I was delighted to kick off the Summer School with so many eager participants with the Welcome Workshop.  There were familiar faces and many new ones. I was happy to see friends that I had trained with nearly ten years ago at the Laban Leadership course with Midland Arts. The aim of this session was to introduce the idea that we can all create movement material, learn from each other and have an opportunity to perform in an informal way. All the while providing opportunities for people to meet each other and learn about each other through movement.

The two longer workshops for the day were led by Ríoanch NiNéill and Lisa Cahill.

Ríonach prepared the space with a number of quotes and visuals of how she views her work. Something pertinent to consider when working with older people is to MEET THE PERSON, NOT THE AGE. And yet, Ríonach reminded us that this kind of work is transferable to all ages. She led us through safe movement for older people with body conditioning and ‘chair aerobics’ and we had FUN!

I headed upstairs to Lisa’s workshop and arrived into a whirlwind or creativity. The participants were captivated by Lisa as she guided them through ideas for dance with young people. “FOLLOW YOUR CURIOSITY”  is a phrase she reminds us of frequently, and she encourages an investigative approach to work as if acting like a scientist. With this attitude, there is room to freely explore without feeling like your making a mistake, or doing it wrong. The varying energies in the room was palpable.

Before lunch break I returned to find the participants in Ríonach’s workshop sharing stories from their childhood, in a constructed manner so to allow the story-teller 5 minutes uninterrupted to share their memories.  These memories would be crafted into movement poems. You could see how this would lead to very honest, personal work, becoming something really beautiful under the careful and sensitive direction of a choreographer such as Ríonach.

For me the day was over unfortunately as I would have liked to have seen how these sessions developed. Many of the participants are staying on campus for the entire week, and some have chosen to attend daily sessions. The Kildare Dance & Movement Summer School runs until Friday 25th July.