Effie's workshop went ahead

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.

Effie writes:

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.

Sadly dancing has to stop

Cover -19 has of course interrupted everything. We will have to dance at home alone… not the same but still good for body and soul.

We will let you know as soon as we are able to get going again.

In the meantime we wish all dancers and supporters good health.

Sunday March 15th workshop with Effie McGuire Ward

The workshop will go ahead, with our lovely tutor Effie planning a session taking into account the current public health problems: it will not involve contact work. We hope that people will attend, taking precautions as advised by the Government particularly in relation to hand washing.

We will be reviewing the situation in April when our next workshop is scheduled for Sunday 19th.

February workshop with Akeim Toussaint Buck

Akeim sent us an email saying ‘I thoroughly enjoyed Sunday. It’s been a while since I’ve taught on Sunday and I loved that regardless of your ages and abilities everyone gave 1000% so well done.’

Yorkshire Movement and Dance Blog: Akeim Toussaint Buck 9/2/2020

(this is a slightly edited version of Akeim’s account of the lovely day we had)

It was a windy Sunday morning, as storm Ciara continued to blow trees to and fro. We gathered in a beautiful community hall in Wakefield, well facilitated with a sandy coloured wooden floor and a banging sound system.
I look around the group and I get this sense of eagerness and willingness to try all so I decided to not hold back (too much). I take the group through my Earthflow Salutations, which is a full body workout to get the heart rate up and stretch the muscles. By the end of this section we are all very sweaty!!!!!
I go around doing some adjustments as people experiment and so on, which is fun. I really wanted to challenge the group and not treat them differently because of age or whatever because it’s not that fun to be told you can’t do something. Basically I gave them a challenging level of things but didn’t expect them to give up or get it straight away, the group worked brilliantly to find their own way of moving with what I gave them and still
challenge themselves and find some sense of comfort in that. Top Notch work!!!!
Next in the circle I bring in some West African jigs and moved on to a bit of an improvisation of dropping the weight of the pelvis and the head into the ground to propel the body out of the ground into a jump. Yes
we jump that soon in class!!!!
Following on from this we do some crossings, a travel sequence, and a swinging exercise from the floor to standing and back to the floor again.
I aimed to challenge but not too much, I draw on previous movements in the class to build the phrase with some variations and some fresher movements. I’m glad to say the group smashed it, obviously. It was such a pleasure to see the ease and enjoyment they had in walking into the challenge and not giving up, we repeated a lot due to the groups’ perseverance and willingness to keep trying and get better.

We had lunch that Janet in the group kindly prepared for me. I also shared some pictures of my daughter, I love doing this now of days.

Next we move on to the creation section of the day. I’m really interested in how the body dances and creates sound. In some indigenous
cultures there isn’t a differentiation from dance and music. They are synonymous with each other so there isn’t a word to describe one from the other, one word to describe both as they always happen together. This is one of the interests of my practice, especially as im a beatboxer and I make the music in all my classes.
So we began with a little voice warm up then we did a circle song, using the
motor, counter, interlocker concept I learned from Briony Greenhill. This was to get the group thinking like a machine and getting into a groove. I then gave the group some time to create movement to match their specific sections of music and we collectively brought it together. We performed and were generally super happy with what we came up with. Well, what they came up with – I simply dropped a stone into a lake and watched it ripple out into a fractal of creativity.

Over all I sincerely and humbly enjoyed my time with the group and hope to be invited
Akeim Toussaint Buck

September weekend 2019 with Phil Sanger

Taking a break from dancing, in the beautiful grounds of Camphill College, a new venue for us. We are demonstrating playing with rolled up socks, which was the start of a really interesting and fun piece of work we created over the two days. Phil is a wonderful tutor and we are so pleased he was able to lead the weekend after taking his solo show
For Only An Hour to the Edinburgh Festival this summer.
Thanks Phil! We appreciate your support – see you at another YMD workshop soon!

Sandrine Monin Blog

It was a beautiful sunny Sunday like they are rare here in England and my French blood was already cheery… however it’s the light shining from each of these incredible women that had me smiling by the end of the day.

Upon starting, I was curiously observing the interactions in the group: returning members catching up; lively, new participants glancing around and meeting new people. We had to break out the chatter to start with the technical class. We began slowly, articulating and stretching our bodies from floor to standing position, methodically getting ready to push into more complex and challenging sequences. For those who don’t know what the YMD is, it is a transgenerational dance community that offers workshops for mature dancers and teachers. I was blown away by the focus and generosity of the group. Questions were being asked and their inquisitive and interactive approaches were allowing me to offer different levels of physicality from which they could choose and adapt to their abilities. It was incredible seeing the dancers’ eagerness to repeat the sequences, trying to push and improve a little more every time.

The lunch break was welcome after this sweaty and energetic first session!

Raffles, end of year admin catch up, future planning… during this hour almost as dynamic as class, I got to discover a bit more of who is at the heart of YMD: driven and passionate individuals. It felt like being plunged in the deep end of a big family picnic, with its share of bickering, jokes and serious conversations but with a deep feeling of care and community.

And it was time for the creative session already!

In a supportive and relaxed atmosphere, the group was guided through improvisation tasks, inviting them to delve into different states of emotion. From there, we gradually moved onto several creative tasks, as a group, individually and as trios. The deep engagement and creativity of the dancers led to a powerful and emotionally charged sharing.

I left the studio feeling recharged and inspired. It was a beautifully spent Sunday. I would like to thank everyone that attended, and I am hoping for another YMD day soon.


João Maio Blog

In our May workshop we had the pleasure of working with João Maio. As usual we were challenged but came away re-invigorated! Below are João’s thoughts on the session.

The participants engaged confidently with what was proposed to them, adapting movement material in consideration to their own physicality and interest. Since big part of the participants were regular attendees of these sessions, there was a very supportive and relaxed atmosphere in the studio during the whole day.

During the technique class, the group had a high level of focus and energy – allowing for them to deeply engage and play with set dancing movement material. They had a refined approach to both learning and performing movement, which was made clear as they executed a very challenging contemporary dance technique class.

This high level of engagement and focus was not exclusive to the technique class, remaining constant during the afternoon’s creative session too – where participants delved into tasks that are used as relevant tools for movement composition. During this, attendees worked in both solos and duets, whilst using a variety of imaginary inputs/motifs.

As the last time I taught Yorkshire-based intergenerational group, I was completely inspired – both by the people in the room and their dancing!


Effie McGuire Blog

This past year, I‘ve come to realise that what is really important for me when leading or participating in dance work is the environment that is being crafted and shared. If I had to choose one word to sum up the environment when I walk into the studio to lead a day with YMD, it would have to be the overwhelming sense of community and care.

Having been snowed off in the 2017/2018 season, it was an absolute pleasure to be back amongst many familiar faces (new fresh faces were of course welcomed with open arms too). The first task of the day for me was very much to lure everyone away from their catch up and introductory conversations with my technique class! What I particularly loved seeing as phrases got longer towards the end of class, is how pockets of the room knitted together to work out any sticky bits – there’s a real sense of support for each other in the studio. For me this also is a great opportunity for sharing learning – if I’ve been discussing or working through something with one group and we’ve had a breakthrough moment, I’ll make sure we feed that back to the rest of the room so that everyone can benefit from this new thought process and ensure that we are fostering an approach where shared knowledge can thrive.

Having shared my devised material in the morning, the creative afternoon was a chance for me to set tasks which experimented with how this material could be adapted. So, it was also a chance for the lovely YMDers to put their stamp on things and open my eyes up to the possibilities of where this movement could go. What a fantastic exchange with such a generous community of dancers! Thank you all!

Amy Butler Blog – December 2018

This month I had the pleasure of teaching Yorkshire Movement and Dance for the second time. The first was last September; I facilitated a weekend intensive that culminated in a performance, the whole event being a celebration of the organisations 70th year. 

I am free-lance contemporary dance artist with the privilege of working with incredible choreographers and collaborators and I will always make time to share my practice with Yorkshire Movement and Dance. There are many reasons for this.
Firstly the organisation provides opportunities for mature dance enthusiasts and teachers to train, develop and experience new methodologies and ways of working. In a climate where everything is focused on the youth and supporting emerging talent this in itself is unusual. On top of this they have been doing this consistently and to a high standard for over seventy years, and, self financing to boot!
To add to this they have created an open and generous environment one which is supportive and accessible. When I taught last September I had a large group with an age range of over fifty years and though the group was slightly smaller this time round the atmosphere was equally pleasant.
You might think that in order to have such an integrated group you have to sacrifice quality and ability, already I know this to be complete nonsense through my work in the inclusive arts sector but Yorkshire Movement and Dance also demonstrates this to be a  falsehood. All of the dancers have a level of technique, the ability to work creatively to a high standard and the beauty that comes with experience and one that is rarely seen on stage.
Finally I have a brilliant time sharing my practice with the group. There is an openness and honesty to the dancers and although the workshops are taken seriously we have a lot of fun. Questions are forth coming and there is a busyness to the approach, whether it be nattering about the task or physicalising it, the studio is always active. I have thrown dozens of ideas and methodologies at them now and each one has been embraced. Shelley, an original member and manager of the group, commented that I had offered a ‘box of chocolates’ and I would like to add that a box of chocolates is best shared and enjoyed and due to their willingness I was able to do this.
If you are passionate about dance and are having trouble finding opportunities to move, get in touch with Yorkshire Movement and Dance, they are a rarity in the dance community and need members to keep up the fantastic work.