Kildare Dance Summer School 2014

Kildare Dance Summer School Day #3

Day #3 Wednesday 23rd January

Movement & Sound Workshop with Rachel NíChúinn
I had the pleasure of co-facilitating this workshop with Rachel this morning. I’m interested in her vision of sound as movement and thought her approach to listening and finding sounds would be a welcome addition to the summer school programme. After a brief stretchy, vocal warm-up we looked at printed sound scores created by composers such as John Cage. Rachel and I invited people to listen to different recordings she had made, and we discussed the dynamics of sounds and the correlation of sound and space.P1100834

The recordings Rachel had selected were in contrast to each other stimulating varied responses from the group. We set them a listening task (and everyone chose to go outside!) and write their own sound scores avoiding descriptive heavy writing, instead using dynamic words or shapes. They returned and exchanged scores moving on to interpreting the scores into movement phrases. The group worked for some time, alone, and then under the guidance of their partners. It was exciting to see them performed in groups at the end. Thanks everyone for coming to our workshop today!

Anna Carlisle Living Architecture Workshop
Anna set the tone of the workshop today talking about embodiment. She used an example of how we can learn the basics of a dance genre, say Tango for instance and learn more and more steps. But it can take years to embody the style. What it means to live the dance. To feel it and to know it. As a starting point for her workshop, Anna introduced the Dimensional Cross, carefully pointing out it’s relation to Geometry and how Laban related it to the make up of our physical structure.

Rising through the line of my centre.  Dimensional Scale
Sinking downwards towards the ground
Prepare to close across the body
Feel the sensation of opening out
Return to centre to retreat
Now I advance forward and come ‘home’.

Effectively, the Dimensional Cross allows the body to connect levels, connect with the space and with each other, and to ground oneself. Anna positioned the dancers closer to one another, facing different directions encouraging them to feel a sense of togetherness and harmony with each other. The groups progressed to making choreographic choices, manipulating the sequence, using unison and canon.

What struck me from my perspective as an observer is the immediate benefits of the Dimensional Scale as a means for refining ones own movement (the scale requires strength and precision), taps into a wealth of contrasting dynamics, develops sensitivity to shape, the space and with others. It is very effective in doing this and students may ask WHY? WHY do we have to do this? My answer would be that it’s imperative for the tutor/facilitator to encourage all of these elements in an effort to EMBODY the Dimensional Cross, and not simply move through it unknowingly. To understand that the scale, or adaptations of it are invaluable to what Anna talked about, embodiment; and that spatial awareness and dynamic qualities are not diminished to an after thought that may or may not happen. I witnessed the group in front of me really embodying the scale, and their variations of it. This was a joy to watch.

Anna provided a print of a Matisse double portrait as the stimulus for the next part of her session. After lunch, her and the group reconvened and made preparations to take the work outside. As is always the case with selecting suitable sites to work in, there are obstacles. One can take the guerilla approach and attempt to make work until you get noticed by the authorities or you can seek permission. We suggested the former rather than the latter, and sure enough working in Anna’s first choice, the the large main square on campus attracted the attention of the grounds keeper and we had to re locate to the orchard. Groups quickly got to work in the new space, with the extra shaded areas providing relief from the very hot sun.

By the end of the workshop, Anna invited people to watch the work that had been created. It was a beautifully crafted piece performed with sensitivity between the dancers and with their environment.

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Colm Gallagher Dances from Small Things Workshop
I joined Colm’s workshop half an hour before the lunch break. The dancers were surrounding an assorted mix of coloured ribbons and elastic on the floor and he invited everyone to arrange the shapes in turn, then move around it and come up with a title! Suggestions were firing from the floor from the very literal Ribbon Rush to some more conceptual interpretations…..Messy Bedroom // New Map of the World // Murder // On the Edge// A Song to the Wind //Chaos // Florist Shop // Playground //…..

Colm led everyone in a group improvisation accompanied by really cool music and paused, throwing the above titles at them then asking them to create those in smaller groups, quickly and without too much thinking. The variety of choices and interpretations are limitless and Colm provided opportunities for everyone to mix and meet one another and exchange ideas. There was an enthusiastic round of applause at the end of the session before the lunch break.

After lunch, Colm got the group up on their feet moving hands together to some lively music. They weaved in and out of each other using the whole space creating bridges and trains passing through and around each other. Colm’s work celebrates intuition and he sets up movement activities that encourage very quick, immediate responses. It requires the participant to BE in their bodies and not get caught up too much whether they are right or wrong. There is no room or acceptance for error. Every choice is celebrated. Large sheets of paper and coloured markers followed with participants being asked to make their mark on the page. Encouraging movement of the colour over a known or recognised symbol. Art work was reviewed and titles given from one group to the other. These were to provide the stimuli for longer investigations of movement scenes that were shared at the end of the session. Colm ended the session with a choice quote from writer Michael Harding about the preference for simplicity. Sometimes this is key, as evident today observing this work in practice.

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 The Kildare Dance & Movement Summer School runs until Friday 25th July at NUI Maynooth

Fergus Byrne Artist

Kildare Dance Summer School Day #2

Kildare Dance Summer School Day 2
Tuesday 22nd July

Before I set off this morning I picked up one of the tutors Fergus Byrne from his Dublin studios and managed to squeeze his wooden sculptures into the car! Not quite the aesthetic look he was going for but who would take any notice of us driving down the motorway. I was intrigued as to how Fergus would use these later in his workshop.

There were two morning classes today with myself leading the Laban Studies Strand and Rionach NíNéill downstairs pushing poeple through her Speed Choreography  intensive. Again, I was really delighted to be joined by people I had trained with 10 years ago at Midland Arts (2004/05), graduates of earlier Laban Leadership Courses, and a number of recent graduates from the course in Newbridge (2013/14). I focused on points of initiation in the body, noticing different feelings and qualities we receive when it originates from different areas. I led exercises that  focused on the planes, as a framework for encouraging expansive movement and transversal movement. I then introduced the Cube as a choreographic device for creating short pieces based on the letter of our names. These were performed in small groups.

Anna Carlisle Workshops
Anna’s morning workshop was centred around the theme of travelling. She was inspired by a piece of travel writing  by Patrick Leigh Fermor.  Anna put the theme out there and drew on the responses from the group;
Travelling at different levels and pathways // Survival Mode // Sightseeing and pausing to take in beautiful sites // Meeting people // queuing!  P1100775

With a bank of ideas to play with, Anna invited everyone onto the floor, focusing on breath, centring and a sense of balance before beginning to lead the group through different pathways across the floor. Almost in the blink of an eye shapes were being created, relationships were developing and something was emerging. Anna introduced a horizontal wash of movement that glided over the dance floor, each participant interpreting their own ideas in a personal way. She provided copies of the excerpt from the travel log she mentioned and with that, couples were bursting to explore ideas inspired by the text.

Master Chef was the inspiration for Anna’s second workshop of the day, inviting explorations of culinary actions such as chopping, slicing, sizzling, stirring etc. Revisiting the cube again as a choreographic device, small groups created soufflés! Anna provided feedback for each group and tweaked gently with the work they had generated. The session was completed with a restaurant setting using chairs that added a good bit of humour at the end of the day.

Fergus Byrne’s Workshop
Just before lunch I peered in on Fergus’ workshop upstairs. The room was quiet with only the noise from loose sheets of paper billowing in the breeze. Participants were divided into sketchers and models. The intensity of focus between the two was acute. Fergus had led them to explore the internal structures of the body, the lines of support and how weight is distributed. This was feeding into the sketches I saw around me. Imposing time limits on the sketches isn’t restrictive, on the contrary it enables the viewer to see more and explore different ways of seeing.

In the afternoon, the wooden structures I had squeezed into the car earP1100776lier in the morning
were manipulated by small groups giving time to explore ones’ relationships to it, relationship to each other, weight and points that join together. With a constantly changing landscape there was something organic about the structure, as if becoming a live entity of it’s own. As the groups crept and pushed through the space, Fergus encouraged people to drop out and sketch, if they felt the need. As an observer the ever changing landscape was fascinating to see and ideas were swirling around my head. There was such a sense of due care towards the participants. The sounds of the wood on the parquet floor resonated through the room adding another dynamic quality.

With the rain holding off, Fergus took the group outside into the orchard on the grounds of NUI Maynooth. The dancers adapted to the new environment whilst maintaining their close relationship to each other and the structures. It was beautiful to watch both from a distance, and from the height of the tree. The dancers remained focused throughout not distracted by the sounds or people around.

Kildare Dance Summer School DAY#1

I was delighted to kick off the Summer School with so many eager participants with the Welcome Workshop.  There were familiar faces and many new ones. I was happy to see friends that I had trained with nearly ten years ago at the Laban Leadership course with Midland Arts. The aim of this session was to introduce the idea that we can all create movement material, learn from each other and have an opportunity to perform in an informal way. All the while providing opportunities for people to meet each other and learn about each other through movement.

The two longer workshops for the day were led by Ríoanch NiNéill and Lisa Cahill.

Ríonach prepared the space with a number of quotes and visuals of how she views her work. Something pertinent to consider when working with older people is to MEET THE PERSON, NOT THE AGE. And yet, Ríonach reminded us that this kind of work is transferable to all ages. She led us through safe movement for older people with body conditioning and ‘chair aerobics’ and we had FUN!

I headed upstairs to Lisa’s workshop and arrived into a whirlwind or creativity. The participants were captivated by Lisa as she guided them through ideas for dance with young people. “FOLLOW YOUR CURIOSITY”  is a phrase she reminds us of frequently, and she encourages an investigative approach to work as if acting like a scientist. With this attitude, there is room to freely explore without feeling like your making a mistake, or doing it wrong. The varying energies in the room was palpable.

Before lunch break I retunred to find the participants in Ríonach’s workshop sharing stories from their childhood, in a constructed manner so to allow the story-teller 5 minutes uninterrupted to share their memories.  These memories would be crafted into movement poems. You could see how this would lead to very honest, personal work, becoming something really beautiful under the careful and sensitive direction of a choreographer such as Ríonach.

Ror me the day was over unfortunately as I would have liked to have seen how these sessions developed. Many of the participants are staying on campus for the entire week, and some have chosen to attend daily sessions. The Kildare Dance & Movement Summer School runs until Friday 25th July.

Kildare Dance Summer School 2014

I’m really excited about this year’s Kildare Dance & Movement Summer School. Together with Kildare Arts Office and the Laban Guild I have assisted them in bringing together a variety of dance and movement workshops that reflect current practices. These workshop would appeal to those working in Dance Education, Arts and Health Services, Social Services, Drama Therapy, Community Dance and for those with a passion for dance. There are a number of Laban Based morning classes suitable for anyone currently on the Laban Leadership Course (Newbridge) or previous graduates of the course. For further information please go to: http://www.kildare.ie/ArtsService/Dance/

The summer school runs from Monday 21st July-Friday 25th July.
Tutors programmed for this year include:

Lisa Cahill Inclusive and Creative Ideas in Practice / Dance in Education
Rionach NíNéill Dance On / Dance for the older person
Colm Gallagher Dances from Small Things / Community Dance
Fergus Byrne Eyeballs in the Air / Movement and Markmaking
Dylan Quinn Balancing the Professional and the Community / A rural based practitioner’s perspective
Wendy Hermelin Idea for Dance and Movement Choir
Ailish Claffey Relatedness in Motion  / A Laban Studies Workshop
Rachel NíChuinn & Michelle Cahill Sound and Movement Interactive Workshop

 CLICK for Summer School 2014 Brochure

Dancing with Kinect Technologies

 

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I’ve had the pleasure of working with Evelien Al on her graduate piece for her MA in Music and Media Technologies at Trinity College Dublin. For her thesis, Evelien has created a beautiful original sound score to accompany interactive visuals on a large screen behind the dancer. The title of the piece is Tideline.

The showcase took place at the Beckett Theatre, Trinity College Dublin on Friday 9th May at 7.30pm http://bit.ly/1irBulx

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Looking forward to Galway Dance Days

GALWAY DANCE DAYS FESTIVAL

March 28th – 30th 2014

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Really looking forward to the Galway Dance Days Festival. Curated by Ríonach NíNéill / Ciotóg there are a number of world premieres taking place including Anti-Capitalism: The Musical  a contemporary fairytale set in a near future political reality which I will be performing in. There are also panel discussions and presentations with outstanding choreographers and dance artists.  I will  be giving a presentation: Trans-Amazonia A Brazilian Odyssey. One Road, One Forest. One Man. Lots of Encounters based on the recent journey of my friend Tiago Gambogi.

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Performance Corporation SPACE 2014

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Last month, I was a participant on The Performance Corporation SPACE Programme. I joined eight other artists from different disciplines for two weeks of collaborations and experimentation. Set within the house and grounds of Castletown House, it was an opportunity for me to escape, play, pause and focus. I’m indebted to Jo Mangan, artistic director of The Performance Corporation and to Hanne Slattne from Tinderbox for designing a programme that challenged us. And my thanks to the other artists who were so generous with their time, their talent and creativity. I feel like I’m still digesting my experience from my time in Castletown House but already there have been some positive influences seeping into my work.

Support Anti-Capitalism The MUSICAL!

Hi folks,

This project needs a little help to get off the ground.

 ANTI-CAPITALISM The Musical

AC:TM is large scale theatrical narrative using circus and music. It a fairytale, set in a near future political reality similar to our own. It uses aerial acrobatics, plot twists, assassinations, and intrigue to tell the tale of a heroic group of everyday acrobats, aided by the Greek-chorus style narrations of a powerful triumvirate of fairy godmothers. I’m so excited to be part of this project, and your support is much appreciated. The creator Deirdre Murphy explains all in the link below.

http://igg.me/at/Anti-Capitalism-TheMusical

AC-TM on Facebook

“The Area” World Premiere

I’m so happy that the dance film “The Area” will see it’s world premiere at the Lincoln Centre, NYC tomorrow, Sunday 2nd February as part of the Dance on Camera Festival, Dance & Community shorts Programme. I dance in this film and my two boys also made an appearance. The film, created by Ríoanch Ní Néill and directed by Joe Lee features members of The Macushla Dance Club for over 50s, and captures “their intimate relationship with their ever-changing Dublin neighborhood”.
There is more information available here:

Watch the trailer below…