Follow by Email

Friday, 29 July 2011

Two days to go!

This is a very overdue blog! Here commences a whirlwind tour of the last few weeks prior to our final performance on Sunday.

Since the last update we have structured a twenty minute piece with all of the choreographic sections created since week one. Beth has managed to incorporate our duets, solos, unison phrase, walking improvisation as well as a new quartet and ending! We pieced together a skeleton of this structure last Friday but had a few people missing so it was hard to picture the final product without them or edited music.

We had an additional session last Sunday and ventured out of our usual home at London Bubble to visit Laban (a dance conservatoire in Deptford). Beth and I both work at Laban so arranged for the group to come and see the building and rehearse in the beautiful studios. We were also very lucky to see the sunshine - perfect picnic weather! Despite having an extended rehearsal of 5 hours the day went flying by. It was a satisfying feeling to finish with a sketchy run through to the music we hoped to use for each section. 20 minutes of dancing!! What an achievement in 8 weeks!

Last Friday Jonathon took one group of dancers back outside to make the most of the nice evening and photograph some of their landscape sculptures by the river. He has taken some great snaps which will gradually creep their way onto the website shortly! (

Tonight is our final session at London Bubble :-( who have been lovely, welcoming hosts - we highly recommend them! Fingers crossed we have a full cast of dancers ready to polish, rehearse and refine ready for Sunday.

It has been a pleasure seeing and dancing with such lovely people for the last 8 weeks and I will definitely miss our Friday sessions. Do come and join us at Richmix, Venue 1 on Sunday. The dancers have a lot to be proud of and deserve the support! Plus it is free to see them dance beautifully!

Bring on Sunday funday!

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Past the half way mark

Apologies for the absence of last week's blog - the week disappeared and suddenly it was Friday again! We are now past the half way mark and technically only have three sessions left to complete our choreographic community. However, whilst we is a lack of remaining choreographic time we have an abundance of choreography to date!

Prior to a catch up on activity though it is important to announce our latest news:


Arts Odyssey will be presenting the culminating performance of 'Choreographing Community' on Sunday 31st July, 4pm at Richmix, Shoreditch.

We are very excited about the upcoming performance but are now aware we need to push on with collating our movement material, recapping and rehearsing it ready for Beth to link together to form one piece.

Last week (week 4) we started our last choreographic task. Splitting into two groups we used photos of Bermondsey and the local area (to be posted shortly) as stimuli to create still landscape formations with our bodies. Once we set these we worked on how to transition smoothly from one to the other. The aim was to do so in such a way that it was almost unnoticeable. This week we refined them and then made the most of a rare sunny Friday evening to try them outside, along the riverside and in the park. Jonathon (our lovely photographer) directed us into position and managed to prevent anyone falling into the Thames!

In addition to this newest section we worked on some simple walking patterns that Beth taught us. Once we had picked them up we improvised with them playing with starting and stopping, entering and exiting the space and interacting with each other. This week we also introduced hugs and handshakes to the improvisation (from our warm up last week) which descended into a lot of throwing each other about!

To summarise the movement material under our belts so far we have been working on several sections:

  • Body connection/linking duets and trios (started in week 1)

  • Walking Patterns to improvise with

  • The main phrase (taught by Beth)

  • Extension of main phrase - "arm bit" (only learnt by some dancers)

  • School of fish identity phrases (two group phrases)

  • Role solos (made from the thought shower and our list of roles in the community)

  • Landscape Formations

Over the last two sessions we have been remembering, recapping, rehearsing and refining this material and then experimenting with how we perform it. With the main phrase we have been trying out different facings in the room, starting and stopping at different points and playing with how dancers relate to each other.

We are very excited that Sabio Janiak, an incredible musician has agreed to write a section of our music for us. Have a look at his work:

Finally, we are very grateful to Lee Smikle (Artistic Director of Shoreditch Youth Dance and Artist in Residence at Richmix) for supporting Arts Odyssey and for organising for us to perform at Richmix. Shoreditch Youth Dance Company have a performance coming up on Friday 22 and Saturday 23 July 2011. I recommend you get there if you can!

Have a look: or ttp://

So, until next week - start rounding the troops for our performance on Sunday 31st July. It should be a treat and at a cost of FREE it is a steal!

Jumping over and dancing out......

Friday, 1 July 2011

Thought Showers

I have just discovered that it is no longer considered politically correct to use the term 'brain storm' and todays lingo should be 'thought shower'. However, as usual, this weeks session coincided with more of a storm than a shower outside of the studio!

This week we were a few people down due to the weather and illness but still managed to produce more choreographic material to add to the pot (participants keep an eye on vimeo for the footage). The focus was on solo material and was developed from our 'thought shower' about how we interpret community and the roles we all play withing them.

Prior to our choreographic explorations though we kicked off in a circle with clapping and rhythm games before creating mini body percussion orchestras. The individual rhythm patterns sounded surprisingly good when put together although it was quite difficult to remember them with everyone else around sounding out something different!

To get us moving in the space we used some ideas Ana (a participant) had suggested. Looking at the concept that there are 'moves where all human beings interact on a basic level irrelevant of origin, race, colour or nationality' we thought more about how we communicate and greet each other. Using movements relating to a welcome or greeting from different cultures we created a spatial warm up including a high 5, bow, hug, handshake and pat on the back (only a few of many but a good place to start?).

After recapping the phrase of movement taught by Beth we learnt 3 walking phrases that we improvised with as a group (see vimeo) to get our creative juices flowing!

In two groups we took a break from dancing to discuss how we each interpreted the term 'commmunity' and what it meant to us. These were some of the thoughts:

Community means:

  • People

  • Social networking - expanding communities - no longer local - now global community

  • Diversity

  • Links

  • Identity within the community

  • Belonging

  • stages of life (community changes)

  • safety

  • Isolated (cliquey)

  • Familiar

  • Common ground

  • support network

  • neighbours, work, home, friends, family, hobby, religion, school

  • transport - bike vs tube vs car!

  • roots

  • judgemental/confinement

  • coming together

  • differences - made up of differences

  • culture - different cultures together

  • shared space and values

  • help and support

  • passing of information and word of mouth - verbal community

  • structured (school) vs unstructured (youth worker)

  • attitude - different perspectives (inclusion vs exclusion)

  • Identity - within yourself

  • need time to come together

  • understanding of commoness (different in different situations)

  • Experience and memories

  • building/developing/growing

  • claustraphobic as well as free

  • grounding

This discussion led us onto the roles that we each play in our community or communities. Beth asked us to each write one role down on a piece of paper and put it into a communal bag. Each dancer then took a role out and created a movement in response to it (not descriptive in a charades style!). We then repeated this process three times until each dancer had a solo phrase of movement consisting of each role response. The roles were quite entertaining! See below:

  • Volunteer at battersea dog and cats home (I stroke cats)

  • Squash games organiser

  • Rehabilitation

  • Role model

  • (meeting point) "meeter"

  • Housemate

  • Co-passenger

  • Peace Keeper

  • Problem Solver

  • Uni project writer

  • Aunt

  • Mum

  • Student

  • Leader

  • Member

I wish I knew who had written each one! Beth and I were very impressed with the very creative and beautiful solos created.

We have a lot to recap on tonight.

Let's hope we have more showers of thought and fewer showers of rain......