Betsy Dunphy Retires & Moving Target Portland Re-opens Studio 408

A local, collaborative of artists has reopened Studio 408 in South Portland to provide a venue for cutting edge training and performance in experimental dance. Youth classes began in September, Adult classes begin in October, and they are hosting a grand opening on October 15. The group, comprised of five local artists--Janoah Bailin, Chloe Cekada, Cookie Harrist, Delaney McDonough, and Kristen Stake--came together through Moving Target Portland (visit:, a post-modern master class series that has been running for the past year.  Their plans came to fruition when Betsy Dunphy, former member of Ram Island Dance, announced her retirement and her plans to depart Studio 408 earlier this summer.

“When Betsy approached us with this opportunity, we pounced because we knew that the perspective we bring to Modern Dance is quite different than other studios in Maine. Our classes provide students the tools with which to live a deeply embodied life, whether on the stage or in the world,” said Janoah Bailin, Director of Youth Programming.

Continuing Dunphy’s legacy, Studio 408 is offering a full schedule of children’s classes this fall for ages 4-18, in both Modern Dance and Circus Arts. Designed to be non-competitive, all classes focus on developing the individual’s somatic awareness, creative voice, and performance skills. Their adult program, which begins on Oct 1, continues under the moniker Moving Target Portland, but has expanded their weekly offerings to include Beginning/Intermediate Modern Dance, African Dance, and Improvisation, along with the regular Sunday Master Class series featuring a rotation of notable guest artists. Keep a keen eye out for their ambitious performance series, where they will feature the work of local, innovative dancers and cross-disciplinary collaborations.

“Our hope is that local installation artists, sound artists, circus artists, actors, writers--creatives of all stripes--will look to 408 as a resource for their own artistic inquiry and performance cultivation. We see dance as not only a somatic practice that can benefit all disciplines but movement as a way to experience the world and engage in social issues” says Cookie Harrist, the head of Adult Programming and Performance Curation.

Studio 408 kicks things off Saturday, October 15 at 8pm with an evening of performance and celebration. Borrowing from the AUNTS and SALTA performance series in Brooklyn and Oakland, the audience will move about the room and enjoy overlapping performances by local artists, drinks, and conversation.  Local sound/noise artist ID M Theftable will close the night with a dance party for all. (suggested donation $5).

Dispatch Magazine interviews Betsy Dunphy:

408 Team