against empty hands.

Grand Master Yong Sung Lee teaching Matt Davis and Kevin Roots how to use "empty hands against empty hands" © Tony Powell

The drive from the Palisades over to the DC Arts Center in Adam’s Morgan wasn’t bad at all. I couldn’t help but think of the destruction caused by the fire that gutted the home of Peggy Cooper Cafritz as I passed Chain Bridge Road where Loughboro Rd. turns into Nebraska Ave. I drove by there the other day and couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

I’d never been to the DCAC but I promised dancer and long-time friend Sylvana Sandoz that I would come watch her solo – one of five – that was being presented there as part of Field Work for Mixed Disciplines: Works in Progress. The literal definition of a black box theater, the DCAC is one of the most intimate venues for live performance I’ve ever seen. The Field/DC  and the Dinner Party, the monthly performance series of experimental dance, music, and performance art, is organized by Ilana Silverstein, who also contributed a solo.

5 Soloists © Tony Powell

5 Soloists © Tony Powell

All of the photos from this performance can be seen at:

Since I’m photographing the work of the brilliant modern dancer and choreographer Molissa Fenley at the Judson Church in New York City very soon, I seized the opportunity that this performance provided to get in some practice shooting in extremely low light. Some of my favorite people in the DC dance community were there: dance critics Carmel Morgan and George Jackson (one of my first champions), choreographer Nancy Havlik (I’m on her board), dancer/choreographers Boris Willis and Laura Schandelmeier, and arts blogger Ellen Chenoweth.

Delphina Parenti © Tony Powell

Delphina Parenti © Tony Powell

  1. wideningthei says:

    Wow, Tony, you are so fast with your postings! The photos of the soloists are gorgeous. Good to meet you in person and I look forward to seeing you at more events. Ellen

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