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

 

Work Placement Reflections: Dance Science & Health

For the past week, I have been able to work closely with both the dance science and dance health departments at Trinity Laban. I gained many valuable insights into the research that is undertaken, the MSc programme and the many roles and responsibilities of all the wonderful staff.

I have just finished my second year studying BA (Hons) Dance Studies at the University of Roehampton where I have modules in dance science and I am also an ambassador for One Dance UK, therefore I have close links with NIDMS. Although my course does not have a compulsory placement, I applied to do a placement at Trinity Laban by choice to develop my knowledge and learn more about career paths and programmes. The MSc at Trinity Laban was the first MSc in Dance Science available, therefore its reputable status and outstanding facilities and staff enticed me to come and undertake a placement. Whilst it was a non-standard teaching week, and the current MSc students were hard at work on their ‘Whole Dancer Study’, I was kept very busy and engaged with a variety of tasks and responsibilities.

Personally, an area that I wanted to expand my knowledge on was the equipment and processes used to tackle research and collect data. Before the week, I only had a basic understanding of what some of the equipment was without ever visually or kinaesthetically working with it. I spent the week working closely with the lab technician Scott Sinclair, who taught me valuable lab skills and how the skills can be applied to research. Whilst at first glance the reality of remembering the theory and application behind the equipment was slightly daunting, I instantly got hands on with it all and got a real taster of what researching using the equipment entails. The most exciting aspect of it all was being able to observe a POP screening on two lovely young dancers (aged 11 and 12). It was a chance for me to see all the tests including; VO2 Max, Beighton/Brighton and Bioelectrical Impedance in action. I was fascinated to see the screening being performed by two minors and it sparked many questions throughout the day and from the results about the screening being undertaken by physically developing children. Working within the lab and also being able to observe student self-practice sessions, I was able to enhance my understanding within the area of physiology which I previously hadn’t had much exposure to. Throughout my placement, lots of questions and research ideas have been generated which I will hold on to potentially for the future.

In the dance health side of Trinity Laban lead by Rachael Emms, I was able to learn about the health clinic and the wide scope of therapies available. I was given a taster of what some of the therapies are including; craniosacral, acupressure and acupuncture are and the benefits they have for dancers. I was given a taster of some of the therapies that Trinity Laban offer through a marketing photoshoot that happened for promoting the services. This also included being involved in the screening photoshoot in the lab myself.

One of the most valuable parts that I will take away from the week is the new connections I have been able to build with the wonderful and inspiring staff. Alongside working with and talking to Scott and Rachel, I spent a lot of the week with the three current Graduate Interns; this included Dance Science MSc graduate and Health Graduate Intern Rebecca Appleton, Dance Science MSc Graduate and Dance Science Graduate Intern Anna May Williams and MFA candidate and Dance Science Graduate Intern Elizabeth Yutzey. All three spoke enthusiastically about their time on the course and it was interesting to hear about their varied thesis’ from hypermobility to creativity, as well as their current roles at Trinity Laban. I was able to have conversations with the Head of Dance Science Professor Emma Redding and the Dance Science Programme leader Dr Liliana Araújo. Emma and Liliana inspired me greatly both in their achievements in research and their on-going success in academia. It was extremely beneficial to be able to talk to them in detail about the MSc in Dance Science and rewarding to have conversations with them about my growing areas of interest.

Overall, my week at Trinity Laban has been a gratifying opportunity. Everyone I had the privilege to meet were very welcoming and it was lovely to feel like part of the team. My passion for Dance Science after this week has matured and grown and I am eager to learn more and have a career in the dance science industry.

Thank you everyone and I hope to see you all again soon!

Beth

Transitions 2018: Q&A with company member Paola Drera

Ahead of Transitions’ 2018 international tour, we caught up with dance artist Paola Drera.

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How does it feel to be dancing with Transitions as it celebrates its 35th year of touring?

It’s an honour to be part of Transitions. Not many dancers in Europe have the chance to experience an MA in dance performance and I feel privileged to be a trannie in such an important moment for the company.

What can audiences expect from the Triple Bill?

The audience should expect emotions, physicality and visual effects.

What is your favourite piece to perform and why?

I don’t have a favourite piece. I love how all of three challenge me in a different way.

In Jarkko Partenen’s Lovers your vision is reduced/restricted as a condition of the work. What’s that like to perform?

Touching and hearing become essential. You start to look through your palms. You realise people are close to you because of their breathing, the sound of their feet and the movement of their costume. It is fascinating how other senses counteract the lack of vision.

What are you most looking forward to ahead of the tour?

I look forward to performing with my fellow dancers. They have become my new family here in London and we can’t wait to show what we have discovered in this past 13 weeks of the creative process.

 

By Robyn Donnelly (Press & PR)

 

Transitions 2018 Tour | 19 February – 24 May

For full tour details and to find out more about Transitions Dance Company, visit www.trinitylaban.ac.uk/transitionsdc

To find out more about studying dance at Trinity Laban, visit our pages.

 

Walk This Way

Transitions Dance Company is out on the road performing a triple bill of new works, including Award-winning Israeli choreographer Hagit Yakira’s The Ar/ct of Moving Forward.

The simple yet energetic piece is inspired by London’s ‘unspoken rule’ of constant forward motion, and sees the dancers embark on a nonstop journey of walking.

That got us thinking about other famous dance moves inspired by the walk…

9. Powering into the line up is The Strut, embodied by Queen Bey

Look at the catwalk action and hairography!

 

8. Elegantly gliding into 8th is ballet’s ‘Classical Walk’

Noble and graceful, it’s how ballet dancers move on stage when not doing a jeté or pirouetting.

 

7. Flashing back to the seventies at 7 is the Stayin’ Alive Swagger

Well you can tell by the way they walk that Beyoncé was not the first to werk it…

 

6. “Any time you’re Lambeth way, Any evening, any day, You’ll find us all Doing the Lambeth Walk.”

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This Cockney dance craze was first made popular in 1937 by Lupino Lan, and even featured in the musical Me and My Girl.

 

5. Stick on your cowboy boots and get walking to some country music

Look at Alan and Sonia giving their best grapevine as part of the ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ Line Dance!

 

4. Taking it to another level is Trisha Brown’s Walking on the Wall (1971)

Re-created at the Barbican in 2012, the dancers spurn gravity to walk on the walls of the performance space!

 

3. Hitting the gym has never been so fun…

Check out the full video of ‘Here It Goes Again’ to be amazed by more treadmill choreography from Ok Go.

 

2. John Sergeant’s infamous Paso Doble ‘Stomp’

Known to Strictly Come Dancing fans everywhere…the drag and walk! Not necessarily a traditional latin move but memorable nonetheless.

 

1. And top of our list….the iconic Moonwalk courtesy of Michael Jackson

Nailing it.

 

If our countdown has whetted your appetite for some more walk-dancing, then book your ticket for Transitions Dance Company Tour 2018 to see Hagit Yakira’s The Ar/ct of Moving Forward alongside two more brilliant new works.

 

And now, in the words of RuPaul, it’s time for us to….

Transitions: Q&A with company member Orion Hart

Ahead of Transitions’ 2018 international tour, we caught up with dance artist Orion Hart.

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Image: Orion Hart (Credit: Chris Nash)

How does it feel to be dancing with Transitions as it celebrates its 35th year of touring?

It feels quite amazing to be part of something that has such an extensive history and has produced so many fantastic dance artists. I consider myself very privileged to have been given this opportunity and so far it has been an incredibly enriching experience.

What can audiences expect from the Triple Bill?

The line-up of the pieces in our Triple Bill is definitely very diverse, ranging from the simple beauty of human experience, through to the raw physicality of animal instinct, and even going as far as the downright whacky and absurd. I think that there is something for everyone in there.

What is your favourite piece to perform and why?

I would say that I have the most fun performing the piece choreographed by Jarkko Partanen. We perform the entire work unable to see which makes it both exciting and scary and it’s never the same twice.

What are you most looking forward to ahead of the tour?

I’m really looking forward to how the pieces will develop and shift once we begin to perform them in front of live audiences. It’s my opinion that you can only rehearse something so much and that once you put it in front of an audience is when it really begins to take on a new life.

Transitions will be running a workshop at Rubicon, ahead of your performance at Dance House, Cardiff. What will it be like to return to where you trained?

Rubicon Dance was where I first really began to find my feet as a contemporary dancer and I owe the teachers there so much. It will be great to be able to return to share with the teachers and students some of what I’ve experienced since I left.

 

By Robyn Donnelly (Press & PR)

 

Transitions 2018 Tour | 19 February – 24 May

For full tour details and to find out more about Transitions Dance Company, visit www.trinitylaban.ac.uk/transitionsdc

To find out more about studying dance at Trinity Laban, visit our pages.

 

Transitions 2018: Q&A with choreographer Hagit Yakira

Ahead of Transitions’ 2018 international tour, we caught up with award-winning Israeli choreographer, Hagit Yakira, who worked with the company on brand new piece ‘The Ar/ct of Moving Forward’. 

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What have you most enjoyed about working with the Transitions dancers?

The energy, lack of pretentiousness, curiosity, commitment, team work. The company dancers were there for the research – and this is truly magical – especially for the way that I work.

The 2018 company is truly international – do you think this has had an impact on the style of the company and/or the way you worked with them?

It does have an impact, of course! This diversity of people, cultures and educations adds acceptance, dialogues, flexibility. It locates oneself in a broader context and I think it encourages humility, which I find truly important.

In brief, how would you sum up your piece?

It’s about the act of moving forward – literally and poetically.

What was your inspiration behind the work?

My main inspiration was London and the fact that I feel there is an unspoken rule here which is the necessity to move forward. Any hesitation, suspension, pausing is an interference for London’s practicality. London is of course is prototype for something broader – I didn’t want the piece to convey this in a direct or literal way. I wanted to find a poetic, physical and metaphorical way to work with the idea of moving forward, with traveling, with time and with the dancers. I wanted them to be seen as individuals – 14 individuals who form a group.

You utilise improvisation in the piece the work. How have the dancers reacted to this and what do you hope the end result will be?

It wasn’t easy. The way I work with improvisation is very specific, it’s extremely physical and requires the dancers to be fully engaged and all the time. It is a constant battle for the body and the mind but in a good way. It is a constant challenge, but a good and rewarding one. One of the dancers mentioned it was as if he was reborn through the process.

The result of that is an autonomy the dancers will experience every time they will perform on stage. The piece will keep evolving – the details, the precessions, the listening to one another – and much more will become better and better, and this will allow the dancers an amazing sense of progression and self-reflection.

Transitions was the very first student touring company and recently celebrated 35 years. Do you think it has had an impact/what impact do you think it has had on the dance landscape?

I believe that the importance of Transitions Dance Company is that it still exists, still vibrant and alive. It is also a platform in which very talented dancers could and can emerge from; they come out from this year very knowledgeable. It helps them be very well prepared for the professional world – in terms of physicality but also in terms of work ethics and maturity.

You were the very first choreographer to work with the 2017/18 company. What was it like to work with such a fresh company?

It was great! The dancers were open, curious, committed and were fully there, body and mind, every day. They were so receptive of me and my work and the research I had offered them. They were totally in it, with it. It was truly inspiring. There was a real sense of growth in this short (very short) process, individually and as a group.

 

By Robyn Donnelly (Press & PR)

 

Transitions 2018 Tour | 19 February – 24 May

For full tour details and to find out more about Transitions Dance Company, visit www.trinitylaban.ac.uk/transitionsdc

To find out more about studying dance at Trinity Laban, visit our pages.