We were so pleased that a group of people were able to come to Effie Mcguire Ward’s workshop at the Camphill College Campus on March 15th.
It was a great day of dancing and as it was the last workshop we will be able to hold for a while, it was appreciated even more than usual. Many thanks to the wonderful Effie. Her blog about the day is below.
Sometimes you’re not quite sure when you’re next going to get back in a dance studio again. Especially when social distancing and self-isolation measures are being brought in to curtail a global pandemic. So, while there was a wonderful turnout at YMD on Sunday, there was a shared sense of “could this be the last outing (dance or otherwise) for a while?” from the offset.
Hopefully, some of things we talked about as we progressed through class can also be applied to help us through the next few months. With our foot exercise for example: when things get complicated remembering to breathe – holding that breath isn’t going to serve us. Also, when we’re balancing, a reminder to think of it as a dynamic activity and that wobbling is just a minor adjustment – we’re all going to have our wobbles, so let’s embrace them!
In our creative session, I really wanted to foster a sense of interaction in the room whilst minimising close proximity or any touch based contact work given the current health guidelines. As such I employed a technique I’d experienced in a workshop with Liz Lerman – I posed a question, people
partnered in the space to each discuss their answer and then each individual created a movement reaction to either their own or their partner’s answer. After repeating this sequence of events several times, each person had built up a solo phrase dependent on the verbal interactions they had just encountered – it was a joy to behold the real specificity in these creations.
To develop our sense of play and interaction further, I asked the dancers to perform their solos to soundtracks involving some spoken word and some instrumental sound. This was quite a playful activity – on some run throughs I asked the dancers only to move during the text (and pause the remainder of the time) or vice versa – which disrupted their natural instincts and created a united rhythmical texture in the room. As a witness to this, I could see the real responsiveness and readiness of the dancers as they tried to follow the ‘rules of the game’ that I had imposed – this is what made it interesting to observe. Did they always get it ‘right’ – absolutely not, they were hearing these soundtracks for the first time as they moved to them – but there was a joy in seeing how they dealt with ‘mistakes’ in the moment with heightened awareness.
While it felt somewhat strange that we’d shared no physical connection throughout the course of the day, I hope we all left having benefitted from the shared sense of community at YMD. I hope that everyone stays safe and well in these unusual times that are unfolding (all of my work has now been cancelled until further notice, what a time to be a freelance dance artist!) and that when the time comes we can appreciate reuniting in a dance studio again.