POST 193: Laban

I felt so lucky to spend 2 weeks in London at a dance intensive. My 10 days at Laban has provided me with so many lessons and positive energy that I need to write these things and hold on to them forever.

I was happy to see a group of dancers who attended last year too.  were excited to hear what I’d done in dance in the last year-something no one asks. They had been completing their HND in  Dance. One of the teachers remembered us too!!!! They were always encouraging and I in turn listened to he tales of their night outs mid week!!!! It was nice to hear their whoops of support in the corner of the studio when I felt a travelling combo was not so great! This was particularly important to me as my best friend and continual accompaniment during summer school dancing has not talked to me since he got full-time employment as a dance lecturer and I started this MEd.  I did have periods of time when I missed the presence in the first week…but I can honestly say I for the first time in a year this truly wore off and I didn’t even think!

Through my Cunningham class I’ve learnt the importance of breathing when dancing. A slow and methodical approach can ultimately be just as effective as full on sweat fest. I felt my alignment changing mid class-which initially affected walking but ultimately has been the best change I have experienced in my body in a short space of time. I learned that rather than having a mini meltdown before finding my way again, a more confident balanced approach with correction each time is better!

The Graham class I also completed last year. It I coped better this year and my movements were cleaner. The teacher gave me individual corrections and I had a great natter to the musician over coffee each morning. The cases made me consider what would happen if you took the arms of one sequence and the legs of another or if one group started at a different place in the sequence or with different direction—–worse than trying on the left side or in a different direction. A great learning experience.

The first section of my afternoons at Trinity Laban Summer School were spent in Wayne McGregor Company class and Repertoire.

I felt that I could do this class but my energy reserves were not the same as the younger members of the class. Consequently, I know I  appeared to have lost the ability to move never mind dance. I was trying to absorb every movement. The detail and extreme physicality of Wayne’s rep really tested me. But even though I tired, my mind and body simultaneously were feeling stronger. I was enjoying new movement, comparison to things I knew and for once I was actually happy.

I was listening to the teacher, James Pett,  he was providing energy and dragging the class with him. He checked they as the movement : I must have heard ‘Yeeeeas’ a million times. I was a privilege to be taught by someone as open, enthusiastic and invested as James. I noted that although I did not sign up for his second class he worked over time with his last students and added his own music to enthuse them.

There were 4 things he said that really stuck with me.

1. ‘it’s not about hitting the counts or nailing the steps, none of that matters if you don’t move with your body. What is your body doing?’ Ok, I was stressing!!! I get so involved in remembering that I don’t dance it.

2. James would only show us movement once or twice and said ‘your body has it, but you need to trust it’. Confidence melt down-I need I 3 times!!!! I did have it (well most of it lol) and can remember it one week on!!! The first actual miracle, miby I should go to church!

3. I need to dance it for myself, I watch others to keep in time and this stops me dancing for myself. ‘Get outa the second row Claire’. (Me: Second row and in the middle-for extra special safety…lol)

4. ‘steps are just steps, it’s what your heart decides to do with them that really matters.’ I think I need to dig a lot deeper, breath and showing my love for dance through movement. Miby an average technical performance would be better than a perfect sequence as it would be more aesthetically pleasing and I might even smile.

The last two sessions were a mental and physical challenge, we work through all of the exercises we had learnt. Most I recalled 2 I did not. The improvement and content from only 2 weeks work was amazing.

Armed with new knowledge, I truly wish I had attended his second class. I am better at taking a sequence and modifying it than learning it. This is what the second choreography class out. The students learnt rep from Tree of Codes and FAR and used various McGregor style choreographic tasks. To create a performance rather than learning and more. Perhaps I should take this approach in my teaching.

Us in action…..curtesy of Beth

The last change from Laban was something I did which was out of character. I took Jazz as my class every day. It was not my favourite and I had a longing for the energy from Linda’s class at Pineapple. I skipped this last class in the second week on 3 occasions. I would always attend the classes I was told. I am usually so tired I have no energy to think of an additional high impact class. I am not sure what the change was but I attended the Pineapple class I had more energy than ever and was ultra happy.

Image result for pineapple dance studios london


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