Latest news from DanceWest

Tuesday 20th March 2018

Co-teaching dance sessions at the Embassy of Ireland on behalf of DanceWest, 15/03/2018

Spring is back, and I have been working for DanceWest for an entire year now! It has been a busy one, packed with teaching and learning opportunities, sprinkled with informal performances and theatre trips.

With DanceWest, I have taught and assisted sessions in schools, public libraries, studios, and even at an embassy, with participants from all ages and levels of experience (from mothers and toddlers to DanceWest’s Youth Dance Company).

This spring, I’m proud to support Ignition Dance Festival 2018:

Produced by Hammersmith-based DanceWest, Ignition Dance Festival showcases a vibrant programme from visionary choreographers who have danced for some of the biggest companies in the world. The festival, launching 16 May, will be in the Lyric Hammersmith’s main house and features a special line up of performances to celebrate Ignition’s fifth birthday. DanceWest have commissioned five previous recipients of the festival’s prestigious choreographic bursaries to present work.

The retrospective programme will include works by international artists Salah El Brogy (Akram Khan Company, Protein), Dane Hurst (Rambert Dance, Company Wayne McGregor) Thick & Tight (Tanztheatre Wuppertal Pina Bausch, Gary Clarke Company) Sally Marie (New Adventures, Royal Opera House) Tim Casson (Jasmin Vardimon, Sadlers Wells). The evening will also include announcements and presentation of Ignitions 2018 choreographic commissions recipients who will create new choreography for the Rose Theatre Kingston in June.

Ignition supports community dancers, emerging artists and mid-career choreographers to create new choreography, produced by cutting-edge dance organisation – DanceWest. Chief Executive of DanceWest and Founder of the festival Rosie Whitney – Fish said: ‘From humble beginnings the festival provides thousands of opportunities for dancers and choreographers at every stage of their career. A huge thank you to Arts Council England, London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham and Royal Borough of Kingston for their support’ ‘Ignition is unlike any other festival and is certainly not to be missed,’ added Rosie, who has recently been recognised for her contribution to arts and culture by Hammersmith and Fulham’s Civic Honours.

The festival continues with events throughout the summer including the popular, accessible and family-friendly – Community Dance Platforms for non-professional dancers aged 6-86, giving an opportunity for everyone to present their work in a slick, short programme on stage at the Rose Theatre Kingston and Lyric Hammersmith.

More info on the DanceWest website and on the event’s Facebook page.

As you can imagine, there is a lot of work to do behind the scenes to make this event happen. Rosie is already on it, and I joined her in the office this morning. More soon!

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Sharing motivation

Tuesday 7th March 2017

Very motivational and inspirational . . . Made me want to learn to dance.

This afternoon, I taught a 2 hours long class at the University of Westminster. I had been invited as a guest speaker once again, as part of Nick Johnstone’s course in Professional Writing. The aim of this session? To offer graduating students in Creative Writing some advice to get started in the professional world.

Of course, my experience of writing is mostly limited to this blog. But I had a few things to say about freelancing, networking and taking chances as an artist. In fact, when I collected evaluation forms at the end of the session, I read this:

Really was surprised by how much I could identify your dance journey to my journey as a writer.

Another student suggested that I should become a ‘professional motivational speaker’. Why not? That sounds compatible with what a dance teacher might be!

Anyway, I’m excited to deliver this session again on Thursday, when I meet the other half of the class. Hopefully, at the end of it, I will get to read words like ‘inspiring’ and ‘motivating’ in various handwritings again 🙂

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Version française bientôt disponible !

Profession : prof de danse

Après un premier trimestre d’études en enseignement de la danse, ça y est ! J’ai été engagée comme professeur de danse pour enfants à The Place. J’y donne maintenant 2 cours chaque samedi matin.

Register, 07/01/2017

9h45-10h45 : New Moves, un groupe de 8-9 ans bien dynamique et déjà doté d’un fort esprit critique ! Avec 19 filles et 2 garçons inscrits, le studio se remplit et fourmille d’énergie, au rythme des percussions de Julie. Dans cette classe, nous construisons les bases techniques de la danse contemporaine par un échauffement au centre et des enchainements à travers l’espace. Puis, nous consacrons une vingtaine de minutes à l’improvisation. Nous dessinons des parcours jalonnés de bouteilles d’eau pour explorer 3 niveaux : le sol, un niveau intermédiaire et le haut, les airs.

Il me faudra sans doute une ou deux semaines de plus pour fixer les prénoms de tous les élèves dans ma tête. Mais quel plaisir de revoir les petites filles rencontrées il y a 2 ans, grandies et pleines d’énergie quand elles se lancent dans la danse !

 

11h15-12h15 : Place aux First Moves, les plus jeunes élèves de The Place ! Ils sont âgés de 5 à 7 ans, et pour maintenir leur attention tout au long d’une heure de danse créative, je me lance avec eux dans une aventure dansée, soigneusement préparée.

La semaine passée, notre leçon s’est déployée dans le ciel : on a décollé et volé comme des avions, pour ensuite explorer les formes et qualités de mouvements des nuages. Ce samedi, c’est à bord d’une fusée qu’on a embarqué, pour poser les pieds sur différentes planètes et glisser, voyager, sauter ou encore rouler à travers l’espace. Comme support visuel, j’avais apporté des images découpées dans le calendrier qu’on venait de décrocher du mur. De quoi inspirer et intriguer mes petits élèves ! Je les invite à observer les images et à les décrire avec des mots avant de passer aux mouvements.

Images from calendar 2016

Avec mes assistants, John et Robert, on a discuté d’un voyage dans le temps pour la prochaine leçon … Je ne vous en dit pas plus, mais dès lundi, je me lancerai dans sa préparation !

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After a first term of studies in dance teaching, this is it! I got a job as a children’s dance teacher at The Place. I now teach two lessons every Saturday morning.

9h45-10h45: New Moves is a dynamic group of 8-9 year olds, already displaying pretty critical minds! With 19 girls and 2 boys registered, the studio is filling up and bustles with energy, to the beat of Julie’s drums. In this class, we build the basis of contemporary dance techniques through a warm up in the centre and combinations across the space. Then, we spend about 20 minutes improvising. Pathways marked with water bottles help us explore 3 heights: the floor, medium and high levels.

I’ll probably need one or two more weeks to remember all of my pupils’ names. But what a pleasure to see some little girls met two years ago, now grown up and full of energy when they start dancing!

11h15-12h15: Here come First Moves, The Place’s youngest pupils! They are 5 to 7 years old. To maintain their focus throughout an hour of creative dance, I embark on a carefully prepared dancing adventure with them.

Last week, our lesson unfolded in the sky: we took off and flew like airplanes, to explore clouds’ shapes and their movement qualities. This Saturday, we boarded a rocket instead, to set foot on various planets and glide, travel, jump or roll through space. As a visual support, I had brought images cut off from last year’s calendar. Enough to inspire and intrigue my little pupils! I invited them to observe and describe the pictures with words before proceeding to movements.

Together with my assistants, John and Robert, we discussed the idea of travelling through time in the next lesson … I won’t tell you more, but I’ll start planning for it on Monday!


Inside the University of Westminster

Tuesday 8th November 2016

On Tuesday morning, I had the incredible opportunity to go through the gates of the University of Westminster and meet a group of MA students in Creative Writing. Indeed, I had been invited as a guest speaker for a very special, interdisciplinary talk.

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Entrance of the University of Westminster on Regent Street

Together with Saskia Vogel, who translates Swedish fiction into English and is a writer herself, I went on a quick tour around the building to complete the compulsory passport check. Then, we entered room 412, in which a dozen students were already sat at tables. It was 10am. We had a little bit more than an hour to share our experience on how to creatively interpret a piece of writing.


More on this soon!

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Mardi 8 novembre 2016

Mardi matin, j’ai eu la chance incroyable de passer les portes de l’université de Westminster et de rencontrer un groupe d’étudiants de Master en Écriture Créative. En effet, j’étais invitée comme “guest speaker”, ou intervenante externe, pour un exposé interdisciplinaire bien spécial.

En compagnie de Saskia Vogel, qui traduit de la fiction suédoise en anglais et est elle-même écrivain, j’ai fait un rapide tour du bâtiment pour passer le contrôle obligatoire des passeports. Puis, nous sommes entrées dans la salle 412, où une douzaine d’étudiants étaient déjà assis à leurs tables. Il était 10h. Nous avions un peu plus d’une heure à notre disposition pour parler du sujet suivant : comment interpréter un texte de façon créative.


Suite au prochain article !