Teaching Approach

Teaching and facilitating are core aspects of my artistic practice, offering me the chance to share and expand on everything else I do. I work with professionals, those in training, newcomers to dance, adults, older people and young people. I tailor make one-off workshops, one or two week intensives or I lead courses over the longer term.

I am developing Choreographic Practice and Physical Training strands of my teaching but at the heart of my approach to both of these is the cultivation of:

  • Robust physical and emotional empathy between everyone in the room, so that we might ‘feel into’ each other’s movement and ideas. This allows us to develop sensitivity and a broader understanding of and from one another, even if we don’t always agree or share someone else’s thoughts or experiences.
  • Authentic presence, bringing ourselves as fully and honestly as possible to each session. Making space for one’s own incompetency, vulnerability and naivety is as important as embracing one’s own talent, strength and knowledge. It can be confronting but creates a deeper connection to other people and to what we are doing.
  • Positive and inclusive attitude towards everyone in the session. I believe that everyone has the capacity for creative expression and growth, so long as they feel accepted and commit to what they are doing. This allows for each of us to be challenged without losing all our confidence and to feel safe enough to explore new things.

I have lead Choreographic Practice and Physical Training courses at The Place, Siobhan Davies Dance, GDA, TripSpace, Tanzhaus Zürich, OperaEstate Festival Bassano del Grappa, Paso a 2 Madrid, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Brighton Dance Network, ProDance Leeds and on a freelance basis in many other contexts.

Choreographic Practice

I lead choreographic practice workshops, intensives, discussions and courses in a wide range of contexts and configurations. Areas of particular interest for me are:

  • Form, Format, Frame – As makers, curators, producers how might we recognise potential formal innovation within our raw material? How might we best bring ideas into being through questioning conventional production and performance formats? How then do we approach and negotiate institutional, political, spatio-temporal or communicative frames? What happens to dance making when the visual arts world has a heightened interest in the moving body?
  • Languages, Languages – How do poetry, text and conversation grow from movement and vice versa? When is something best left unsaid, when is it crying out to be heard, when can body and voice disrupt each other in meaningful ways in process and performance?
  • Collaborative solo practice – How can one open up ideas, skills and strategies for creating solo dances in a group setting? What strategies can we engage each other with to delve deeper into our own individual practice and find new creative pathways?
  • Witnessing, mirroring and intervention – Exploring physical modalities of performing and witnessing each other’s work with openness and find playful ways to intervene in order to throw up new possibilities.
  • Improvisation skills – Deepening and opening ideas through developing improvisational scores. How might we move from improvisation to setting material without losing the heart of the improvisation?
  • Material – What is material? How can we recognise and use what’s already present in the room and in our bodies? How can we generate and draw from shared material in our own way?
  • Structuring: rhythm, duration and the need for change – How long should an idea last? How can we build the necessity for change through use of repetition, rhythm, predictability and unpredictability?
  • Feedback skills – Drawing from the Liz Lerman Critical Response Process, honing skills of observation and articulation to enable an individual to make the best work they want to make.

Physical Training

Training practice might stand alone in a professional class setting or can kick off the day during creative intensives or workshops.

I lead a dynamic release based class. Starting with the breath, the core and opening the senses to find energetic connections through the body, class develops to focus on fluid and functional floorwork, improvised moments and expansive travelling sequences which build in athleticism, complexity and dynamic range. Attention is given to co-ordination patterning, momentum, and clarity of one’s own individual approach to material.