Beyond The Walls

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Image: Age Exchange July 2016 

Beyond The Walls was a multi-sensory interactive arts performance from Age UK and Trinity Laban, utilizing cutting-edge research to improve the wellbeing of people living with dementia. The project was led by Lucy Evans and Stella Howard, two Trinity Laban alumni currently working in our Learning and Participation (Dance) department. Lucy reflects here on their experiences…

The ‘Beyond The Walls’ project followed from on charity Age Exchange’s three year’s research entitled ‘Radiql’, which investigated improvements in the wellbeing of people living with dementia when they engaged with visual and movement arts.

In spring 2016, Stella Howard and I were commissioned by Age Exchange and Trinity Laban’s Learning and Participation Team to undertake further research, the outcome of which would not be an academic paper but an actual dance performance.

The first stage of the process was a great privilege; we were invited to participate in 24 workshops with a group of older people in a Wandsworth care home.  The workshops were co-led by visual artist Mathew and movement therapist Christina.

As the weeks progressed – and as we observed the approaches and also the relationships facilitated by Matthew and Christina – we were able to interact more meaningfully with both the methodology itself, and also with the new people we were getting to know. In the later weeks, when I approached the residents, I experienced them taking my hand and warmly moving it to their cheek. We jived, sang and painted together, and shared memories (at one point a lovely lady turning to me and started to recite a verse about sowing seeds and growth – a precious moment indeed).

Of course we also met with some more emotionally challenging moments. We saw feelings of isolation and anxiety, a side to living with dementia not often evident in participatory activities. And we were occasionally told in no uncertain terms ‘I’ve grown out of this a long time ago!”.

Following the research phase, we moved to the studio to begin developing our observations and at first fragmented conclusions into movement and dance.

Initially, we worked a lot with improvisation to embody the shifting relationships and levels of engagement we had experienced and witnessed. We set up scores which enabled us to explore a variety of ways in which one could feel engaged or disengaged. We explored issues of whom or what we might choose to engage with (or not), and questioned the idea of agency: when and how did the participants exercise choice around engaging in relationships in the arts practice? There was something special for us about investigating this at Laurie Grove studio, away from our roles as practitioners at Trinity Laban, with a view of Goldsmiths and the sunlight painting patterns on the studio floor.

A further exciting element of this stage of the work was the commissioning of several artists: composer Eliot Lloyd-Short, who created an original live and recorded score; prop-maker Andy Pilbeam-Brown, who made nine cardboard suitcases which displayed artwork made by the workshop participants; and filmmaker Roswitha Chesher, who documented the workshops, the devising process and the final performance.

Throughout the process we were determined that our decisions should truthfully reflect the context, practice and its outcomes; that we should face not only the joyous but also the difficult moments. We referred to and quoted movement we had observed, whilst being completely clear we did not want to mimic or re-enact the people we had met.

We set up the stage space in the round and used multi-sensory ideas (tastes, smells and textures) to further bring the audience into the world of the workshops. Musically, Eliot used sound samples from nature (suggesting the imagined themes of the workshops), radio extracts (reflecting the more realistic sounds of the care home), and also played live guitar and viola. The majority of the composition happened in the studio, resulting in a music and dance relationship that was invested and complex. The structure of the work gave both art forms space to react to one another and improvise whilst also charting the shifts in engagement and relationships we witnessed over the 24 workshops.

Mid-process we shared our work with the most truthful and well-informed people we know: the Trinity Laban Boundless over 60’s dance group. It was nerve-wracking to test our interactive ideas on a live audience! But finding out they were both appropriate and effective in evoking an emotional response in our audience was a relief, and spurred us on to push this element of our work further.

The work was presented at Battersea Arts Centre on 2 February, following a panel discussion by leading academics in the field of dementia and wellbeing. It was fantastic to be part of a platform where music and dance, as a means of explanation and communication, held a level pegging with statistical documents.

If you are interested in seeing the work it will be shared again at Trinity Laban on the 14 June, and we’ll let you in on a secret, there’s chocolate involved!

California comes to Trinity Laban | Brooke Smiley and Gianna Burright on their home from home

In April 2017, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance hosted a performance by The University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) Dance Company. The programme included works by renowned choreographers Jose Limon, Anna Halprin, Andrea Miller, Stephanie Gilliland and Trinity Laban MFA Choreography student Gianna Burright. Gianna is a UCSB alumnus and was the key individual in facilitating this visit. There was also a roundtable discussion about the work of Anna Halprin and Limon repertory masterclasses.

In November 2016 Gianna returned home to California for an eight-day residency with the current UCSB company members. This was extremely special for Gianna as she was previously a member of the company, graduating with a BFA in Dance, in 2015. Gianna was able to use her practice in body-to-body transfer and evolving MFA research which she has developed during her time at Trinity Laban with the dancers from UCSB.

The UCSB Dance Company’s evening show closed with Anna Halprin’s The Paper Dance from Parades and Changes (1965)directed by California native and Trinity Laban alumnus Brooke Smiley. Brooke graduated from Trinity Laban in 2008 after completing an MA in Dance Performance (Transitions Dance Company). After graduating, Brooke danced with Michael Clark Company, Ventura Dance Company and Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre. Her choreographic works have been shown both in the UK and USA. Brooke also holds a California Contractors License and has trained in super adobe earth architecture. We caught up with Brooke and Gianna to find out more about their comparable journeys.

Brooke: “I was in Europe auditioning and my mentor brought me to Trinity Laban. I took a ballet class with Transitions and they asked me to consider joining. Being from California, Transitions was the first time I was around a lot of people from different countries. I loved learning that there are as many different ways to do something as there are people. The friendships formed this base of community and meaning for me in dance. Working with David Waring (Artistic Director, Transitions Dance Company) was amazing as it allowed me to be with my own research and thoughts. Dr Martin Hargreaves was a mentor for me too and meeting these dance researchers who had a plethora of experience was wonderful to ground into.

Gianna and I met through Mira Kinglsey, a previous Professor of Dance at UCSB. She invited me to teach a workshop to the seniors at UCSB, and the next year they asked me to teach improvisation. She put me into contact with Gianna and through this series of random circumstances has come magic.”

It was interesting to find out more about how Brooke & Gianna connect between the UK & US:

Brooke: “I feel like we’re redefining what’s possible together rather than being separate. With the National Endowment of the Arts potentially being absolved through Trump, everybody’s scratching for that funding which makes things very competitive. There’s more funding in Europe which is why I worked here. Saying that, New York has really shifted and changed from 10 years ago when I graduated. In this new constriction of times and thrashing of systems we can find a way for institutions to have the heart to find one and other.”

Trinity Laban has recently forged a number of international partnerships, resulting in major exchange projects with the likes of the Korean National University of the Arts, the National Taiwan University of Arts, Beijing Dance Academy and the Hong Kong Academy of the Performing Arts. Trinity Laban’s “Brexchange” featured visiting students from the Netherlands, Italy, Austria and Sweden, and Trinity Laban also recently became the first UK conservatoire to partner with the Fulbright Commission, offering the new Fulbright-Trinity Laban Award in Music and Dance.

Brooke: “Gianna has made this connection between Trinity Laban and UCSB and I’m very excited about how we are beginning to come together. When it comes from the heart of a person it’s real but I don’t think there’s necessarily a drive to connect on a bigger scale, but on the local micro scale there is. We’re finding our own way. Water works like that – a little drop, a little trickle, and it begins to carve out the rocks over time. I feel like that’s what Gianna has done. It’s powerful.”

Gianna: “It’s so great to see connections being made between institutions internationally and is something which needs to continue to happen.”

Gianna’s piece for the UCSB dancers, Anywhere I Can See the Moon, is deeply relevant to this discussion. The work investigates the common thought and concern of “home”.

Gianna: “I’ve come to realise home isn’t what we think home is anymore, you can find homes in many different ways. It’s interesting to notice how that shifts and how temporary the word really is. I’ve always wanted to live internationally and have an international career so coming to Trinity Laban seemed like a good starting point. It’s a really great place that allows you to apply many different approaches to whatever you’re looking at, and supports you to be creative in the development of your research.”

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Image: Anywhere I Can See The Moon taken by Steven Sherill

Upon graduation from UCSB, Gianna was awarded the Tonia Shimin Award for Excellence and Promise in the Field of Dance and The Corwin Award for Choreography. Gianna is a proud recipient of the Trinity Laban Postgraduate Dance Award 2015-2017, a Leverhulme 2016-2017 Scholar and the 2016 recipient of the Lesley-Anne Sayers Research Award.

Gianna: “Receiving the Lesley-Anna Sayers Research Award has been a highlight of my time at Trinity Laban. I was able to take myself and 3 dancers to Amsterdam to work with choreographer, performer and movement researcher Ria Higler. That week was completely life changing for me and has shifted the way I work, the way I see the body and the way I live in my own body. I’m so grateful for that opportunity.”

Alice White

Graduate Intern – Press & PR

Craig Lutton: Side by Side with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

Craig Lutton

Image: Craig Lutton

In January 2017, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) and Trinity Laban paired up for the unique Side by Side series, in which principal BSO players performed alongside and offered mentorship to Trinity Laban students. We caught up with percussionist and Trinity Laban student Craig Lutton who was a part of this year’s series.

“I gained so much from the experience working Side by Side with the professionals. Sacha Johnson was leading the sectional – he was on bass drum and I was on cymbals – and when we were playing together it was really great, it sent shivers down my spine. The two day event ended with a sold out concert at Blackheath Halls which was really successful. I’m coming to the end of my studies and orchestral music is primarily what I want to do, so to learn from Sacha and play side by side with him in a concert was really special.

The experience was intense because you’ve only got around 8 hours of rehearsal and then it’s the concert – it’s just like being in a professional working environment. You’ve got limited rehearsal time and you’ve got to nail it straight away. It was a nervous excitement I was having, with Sacha beside me, literally side by side, it was a step closer to reaching my dream of being an orchestral musician.”

During a rehearsal’s lunch break, Craig was lucky enough to receive an impromptu cymbal lesson from Sacha Johnson.

“Sacha said that when you go into the profession this is what most of you would play in the main orchestras, so he said over the lunch break he’d spend half an hour teaching me and I thought ‘this is fantastic’. I was learning from a true professional, because he’s played with all of the London orchestras and toured the world. He taught me so many different techniques and sounds, it was really beneficial. I could then put that into the afternoon rehearsal and the evening concert. He was really digging deep into how I could make my playing better. He gave me a bit of a career talk as well which was really inspiring to hear. It was a really poignant moment.”

Craig spoke about his time studying at Trinity Laban:

“It’s been very special. I’ve had lots of amazing performance opportunities and I’m so glad I moved to London from Northern Ireland. There’s so many opportunities, London’s the centre of the universe for music! It’s been incredible and I’ve met so many people, I’ve made friends for life and made some great contacts. The Side by Side concert at Blackheath Halls with BSO was a really special moment and I’ve had so many others.

My current teacher Michael Doran coached me in the Ulster Youth Orchestra in 2009 – 2013 which is where I first met him. He encouraged me to audition for Trinity Laban and I knew straight away in 2009 that I wanted to study under him. Here I am now having nearly finished four years of his beneficial tuition!

In my second year, Michael got me in for two performances of La Boheme playing with the ENO and once again in third year – that was special and probably a highlight from my time at Trinity Laban. It was at the London Coliseum, and being in the pit playing the cymbals was really special. I remember the moment just as the curtain came down for the interval and I was standing on stage playing the side drum. It was amazing – I was absolutely buzzing marching out on stage. There were about 2000 people watching, it was insane! I had my dad in the audience for the first night so that was great, because I’d never really thought I’d make my professional debut in an orchestra. When I was younger it was always the dream, so for it to actually come true made it one of the best nights of my life.

The principal percussionist in the BSO is Matt King, who also studied at Trinity Laban. Sacha was telling me about him and it was really inspirational to hear about people with professional jobs in orchestra’s – principal jobs – who have studied at Trinity Laban. There’s a lot of them in the professional world and that’s another one of the reasons why I chose to study here.

I did another Side by Side series with the BBC concert orchestra. We had Alistair Malloy, their principle percussionist, who was playing beside me again. I could use things that I’d learnt from Sacha in January and bring it into that performance. I’d never really worked on cymbals until the lesson with Sacha, he said ‘if you want to be a professional percussionist you’ve got to nail this’, so I thought right, this is my moment. I then stuck at it for 2 months and it’s really paid off.”

To find out more about Craig visit his website: www.craigluttonpercussion.co.uk

For more information on studying with us please visit the Trinity Laban website.

Alice White

Graduate Intern – Press & PR

Rebecca Evans: You are only the sum of your data

Trinity Laban alumnus Rebecca Evans is currently working on a digitally interactive mobile phone app led dance performance, David, with her company Pell Ensemble.

Produced by Step Out Arts

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Image: David by Mira Loew

What was your inspiration behind David?

The inspiration behind David was data – how we’re using data and how we’re moving towards an uncertain future. We’re caught up in this huge technological wave and we don’t know where it’s going to land, but we keep feeding it, and I’m interested in examining that. I was also inspired by an outdoor performance I had done with a walking app, and that was the first time I encountered using mobile phones in dance.

You invite the audience to use their mobile phones, could you tell us more about what this involves?

The audience scan a QR code which takes them to a mobile app / website. There are projected screens in the space which give the audience information, and the audience then bring David to life. The audience start giving data which helps to shape David and the world around him.

The interactions on the mobile are actually quite simple – from a coder’s perspective maybe not! – but from an audience perspective, things like holding, swiping, really quick choices and ways to interact that immediately show up in the space, and David responds. We try to bring audiences out of their phones and into the performance space as much as possible. The only feedback will be in the performance space rather than on their mobile phone screen.

At the moment we’re working at a limited audience of around 40. You would have a unique projected avatar on the screen, so we have limited spaces. You can really see when you press a button that your avatar is moving.

You and your dancers, David Orgle and Stefania Pinato, are all Trinity Laban alumni. How has it been working together?

It’s been fantastic! I’ve worked with David for around three years now, so he’s really been a part of developing Pell Ensemble, and Stefania is fantastic, they both give a lot. They’re both incredibly creative in the space, really solution based. What’s really wonderful about them is they really understand what it is to be in a collaborative environment. There’s about 8 artists in total collaborating on this project, each from different backgrounds, and they’re able to wrap their heads around the different elements whilst feeding into that process which is great!

We’re all Trinity Laban alumni, and we will hopefully be back at the Laban Building for a week in April to rehearse. It’s nice to come back and to be using the facilities, bringing everything back full circle around ten years after I’ve graduated!

How are you finding working with technology?

I’ve found that technology can be incredibly expensive and it is a very cost heavy project because of the amount of people involved and the time needed to develop a digital piece. It’s very different from having say five weeks consecutively in the studio – this is a four month creation with weeks of dance time dotted around. People have given up a lot of their time because they’re so interested in the project, and they really want to develop something new.

We’re looking to develop a live stream, hoping to team up with a University that has an interactive digital arts subject and a dance subject. This can help us develop what that live stream could be and could possibly even be out on tour with us. An example of putting this to use could be that we’re at a venue and there’s schools that want to see the performance but might not be able to come – we can then do a live stream and that can go out to them and they can use their tablets that they’ve got in the classroom to interact with David.

What’s next for you?

We’ve got performances at the end of April at Redbridge Drama Centre and the University of Bedfordshire brought by Bedford Creative Arts. These are more showcase performances, and then for 2018 we’re looking at having another small development period to really refine the code and build out the live stream. There’s a lot of digital wrap around the performance, so before you come there’s a website you can go to and interact with David and then after the performance your data is made into a visual expression of you as an individual in the performance. We plan to be developing that in 2018 and then we’re looking at contacting venues for touring. And then we’ll see!

Also being a part of 2faced Dance Company’s THE BENCH programme last year has been so great and really helped to raise the profile of the project.

For more information visit the Pell Ensemble website.

Alice White

Graduate Intern – Press & PR

Taylor Benjamin | Company Chameleon

Taylor Benjamin was a member of Transitions Dance Company, graduating in 2008. Since then he has toured works with 2Faced Dance Company, Kompany Malakhi, Balletboyz and DV8 Physical Theatre. Taylor now dances for Company Chameleon, with whom he will be performing in double bill Witness at the Laban Theatre on 16 and 17 March 2017.

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Image: Company Chameleon

Company Chameleon were nominated for Best Independent Company at the National Dance Awards last year, how does it feel to be part of such a respected company?

I feel very proud to be part of Company Chameleon. I have been dancing with them now for nearly two years and, although they are getting bigger both nationally and internationally, there is such a humble, family type energy with everyone in the company – from the office staff to the dancers and artistic directors. I have been lucky enough to be involved with two works that, though obviously both have the Company Chameleon style, are so different to each other. Doing diverse work but being able to stay with the same company is a luxury you don’t always get.

Kevin Edward Turner, co-Artistic Director of Company Chameleon, has drawn from his own personal experience of Bipolar for the creation of Witness. How does it feel to be performing a work surrounding such real issues?

Working on Witness, a piece bringing awareness to mental health, has been both challenging and eye opening. Kevin’s story is personal so as a performer you want to be as loyal to his experience as you can while also connecting to it in your own way, so you can deliver something true. Although myself and a lot of the audience may not have experience with these issues, we have all at some point experienced the emotions and battles with ourselves that are shown in the piece. This helps you to empathise with the situation and hopefully makes the performance easier to connect to. It is so hard to talk about mental health, and what we don’t always realise is that we all have a mental health. I think anything that opens up conversations on this topic is a good thing and art is a great way to do it. I admire Kevin for tackling these issues.

What can audiences look forward to when coming to see the double bill?

Audiences can look forward to seeing two pieces that are totally different to each other and to go on a journey that will make you think, laugh, cry and hopefully more than anything – get you talking.

What were the most valuable things you learnt from your time as a member of Transitions Dance Company?

For me Transitions was pretty vital. I trained at a dance/musical theatre school prior to Trinity Laban so my actual knowledge of contemporary dance and the different techniques was limited. Transitions gave me the opportunity to learn new styles, perform nationally and internationally while still training, and improve my general dance and teaching skills.

How does it feel to be performing back at your alma mater?

I’m really excited to be back on the Laban stage. It’s great to perform in such a dedicated, respected dance house of England. And I like the pretty colours of the building inside and out!

Words Unspoken Trailer

For more information and to book tickets visit the Trinity Laban website.

Alice White

Graduate Intern – Press & PR

Concluding Trinity Laban at Resolution 2017

natalie-leadImage: Natalie Sloth Richter, Bedtime Stories by Lidia Crisafulli 

Resolution 2017 will conclude at the end of next week – and this week the rolling blog also comes to an end. There have been a huge number of Trinity Laban alumni and students contributing to the festival this year – well done to everyone involved!

You can continue to read reviews on The Place blog.

On Tuesday, 2015 graduates Zoe Bishop and Vikki Mead performed in Elisha Hamilton Dance’s piece RETALE. They shared the night with Natalie Sloth Richter, whose piece was danced by Olivia Edginton, Ingvild Marstein Olsen, Laura Ganotis and Victoria Rucinska – all 2015 graduates.

Natalie’s piece Bedtime Stories is built on recorded interviews from three generations of women. The choreography takes the audience on a journey of memories, drifting in and out of nostalgia and moving through bedtime rituals. On Wednesday Scatterlings took to the stage, a collective made up of Transitions alumni Leanne Oddy, Saara Hurme, Vanessa Michielon, Izzy Brittain and David Kam. Their piece All Over and Everywhere looks at issues surrounding nations, migration and belonging.

Next week you can see me dancing (and attempting to play the piano) with Watts Dance on 21 Feb alongside alumni Caitlin Murray, Zoe Moody and Robin Porter. The following day duo Zjana Muraro & Gianna Burright – both MFA Choreography students – perform their work Untitled 3 + x, and on Friday Maria Lothe & Co awaken our inner environmentalist with Can You Hear the Sound of The Flowers? Maria’s piece is danced by alumni Svenja Buhl, Victoria Rucinska and Fergus McIntosh.

This is Maria’s second year presenting work in Resolution, so I caught up with her to find out more about her experience:

“My experience of Resolution is that it is a safe and supportive platform to develop artistic ideas. As I am now sharing work for the second time I feel encouraged to take risks with my dance making and work on an interdisciplinary collaboration. It’s given me the opportunity to test and explore new ideas, acting as a base to continue the research and establish contact with venues & funding bodies. The first year I took part in Resolution provided me with skills related to administration and production. This has been particularly useful this year as I am working with a large group, collaborating with visual artists, musicians and performers.”

“As an evolution company (a company returning to Resolution), we get a certain amount of rehearsal space in kind – which has been very helpful. We were also lucky enough to receive the ‘K5 Res!idency’ by Joss Carter which provides us with free rehearsal space up until the performance. The Place also offers more financial security to evolution companies should they not sell enough tickets – but my sales seem to be going well!”

I asked Maria about how her time at Trinity Laban has influenced her as a dance artist:

“Studying at Trinity Laban supported my practice both as a maker, mover and thinker. It supported the development of my artistic ideas and interests both in practice and in communication. The thing stands out the most was my Independent Project in the final year, where I could indulge in choosing one specific area of research for a year. Having an amazing tutor – Marina Collard – to discuss my ideas with made me think further and helped me to realise my ideas. I am still working on the same research now: between movement and ceramics.”

Maria offered some final words of wisdom:

“The first few years after education can seem daunting with many different options and pathways to take. I find short and long-term goals very helpful in shaping the direction of the future you want to create. Things can take time – have patience and believe in your own individuality and uniqueness. If you get lost on the road (we all do at some point), there will always be people, known or unknown, who are up for helping you.”

It seems to be that Resolution has given many of us a platform to put the skills and creativity we gained as Trinity Laban students into practice, and the confidence to continue doing so. I will look forward to seeing students and alumni take the festival by storm again next year – as I’m sure they will do!

For more information on Resolution and to book tickets visit The Place website.

To find out more about Trinity Laban’s dance programmes visit our Study Pages.maria-lead

Image: Maria Lothe & Co. 

Alice White

Graduate Intern – Press & PR

Cecilia Watts at Resolution

Week 5

Catch up on last week’s reviews on The Place blog

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Image: Watts Dance

I caught up with Cecilia Watts, whose piece I will be dancing in next week with her company Watts Dance. The piece – WLA No.657005 – is inspired by the Women’s Land Army, which was made up of young women who worked as agricultural labourers during the Second World War. They took over the roles from the men who had been called up to fight, and their vital work as ‘Land Girls’ was at the forefront of the war effort, keeping the farms going and Britain fed. Cecilia commented:

‘I’ve always had an interest in the 1940’s era. My mum is a 1940’s re-enactor so I’ve grown up with a lot of knowledge and influence from that specific time period. At re-enactments I have dressed as a Land Girl before and I wanted to learn more about these women, so for my birthday my mum got me a book called ‘The Women’s Land Army’ by Vita Sackville-West. The WLA were often described as the unsung heroes of the Second World War and this was where the idea for a piece surrounding these women began to develop for me.

The piece has ended up as a narrative-based work, with a story that we built upon as we rehearsed and music composed specifically for the piece created alongside it. Our story revolves around a group of five women, and will show how the camaraderie of the group overcomes the sadness of war.’

The music for the piece has been composed by fellow Trinity Laban alumnus Robin Porter, who will be playing the music live on piano throughout the piece. Cecilia met Robin during her first year at TL and they continued to work together for her Independent Project in her final year.

Each section of music has been composed with a unique process – sometimes the movement material inspired the music or vice versa.

‘One of the best moments I experienced was when we were rehearsing a solo with Robin playing live for the first time. The solo was performed once, and when he had finished playing he turned to me and said that it was really lovely for him to see his piece of music come to life this way. This was wonderful to hear as I had felt exactly the same way. Watching the dancers and the music come together was like watching an idea of my own come to life.’

 

As I have found through my own experience and through discussing with fellow choreographers, Resolution teaches you so many valuable skills beyond creating a work. I asked Cecilia what she had learnt from the process:

‘There’s much more to the role of choreographer than getting into a studio and creating. I’d never truly appreciated before how much needed to be done to get a piece off the ground. As much as I enjoyed being back in the studio and creating again, there has been a lot going on outside of the studio. Admin, advertisement, costumes, lighting, music, scheduling rehearsals with dancers, musician, lighting designer – whilst working my job at the same time – and I’m sure the list goes on. It’s like the wheels in your mind never stop turning. Despite this I think what Resolution has really taught me is that the content of the work must be the most important thing, and all these other things, though important, are secondary to what you are creating.

I’ve learnt how much work is needed to be put in, the effort it takes to juggle everything, but also how to enjoy the process and not let it overwhelm you. The workshops that Resolution offered this year were a real factor in this – speaking with other artists involved in the process, we have all felt incredibly supported.’

I went on to ask Cecilia how her time here at Trinity Laban developed her practice as a dance artist:

‘My time at Trinity Laban was a huge turning point – I felt like a completely different person when I graduated compared to when I began.

I’d say the biggest developments I saw were shown in my confidence and understanding of dance. When I first started, I really had no idea what I wanted to do or if I was even good enough to work in the dance industry. That was the problem, I was always questioning if I was good enough, or if was going to fail, or if everyone around me were simply better. But at Trinity Laban, as well as teaching me everything you expect to learn from a dance institute, I think the most important thing I learnt is that when developing as a dance artist, even though having competitive energy around you isn’t a bad thing, you should never be focused on whether you ‘succeed’ or ‘fail’. You should focus on the journey. Instead of viewing fellow dance artists as competitors in a race where no one knew where the finish line was, I really started to view them as collaborators and people to confide in and support, which is something you really need when evolving as an artist.

As well as all this, Trinity Laban opened up my eyes to ways of performing and creating that were completely new to me. These new ideas opened up new doors of development, and suddenly the dance world, though bigger, seemed much less daunting, and much more exciting.’

What’s next for Watts Dance?

‘I could definitely see WLA No.657005 being extended and bringing back a lot of ideas we discarded during the rehearsal process. I’m already looking into possible locations for a tour of the work around September time, so I’d like to add one or two other pieces to our rep, as well as some possible new additions to the company. I know for sure that now I’ve been back in the studio creating again with this wonderful group of dancers, I won’t want to be stopping anytime soon.’

For more information and to book tickets visit The Place website.

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Image: Watts Dance

Alice White

Graduate Intern – Press & PR