Five questions for Laura Moody

Laura Moody is a cellist, vocalist and composer. She was a member of the critically-acclaimed contemporary classical group Elysian Quartet, which formed at Trinity Laban. She released her debut solo album ‘Acrobats’ in 2014.

  1. How did you develop your musical style?

My path was not a straight-forward one. I started off playing classical cello and then I went to The University of York, where I discovered a lot of contemporary and avant-garde music and learned about extended vocal techniques. After that I did a postgraduate diploma at Trinity Laban to develop my cello playing and I joined Elysian Quartet which specialised in contemporary, improvised and experimental music. In my late twenties I bought a singing course on the internet and I began to experiment with using my cello and my voice together; I had been writing my own songs since I was a teenager, but this was different. I was bringing together elements which I had previously kept separate. I began to perform at open mics in London, some wonderful people took notice and the solo work took off from there.

Laura Moody Acrobats Session

  1. What happens when you compose a new piece?

For me a new composition starts with what I call my “basic material”: lyrics, melody and a rough idea of the harmony. I start with what I think of as a seed of an idea and its almost as if the whole piece is encapsulated in it and kind of grows from there. I’ll finish the basic material and then (sometimes much much later) return to it and almost create a remix of my own material. Imagining it’s someone else’s song leads to all kinds of interesting places, and allows me to explore textures and techniques with my voice and the cello which I might not think of otherwise. When it comes to writing lyrics I think it’s crucial to ask yourself ‘what do the words feel like to sing?’ They’ve got to feel good to sing, so for me writing is an experiential process as well as a cerebral one.

  1. What was it like to come back to Trinity Laban to give a talk for the composition department?

It felt natural to come back because I recorded my debut solo album ‘Acrobats’ in the recording studios here. This was a little different, and it was really enjoyable to meet the current students. I’m always interested in what people are doing and in seeing the ways in which they grow as musicians.

  1. What plans do you have for the coming year?

I’m looking forward to some exciting collaborations, as well as a solo tour. I’ll be at Aldeburgh Music, collaborating with sound artist Clay Gold on a theatre piece. I’m working with Philip Selway (he of Radiohead) on the string arrangements for a film score, scoring a radio play, and I’m scoring and performing in a new show based on Strindberg’s “A Dream Play” with the brilliantly inventive theatre company Baz. After working with the Elysian Quartet for so long, and suddenly losing our beloved viola player Vincent last year, it’s important for me to find new ways to collaborate with other people, especially as I’ve been doing a lot more solo music recently.

  1. What advice would you offer young composers at Trinity Laban?

Don’t compartmentalize yourself too much. It’s easy to categorise yourself, your craft, and your sense of aesthetics. You should combine different aspects of yourself and not be afraid to draw from all of those aspects when you make music.

To find out more about Laura’s music and catch one of her UK tour dates click here


Marlowe Thornes-Heywood

Graduate intern – Press & PR

Pilates Circuits Workshop: My Experience

Trinity Laban Heath is beginning a new venture and offering a variety of workshops in the evening for students to attend. Workshops cost just £5.00 and cover a variety of topics from nutrition for performers to ankle and foot stability.



As part of the programme the department is running regular fitness circuit workshops and I had the opportunity to attend one of the first. As a work placement student in the Health Clinic and Dance Science lab I was around the studio in the day time leading up to the workshop and was able to work with practitioner Brenton beforehand while he planned that evening’s class. I got to act has his guinea pig in sampling exercises, timing them out, and seeing if the exercises would work well for a circuit Pilates fitness class. The exercises were completely formulated by Brenton and arranged in a way that best made sense but I was able to make suggestions throughout the creation process and it was really rewarding to see my opinions and suggestions be taken into consideration. The class was set up to have 5 different stations on the numerous Pilates equipment such as reformers, cadillac’s, and the chair. Each station would have set exercises and the students would visit them on a rotation basis of three minutes per station. As the class began, introductions were made, the register taken, and we were off. Brenton asked me to demonstrate every exercise on each piece of equipment; then everyone was given a printout of them as a reminder for later on the class when they would be going through the rotation in pairs. We began the class with a brief warmup to ease our muscles into movement and then paired off to start the circuit.

Ten students including myself were registered for the class, however due to an injury only nine participated, so as luck would have it when pairs were formed to go through the stations I was a solo act. This worked out quite well because as Brenton walked around and helped out students at certain stations. I found that students at other stations would look to me as I was going through my own exercises and ask for my help in remembering the exercise. Being on my own this allowed me to leave my station and walk around to offer help whenever it was needed. Assisting throughout the class was a really amazing experience and I felt as though I learned so much just from shadowing Brenton for a few shorts hours. The format of doing a circuit class is a great introduction to Pilates and its equipment if you had never used it before and a fun way of exercising. Pilates’ equipment can be intimidating but it truly is for everyone and as Brenton said as long as you are using it safely it’s no different than using the elliptical at the gym.

Brianna Figueroa, BA2 Trinity Laban Student and work placement student, Trinity Laban Health

Out with the old, in with the new

Adult classes JK__0104 (1)

Images: JK Photography

Sometimes it seems like New Year’s resolutions are only made to be broken. Like many people, those of us working in the Learning & Participation (Dance) team can be guilty of giving up our good intentions before January is even over! As we move into February and approach the start of spring, we thought we’d reflect on our resolutions.

Lizzie Croucher, Graduate Intern
I’m learning Makaton, a language programme using signs and symbols to help people to communicate.

This extra skill will enable me to communicate with those who use it; Makaton is the UK’s leading language programme for adults and children with learning or communication difficulties. It will also really benefit and enhance my work here in Learning & Participation – we have a number of participants in our Dance Ability classes who find it difficult to communicate verbally, so this will further enhance their learning, play and creativity in the sessions!

Louisa Borg Constanzi Potts, Programme Manager
My goal is to dance more, sleep more and travel more. To help with the dance part I’ll be attending the Contemporary Level 2 and Street Dance Level 1 classes at Laban Building.

Becky Wyatt, Administrator
I’ve signed up to run the Edinburgh Marathon in May 2016 which will be a huge challenge for me. I’m following the Bupa Beginner Marathon Programme, which is steadily enabling me to increase the distance I can run.

To try and prevent injuries I’m also having monthly sports massages at Trinity Laban Health.

Laura Mercer, Projects Manager
My resolution is to dance more for my own enjoyment through classes at Laban Building. As Projects Manager, I spend my weeks writing about dance, managing dance events and teaching dance to others. I absolutely love my job but want to enjoy being the student again and be inspired by other wonderful dance artists that teach on our Adult Dance Programme. I’m currently attending Adult Contemporary Level 2.

Nuala McGreevy, CAT Manager
My resolution is to be less wasteful with food (as we throw so much out), money, time and energy on things/worries that don’t need it.

I’m also trying to make myself go to Yoga at Laban Building every week and not waste the opportunity that is right on my doorstep!


Lorna Sanders, Professional Development Manager
My resolution is to do more different things this year. I’m also going to do my best to stop checking emails when I’m at home.

Katy Pearce, Projects Manager
I’ve decided to try something new and do Lindy Hop at Greenwich Dance. This is also a new style we have coming to our Blaze Girls Dance Taster Day here at Laban Building this month. Outside of dance I’m aiming to take a bit more space to relax properly and just appreciate the small things!

Veronica Jobbins, Head of Learning & Participation (Dance)
I’m going to walk more by not using my car every day and using public transport.

Becky Wyatt


Learning and Participation (Dance)

Meet Marquez&Zangs

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Mariana Marquez and Emma Zangs are quite the unexpected dance graduates. With ten years between them, and a number of interests spanning photography, food and tech, how did a degree from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance lead to… Marquez&Zangs?

Tell us about your experience of Trinity Laban.

We both studied on the MA Choreography programme in 2010-2011, where we met. Instantly, we were working together. With similar concerns about our careers, we merged from Day One.

At Trinity Laban, we found the most valuable asset was really the opportunity to create connections. We enjoyed learning about the working world, from both academic staff and external facilitators. We were also lucky enough to partake in a higher education exchange in France during our studies, so we could network and gain loads of feedback on our ideas.

Of course, the facilities at Trinity Laban were a great bonus, too. To jump into a studio and have access to that free space is a very rare benefit for young artists – especially in London.

How did you go about founding Marquez&Zangs?

The idea came to us at the end of the degree. We asked ourselves, what next? In 2011, funding cuts to the arts were a huge issue, so we soon realised that our chances of getting a job in our field were slim. We would have to create one ourselves, and, both entrepreneurial by nature, that’s what we started to do.

Since graduating, we had both choreographed a few music videos together, and had enjoyed collaborating on a few personal projects. Quickly we set about forming a business, borrowing free office space from friends to save on funding. Daily, we started discussing how to market ourselves.

This was a gradual process to begin with, for about a year-and-a-half. Mariana had her second child, and Emma had another part-time job.

Secret Sauce Conference in London

Secret Sauce Conference in London. Image: Diamond Braganza

So, tell us… what exactly is Marquez&Zangs?

Marquez&Zangs incorporates two sides… our choreographic services, and Meta-speech.

On the choreography side, we are currently partaking in Sadler’s Wells’ Summer University, a four-year programme which encourages collaboration with other choreographers. At the moment, we are working on a project with Jonathan Burrows, Matteo Fargion and Hugo Glendinning called 52 Portraits. Every week throughout the year, a short movement video of a different choreographer is released.

Our role at Meta-speech is acting as a public speaking consultancy incorporating movement. We found that choreography skills and the ability to interpret movement have been hugely lacking in business, so we do a lot of one-to-one coaching, mostly with tech-based organisations who pitch for funding. We refine the body language of those whose bodies may have been betraying them – particularly young Mark Zuckerberg-types who are just starting out, and are too afraid to ask for what they want. We teach them how to embody confidence.

We are now in the process of training professional public speaks across the world, and delivering TED Talks.

What does a typical day for Marquez&Zangs look like?

No two days are the same! For example, two days ago, we were interviewed by consultants for a company developing robots. They wanted to discuss body language, empathy and human movement. We have also had one-to-one clients throughout the week, including a young man who needed support preparing a talk to deliver as part of the Barclays Leadership Challenge. And on top of all this… we do admin! Thankfully we have an extra staff member to help with that. She started out as an intern for us and had experience at Sadler’s Wells, so she now works for us.

What’s been the most exciting project for you so far?

Last October, we gave a workshop at Google HQ in New York. We were coaching a team of 12 people who had a start-up – an app within Google called Primer. At the same time, we were coaching speakers as part of TechWeek. An amazing experience (and the food was amazing too)!

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What’s up next for Marquez&Zangs?

At the moment, we are researching the big trend for virtual reality experiences and wearable technology; how the body reacts to those digital aspects using choreographic skills. We will continue giving workshops at companies as well as universities, including the UCL Masters in Entrepreneurship. And we will soon be speaking at a big mobile tech conference in Barcelona called 4YFN (Four Years from Now), with Emma going to a conference in Asia too, as well as demonstrating our work more widely across the UK. So in short, a lot of travel!

Finally, what advice would you give to current Trinity Laban students looking to start their own businesses?

Acknowledge how amazing the training you had is, and at the same time recognise how undervalued it can be in society. Use that to your advantage; we had to triple our prices as what we were offering was so unusual. Don’t ignore your skills, and think about how you can combine them all. There are more and more dancers entering the world, but not more and more jobs.

We would suggest that you find out what excites you. For us, that wasn’t being choreographers or performers in the standard way. Re-evaluate what’s out there all the time – be open – and create your own pathway.

And don’t think for a minute that you can enter business without reading books!

Secret Sauce Conference in London

Secret Sauce Conference in London

Marquez&Zangs are interested in offering freelance work to Trinity Laban students, and are always seeking people with somatic backgrounds. They have a number of public speaking events available to attend for free over the next couple of months, and would encourage Trinity Laban students to come along.

For more info, please contact

You can follow Marquez&Zangs on Twitter @MarquezAndZangs, or visit their websites, &


Charlotte Constable

Graduate Intern – Press & PR

CoLab: Understanding the ‘ME’ in TEAM – Take the test

Making work during CoLab can be exhilarating, fun and also challenging. It’s all very well saying that it is all about process, but working together on something new in a mixed group is often not so straightforward. As CoLab approaches here are some thoughts on team working with thanks to James Wilson, head of the V&A leadership programme, who will be taking part in CoLab:

For twenty-five years Meredith Belbin’s book Management Teams has set the standard for how you can operate as a part of a team. Although this book is aimed at business management there is much that we can learn as creative artists from his research and what it has say.

teamwork blog photo

He identifies nine key role types that make up a balanced and effective team, these include the CO-ORDINATOR with the chairperson’s get-it-done approach, the RESOURCE INVESTIGATOR who brings contacts and context, the SHAPER who likes the challenge of pressure, the sober strategic EVALUATOR, the PLANT who is creative and on the edge with the bright idea, the TEAM WORKER who looks after the well-being of the group, the IMPLEMENTER who designs the systems with an analytical eye and the SPECIALIST who brings unique and specialised knowledge. With this mix a team can be highly effective and work in harmony.

Every person has a combination of these traits, which can be flexible and mobile depending on the task in hand. Understanding one’s strengths and roles can help the group become highly effective. Try taking the 5-minute Belbin test and see your team role profile:

So once you understand your team, how can your team be effective?

Set clear objectives – defined so everyone understands their steps in achieving a shared goal

Appropriate leadership – understanding of shared functions rather than acting out of formal roles

Suitable membership – A good team balance appropriate to the task

Commitment to the team – shared experience and values

Supportive team climate – working in a trustful environment

Getting things done – Knowing what it is doing and when it has achieved a goal

Working Techniques – The team invests in skills, rules and procedures

Learning – from each other

New Members – quickly integrated, supported and developed

Managing the group – the team monitors itself

Other teams – the ability to work with other groups

Success – how to build for the future, deal with expansion and learn to say no.


Joe Townsend