Cumbria Youth Dance collaboration with TDPT

5 tips to make the most of a blog entry

Topos is a year-long artistic collaboration between Cumbria Youth Dance Company and Wired Aerial Theatre, to create a suite of new work – 1 dance film & 2 performance pieces – on the theme of mountains. Exploring the relationship between Labanotation (a way of recording dance movement) and topos (a similar notation method used by climbers to record their routes), dancers will work on the Cumbrian fells and in the studio to explore the transition between vertical & horizontal, producing 3 unique pieces of choreography for sharing at Kendal Mountain Festival, in the gardens at Brantwood, Coniston during John Ruskin’s bicentenary celebrations, and at Lakes Alive festival. The first performance has already been seen on stage at The Lowry as part of U. Dance NW 2019.

Photo: Henry Iddon

Part of the project will involve the young dancers creating blog posts describing their training and explaining how they are using the inspiration of their native Cumbrian fells to create contemporary dance.

So: to celebrate this project and to kickstart the TDPT collaboration here are 5 top tips for developing a good blog entry:

  1. Think carefully about how you combine your media. Do you have images and/or short video you can use to complement your ideas in writing?
  2.  Be simple and natural with your writing – blogs can be informal and are often all the more engaging when they are. 
  3. Think of your audience – who are you speaking to?  In this example – for TDPT – it is a mix of readers from all over the world, so don’t assume everything will be understood and explain local terms or jargon (briefly though!)
  4. Keep things short and sweet. Blogs are often read while people are doing other things – so keep the message simple.
  5. Above all – have a clear focus, so you know what you are trying to say. For this project it could be answering a simple question: How can mountains and nature inspire a training in dance? 

And remember – I’ll be around for the next few months as part of the project team to help and advise. So please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

Jonathan Pitches (j.pitches@leeds.ac.uk)

(TDPT co-editor and academic at Leeds University) 

Call for Papers: The Makings of the Actor – Athens 17-26 July 2019

Towards Contemporary Acting Techniques, Practices & Methodologies    

Post-doctoral Researcher Dr Kiki Selioni, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, Labanarium and MCF have taken the initiative to organize a Conference in Athens. The conference The Makings of the Actor aims to offer a platform to dialogue about the skills and knowledge necessary to develop the contemporary actor. The Conference will be the pilot event towards the establishment of the International Centre for Actor’s training that will officially open the next year 2020 in Athens supported by many institutions. Its mission is to gather international practitioners and researchers to discuss the needs of contemporary performance practice through conferences, performances, and workshops taking place internationally.

Contrary to the between-ness of our global realities, the vast majority of professional/conservatory-based training programmes in Europe, the UK, US, and Australia with a few exceptions have not yet embraced multi-, inter-, intra-cultural realities in their structure or pedagogical practice. Assumptions about what acting ‘is’ continue to be shaped by conventional modes, models, techniques, and structures that often resist both critical and/or creative self-examination (Zarrilli, Sasitharan and Kapur, 2016: 336).

The conference wants to address these perspectives and invites contributions addressing the following questions:

  • what constitutes outstanding acting?
  • The role of ‘talent’ in acting training
  • How to train skills and dexterity
  • How do we train and teach to reach all of the above

Our main goal is to open the discussion about this crucial issue of how to develop an actor today and to open a platform where for the first time we can as practitioners discuss our practices in order to create a community that can reach solutions.

Keynote Speakers     

Pr. Sergei Tcerkasckki Head of an Acting Studio in Russian State Institute of Performing Arts (he will also deliver an intensive week Workshop about Stanislavsky’s system) 100 years of the Stanislavsky System and Modern Actor Training

Pr. Andy Lavender in Theatre & Performance at the University of Warwick.  Head of the School of Theatre & Performance Studies and Cultural & Media Policy Studies, University of Warwick.

Dr. Tom Cornford, Lecturer in Theatre and Performance at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Sulian Vieira Pacheco, Assistant Professor, Department of Performing Arts, University of Brasilia 

Avra Sidiropoulou Assistant Professor at the Μ.Α. program in Theatre Studies at the Open University of Cyprus

Pr. Nikos Geladas School of Physical Education and Sports Science   National and Kapodistrian University of Athens ·

Dr. Katia Savrami  Assistant Professor of Choreology at the Department of Theatre Studies at the University of Patras, Greece.

Pr. Rob Roznowski Head of Acting and Directing in the Department of Theatre. Professor Michigan State University, USA.

Ramunė Balevičiūtė Associate Professor in Theatre Studies, Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre

Call for Papers, Teaching Demonstrations and Performances 17-26  July (Except Sunday 21th)

We welcome submissions from acting/voice/movement teachers, actors coaches, theatre practitioners, actors, directors, training practitioners, theatre researchers, practice and academic researchers within varying aspects of practice.  

For papers please send your abstract of 200 words for your oral presentation (20 min) in a Word doc form, including title, institutional affiliation, your brief CV and email address. The paper presentations will be 20 min they are followed by a 10 min discussion with the audience/participants.

Submissions of teaching demonstration must be in English and can be up to 4 pages (including references and figures) in a Word doc form, including title, institutional affiliation, your brief CV and email address. The first 2 pages are expected to describe your system. The third and fourth pages are expected to be used for images, references, and technical requirements. You should expect wireless network access. A number of  8-10 students will be provided for all accepted demonstrations. The Demonstration allows practitioners/researchers to demonstrate their works in teaching in a dedicated session of 60-70 min. they are followed by a 20 min discussion with the audience/participants.

Performances will take place at Michael Cacoyannis Foundation Theatre Hall. Proposals must outline the planned work accurately in 2 pages in a Word doc form and must include title, brief Cv, technical requirements, images, and video. Performances running must be 20-90 min. and they are followed by a 20 min discussion with the audience/participants.

Please send your submission until 25th April 2019 to kiki.selioni@cssd.ac.uk

If an official invitation is required earlier for research funding purposes, please contact kiki.selioni@cssd.ac.uk  and ensure that you submit your abstract as early as possible.

Submissions based on an implemented and tested system that innovative approaches related to conference’s areas of interest, (including but not limited to):

Acting techniques/systems/methodologies

Voice speaking training

Dance and movement training for actors

Martial arts, stage combat

Acting coaching on screen

Actor and musical productions

Improvisation techniques and rehearsal process

Theory and/or Practice  

Performance as Training

Psychology of the Actor

Presence and Truth on Stage

Ecstatic and Ritual Acting

Metaphysics and Physics in Actor’s presence

Acting in Education

Actors in Industry and their continuous training

Amateur/Professional Actors skills.

Skills and dexterities in Acting

Acting/Coaching Teachers and their skills.

Choreography in Acting

Participants Fees:

Papers: €150

Demonstrations: €300

Performances: €100-300

Conference Attendance Fees: €200

Student and unwaged €100

Workshop Monday 22 July to Friday 26 July 14.00-19.00

Modern Stanislavsky System in the Mirror of Chekhov’s “The Seagull”

This two-part workshop gives an experience of work according to the different phases of Stanislavsky’s System development. Starting from the intensive practical overview of different approaches to work of an actor on himself/herself it moves forward to scene work.

Rehearsal techniques (Etude technique, Method of Physical Actions, Action Analysis) are discussed and experienced. Closer examination of Treplev’s play in play reveals how Action Analysis might be applied not only for psychological drama but to the nonrealistic playwriting (here, to symbolic drama) as well.

Workshop fees:

Participants: €400 Student & unwaged: €300

Attendants: €200Student & unwaged: €100 

For info and booking please send your application and brief cv to: kiki.selioni@cssd.ac.uk

The full call is here

The Practice Diaries Exchange – Call for Proposals

The Theatre, Dance and Performance Training Blog has launched a new section, The Practice Diaries Exchange. The Exchange is a place to explore, discuss, debate and rethink the concept of training/practice in order to give weight to training/practice as a ‘deep-going’ process of cultivation that can lead to to profound understanding and realisation of embodied knowledge in performing arts. In order to create an open space where everyone may share their opinions, this section will run like a forum – calling for a question as a theme first and then collecting contributed articles for follow-up discussions. The question will serve as a stimulus to not only attract and invite various views from known or experienced knowledge but also to encourage people adopt a practice-as-research process for exploring the offered question.

To begin the first discussion session, we welcome the proposal of questions from all artists, practitioners, researchers, students and blog readers who are interested in training or practicing processes of performing arts. The questions related to training/practice could come from your experiences, something you have been contemplating, or from a sudden creative idea. If you are interested to raise a question for the first session, please send your proposal to the section editor, I-Ying Wu, at ginggingla@gmail.com before 29 April, 2019. A proposal could include a short description to expand on the question.

For more information about The Practice Diaries Exchange, please see the new page of the section.

The Practice Diaries Exchange

Originating from ‘Answer the Question’ in the Theatre, Dance and Performance Training journal, this new section, The Practice Diaries Exchange, offers a chance for all people who have experience or are interested in performing arts training, including practitioners, artists, researchers, students and readers to (re)think about, explore, and discuss issues related to practice/training. It aims to emphasise the significance of long-term training and practicing processes in the performing arts.

In order to enable people to have a common ground to share and exchange varied training experiences, The Practice Diaries Exchange focuses on topics related to concepts of “practice” in diverse backgrounds and contexts. The Exchange, will periodically raise particular themes such as: What is training? What is a practice or practicing? What does training/practicing mean to you? What is the most difficult in training/practicing? How do you face difficulties in practices? These discussions may expand into a myriad of creative questions that could begin artistic explorations or small practice-as-research projects. For instance, what would you want to ask or tell “Practice” if “Practice” was a person capable of responding to you? Similarly, how might “Practice” teach?

While the Exchange will hopefully provide useful discussion, answering a question does not imply the end of a discussion but rather marks the beginning of a new exploration in training/practice. The approach of practice as research tends to see research not only as a way to arrive at answers but also as a way to explore, a pathway to future enquiry. Practitioners may never find an answer that is forever right for some questions. They have to persist in questioning themselves so their training will continue. In other words, because there are always hidden aspects of meaning to uncover that differ from stage to stage of training, practitioners can never see the end of their practice, regardless of how long they have been practicing.

The Practice Diaries Exchange aims to serve as a global, interactive, and open space for knowledge exchange, exploration, and discussion in a fashion more akin to a forum than a one-way question-and-answer session. Blog readers are encouraged to suggest and present questions on this webpage. Similarly, all readers are welcome to respond to the questions in a range of ways which may not necessarily be in the form of an answer, but might take the form of thoughts, ideas, arguments, or even other questions that expand from the original one. Beyond being an open forum, invited guests will be asked to respond to specific themes so that readers can also learn valuable embodied knowledge from experienced practitioners.

Because we regard training/practice as a long-term, ongoing learning process, all readers from diverse cultural backgrounds, training approaches, fields, experiences, and training stages are equally valuable on this platform for knowledge exchange. Emerging artists and performing arts students are encouraged to use the questions proposed here in the Exchange as exercises or provocations for one’s own artistic research methodology, and to share their findings or arguments rather than try to arrive at “correct” answers. By means of inviting dialogue amongst varied artistic areas, training methods, cultural contexts and perspectives, and practice phases, we can expect that the ensuing multi-layered constructive debates and rethinking will lead to broader conceptualizations of training/practice as research. The Practice Diaries Exchange, with its emphasis on sharing embodied knowledge, holds the ethical premise of respecting the rich knowledge of masters, yet at the same time maintains equality by recognising that anyone could potentially be our teacher.

Every two months, The Practice Exchange Diaries will pose a question to initiate a discussion session. Prior to posting the question for each two-month period, the TDPT blog News Page will post a call to solicit proposals for the question to be discussed in the next session. A proposal could include a short description to expand on the question. If more than one proposal is received, the one received first will be posted first. Other proposals will be arranged later in the same or following sessions. In this case, the editor will announce a question directly before the next session rather than calling for proposals.

In addition to articles, contributors are encouraged to present their findings to merge various methods including text, speech, sounds, pictures, videos, actions, and other forms of documentation specific to their practice-as-research projects to illustrate innovative methods of training. Because the projects will be displayed on a website, please carefully consider how your ideas might be presented in ways that are suitable to displaying online.

To submit a proposal for a question or a response to a posed question to The Practice Diaries Exchange, please contact the section’s editor I-Ying Wu at ginggingla@gmail.com

Can you bottle it…?

By Sara Marie Jackson, Cast Theatre / The Joseph Rowntree Theatre (Sara.jackson@jrtheatre.co.uk)

This blog-post looks at the role of personal energy and intuition in Applied Theatre Practice and how this can be trained, reflecting on how training affects my practice as a freelance community director, director of The Joseph Rowntree Theatre (a community theatre) and as a practitioner at Cast Theatre.

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