The Dance: A Poem by Noah Lennon, 11

boys only classes

What’s it like to be a part of Trinity Laban’s Youth Dance Programme? Noah Lennon, aged 11, attends Accelerate, a series of fun and dynamic classes for young male dancers exploring contemporary dance. He has written this fantastic poem summarising his experience of performing.

The Dance
by Noah Lennon

My heart, racing like a drum
The teacher signals us to come
My body feeling numb…
I hear the crowd murmur and cough
I take a deep breath in
For the show is about to begin…

The smell of anticipation fills the air
As we all gather & begin to stare
Into the dark, the pitch-black stage
We walk on, then arrange

Slowly, the lights fade up
I begin to see the faces of the crowd
eagerly waiting for us to start…

A second passes, I hear the beat
Then BAM! we’re up, we’re on our feet!
The music breaks I know my cue,
In fact, we all know what to do

Here it goes, my body away,
My hands, my legs are led astray
Another twist, another turn,
All these moves I’ve come to learn

The world of dance – a funny place
The music pounding like it’s a race
Tired and weak I carry on,
After all who am I hiding from

The show begins to end
Our last lean, our last bend
Just one last push and we’re done
But I really can’t describe this fun

Gradually the music comes to a close
The crowd clap all the rows
I’m collapsing to the floor
Oh how I wish we could’ve done more
But I’ll never forget the flow
Of our fun, amazing show.

Co Motion Inclusive Youth Dance Platform – An outstanding evening of creative work

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Co Motion – Inclusive Youth Dance Platform is a biannual event, which started in 2009. It is a fantastic opportunity for mixed ability dance groups, including those with learning and physical disabilities, to perform on the Laban Theatre stage. Continue reading

Street Dance, by a ‘non-dancer’

Street Dance, by a 'non-dancer'
If you have ever read my blog or seen my posts on Twitter or Instagram, you will know that I am a huge fan of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and their Faculty of Dance at the Laban Building in Creekside, Deptford. This is where I take my daughter to contemporary kids’ classes on a Saturday. The waiting list for kids’ classes is over 2 years long, so you can tell that the teaching is highly regarded, even from the youngest of ages. This year Trinity Laban is top of the Guardian’s University league table for drama and dance for the fourth year running. Importantly for me, as a place to hang out during my daughter’s class, it is nothing but a pleasure.
Continue reading

Seasonal sharings at the Laban Building

Well, it’s nearly the holidays and the first term of my internship is almost up. The term may be winding down, but the Laban Building is lively as we celebrate the work of many of our programmes through sharings.

IMG_1081 Nick K Dec 2014 blog 3 IMG_1082 Nick K Dec 2014 blog 1

Festive decorations have now spruced up the L&P Dance office

Kicking us off in Learning and Participation (Dance) we had a mini-sharing with our Retired Not Tired Dance for Health group followed by a scrumptious Christmas dinner cooked by the wonderful café staff at the Laban Building. The Dance for Health group is comprised of 25 people over the age of 60, who are keen to keep moving. They are led by the fantastic L&P Dance practitioner, Stella Howard.

This term, I have had the opportunity to work with this vibrant group, teaching them some fundamental basics of contact improvisation. This form of movement was pioneered by the great Steve Paxton in the 1970s, looking at how bodies can move with each other. It has been very exciting to see the group’s new sense of kinaesthetic empathy. This is a topic of research that Trinity Laban research fellow, Dr Kate Wakeling is delving into, by looking at our Dance for Health group specifically and discovering how people develop a sense of relationship and affinity for each other through the arts. The use of contact improvisation and somatic practice is also something that I hope to begin to research during my time at Trinity Laban, through my own creative and teaching practice.

In our final session, we brought some of these skills together as the group performed Barmy on the Crumpet, a work choreographed by Stella and the group, which was first performed last summer as part of Trinity Laban’s eclectic weekend of music and dance in partnership with, and taking place at the Horniman Museum, called Horniman’s Curious Tea Party. You can see what happened during this fantastic weekend by watching the video. Since then, Barmy on the Crumpet has been performed on Sunday 30 November at the Brighton Dome Studio Theatre as part of their Winter Festival – a platform of dance works showcasing a collection of pieces with older people. Here, Dance for Health performed alongside the likes of Sadler’s Wells based Company of Elders and Three Score Dance Company, both of which have established worldwide interest and opportunity in dance for older people.

At the end of our mini-sharing, I showed them a film that I produced using choreography that they had composed before half term. The new perspectives provided by the film left them all overjoyed! It was a lovely end to the autumn term.

Next week we are looking forward to sharings across our Youth Programmes and Adult Short Courses, set to make for a cheerful end to all that has been achieved in such a short space of time.

I wish you all a happy holiday and New Year, and please stop by my personal blog to catch some reviews of work that I hope to see over the Christmas period, including DV8’s new piece: John.

Nick Kyprianou

Graduate Intern for Learning and Participation (Dance)

@nickyprianou

Addressing the Dynamic: examining relationships between freelance artists and project managers

Post written by Annie Sheen (Projects manager Learning and Participation- Music Faculty)

As 2013 drew to a close, we,  Trinity Laban’s Learning and Participation team (L&P for short), were busy preparing for our next year of projects, classes and professional development training.

If you’ve not heard of us yet, we exist to develop access to higher education and offer our local communities the opportunity to work with high quality music and dance artists on a range of projects and programmes. Our team is made up of project managers and coordinators who have responsibility for developing and managing the diverse programme on offer.

As one of these project managers, I regularly work with a range of talented and inspiring freelance music and dance artists. I’m privileged to be able to work with such a diverse and varied mix of creative people, all of whom share  our belief that music and dance can, and should, be available for everyone to enjoy.

Managing professional relationships with freelance artists is an important part of my role and one that is often integral to the success of a project. Like all relationships, mutual trust, respect and empathy on both sides need to exist. However, the development of our work can often be fast paced and time-constrained and I don’t always have the time to develop as close a relationship with artists as I’d like. When we’re all so busy, regular communication is often a huge challenge.

Over the past three months Trinity Laban’s L&P team has played host to an exciting enquiry-based research project called Addressing the dynamic. Funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation through their initiative ArtWorks, the research brought together a range of freelance artists and project managers from across London. As a collective, the participants represent a range of art forms and types of organisations (from Chisenhale Gallery to The Globe Theatre).

The purpose of the research was to uncover why a good working relationship between freelance artists and project managers working in arts and participatory settings is so important. It identified when and why relationships can break down and what project managers can do to better support freelance artists in participatory delivery.

As the lead project manager for the research, the findings certainly struck a chord with the importance I place on nurturing my professional relationships, not only with freelance artists but with my other colleagues too. The research uncovered what it means to develop a great working relationship with others and helped all the participants involved to understand each other’s perspectives better. For example, it’s difficult for artists to ask for support from their employers without feeling it’s compromising their artistic integrity, and project managers are often the broker, having to deal with different expectations and political pressures.

Most importantly the research identified the importance of facilitating creative and honest conversations in which egos are left at home and two-way feedback is welcomed to allow discussions about quality and core values to safely take place.

It seems obvious doesn’t it, but we all know it’s harder than it sounds, especially in the world of the arts where artistic outcomes are often open ended and we all have different ideas on what we mean by quality.

Link to research document: Addressing the dynamic

Investigating Cultural Diversity

investigating cultural diversity

What can we learn from other cultural understandings of the body, movement and dance? Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance has been asking this in a variety of ways and now Louisa Pestell, a Projects Manager for Learning and Participation (Dance), has been awarded a Lisa Ullman Travelling Scholarship to travel to East Africa this summer and work with three established dance organisations to promote knowledge exchange.  Laura Mercer (Administrative Assistant, Learning and Participation (Dance)) will be travelling with Louisa and both will visit Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, where they will be hosted by key dance organisations including Guerrilla Arts (Uganda) Dance Forum Nairobi (Kenya) and Wesley Ruzibiza in Rwanda in connection with Amizero Dance Kompagnie and the National University of Rwanda.

The visit aims to exchange knowledge of the dance sector in East Africa with a view to developing further collaboration with key contacts in the future.  A particular focus on community and education work will be made because of Louisa’s particular area of interest and expertise in it. It also aims to research the ecology of dance in the East African geographical area in order to establish methods of working across a cultural divide in a mutually beneficial, ethical and productive way.

Key activities include:

  • Observation of grassroots engagement and  young dancers’ development and training support provided by partner organisations so as to identify areas with potential for future project collaboration.
  • Exploration of who the partner organsiations work with, how they find dancers from a young age and then how they train them and offer continuing professional development.
  • Research the potential of future cultural exchange projects and how they may (or may not) be of benefit to the key contact organisations and the British partners they work with.

Louisa and Laura’s visit to numerous dance organisations across Eastern Africa will provide an opportunity to profile the work of Learning and Participation (Dance) at Trinity Laban on an international platform.  Additionally, Louisa’s research project will offer her an opportunity to widen her knowledge and perspective of diverse activity in the international community dance sector, directly impacting on her role in Learning and Participation (Dance) and informing Trinity Laban’s understanding of cultural diversity within the Dance subject area. We will follow up with Louisa when she returns in the new Academic Year.

Louisa, who has a research interest in the manifestation of cultural identity in dance and contemporary and creative dance in education and community settings, is also artistic director of Arts Odyssey, a London Based Community Arts Organisation that ‘celebrates Unity through Diversity’.

To find out more about our Learning and Participation departments, visit our web pages here.

Further Information about the Lisa Ullman Travelling Scholarship Fund may be found here.