News Blast: TL Dance Science & Health in Helsinki 2018

Over 50 Trinity Laban faculty, students and alumni headed off to an international conference in Helsinki last month!

The Dance Science team along with MSc, MFA, PhD students and alumni had the pleasure of attending the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) annual conference in Helsinki, Finland. The conference spanned across four-days and was attended by dance science enthusiasts from all over the world to learn and share new knowledge about the growing field of dance medicine and science.  The event consisted of talks, poster presentations, interactive workshops, movement sessions, round table discussions and debates. Topics included sleep, training load, injury, psychology, hypermobility, creativity and many more. The presenting speakers were of varying professional backgrounds including doctors, physiotherapists, psychologists, educators, scientists and dancers.

Those who attended from Trinity Laban included Professor Emma Redding (Head of Dance Science), Dr Liliana Araújo (Dance Science Programme Leader), Dr Lucie Clements (Lecturer in Dance Science), Elsa Urmston (Lecturer in Dance Science), Anna Williams (Health Clinic Administrator) and Leanne Steel (Dance Science Graduate Intern). Faculty, alumni and current students all contributed to the conference through podium and poster presentations, or by facilitating workshops and movement sessions.

 

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Trinity Laban faculty, alumni and current students.                 Photography: Elizabeth Yutzey

 

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Current and previous Trinity Laban Dance Science faculty members. Photography: Elizabeth Yutzey

 

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Professor Emma Redding represented Trinity Laban by introducing the AJG Howse Memorial Lecture on Management of the dancer’s hip. Photo credit: Julie Ferrell

For several of our students and alumni it was their first time attending the IADMS annual conference while many others have attended year-on-year. See below for thoughts and reflections from our students and alumni.

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Photo credit: Lauren Copping

“I had an incredible experience in Helsinki attending my fifth IADMS conference. It was not only wonderful to see how many Trinity Laban students, alumni, and staff were in attendance, but it was also great to meet or reconnect with researchers from other institutions. During the conference, I also had the opportunity to present my MFA research for the first time post-submission. It was really exciting to share my project and to receive such encouraging feedback and questions from the other attendees.” Lauren Copping, Year 2 MFA student 16-18

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Photo credit: Farah Md Fadzali

“It was the first IADMS conference I attended and it was a really great experience! It was amazing to listen to the latest research findings and how these can be applied in practice. Additional sessions catered to students allow you to connect with your peers around the globe. IADMS is a great opportunity to follow the latest research findings and be surrounded by other researchers, scientists, and teachers, who share the same interest and passion for dance and science!”
Hannah Jussli, MSc Student 17-18

“A great event offering a compact source of inspiration, great for gaining insights into unpublished research and scientific findings and a significant opportunity to network.”Farah Md Fadzali, MSc Student 17-18                                                                                           

“As a new Master’s student, I loved having the opportunity to meet dance scientists at all stages of their career and seeing what the trends in current research are. It was very eye-opening to where the field is heading, what it is still lacking, and the opportunities that await!” –Julie Ferrell, MSc Student 18-19

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Current 2018-19 MSc students and teaching team.  Photography: Reina Zi Teh

“IADMS Conference you were AMAZING! 100% inspired by the work and great people in this field. My brain was stimulated, overwhelmed, thought flooded and I loved it! Can’t wait for next year.” -Freya Simmons, MSc Student 18-19

“I am really grateful I had the opportunity to attend IADMS as a current MSc Dance Science student at Trinity Laban. I learned a lot about the current research being done in the field, which gave me numerous ideas for my own research project. I also met so many different people who are all really passionate about dance medicine and science, both peers and professionals that I hope to stay connected with as I prepare to start my career in dance medicine.” -Stephanie Pittman, MSc Student 18-19

This year we were delighted to have nineteen presentations by Trinity Laban faculty, alumni and students. See the list below of all our presenters!

IADMS presentations

Trinity Laban in action! Photography: Dr Liliana Araújo
Professor Emma Redding & Leanne Steel

Trinity Laban presenters at IADMS 2018 Helsinki

Appleton, R., Clark, T. A qualitative analysis into perceived factors associated with psychological readiness to return to dance following injury(Rebecca Appleton)

Araújo, L. From inspired dancers to inspiring teachers: same passion, role satisfaction and commitment to excellence within multiple professional roles(Dr Liliana Araújo)

Ascenso, S. Mind the mind: findings on mental health in dance. Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. (Sara Ascenso)

Chambers, K. Movement efficiency for dance proficiency: an exploration of individual neuromuscular activation patterns and guided application of techniques to maximise movement potential. (Katy Chambers)

Clements, L., Clegg, H. A mixed methods study of performance anxiety in vocational dance students. (Dr Lucie Clements)

Clements, L., Lefebvre-Sell, N., Redding, E., & May, J. ‘I wouldn’t really call it dancing’: the role of expertise in assessing contemporary dance creativity. (Dr Lucie Clements, Naomi Lefebvre-Sell & Professor Emma Redding)

Copping, L., Clements, L., & Redding, E. Dancer’s experiences with memory and strategies used to improve upon it. (Lauren Copping, Dr Lucie Clements & Professor Emma Redding)

Grossman, G., Redding, E., & Nordin-Bates, S. The porous boundary between dance, art and science: perspectives from dance science, physical therapy and psychology. (Professor Emma Redding)

Harman, G., Redding, E., & Holmes, P. Investigating the phenomenon of dance and music performance through the experience of the performer. (Gemma Harman, Professor Emma Redding & Patricia Holmes)

Lewton-Brain, P. Searching for efficiency of movement: the mesentery and its relationship to dance movement. (Peter Lewton-Brain)

McGrew, M., Mitchell, S., Descoteaux, J., Meder, C., Alvarez, A., Anker, S., & Steel, L. Dance science in the digital age. (Madison McGrew & Leanne Steel)

Mitchell, S., McGrew, M., Anker, S., Alvarez, A., Meder, C., Descoteaux, J., & Steel, L. Student and young professional networking workshop. (Madison McGrew, Sutton Anker & Leanne Steel)

Moravcikova, S. Physiological demands of Brazilian zouk social dance in healthy adults.(Simona Moravcikova)

Nordin-Bates, S., Schwarz, J., Quested, E., Cumming, J., Aujla, I., Redding, E.  Disordered eating attitudes among dancers: a longitudinal study of between and within-person risk factors (Professor Emma Redding)

Paschali, A. The effect of dance-specific aerobic training: An investigation into cardiorespiratory capacity and attitudes towards supplementary cardiovascular training of female dance students. (Anastasia Paschali)

Pooley, A., Clements, L. & Araújo, L. Exploration of emotions and creativity in a choreography class: a literature review (Alexandra Pooley, Dr Lucie Clements & Dr Liliana Araújo)

Sakuta, A., Clements, L. Methodological challenges of dance psychology research: obstacles and future avenues.  (Aska Sakuta & Dr Lucie Clements)

Shi, M. The motivational process in Chinese vocational college dancers: An investigation in the perceived autonomy support, basic psychological needs satisfaction and motivation characteristics. (Menggian Shi)

Squires, L., & Sarah Needham-Beck. Recovery during high intensity intermittent exercise in female vocational contemporary dance students. (Lauren Squires & Dr Sarah Needham-Beck)

Williams, A., Redding, E., Coleman, J., Beach, F., Quin., E & Clements, L. A 10-year retrospective study of contemporary dance students’ standing active turnout. (Anna Williams, Professor Emma Redding, Jessica Coleman, Felicity Beach, Edel Quin, Dr Lucie Clements)

Wyon, M., Allard, G., Nenander, F., Morris, M., & Rafferty, S. Embedding dance medicine and science into teaching and learning (Maggie Morris & Sonia Rafferty)

Yutzey, E., Redding, E. & Clements, L. The evaluation of existing creativity measures in dance and suggestions for a dance-specific measurement tool. (Elizabeth Yutzey, Professor Emma Redding, Dr Lucie Clements)

 

We are looking forward to next year’s IADMS conference already!

Report compiled by Trinity Laban Graduate Interns
Jessica Lowe and Leanne Steel

The Importance of Rest!

As we know, a typical day in the life of a dancer can be highly demanding, physiologically, psychologically and emotionally. Conservatoire dancers who may be exposed to long training hours and a heavily practical daily workload could be at a heightened risk of injury, as a result of fatigue from insufficient rest. Previous studies documenting the rest-work ratios of professional dancers have highlighted trends whereby common dancer injuries, such as sprains and strains, were often a result of fatigue from training.

Fatigue has been defined as “extreme tiredness, weakness or exhaustion—mental, physical, or both.” Once fatigued, the ability to perform movements requiring complex skill is compromised.

“Dancers from previous studies considered fatigue and overwork to be major contributing factor to their injuries…” 

A lack of rest can take its toll on the technical aspects of a dancers practice.  This can negatively impact alignment, heighten inefficient biomechanics, and place stress on the muscles and joints which can only be tolerated to a limited extent before injury occurs.

Augmented rest– what is it and why does it matter to me?

As is often the case for dancers, designated break or rest times are used for things like warm-up/ cool-down, rehearsal and stretching.  The busy life of the dancer may also mean that this time is used for frantically running around trying to complete all of your errands in one go as there are simply not enough hours in the day. But is this really rest? Dance scientists are working actively to assess how dancers can use their (albeit short) breaks in the most effective way to rest, recover, consume and digest food for energy, and to prepare for the rest of the day.

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Image: One Dance UK (Photograph by ASH)

HOW CAN I REST I HEAR YOU CRY!?

Ever heard of somatics?

Somatics balances rest and action which can have positive implications for technique and creative practice, as well as general well-being and personal authority. In resting, a student is encouraged to observe themselves with attention to residual sensations, novel organisation of their self-image, and a general state of open awareness to their present experience. From within this reduced activation, a re-calibration of self-organisation occurs that allows for more freedom of choice when reactivating movement.

Rest and recovery in Somatic Practice

  • Restful reflection
  • Using imagery
  • Listening to the presence and quality of movement

Consider..

  • Feldenkrais technique
  • Ideokinesis
  • Alexander technique
  • Sweigard’s constructive rest

Written by Jessica Lowe, Graduate Intern for Health and Dance Science

References:

Batson, G., & Schwartz, E. (2011). Revisiting the value of somatic education in dance training trough an enquiry into practice schedules. Journal of Dance Education. 7 (2), 47- 56

Twitchett, E., Angioi, M., Koutedakis, Y., & Wyon, M. (2010). The Demands of a Working Day Among Female Professional Ballet Dancers. Journal of Dance Medicine and Science. 14 (4), 127- 132

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reflection on the 6th Annual Dance Science Networking and Careers Day

The 6th Annual Dance Science Networking and Careers Day

On June 15th, Trinity Laban Dance Science hosted the 6th Annual Networking and Careers Day. Current and prospective students, past graduates, and industry professionals came together to discuss the status of dance science and the pathways to pursuing a career in this field. Presentations covered career journeys in dance science and conducting research in different contexts. Dr. Liliana Araujo, programme leader of Dance Science, moderated a panel of industry experts talking about the opportunities and challenges in dance science. The day was bursting with exciting conversations between old friends and new about how to move forward in dance science.

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Kayla McClellan, a first year MFA student, attended the event. Below is her reflections on the day.

Tell us a bit about what the event was about…

The networking day was a time and space to listen to individuals’ interactions with the Dance Science field. It spanned the spectrum of those with an initial interest in the field, to students practicing Dance Science, and professionals working in the field.

What compelled you to attend the event?

As a current MFA in Dance Science at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, I found it important to interact with peers outside of the conservatoire. This provided me with an even more robust picture of what types of research and work are being produced right now.

What was the highlight of the event for you and why?

I found the socializing parts of the event to be the most beneficial. We were given many opportunities to further unpack what others had presented on a more personal level.

What was the key ‘take home’ message that you got from the event?

My key ‘take home’ message from the event was that the Dance Science field is rapidly growing; however, it’s important to keep in contact with your peers in order to progress it in the most effective and efficient way possible.

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What would you say to IADMS student members who might consider attending a similar event? 

I would tell them to absolutely attend, it’s so important to be in situations that challenge and sometimes shift your perspectives. After all, the dance art-form is continuously shifting and we must keep up with those involved.

Written by Elizabeth Yutzey, Graduate Intern for Dance Science and

Kayla McClellan, Current MFA Dance Science Student at Trinity Laban

 

Variety of Uses for Sports Massage

What is sports massage? 

Sports massage is a type of therapy that focuses on the soft tissues in the body. This includes skin, muscle, tendons, ligaments and fascia which is a form of connective tissue that lines other soft tissues. Sports massage involves the manipulation of these soft tissues and can also include different massage techniques and types of stretching

 

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Image: Sports massage, JK Photography 

What is sports massage suitable for?

Sports massage can be suitable for dealing with many different conditions from sport related overuse issues, to back pain from your office chair. These benefits can be split into four main areas; injury, maintenance, pre-event and post-event.

Injury:  Sports massage has many benefits that can help reduce the risk of injury as well as be used for remedial purposes to help reduce tightness and pain. Sports massage is great at helping to detect muscular imbalances and any potential deep tissue damage which can result in a reduced risk of injury. A key benefit of sports massage is increasing blood flow through the tissues which can lead to faster recovery times and reduce the delayed onset of muscle soreness (or DOMS for short).

Maintenance: Having regular massages can help to keep muscles healthy and supple and can reduce the need for future treatment. Studies have shown that having regular sports massages can help to improve range of motion and flexibility. This in itself can also contribute to lowering injury risk, especially among dancers, for whom flexibility is desired. Having regular massages can also help to identify any particular areas of tension or stress and can increase your overall awareness and education surrounding your body. This can in turn help you to improve your performance and self-manage any conditions you have.

Pre-event: Feeling nervous and tense before a show or performance? Sports massage can stimulate circulation through the body and reduce tension which can be beneficial to help you be on top form before that audition!

Post-event: Sports massage can be just as useful after an event! It can help speed up recovery times, remove toxins and waste products from the body, de-stress you and help fight any delayed muscle soreness you may feel the following day. 

 

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Image: Sports massage, JK Photography 

Sports massage is one of those treatments which can be used in a variety of different ways, and is most effective when used regularly. So whether your a performer, office worker or athlete sports massage can be a useful tool to help maintain a healthy body and banish those tense muscles when they arise!

 

Written by Rebecca Appleton 

Graduate Intern for Health 

 

 

 

 

ENJOYING CHRISTMAS BREAK? The benefits of rest and relaxation

As Christmas fast approaches, many of you will be taking time away from the studio or work to take a well-earned break! But a lot of people don’t know enough about the multiple benefits that utilising proper rest and relaxation can bring.

‘Rest’ is anything that gives you a break and can be either physical or mental. There are multiple benefits for everyone and especially for performing artists. This is partly a result of the many physiological changes that can occur when utilising rest and relaxation successfully. These changes can include

  • reduced blood pressure
  • reduced muscle tension
  • reduced sensitivity to pain
  • improved immunity
  • increased circulation
  • slowed breathing rate

Another key benefit of rest and relaxation is that it can reduce the effects of stress. Stress can cause disruption to daily life in many forms including sleep and digestion, as well as increasing aches and pains and the likelihood of getting ill (coughs, colds etc.). Taking time out to rest and relax can help to tackle stress and keep our bodies and minds healthy.

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Image: Trinity Laban matwork class; JK photography 

 

In what other ways can it benefit me as a performing artist?                       The benefits of rest and relaxation can include both physiological and behavioural advantages which can be important for performing artists. Studies have reported that relaxation can reduce mood fluctuations and increase concentration. Also, rest is key for muscle regeneration. This means that in order to see progression in physical training, one must rest or the muscles will not be able to regenerate and you will see no improvements. This is important for performing artists to keep in mind as there is often a tendency to want to train all the time and take little rest in order to improve. However, in actual fact this can inhibit physical progression and could increase the risk of injury. Research has shown that performers, especially dancers, often work through fatigue and that overuse is one of the most common causes of injuries among dancers.

Not obtaining enough rest can also increase the likelihood of overtraining and can even lead to burnout. This is a complex condition and can be acute or chronic, and is the result of a volume of activity/exercise that exceeds the performer’s capabilities. Overtraining and burnout can both increases the risk of injury also, as the body can be more susceptible to muscle damage, infections, allergies and will take longer to heal from even minor scratches. Research has also shown that taking time to review a piece of music or choreography mentally as well as physically, can be much more beneficial than just physically rehearsing alone, which could be a good way to tackle overtraining among performers.

How can I rest and relax properly?                                                                   It is ideal if you can set aside a certain amount of time each day or week to just rest and relax . This can be anything that gives your mind or body a break and can range from just having an early night or a weekend off, to participating yoga classes or doing breathing exercises. Research suggests that constructive/active rest can also be beneficial, which simply requires you to lie in a resting state and focus your mind on a particular task.

So enjoy taking some time out over Christmas to rest and relax and begin the New Year with a great start! #dancersneedrest

 

STRENGTH AND CONDITIONING FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

Push!  Pull! Get down! … you may be familiar with these three terms  if you’ve ever attended one of our Strength & Conditioning or HIIT classes in the Conditioning Studio here at Trinity Laban. These free classes are beneficial and open to ALL Trinity Laban students which can support your practice as a dancer, musician, or musical theatre student.

Are you thinking strength and conditioning doesn’t apply to you and your practice? Never trained for strength or conditioning and don’t know how to start?

Read on to learn more about supporting your individual practice and how Trinity Laban is here to support you.

#KickStartSC IS for You!

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Image: Chris Nash Photography and Random Dance

What the science says:

Whether you’re a music student, dance student, or musical theatre student, maintaining physical fitness is important for performance enhancement and injury prevention. Numerous studies on the physical demands of dance have shown that the cardiorespiratory requirements of dance classes are significantly lower than dance performance. This gap between the demands of class and performance leave dancers unprepared for the rigor of performance, resulting in fatigue and in some cases, injury. Further, a high frequency of injury in dancers has been linked to insufficient levels of strength and endurance. It has been recommended that dancers train strength, especially for areas of the body that receive extra load during training, and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which most closely simulates a dance performance setting.

Training in music presents a different set of physical demands on the body. A study examining the physiological demands of music found that music is an intermittent activity with fluctuating cardiorespiratory demands. It was suggested that interval training, such as HIIT, would be a beneficial form of supplementary training to support a musician’s training.  Other studies highlight the high occurrence of overuse injuries in musicians, as well as injuries caused by bad technique habits, and postural misalignments. Strength—especially in areas such as the core or the limbs required to hold or play the musician’s instrument—is needed to support a musicians’ performance without injury.

According to a study from Medical Problems of Performing Artists, musical theatre performers are the “triathletes” of the performing arts. This field of the performing arts involves elements of both dance and music and therefore requires the physical demands of both fields. Additionally, singing while dancing proposes unique demands on the performers’ breathing patterns. Like in dance, it was found that in-class training does not meet the demands of performance in musical theatre. One study found that 46% of their participants reported receiving two injuries per year and 30% receiving three or four per year, with the most common being injuries of the lower extremities.  Based on these findings, it is important for musical theatre performers to engage in supplementary fitness training to prepare for performance conditions.

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Image: Conditioning Studio at TL, JK Photography.

#KickStartSC:

For the first time, the Trinity Laban Conditioning Studio will be putting on a Kick-Start series of strength and conditioning classes taught by Trinity Laban alumni Khyle Eccles, MSc Dance Science, specializing in strength and conditioning for performing artists. This series, which will take place during the first week of Term One, will focus on introducing students to using the Conditioning Studio for supplementary strength and conditioning training.

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Image: Khyle Eccles

Over the previous year, the Strength & Conditioning and HIIT classes taught by Khyle have helped students from all programs to increase their fitness levels and aid them in training and performance. These classes are also great resources for learning principles of strength and conditioning that can be applied to one’s own practice. In the past, students have learned the importance of warm-up and ways to incorporate a sufficient warm up into their practice, how to use all of the various pieces of equipment that exist in the conditioning studio, and that strength and conditioning can be fun and exciting! If Khyle’s enthusiasm and great dance moves don’t get you hooked on these classes, then the benefits on your training will. Each class targets different aspects of training, so attendance at these classes will always apply to you and could result in increased jump height for all the dancing needs, increased endurance for long performances, or increased upper body strength for holding up those instruments day after day.

Come join us this coming week for #KickStartSC and see what this is all about!

Written by Elizabeth Yutzey

Dance Science Graduate Intern

Stress management and finding alternative treatments: an undergraduate dancer’s perspective.

Undergraduate Contemporary Dance Student Bethan Cooper is in her final year at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and has been doing work experience across both the Health and Dance Science departments. As part of her time with us she has written a blog piece focusing on stress management and the use of alternative treatments. You can read her thoughts below:

Stress management and finding alternative treatments

So what are the common causes and effects of stress on the dancer? With Independent Project season coming to a close and Commissioned Works, Historical Project and Performance Project fast approaching it’s a demanding time for dance students. What can you do to keep your body healthy (and injury free) so that you can get the most out of it?We know the basics:

  • Eating well
  • Staying hydrated
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Effective warm ups and cool downs…

But sometimes bodies can become overwhelmed by sudden changes in practice, so it is important to notice any aches, niggles or complaints before they become bigger problems.

Have you ever noticed an awkward “jump” in your movement whilst executing slow or fluid material? The body is very good at managing itself and finding solutions to problems, and will continue to compensate in many amazing ways until these problems become more substantial. In order to prevent injury, it can be valuable to seek treatments that will contribute to your overall wellness.

It is important to find the right treatment for you, be it physiotherapy, acupuncture or maybe a super intense sports massage! However, occasionally a non-invasive approach will be beneficial.

Why choose Craniosacral Therapy?

Craniosacral treatment is a more holistic approach, where practitioners use light touch, encouraging the body to heal itself. Clients can enjoy a gentle and relaxing hour where the body can take its time to absorb and realise small changes. The treatment aims to work not only with the body, but with the person as a whole, and so has psychological benefits too! This attention to the person as a whole can help address injuries, but also underlying issues behind the injury.

Practitioners work with the fluids and fascia in the body (the connective tissue that holds us together). A particularly important line of fascia for dancers is The Deep Front Line – a long line of tissue connecting the toes to the tongue (and linking muscles such as the psoas and diaphragm along the way).

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http://danceproject.ca/dancers-and-the-deep-front-line/#.WTVn0ZLyvcs

There are also links between Craniosacral Therapy and many of the somatic approaches used in dance – practices such as Alexander Technique or Feldenkrais, which can all be relevant and supportive to your release-based training!

TL practitioners

Marina Collard uses her years of knowledge and experience of dance to inform her practice, making her the ideal practitioner for us dancers! She believes the treatment encourages clients to find a heightened sense of awareness in themselves and their bodies. This kind of physical enquiry can support dancers in optimising the body they have, keeping it open and available for movement. The treatment can also aid stress management; allowing clients time to slow down, inhabit their bodies and reach a more embodied state.

If you would like to know any more about Craniosacral Therapy treatment or have any other queries please contact the health department via the Trinity Laban website www.trinitylaban.ac.uk/health or email health@trinitylaban.ac.uk .

Bethan Cooper

BA3 Contemporary Dance Student, Trinity Laban