Half term

So, it’s half way through term 1.

The new students have danced their wee hearts out and they now have a break (for me, this is Choreography time with Arts Team and a cheeky wee trip to Phnom Penh to meet DONALD yay!).

This term, I looked at ways to go about teaching the Laban effort graph and how to make this fun as well as being able to be easily translated into Khmer and Cambodian Sign Language. By the time something has been translated twice, you have probably lost what you were aiming for. Imagine Chinese whispers? And the worst of it, you have absolutely no idea what information they are receiving.

Laban effort graph has a TIME line, with SUSTAINED and SUDDEN.

For sustained we used water being poured into a bucket; one poured and one danced. As long as the water was being poured the movement had to be sustained. This also began to introduce leadership, and allowed this to be done in a non-vocal way which suited those who are deaf and mute.

For sudden we used paint splatters which was very fun!!! For every SPLAT you dance a SUDDEN move.

Paint splatters 1

paint splatters 2

This went down extremely well and could not believe how well disciplined everybody was; there wasn’t a single water spillage or paint splatter on the floor!! This also related to STOP/Go of traffic lights and I used these to make scores for participants to create dances to.

I’ve also started Dance Movie Night this term, which is a night we can all come together to hang out and watch dance. As a dancer it is so important to see other choreography to not only get some ideas but also to see what you like and don’t like; it is so important to have an opinion, and to use this opinion to influence the dance you are creating. Because a lot of my choreography is task based to get organic movements from the dancers, I wanted to introduce viewing other choreography to them, so that when they are creating they can use their hopefully newly formed dance opinions to help with this.

We watched Batsheva Dance Company perform Deca Dance, choreographed by Ohad Naharin, an extremely influential Israeli choreographer. He pioneers the ‘Gaga’ dance movement, and was extremely appropriate as I have attended an intensive workshop of this in London so could even teach some of the pieces we were watching.

I read a choreography book by Jonathan Burrows, and one thing that has always stuck with me is that he talked about how it was OK to copy what you see and like from other dancers, as you will never manage to completely copy them, and therefore will come up with your own move, inspired by something you found aesthetically pleasing. Hopefully some of the dancers will get some ideas from the film night. Full theatre version available here

This term has also been a busy one for Epic Encounters; they’ve had workshops with PEPY Tours as well as performing as part of Cambodian Living Arts Festival, Acts of Memory, looking at Cambodia’s history and what it means to Cambodian dance companies of today.

The festival was held at the National Museum of Cambodia and went up to watch their piece ‘Come Back Brighter’, which included swing and contemporary dance. I thoroughly enjoyed it and loved to see the group perform. I also loved the tasty street food we all had together afterwards! A pavement picnic they called it. Don’t know if I would know where is good (and safe) to eat without these guys but whenever I do get the chance to go with them it’s great.

Here are some pictures of them in action from the event

And we were absolutely delighted at the audience turnout and the fact that opening night was SOLD OUT. It is a new thing that the Cambodian public are viewing contemporary dance, and hopefully this will be a big step in promoting more of this to come. Please find some reviews of the piece and festival here http://en.cambodiasky.com/news/social/3073.html and http://art-cult.asia/article/pov-jolana-jongjam-contemporary-dance-performance-at-plae-pakaa-part-2/

And, as half term is upon us, it is time for me to choreograph an education dance theatre piece about the importance of education and the impact it can have on families. I have never choreographed a dance theatre educational piece before and really am just hoping for the best. Arts Team are a team of 5 who are recent graduates of the Inclusive Arts Course (IAC). They are going to be delivering the educational work for Epic Arts to free Epic Encounters up to do more contemporary choreography. Educational dance theatre is a great way for funders to ask Epic Arts to help spread their messages, and this piece needs to look at:

““Teach Me!” will raise the awareness of the following issues to rural families and parents in local villages in Kampot:
• Education is the key to a better life, it can change lives.
• Parents need to support the school and show interest in their
child’s education in order for the child to be successful.
• Those with education can find good jobs and earn higher
wages.
• People with education understand health and hygiene issues
leading to healthier children and less sickness in the family.
• Child labor will be reduced if children are attending school and
not working for their families.
• Educated people are more aware of the need to care for the
environment and resources.
• Education generates respect in families and communities
• Education is for all regardless of gender”

I have found it very difficult working with such a specific brief and making thing as obvious as they can be while still trying to be artistic and aesthetically pleasing. But hey, lets hope for the best. The new piece is going to be performed on June 26th at Epic Arts’ next Epic Showcase event. If anyone from Cambodia is reading this, come along to the free performance at 2pm.

Arts Team and I during production week

I’ve also made a wee video edit of the choreography that Epic Encounters and I created in my first week year; have a look at the preview here

So I think thats all for now; it’s been a great half term and I’m looking forward to the next one.

Lots of dancing love from Cambodia, Kathryn xx

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