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performance

Dance Interviews Performance

Colleen Snell: On Artistic Collaboration & the Importance of Embodiment

April 17, 2020
colleen snell frog in hand the movement blog interview dance arts performance canada uk

“I believe in humans… their behaviour and their stories.”

Colleen is a performer, choreographer, educator and the Founder/Co-Artistic Director of Frog in Hand – a dynamic, site-specific driven performance group that she began with her sister, Noelle Hamlyn.

I first met Colleen in 2010 at London Contemporary Dance School where we received our Masters. I’ve been following her work over the years and now, given the climate, I finally made the time to arrange a chat with her.

Here we easily speak about her work, how she got there, her dance and non-dance related influences, and how she’s been transitioning during the lockdown.



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Online Kitchen Dances

Art Dance New Year Performance

Toolbox – A Dance Theatre Performance

January 10, 2020
toolbox dance theatre performance art piece olivis mis orozcco new york brooklyn january 2020

First of all, Happy New Year! I can’t believe it’s been 6 months since I’ve arrived back in London already. Settling in has been different than expected, but happy to report the following event happening in New York next week.

Tune in, East Coasters.


Dancer, Actress, Filmmaker (dear friend and colleague), Olivia Mia Orozco has yet another exciting project!

I’ve always admired her explorations with being both a stage performer and a dance film artist. She also uses her creative efforts as the Director at Radiant Space in Los Angeles, a multi-purpose gallery, where she brings in not only great art, but performances and wellbeing projects as well. Her other works include film projects such as Focus on Mexico, Nylon Cave, and Temporal as well as choreographic and performance credits.

Now she has a newly evolved project consisting of the three elements that she knows best: stage, film, and interaction.

Toolbox is a dance theatre performance art piece by that journeys through trauma and the path to healing. It questions how we build tools to help ourselves. How does energy transmute? How do we handle life when it feels too much? Is meditation the next step to self-discovery? This piece poses many questions and shares non verbal stories, sound, film, a staged installation, dance and acting as a mode of new storytelling.


After a successful opening in Los Angeles in three different locations, it’s safe to say it’s more than ready to travel to New York.

“The title of Olivia Mia Orozco’s Toolbox refers to the idea of an emotional toolkit, evaluating how equipped with self-awareness, clarity, empathy, patience and the capacity to heal, we are or are not when confronted with life’s traumas […] Orozco [and her collaborators] create a sensorial expression of what building such a toolbox can feel like, from contemplation to catharsis, brutal honesty, and ultimate liberation.””

Shana Nys Dambrot, LA Weekly


Toolbox: A Dance Theatre Performance Art Piece
The Living Gallery, Brooklyn (NY)
January 13th, 2020 from 7-8pm

Choreography, Direction, Installation & Film:
Olivia Mia Orozco

Performer and Movement Collaborator:
Julienne Mackey

Installation by:
Olivia Mia Orozco & Michael Jon Leonard

Lighting Design by:
Darren Sarkin

Sliding Scale Tickets $10-25

The ticket fee goes towards renting the space, paying the performer and travel expenses, thank you for your generosity.

BOOK NOW

Dance Data Health Insights

2018 Movement Census – Dance needs YOU!

January 8, 2018
the movement blog survey 2018 dancers worldwide

Calling All Dancers!

We have an ambitious goal to conduct the first global survey of dancers to provide the community with insights on performance & injury prevention.

As we kick off a new year we’re excited at The Movement Blog for what 2018 can bring. This year we are aiming big by attempting to gain never before collated insights about the world of dance. To do this we need your help. In return for a few minutes of your time you will have the chance to win an amazing health tracker, the Fitbit Charge 2!

the movement blog survey 2018 dancers worldwide

As you probably know, Kindall studied Dance Science at Trinity Laban in London. It’s a practice that I find fascinating and important for the dance world. Dance Science looks to apply the principles and techniques normally reserved for elite athletes, to optimise performance and prevent injury.
This is a crucial movement for the dance industry which traditionally hasn’t had the same levels of support as other physically intensive pursuits. However, something that has surprised me as I’ve learned more about Dance Science is just how little data there is available about the industry.
Dance Science needs data to be successful but most data sets are collected by private organisations or within academia. Indeed if you search Google for ‘dance data’ the top result is a database for Scottish Country Dance (bravo Scotland 🎉).

trinity laban dance science the movement blog survey 2018

Wayne McGregor’s Dancers working with Trinity Laban’s Dance Science Department

Knowing that The Movement Blog attracts users from all over the world it got us thinking – why don’t we conduct our own survey of the dance community to share with the dance community. We are very please to announce TMB’s first annual Movement Census!

OUR GOALS

  • To understand more about different aspects of the dance community across the world
  • Gain insight on how dancers deal with injury prevention and performance optimisation
  • To provide tips and advice on how to avoid injury and perform to your best
  • To understand dancer habits and behaviours whether they are teachers, pros or enthusiasts
  • To raise awareness about the importance of injury prevention
The survey itself only takes 5 minutes to complete and the results will be completely confidential. The more dancers from different backgrounds who complete the survey, the better the results will be.
In return for sharing the survey with your friends we will enter you in a competition to win a Fitbit Charge 2. Once we’ve compiled the results we will publish a report which will be free for all respondents to download.

the movement blog survey 2018 dancers worldwide

Photo by Drew Graham

Dance Review Travel

Mini Dance Review: Skånes Dansteater Malmo, Sweden

November 3, 2016
mini dance review: skates dansteater

The Movement Blog’s ‘mini’ dance review aims to give you a ‘short and sweet’ low-down of current performances from around the world.


Company: Skånes Dansteater

Show: To See the World While the Light Lasts

Choreographer: Ben Wright (and dancers)

When: November 4th-6th, 2016

Where: Malmo Opera, Sweden

Skånes Dansteater, based in Malmo, Sweden, represents dancers from all over the world. This is my second time seeing the company perform and its diversity is highly apparent. This is also the second time that I’ve seen the company’s performance with other non-dancers, in which their appreciation have been just as enthusiastic.
Skanes Dansteater’s new show, To See the World While the Light Lasts was entirely derived and choreographed from both Ben Wright and the dancers. In addition, dance students from Codarts had the chance to perform as Apprentices in a few shows. Both the Rehearsal Director and one of the Apprentices’ Mentors from the company, Brittanie Brown, agree that they’ve possessed both maturity and the will to be prepared at a moment’s notice along with impressive, beautiful dancing.

mini dance review: skates dansteater

Wright’s new show takes on a vast and deep topic: life and death. Without sounding like something to put you off, this double act ballet explores much more than that. There are elements of light, happiness, and partnerships. There’s even a reminiscence of ‘another world’, which could be considered ‘the afterlife’, or it could represent a new beginning in an unknown/alternate universe? That may be for the audience to decide.
In addition to the concept, the performances are completed with an onstage band, a full orchestra in the pit, and the choir from Malmo Opera, whom were set up in the theatre’s balcony behind the audience: surround sound in real time. There’s a familiar feeling with this musical arrangement that seems both folklore and theatrical. Perhaps this allows the viewer to immerse themselves into the story.
Skånes Dansteater’s upcoming performances continue this weekend, November 4th-6th, 2016 at the Malmo Opera. If you’re in the Copenhagen/Malmo area it’s definitely worth a trip (plus Copenhagen and Malmo are both great cities!). Come with a patient, open and curious mind. This show is great for those who like to interpret the meaning of a choreographer’s work.

Enjoy!

Dance General Fitness and Well–Being Tips

A Journey Back to Dance #6: Dealing with Old and New Injuries

July 31, 2016
journey back to dance #6: old and new injuries

(Above: Teaching a GYROKINESIS® class via Video Chat to help dancer, Valeria Caboi, recover from an old hip injury.)

Often times dancers have to deal with either old and/or new injuries, especially when returning to training and performance.

Even when we train, retrain, and cross train to prevent and reduce injury old or even new injuries could flare up when the body is doing something . New injuries can be caused by overexertion, fatigue, or accidents like falling or tripping. So how should a dancer cope when getting back to dance, movement, and performance?

 Here’s some basic advice that every dancer should know and implement.

journey back to dance #6: old and new injuries

An example of Kinesis-Taping given by an Osteopath to ensure proper healing and support.

1) Deal with the injury.

  • Rest, ice, compress, and elevate (RICE) the injury area if needed. In addition, the UK’s NHS website notes ‘Protection’ as the first protocol (PRICE), which means to protect the injuries area from further harm.
  • Whether it’s a new or recurrent injury, book an appointment with an Osteopath, Physiotherapist, or with a  Doctor to ensure nothing is torn or fractured and to determine whether it is an acute or chronic injury.

2) Listen to your body.

  • Avoid ‘pushing through’ and continue resting and any recommended treatment, especially if the injured area is still sensitive.
  • Know your limits. Consider taking only the first half of a class to protect the injured area and to ensure the injured area has healed properly.
  • Don’t be ashamed to let teachers know. Although we aim to avoid injuries when at all possible, dealing with an injury properly is just as important.

3) Slowly get back in the game.

  • Focus on proper alignment, beginning and finishing movements correctly, and using true range of motion (i.e. turnout).
  • Know what areas to strengthen and stretch and continue recommended exercises given by therapist or doctor if necessary.
  • Stay aware of what may have initially caused the injury to help prevent and reduce re-injury.

journey back to dance #6: old and new injuries


Want to try something new to ease any pain or discomfort within your dancing?
Check out my GYROTONIC® Case Study Recruitment for discount sessions.

Healing Sources

Lazy Dancer Tips by Alessia Lugoboni

Technique Class Participation Options for Injured Dancers

RNOH NHS: Centre for Dance Medicine (UK)

Osteopathy & Massage Clinic (UK)

Harkness Centre for Dance Medicine (US)

Perspectives on Dance Injury

Dance

A Journey Back to Dance #3: Preparation

February 16, 2016
journey back to dance #3: mental and physical preparation

It’s important to adhere both mental and physical preparation especially when returning back to dance and performing.

There are quite a few ways to mentally and physically prepare for a journey back to dance. Whether you’ve taken a year or a week off, your body and mind will need the upmost care (and respect). Some key elements involve cross-training, ‘letting go’, and knowing when to rest. Know why these are important and how to achieve them.

journey back to dance #3: mental and physical preparation

Practicing the GYROKINESIS® Method with friend and dancer, Brittanie Brown.

Cross-Train

My current schedule, other than dance, consists of GYROTONIC®/GYROKINESIS® (of course), yoga, pilates, running, and strength/circuit training. I’m a huge fan cross-training because it keeps my schedule interesting and I can feel improvement more rapidly. There are also a number of studies that prove a dancer’s schedule should include specific and complimentary training.

Thankfully ‘cross-training’ has become more popular within the dance community (thank you, Misty and others) as it was previously feared that a dancer would become ‘too bulky’ or ‘too tight’. Contrary to popular belief, maintaining a balanced workout could actually help avoid over tightening, over stretching, and, most importantly, injury.

Why is this important?

A number of studies have recommended other training regimes to supplement dance training. Cross-training helps to reduce tiredness and improve muscular endurance. Fatigue contributes 90% of injury and ‘overuse’ cases therefore, cross-training can help to reduce this risk. In turn, it could also help with enhancing power and stamina needed for unpredictable phrasing/choreography.

Ballet Master, Dominic Antonucci, states that, “boxing improved my strength and stamina, but also provided psychological advantages […] by working on something else physical in my free time, I could return to ballet with mental vigour”. Birmingham Royal Ballet dancer, Jamie Bond, also states that, “[…] training with specific goals in mind is key in preventing muscles from ‘bulking up'”.

How to do it:

Keep it low cost and convenient. Look for deals and reasonable class packs near where you live and/or work or use site like Class Pass. Teachers or Trainers could ‘swap’ sessions with each other or take turns leading a class.

Use a fitness app. My favorite go to: The Nike Training Club App. There are many free apps out there.

Create a ‘buddy’ system. Create a group where you and your friends can schedule days to go to the gym or class together, like WhatsApp.

Choose something that you enjoy. Once you begin to enjoy a new activity or class, make it a part of your routine. However, if this new activity or class is proving to become detrimental, it’s important to know when to stop.

journey back to dance #3: mental and physical preparation

Video Still from Valeria Caboi‘s Red T-Shirt Video Project, where I was free to forget what I knew about technique and just move.

‘Let Go’ When You Can

At the end of the day we’re just practising […] I don’t really worry about what happened before because I think that can really restrain you. I just try to be really present, to be true to what I’m thinking and working on at that moment, and hope that that resonates with other people.

Wayne McGregor

Why is this important?

Letting go of preconceived notions is a tough task as our brain mainly works around things we’ve seen or done before. It helps you to move forward, progress, and enjoy new information. In addition, obtain weekly, daily, and hourly goals, but be prepared for these goals to change. What you’ve done last year, yesterday, or five minutes ago will be completely different from you need to do ‘now’. This is also a great tool for creativity.

How to do it:

This can be done on your own time whether you’re practicing or performing. Each class, rehearsal, and/or performance can be a new opportunity to approach movement differently. Learn from what you’ve done before but also make room to focus on something different and to create something new. This may also mean to push beyond your limits with reasonable risks. “It’s not what you’re doing, it’s how you’re doing it […] have a real experience (Alonzo King)”.

journey back to dance #3: mental and physical preparation

This is when I finally took advantage of a cheap flight deal from London to Lisbon, Portugal. Worth it, in every way.

Rest

Why is this important?

Don’t be afraid to take a day or two off, or a well-deserved vacation. There are many benefits of rest. One of the most important reasons for rest for a dancer is avoiding burnout. Constructive rest is also beneficial  as this practice helps to restore balance in the body (and can take up to as little as 2-5 minutes). This is also great for when you may be feeling overwhelmed or overworked during the day.

How to do it:

Sleep Well
Can’t fall asleep? Clear your mind with apps like Headspace that can provide an effective way to meditate, relax, and reduce stress.

Nourish Yourself 

Eating good, healthy food is another great way to replenish the body and provide relaxation (why, hello dark chocolate).

Go to the Spa
Yes, and get a massage if you can.

Practice at Home
Take it easy with self-massage techniques such as foam and ball rolling, or yoga or Gyrokinesis practice with a guided video.


Read up:

Try Something New for 30 Days

Fitness & Strength FAQ’s – Dance UK

Cross-Training and Injury Prevention – Gaynor Minden

Importance of Dance Fitness – IADMS

Rest for Dancers- Dr. Glenna Batson

Top Dancers Who Cross-Train

Alonzo King on Art, Discovery, and Creativity

Dance the Gyrokinesis Method the Gyrotonic Method

How the Gyrotonic Method Enhances Dance Performance

January 13, 2016
how the gyrotonic method enhances dance performance

Gyrotonic [Exercise] has been the perfect addition in my training and performance as a dancer after battling with injuries for years and trying different kinds of crosstraining. Gyrotonic[Exercise] helped me understand where my movement starts and what parts of my body should be working less (with less tension) and which ones I was ignoring. Every Gyrotonic session gives me valuable information about my body, but also makes me trust it more. The body knows how to work efficiently if we listen to it and follow the nature of the movement, Gyrotonic[Exercise] is the perfect way to reconnect and strengthen your body.

– Maria, Ballet/ Contemporary Dancer, Pilates Instructor

how the gyrotonic method enhanced my performance skills

What’s generally needed to enhance dance performance?

Technical ability/understanding

Healthy psychological levels

Neuromuscular coordination

Imagery skills

Musicality/Rhythm

Artistry/Expression

Athleticism

A sense of playfulness

how the gyrotonic method enhances dance performance

What does the GYROTONIC® Method focus on?

  • Neuromuscular coordination
  • Breathing patterns for optimal expansion and contraction
  • Maintaining less effort for more power and increased flexibility
  • Postural and movement alignment
  • Movement intention
  • Relating movement to everyday things, places, and objects
  • Whole body awareness
  • Mind-body connection
  • Rhythm and playfulness

how the gyrotonic method enhances dance performance

How does the GYROTONIC® Method enhance dance performance?

  • Firstly, the method’s movement intention and philosophy is parallel, if not the same, to dance training and most movement.
  • The body is viewed as a functional instrument that is beyond aesthetics.
  • You have to accept and be honest with your own anatomical make up and eliminate the need to imitate someone else’s (e.g. flexibility, turnout).
  • It improves both postural alignment and alignment during movement by increasing awareness.
  • It emphasizes using necessary effort to avoid working ‘too hard’, mentally and physically.
  • Thus, it helps the body to exert an effective amount of energy for longer lasting power.
  • It helps to overcome old habits that previously increased injuries, aches and pains, even mental barriers.
  • It helps one to take risks safely, explore movements fully, oh, and HAVE FUN!
A dancers’ performance skills could be broken down even further to elements such as self-esteem, cognitive learning, goal setting, fitness, and dieting. While performance enhancement needs further research within the Gyrotonic and Gyrokinesis community, let alone the dance community, this barrier could be broken by reporting more experiences, more case studies, and relate findings to existing movement and sports research.

Read up:

Beyond Physical Practice

Dancers as Athletes

Dance Fitness

Dance Science and the Dance Technique Class

Gyrokinesis

Gyrotonic