Lîla Dance workshop – perspectives

On 11 and 12 November, Abi Mortimer, co-founder of the Lîla Dance company, visited Bedales to deliver a two-day workshop for Dance students. Here, the students who took part – Mathilda Douglas, Anna Tasker, Phoebe Kane-Moss and Lucy Albuquerque – share their experiences.

By Mathilda Douglas, 6.2
Abi helped us to choreograph for our 6.2 A Level quartet, going towards the A Level Dance exam. On the first day, Abi took us through two warm-ups that we thoroughly enjoyed. One was all about warming up the back and legs, and the other was to do with floorwork and getting a close connection to the floor by moving freely. Next, she taught us three motifs, which were small sections of movement which are included throughout our three-minute dance. These were quite technically demanding for all of us, using different parts of our bodies in different ways. On the second day, we used all the motifs in a variety of creative tasks. Abi choreographed a whole group piece, also with the use of different choreographic devices, bringing the piece together using some very fast-paced music.

By Anna Tasker, 6.1
During the two-day workshop, we had to quickly learn difficult and original choreography, perform creative tasks on our own, build our stamina and step outside of our comfort zones. I had never done anything like this before, and I had no idea how challenging it would be! I gained insight into what it is like to be a serious Dance student, as well as the accomplishments and hurdles that come with it, which is especially useful as a student who is new to the world of Dance.

By Phoebe Kane-Moss, Block 5
Working with Lîla Dance took me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to experience new choreography techniques. The piece we created gradually got easier as we rehearsed it and by the end, I felt confident performing the new movement. Particularly, it broadened my ideas in the creative process. Going forward I have now developed new ways in which I can choreograph movements using alternative and interesting body movements.

By Lucy Albuquerque, 6.2
Throughout the workshop we learnt new techniques in an hour-long technique class in the mornings. This allowed me to imrpove my stamina, as well as learn new movement that I can include in my choreography or use to develop my dancing as a whole. Throughout choreographing the group piece, I have learnt that it isn’t so challenging to choreograph and piece. This includes the fact that I discovered a piece can be built from a foundation of three motifs quite simply. The warm-up routines and group piece allowed me to widen my dance vocabulary as it gave me a different view of dance and a new and interesting perspective on how dance can be performed, taught and choreographed.

Dance companies are so important to dance students as they can expand a dancer’s knowledge and understanding of dance in general, as we experience with the Lîla Dance company last week. The workshop also gave us a preview into what dance is like full-time, as we were dancing from 9am untl 5pm. This pushed us as students because we aren’t used to doing that on a daily basis, however it was extremely rewarding. The two days of dancing was such an amazing experience and there was a lot that we learnt and were able to take away and apply in our dancing and choreography.

Dancing in the style of Richard Alston

By Soph Baty, 6.2

On 13 November, the professional dancer Hannah Kidd came into school to help me, Evie Adams and Mathilda Douglas with our solo choreography, which will go towards our final A Level Dance grade. Hannah previously worked for the Richard Alston Dance Company from 2007-2013. Richard Alston is the practitioner all three of us have chosen to base our solos on and his movement and choreographic style is key to this piece of work.

During the 1.5 hour rehearsal with Hannah, she helped me adapt the way I perform my movements to be more like Alston, focusing the arms and legs within every movement and going further than I thought I could within the solo. I learnt that I need to keep a strong stamina throughout my solo and adjusted small details to help project his style.

Evie said: “I found the session extremely useful. It helped me gain greater insight into Richard Alston’s style. We went through my solo and adjusted small details to help project his style. The main aspect I took away from the session was the contrast between relaxation and linearity in the performance of the piece.”

Mathilda said: “Hannah helped me realise how important the use of focus is within Richard Alston’s style. Richard has many different aspects of dance styles and Hannah helped me incorporate them all within my piece.”

Overall, Hannah’s input helped push all of our solos to the maximum and aided us greater insight into Alston’s style. It was an amazing opportunity for us to receive support and constructive criticism from Hannah who has danced for Alston before. This experience has definitely made a huge impact to how we will perform our movement and choreography within our solos.