Kildare Dance Summer School Day 2
Tuesday 22nd July

Before I set off this morning I picked up one of the tutors Fergus Byrne from his Dublin studios and managed to squeeze his wooden sculptures into the car! Not quite the aesthetic look he was going for but who would take any notice of us driving down the motorway. I was intrigued as to how Fergus would use these later in his workshop.

There were two morning classes today with myself leading the Laban Studies Strand and Rionach NíNéill downstairs pushing poeple through her Speed Choreography  intensive. Again, I was really delighted to be joined by people I had trained with 10 years ago at Midland Arts (2004/05), graduates of earlier Laban Leadership Courses, and a number of recent graduates from the course in Newbridge (2013/14). I focused on points of initiation in the body, noticing different feelings and qualities we receive when it originates from different areas. I led exercises that  focused on the planes, as a framework for encouraging expansive movement and transversal movement. I then introduced the Cube as a choreographic device for creating short pieces based on the letter of our names. These were performed in small groups.

Anna Carlisle Workshops
Anna’s morning workshop was centred around the theme of travelling. She was inspired by a piece of travel writing  by Patrick Leigh Fermor.  Anna put the theme out there and drew on the responses from the group;
Travelling at different levels and pathways // Survival Mode // Sightseeing and pausing to take in beautiful sites // Meeting people // queuing!  P1100775

With a bank of ideas to play with, Anna invited everyone onto the floor, focusing on breath, centring and a sense of balance before beginning to lead the group through different pathways across the floor. Almost in the blink of an eye shapes were being created, relationships were developing and something was emerging. Anna introduced a horizontal wash of movement that glided over the dance floor, each participant interpreting their own ideas in a personal way. She provided copies of the excerpt from the travel log she mentioned and with that, couples were bursting to explore ideas inspired by the text.

Master Chef was the inspiration for Anna’s second workshop of the day, inviting explorations of culinary actions such as chopping, slicing, sizzling, stirring etc. Revisiting the cube again as a choreographic device, small groups created soufflés! Anna provided feedback for each group and tweaked gently with the work they had generated. The session was completed with a restaurant setting using chairs that added a good bit of humour at the end of the day.

Fergus Byrne’s Workshop
Just before lunch I peered in on Fergus’ workshop upstairs. The room was quiet with only the noise from loose sheets of paper billowing in the breeze. Participants were divided into sketchers and models. The intensity of focus between the two was acute. Fergus had led them to explore the internal structures of the body, the lines of support and how weight is distributed. This was feeding into the sketches I saw around me. Imposing time limits on the sketches isn’t restrictive, on the contrary it enables the viewer to see more and explore different ways of seeing.

In the afternoon, the wooden structures I had squeezed into the car earP1100776lier in the morning
were manipulated by small groups giving time to explore ones’ relationships to it, relationship to each other, weight and points that join together. With a constantly changing landscape there was something organic about the structure, as if becoming a live entity of it’s own. As the groups crept and pushed through the space, Fergus encouraged people to drop out and sketch, if they felt the need. As an observer the ever changing landscape was fascinating to see and ideas were swirling around my head. There was such a sense of due care towards the participants. The sounds of the wood on the parquet floor resonated through the room adding another dynamic quality.

With the rain holding off, Fergus took the group outside into the orchard on the grounds of NUI Maynooth. The dancers adapted to the new environment whilst maintaining their close relationship to each other and the structures. It was beautiful to watch both from a distance, and from the height of the tree. The dancers remained focused throughout not distracted by the sounds or people around.