SILENT PARTNERS is committed to developing movement theater projects for social change.

Sliding Through the Comfort Zone is a long-term collaborative residency for teenagers that works in partnership with communities and educational institutions to explore:

The project is directed by movement theater artist Hilarie Burke Porter with dancer/choreographer Yoko Myoi. The selected participants must be ethnically and economically diverse. Through discussion, writing, movement theater techniques, and improvisation, the participants write, choreograph, and finally perform a movement theater piece based on their perceptions and experiences. The final piece is debuted in a show that also features selections from our repertory performed by SILENT PARTNERS company members. The show is followed by a discussion of the topics raised by the performance.

Sliding Through the Comfort Zone evolved over the course of two long-term residencies in Asheville, NC, with high school teenagers. These residencies, one lasting three months and the other six months, culminated in a 45-minute performance by the participants. Hilarie is currently condensing the contact time, resulting in a 10-minute performance piece. Sliding Through the Comfort Zone is offered as a 3-week residency. The participants need to be available for a minimum of 15 contact hours a week.

"This Project has meant a lot to me. I've learned a lot, like not to give people snap judgments. Also I have learned to control my temper because when people are around each other in a stressful environment they lose their temper and argue with each other. This program has taught me of my natural acting ability. I think this program would be good for other people to do."
– Aron Brewer, age 14, 1999 project participant

"I came into this project with a blindfold thinking I was already over all of my prejudices. I soon realized that everyone was not what I had labeled them to be."
– Jully Andrea Forero, age 16, 1999 project participant

"I have learned to state my thoughts in a way that does not offend others and to speak with clarity and definition, I no longer hide my personality to keep friends. I don't feel awkward or stupid and I don't dumb down my writing, so I have gained respect as a talented student. I have high hopes for college."
– Halley Lawrence, age 15, 1999 project participant

"This was the best thing I did while I was in high school."
– David Christman, age 18, 1997 project participant
(As a result of this project, David joined the mediation group at Asheville High School.)

The development of this project was funded by grants from the D. Michael Warner Foundation, the Asheville Area Arts Council, Alternate ROOTS, and Asheville High School PTO.