I feel like I have truly grown as a dancer, although from this picture I evidently still can't point me toes! However, there is always room for improvement. My long summer without enough dance is nearly over, so I thought I would set some resolutions for the next school year.
1) To pace myself
I got my first injury back in May (yippee) and since then I've had to be very
careful. Jumping was off the table for months, and I'm still very aware of how I
look after myself in class. Despite the obvious frustration, it has actually been
useful to take a step back and really look at my posture in class. Now that I'm
recovered I really want to stay that way this year, and keep going with
strengthening and looking after my body.
2) To challenge myself as much as possible in class
It's easy to get too comfortable in a class that you are familiar with and this
year I'm not starting any major new training programs like I was last year.
For this reason I think it's really important for me to continue pushing myself
to improve every day. In order to motivate me throughout the year I'm going to
continue to refer to my inspirations. You can check out why I love Joy Womack
Misty Copland by clicking the links.
3) To continue trying to find my choreographic voice and 'unique style'
This is another thing that I think improved in leaps and bounds last year, but
I'm by no means finished! A huge part of this progress was taking part in the
Choreomission competition on CAT scheme, where I created my own piece,
which you can read about here - My First Choreography Experience . This year
I want to focus on moving like me, whatever that means. It is brilliant to be
able to learn a wide variety of styles and I want to use this experience to create
my own movement vocabulary. I have a feeling this one might be more of a
4) To balance life, dance and school
Unlike some of my dance friends, I am not starting vocational training in
September. I am continuing academic studies at sixth form college, so this is a
whole new challenge for me. While I was very very busy, I managed to balance
everything and do my GCSEs, and results day came without any trauma!
Continuing to balance things out at college will be a new challenge, but one I
am excited to start.
So there are my four resolutions for the new school year, I hoped they gave you some food for thought. I'm going to enjoy my last few days of holiday before the craziness of dance and school kicks in. We'll see how many of my resolutions I achieve before next year!
I recently went to see a performance of Nederlands Dans Theater 2 at The Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. I had no idea what to expect, but I was absolutely blown away by the quality of dance that I saw there.
As many of you will know, I am currently part of the Centre for Advanced Training scheme at Trinity Laban (you can read about my experience as part of CAT here.) This term at CAT we had the opportunity to choreograph a piece as part of a competition called Choreomission. Although I had always enjoyed the creative side of contemporary dance, like improvising and creative tasks in class, I had never created a whole piece before.
I was excited but also quite nervous before the first rehearsal. We had chosen our group members by doing workshops with small groups of students on the first day of term. This meant that although I had chosen my dancers, I had no idea what they would be like to work with as we were almost complete strangers!
At first I found it difficult to express exactly what I wanted when setting my dancers tasks to generate material. I could see it in my head, but when it came to putting it into words it was a different story... However, a few rehearsals later we had various sections of movement that started to almost become a piece! This happened as I 'found my feet' as a choreographer and we bonded together as a group.
There were definitely some things I would do differently were I to do it again though. Some tasks were pretty hilarious, like trying to make one of them dance blindfolded with the other dancers surrounding them. Maybe not my best plan.
We also had a very interesting time with the tape that I was using onstage, which was absolutely always on one of two settings:
1) Not sticky enough and so coming off the floor
2) Too sticky and so stuck to my dancers' feet :)
But all of these mishaps aside, I had an amazing time growing as a person and a dancer by making my ideas come to life. I met a load of new people on CAT scheme (sometimes I still feel like a newbie) and it definitely helped me grow in confidence.
My piece got through to the final 6, but wasn't selected for the show, which means that this journey has come to an end. I now have more experience and lots of memories to take away with me and I'm definitely going to do Choreomission again.
Think creative thoughts!
While most dancers would swear that they always love performing, not all of us would say we always love class! At times it can be frustrating and you can feel like your not making progress. Here are my top tips for staying motivated:
I write this after my first intensive, two days of cultural dance from around the world. I had a crash course in Bharatanatyam, Scottish Highland dancing and Ceilidh, Middle Eastern Dabke and Waacking. I know, a lot to get my head around in two days...
It was the end of my first half term on the CAT scheme, which stands for Centre for Advanced Training. The CAT scheme takes place at nine centres around the country. You can find out more here:
It has been an amazing experience so far. Meeting new people was been great, especially during the intensive when we were mixed with people of all ages and abilities.
I also discovered a lot about how I dance, and I wasn't as terrible at waacking as I thought I would be! My waacking teacher created an amazing atmosphere in the studio, she was called Icy Ice, which in itself is quite a change to a conventional ballet lesson :) Once everyone began to let go and have fun, it was a great environment to try something very out of my comfort zone.
We also learnt that Dabke originated from farmers stamping out the clay for bricks, which was made more enjoyable by musicians creating rhythms for them to stamp to. This evolved into the dance Dabke, traditional in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Palestine
It's good to go outside of your comfort zone once in a while, to push yourself to try something new. Whatever it is that scares you, sometimes facing a fear has an amazing outcome that you could never have predicted. Wise words from Eleanor Roosevelt:
What will you do that scares you today?
Contemporary dance student and food-lover, sharing tips and tricks, recipes and my journey through the amazing worlds of dance and food.