A new research project that aims to analyse the mental processes used by dancers while they are performing has been launched in order to develop a better understanding of creative techniques. The three-year project, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, is being led by Plymouth University and will work in collaboration with Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London and Coventry University.
The project will assess contemporary dance students throughout their training, examining how creative decisions are made and attempting to speed up the process by which dancers can recognise if an idea is “new and useful” for them. Often dancers think they are moving intuitively or spontaneously, without being aware of the hard, mental work that goes into being creative. Ultimately here is a lot of memory involved in movement of this kind, using existing inspirations rather than innovating. It is difficult to see if such a subjective process can be uniformed in such a way at this early stage.
The first stage of the project, which began in November, will observe dancers over a period of a year and a half to understand the mental process that goes into movement. A second stage of the research project will take another set of trainee dancers, over the same amount of time, and provide them with workshops to see if that particular training will affect their experience of “making movement”.
Part of the analysis comes from asking dancers to write down what is at the forefront of their minds at various points during a movement session. This is in order to develop a more strategic use of mental imagery for teachers and dancers: if they are more conscious of how they use imagery in their teaching or how they learn, this could dramatically affect dance teaching across the country.
The Greenwich Dance & Trinity Laban Partnership is looking for UK based dance artists and companies to create three new pieces of work for presentation at both Greenwich Dance and the Laban Theatre during July 2013-April 2014, falling under the umbrella “Compass Commissions” for newly conceived work.
The trio of commissions offered are listed as the following:
- One outdoor/site-sensitive work
A work conceived to be performed at a specific site or (preferably) be adaptable to perform in any number of non-traditional performance spaces.
A work conceived for performance in a conventional theatre setting which will stand alone as a full performance event, with potential to tour to a range of dance/performance venues, nationally and internationally.
- One work for a family audience
A work which will stand alone as a full performance event, with potential to tour to a range of dance/performance venues, both nationally and internationally. The work may be conceived for performance in conventional theatre venues but other modes of presentation will be considered.
Each commission will receive support in the form of a minimum of one performance opportunity, rehearsal facilities for maximum of six weeks, production time, technical support, sharing opportunities mid-process and admin support or desk space if required. Artists may or may not have a previous relationship with either organisation involved
This dynamic partnership has been created by Greenwich Dance & Trinity Laban to provide ground-breaking dance performance, bespoke support for dance artists and an all-embracing programme of community and education work across South East London. As a result, new choreographic and creative work may have the chance to be conceived.
The Royal Academy of Dance, in partnership with Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, present the “Boys Only!” workshop on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th December, for boys and young men between the ages of 8 and 18. Boys Only! provides the opportunity to demonstrate potential and to dance with and learn from male peers through quality teaching and insights into the dance profession.
This high energy two-day workshop will give male students across London the opportunity to combine classic ballet training, with energetic creative and contemporary workshops and stylish Street Dance, donning their dancewear and engaging in inspiring dance training, a unique way to discover and develop new talents dancing alongside and learning from leading dance artists. Philip Page, who currently teaches at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, will be leading the ballet class, Anton Streeks, who teaches on the Step into Dance programme, will lead the Street Dance class and Ross Carpenter, a Dance Practitioner at Trinity Laban, will lead the creative and contemporary class.
Boys Only! began in 2005 when the RAD raised £50,000 at a Billy Elliot -The Musical gala and launched the programme with the aim of widening participation in dance through open access events, specifically targeting young men with little or no dance experience, let alone a range of ballet shoes or practice uniforms. It is now a national programme working in collaboration with many regional partners, delivering ballet from fresh perspectives in conjunction with other dance styles.
Boys Only! courses are subsidised by the Boys Only! Fund which was established to provide opportunities for male students to access dance.
Following the Accidental Festival on June 1st at the Camden Roundhouse, it is clear from this one event in the dance events of 2012 that the future of the sector looks extremely bright, from leotards to pointe shoes, from leg warmers to jazz sneakers. The evening was named Dance 1:1 (dance 1st on the 1st), and marked a significant event for the Accidental Festival, produced by students from the Central School of Speech and Drama. Dance had never been included in the festival’s programme before 2012, and the night was a resounding success. Dance 1:1 presented works by 5 emerging and upcoming London-based choreographers of yet unknown dance companies, providing a solid platform for these aspiring artists to launch their exciting careers.
Particularly standing out were the companies Charlie Dixon Dance Company and Emco Dance. CDDC presented animalistic view of the power and skill of dancers, and those particularly cast by Dixon. The intensity of the company was constantly present in their performance and interactions with each other, embodying an extremely energetic and intricate style of strength and endurance. Formed in 2011, CDDC are a company constantly reaching for new audiences to share their creative insights, performing at many platforms in England and Wales. Dixon’s artistic direction places emphasis on highly technical and explosive bodily movement, set to carry the company on a long and successful journey on from the Accidental Festival. Whilst the movement was aesthetically pleasing, it remained innovative and varying, rather than resorting to familiar movement phrases or even current trends of contemporary dance today which are seen so regularly.
Emco Dance was a company constructed of second year Trinity Laban students, particularly embodying the ethos of the “dance festival”, in the twenty-first century more than ever. The focus and dedication of the dancers was remarkable, questioning the physical deconstruction of the human body and our emotional, physical and mental elements that we consist of. Formed in 2012, the new company featured dancers halfway through their training and it was inspiring to view Emco as a semi-professional company alongside other more established companies as equals, each bringing an important dance message to the surface of their performances. The dancers were united in their display of the passion which drives the young performer and the unique skills they must have to fulfil this, reassuring the audience that the future of dance today is not so bleak.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.