7 reasons to Take the Lead…

Take the Lead is a 5-day summer course, perfect for aspiring performers of all abilities  who want to experience the training on offer at Trinity Laban’s esteemed Musical Theatre department. Here are our top 10 reasons to Take the Lead this summer:

1. “All that work and what did it get me…”

…it got our tutors to the West End stage! All Take the Lead tutors are Musical Theatre professionals with countless theatre credits to their names. They will guide you through a week of training, giving you tips and advice along the way.

2. “There’s a place for us, somewhere a place for us”

That place is Trinity Laban! Come and spend the week at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and experience what it’s like to study at one of the UK’s leading conservatoires. You’ll have access to our award-winning facilities and get a real taste of theatrical training at degree level.

3. “There’s no business like show business”

We couldn’t have a week of Musical Theatre without a trip to the West End, could we?! On one evening of the week, we’ll head to Garrick Theatre as a group to see everything you’ve learnt during the week put into practice on the professional stage in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein!

4. “We go together”

Take the Lead is a fantastic opportunity to meet and train with people who share the same interests as you. People of all ages come from all over the world to participate in the summer school, offering the perfect opportunity to make connections within the industry.

5. “You can wow ’em every time, all you have to do is shine”

Take the Lead will make a fantastic addition to any CV or further study application. As well as developing your skills, attending the summer school will demonstrate your passion and commitment to your musical theatre training.

6. “I wanna be like you”

Meet Trinity Laban’s successful alumni and ask them all of your questions about their journeys from Trinity Laban to the professional world of theatre!

7. “You are the Dancing Queen”

Due to high demand, Take the Lead now offers two levels of dance classes so you are sure to find a class to suit your skill level and experience.

Final places remaining! Find out more and book your place today at: trinitylaban.ac.uk/takethelead 

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

 

JK__0015

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. 

 

JK__0007

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 

 

 

 

 

Q&A with our 2017 Musical Theatre Directors

We caught up with Director of Urinetown Michael Howcroft (MH) & Director of Made in Dagenham Guy Unsworth (GU) ahead of this year’s musical theatre showcase at Stratford Circus.

mtblog

What are you most enjoying about working with the Trinity Laban students?
MH: I directed The Clockmaker’s Daughter last semester here at Trinity Laban and the great thing about both groups of students is that they are all unique. They have an individuality and a quirkiness which makes them great fun to work with. The students work really well together and have a fantastic sense of humour! The group that I’m working with on Urinetown are particularly talented – considering they’re at the end of their second year and still have another year of training. They’re an exciting bunch!
GU: It’s always great to work with final year students at the end of their training as they’re putting all their many skills into practice. This particular bunch each have their own character as a performer too, and this show is a chance for me to make the most of that. The musical itself is also a great showcase for everyone – there are great principal roles for some, and those with smaller parts are playing 3, 4 or 5 different characters. It’s a fantastic show to display their talent.

What can audiences expect from the works?
MH: Coming to see Urinetown, audiences can expect a funny, raucous, anarchic, political, thought provoking and fun evening at the theatre – with great tunes!
GU: Made in Dagenham is brilliantly entertaining with excellent music and we’ve got a full band from Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Music which is tremendously exciting. Although it dates back to 1968, it’s also an incredibly relevant story today – it’s heart-warming, real and important.

2

What are your favourite moments?
MH: I’ve got lots of favourite moments. The writing is very clever. It has a brilliant way of playing with our understanding of musical theatre tropes – the things we take for granted with the form. For example, the love duet in the middle of act one where the hero and heroine get together, we’re given just enough sentimentality and then it’s subverted by doing something silly. There are lots of moments like that, something familiar is set up and then, hilariously, it’s finished off in a ridiculous way. It’s like a Mel Brookes movie. Or Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer.
GU: There’s a brilliant scene in the Ford-Dagenham social club with everybody in. It’s been a tricky one to put together but it’s really good fun – there’s music, dancing and a quantity of good jokes.

Why should people come to watch the show?
MH: Urinetown will be performed the week after the general election. Politics in the west has become incredibly polarizing in recent years and there’s a similar, if exaggerated, situation in Urinetown. The piece speaks to 2017 with a sharp political relevance, especially now Donald Trump has pulled out of the Paris climate agreement and the Conservative Party in the UK seem ideologically driven to privatize everything. Urinetown is all about what happens when the world runs out of resources; there’s a massive drought that means there’s no longer any water and people have to pay a private company, run by a corrupt, Trump-like businessman, to go to the toilet. If the world does not stand up to Donald Trump and his cronies (just look at the nasty business practices of Nestle, or Ivanka Trump’s dreadful employment conditions in China, not to mention the countless scandals Donald Trump has paid his way out of), the reality of Urinetown might not be so far away. Also, it’s not produced very often so it’s an opportunity to see a rarely performed piece. Finally, we’ve relocated the work. Urinetown is normally set in America, but because this year is Hull City of Culture and in 2003 there was a book called The Idler Book of Crap Towns with Hull as ‘crappest’ – we’ve set Urinetown in… Hull!
GU: I love promoting student shows because the students are at a very exciting point in their career: they’re about to go out and do it for real. They are the undiscovered talents and in a year’s time they won’t be – they’ll be the discovered talents. This is a chance to see them before you have to pay hundreds of pounds for a ticket.

For more information and to book tickets visit our Events page.

Alice White

Graduate Intern – Press & PR

Performance Anxiety

performance-anxiety-blog-image

Stage fright, the heebie jeebies, a bad case of the willies. Call it what you will, but one thing is for sure, performance anxiety is the cruel mistress of many performing artists.

According to a recent survey conducted by Help Musicians UK, 75% of musicians said they had suffered from performance anxiety. Similarly, research from One Dance UK demonstrated that 92% of dancers had experienced psychological difficulty in the last 12 months, with over 30% experiencing performance anxiety. But what exactly is performance anxiety, why does it happen, and the big one we all want the answer to; how on earth do we get a grip of it?

Lets get down to the science-y bit. Psychologists seem to agree that anxiety manifests in two key ways; somatically and cognitively. Somatic symptoms are those we experience physically, such as sweating, racing hearts and needing the bathroom, causing us to feel agitated and uncomfortable. They’re all signs that our body is out of sync with its neutral state, signs of physiological arousal. These experiences are common in all pressurised situations, from test-taking, public speaking and sport, to the performing arts, dance and music. For some, symptoms occur long before performance, from early days in rehearsal. For others, symptoms hit us like a tonne of bricks, right out of the blue, when we’re standing in the wings.

Now here’s the interesting stuff. All of these symptoms have something else in common, something which differs vastly from anxiety. They’re all symptoms of excitement. Just like that feeling of waking up on your birthday, or falling in love, they are symptoms that are telling us that we are energised, ready for action, and prepared to experience something deeply rewarding, of great value.

But what about those cognitive symptoms, those we experience mentally such as worry, apprehension and nerves that ultimately can lead us to a mental block? There’s pretty solid evidence that performance anxiety occurs when an individual perceives an imbalance between the demands made, and their capacity to meet the demands. The key word here is perceived. What if we changed our perceptions of our symptoms, and our perceptions of performance? What if we changed up our mind-set and tried interpreting those symptoms as a sign of preparedness, and positive anticipation. Research we’ve carried out both here at Trinity Laban, and research by international colleagues, demonstrated that perceiving an upcoming performance as a challenge (a chance to thrive and demonstrate competency) rather than a threat (a chance to fail) lead to decreased anxiety experiences in both the days leading up to and very moments prior to performance.

Next time you have an assessment, performance or audition coming up, notice your immediate somatic response. Your interpretation is key. Is this related to a threat? Or actually, is this an optimal challenge? Is your mental investment really worry, or is thinking about an upcoming audition merely a sign that this is something of real value to you, an exciting experience? Learning to change mental habits is by no means an easy process, but a process it certainly is – which means time, patience and trial and error are key. Reframing your thoughts about your next performance may be the first steps towards managing your performance anxiety, and developing healthy techniques for looking after your psychological wellbeing is just as important as nurturing your dance or music technique.

 

Lucie Clements, PhD candidate Dance Science & Lecturer in Performance Psychology.

Post-Exercise Muscular Soreness

Feeling like you’ve gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson for a day or two after you’ve done a serious workout?

We all know the feeling- stairs? Not a chance.

But why do our muscles hurt so much when we’ve been working so hard?

Post-Exercise Soreness explained.

The DOMS

Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness: refers to the potential reaction our bodies have when we take up a new exercise plan, adapt an existing exercise plan or alter the intensity or duration of regular physical exertion. This may happen regardless of our fitness levels and although often unwelcomed, it can be the sign of a Physiologically Positive Reaction.

DOMS usually develops between 12-24 hours after the activity itself. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘that’ll hurt tomorrow’ but the truth is the greatest discomfort is often experienced between 24-72 hours post-exercise. Although DOMS can be associated with a positive reaction, is often a sign that you need to take a rest, this is useful feedback from your body.  If you are experiencing symptoms associated with DOMS, to include muscles soreness ‘tender to touch’ and reduced joint mobility, this may lead to instability if not well rested. Instability and weakness combined with muscle soreness and fatigue can lead to injury.

What’s happening?

There is some controversy surrounding the cause of DOMS, however most believe that DOMS is the repair process that develops as a response to the microscopic damage of our muscle fibres likely stemming from novel stresses that were experienced during the exercise.

A common misconception is that DOMS is due to lactic acid build up however it is generally believed that lactic acid is not involved in the DOMS process.

Activities which are thought to result in DOMS are ones which cause muscles to lengthen whilst a force is being applied, also known as an eccentric muscle action. There are three main actions; Concentric, Isometric and Eccentric- The notion of a concentric chest press evokes a much more stressful loading onto the muscles than let’s say a handstand where an Isometric action is seen. However eccentric movements such as the lowering phase in a bicep curl are considered structurally, to cause a higher stress level on muscle fibres than the aforementioned. Try and work your way gradually into a new exercise program to help reduce the severity of DOMS!

 There is a fine line between positive, and injury provoking muscular ‘pain’.

Every body is different and you must remember to listen to yours.

As performing artists we should not be working towards ‘pain’. We should only push our bodies to a certain level, and DOMS is a welcomed indication that we have pushed our bodies a little beyond their normal comfort zone. If you do experience pain during an exercise this could be an underlying factor of over intensified exercise or incorrect form, you should consult a medical practitioner if pain persists and exceeds regular DOMS symptoms.

It is important to remember eccentric movements are to be treated as one ingredient within a well-tailored exercise plan, combining concentric and isometric movement will make for a well-rounded workout. Mastering technique, control and stability within movements will lower the risk of injury and in turn DOMS.

Does Massage Help?

Massage is an extensive physiological tool that eases muscle and joint stiffness. The hands on approach of massage works towards reducing tension within the body, combined with passive movements that not only stretch the connective tissues around our joints, but lengthens muscles and tendons too.  Sports Massage may help prevent the onset of injury, work as a tool to rehabilitate and in turn may improve performance. With classes, rehearsals, shows and tours on the horizon pushing bodies to outside of their regular comfort zone, Dancers, Musicians and Musical Theatre performers may consider seeking treatment in order to gain immediate relief for muscle soreness. It can also be applied post-event to remove waste products/toxins, speed up recovery time and de-stress after a performance.

img_0094

Don’t forget TL Health offers Sports Massage where TL Students receive a brilliant discount!

http://www.trinitylaban.ac.uk/trinity-laban-health/health-treatments/sports-massage

Jess Coleman: Graduate Intern, Health.

Musical Theatre alumni Zoe Rogers and Jack McCann

Our graduates perform in musical theatre productions in the West End, in international and UK touring productions, on film and TV, as well as within the wider entertainment industry. Many successful musical theatre artists, musical directors and pit musicians received their first experiences of Musical Theatre at Trinity Laban. We caught up with 2016 graduates Zoe Rogers and Jack McCann.

Jack is currently performing as Billy Crocker in Anything Goes at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, for which he has been nominated for an Off West End Award for Best Male. Prior to this he achieved the lead role in Charles Miller and Glen Chandler’s new musical The Sins of Jack Saul, for which he received a BroadwayWorldUK nomination for Best Actor in a New Production of a Musical. He has previously performed as Val LaMar in a revival of the classical musical comedy Babes in Arms and as Dead Duck in The Homosexual Necrophilliac Duck Opera at the Natural History Museum.

jack-mccann

Image: Jack McCann

Zoe has been cast as a member of the ensemble in 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Zoe has wanted to be in musical theatre ever since she can remember, getting involved in local performance opportunities from a young age. Zoe was overwhelmed to gain her role in 42nd Street, telling us: ‘I couldn’t believe it at first, but when it finally sunk in I just cried. I couldn’t stop the tears from coming!’

zoe-rogers

Image: Zoe Rogers (William Rye Photography)

The Musical Theatre course includes carefully crafted performance opportunities which allow students to experience a diverse range of musical theatre performance settings. The experiences are modelled on real-life performance contexts, enabling students to apply and adapt their developing skills to meet the needs of a range of repertoire.

Both Zoe and Jack found their performance opportunities at Trinity Laban to be cherished memories. The final performance is a poignant moment for our Musical Theatre students as they come together one last time before making the transition into the working world. Jack felt he was ‘ready to take on the world’ and Zoe commented on how fortunate she was to have been given the opportunity to take on a leading role. Jack added:

‘I think Trinity Laban prepared me remarkably well for the industry. I had a very holistic training, not only gaining skills in singing, acting, and dancing, but I also learnt how to carry myself as a business person. It was great to perfect the practical elements whilst also gaining additional skills.’

Our musical theatre teachers are leading industry professionals, who coach and support students to prepare them for success in a highly competitive field. Zoe spoke of her gratitude towards her teachers, ‘not only are they incredibly established, they are willing to go above and beyond for all their students. Their dedication never wavers.’ Jack found that it was the pastoral support that really had an impact on him and helped him to grow on a personal level. He appreciated the focus on wellbeing as well as professional development, telling us:

‘The teaching staff were outstanding and I’ve continued my relationship with them. They were always willing to challenge me when I couldn’t challenge myself – when I couldn’t see my long term goal they helped me to grasp it again. They always had my best interest at heart. I made some very special relationships.’

Zoe and Jack are beginning to build prosperous careers in the musical theatre industry, and are both examples of Trinity Laban’s growing reputation for its Musical Theatre performance training. We distinguish ourselves by equipping creative practitioners with a wide range of skills applicable to a diverse range of musical theatre. We produce highly employable graduates who are thoroughly prepared for this competitive and increasingly popular branch of the British music industry.

Nutrition for Musical Theatre Students

The majority of the musical theatre students at Trinity Laban are involved in 25-30 hours of practical sessions per week. On top of this, students will be participating in extra rehearsals, supplementary training, theory sessions and written work and spending additional time learning lines and working on several voice techniques. All of this will put their bodies under an amount of stress, meaning their nutritional intake is vital to ensuring they are healthy enough to keep up with a busy schedule! It is important for musical theatre students whom wish to have a long and successful career to treat their bodies as if they were instruments and understanding how to achieve a sustainable, healthy and balanced lifestyle is vital to ensuring the body can perform optimally.

musical theatre pic 3

jk-photography

Our diets are made up of micronutrients and macronutrients. We need to have all of these nutrients in our diets to help maintain a stable and balanced diet:

Micronutrients

Micronutrients are needed by the body in small amounts and are vital to help the body to function correctly. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals and can be found naturally in fruits and vegetables. The best way to get all the vitamins and minerals you need is to try to make your meal as colourful as possible with your fruits and veg – eat the rainbow!

Macronutrients

Macronutrients make up the majority of the food that what we eat. Macronutrients are fats, carbohydrates and protein.

  • Fats: Healthy fats are needed to fuel the body and assist hormonal balances. You can find healthy fats in nuts, dairy products and certain meats.
  • Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are needed for energy and fuel the body. You can find them in starches which are found in foods containing grains, pasta, rice and potatoes.
  • Protein: Protein is needed to help repair and build muscle. You can find it in meat, fish, eggs and quorn. When it comes to meat: the less legs, means more protein i.e. chicken or turkey has more protein than beef.

It is vital to ensure your daily intake of micro and macronutrients is suitable to the activity level of that day. If you are using more calories than you consume your body will experience an energy deficit which can lead to poor performance, illness and injury. The amount of calories an individual should have per day is dependent on height, weight, activity schedule and their gender. It will also change depending on their goals… if the aim is to gain weight or muscle an individual will require a diet that allows a higher intake of calories; in comparison, if the goal is to lower body fat percentage or lose weight less calories will be consumed. In any of these cases the caloric intake will still be based on the individual’s genetics and amount of activity performed.

JK__0110

jk-photography

As performers who sing, dance and act, illness and injury can hinder a musical theatre student’s development and could potentially lose them a professional contract. It is vital to get enough sleep; muscles repair and process any information whilst we are asleep. It is recommended to get around eight hours sleep per night. When the immune systems begins to shut down, increasing the chances of illness and the body starts to feel run down, sufficient rest, adequate hydration and an increased intake of fruits and vegetables can help boost the immune system due to the consumption of extra vitamins and minerals.

The tables below shows a variety of scenarios and the recommended nutrition information to achieve optimal performance.

table1.1

Performer 1 has a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 21, and is considered to be of a healthy stature. Using a calorie calculator (the formula for this can be found at the bottom of this post), it can be suggested that this performer should consume around 2000 calories to maintain this weight and should aim for 2500 calories to gain 0.5kg per week. This performer wished to increase muscle and not fat and so her intake of protein would need to be greater than the intake of fat. As she is quite active, she would also need to have a significant amount of carbohydrate. The general percentage of carbohydrate, protein, and fat for a performer who is aiming to build muscle is 40%, 40%, and 20% respectively.

Remember this differs for each individual so the ratio of each macronutrient may change to suit different bodies.

table2

Performer 2 has a BMI of 24; he is considered to have a healthy weight but is close to being classes as overweight. The calorie calculator suggests that this performer should consume around 2900 calories to remain at the same weight. This performer is very active and so would need a high intake of carbohydrates for energy and protein for muscle repair with healthy fats to fuel the body. It is recommended for this performer’s macronutrients to break down as 40% carbohydrates, 35% Protein, 25% fats.

Remember this differs for each individual so the ratio of each macronutrient may change to suit different bodies.

table3

Performer 3 has a BMI of 29 and is considered to be overweight. Using the calorie calculator suggests this performer should be consuming around 1980 calories per day to lose 0.5kg per week. This performer is physically active but is in the low-moderate range and aims to lower their percentage of body fat. The breakdown of their macronutrients would be 30% protein, 50% carbohydrates and 20% fats.

Remember this differs for each individual so the ratio of each macronutrient may change to suit different bodies.

The calorie calculator calculates the Basal Metabolic Rate – the formula for this is:

BMR = 10 * weight(kg) + 6.25 * height(cm) – 5 * age(y) + 5         (man)
BMR = 10 * weight(kg) + 6.25 * height(cm) – 5 * age(y) – 161     (woman)

The breakdown of each of these circumstances are based on the individual’s height, weight, age, gender, activity level and goal. However, we do not know the true intensity of physical activity which may affect the individual’s caloric intake. Each person’s metabolism and body type may also have some affect, therefore it is vital to ensure there is a full understanding of the needs and desires of each individual before implementing a chance in diet. For more information please speak to a registered physician or nutritionist.

References and additional information

http://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html?ctype=metric&cage=22&csex=f&cheightfeet=5&cheightinch=10&cpound=160&cheightmeter=168&ckg=82&cactivity=1.55&printit=0&x=87&y=16

http://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Healthyweightcalculator.aspx

Tarnopolsky, M. A. (2008). Building muscle: nutrition to maximize bulk and strength adaptations to resistance exercise training. European journal of sport science, 8(2), 67-76.

Dixon, M. (2001). Eating… and dancing-Nutritional advice for dancers from Jasmine Challis. BALLETT INTERNATIONAL-TANZ AKTUELL, (5), 72-73.

Montoye, H. J. (2015). Energy costs of exercise and sport. Nutrition in sport, 53.

Kenney, W. L., Wilmore, J., & Costill, D. (2015). Physiology of Sport and Exercise 6th Edition. Human kinetics.

Jessica Hobson: Graduate Intern, Dance Science