Video of the Performance Training and Well-Being Special Issue Launch

The virtual launch of the Special Issue “Performance Training and Well-Being” Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (13.2) took place on June 28, 2022, with keynote addresses by Eugenio Barba (https://fondazionebarbavarley.org/en/team/eugenio-barba/) and Matthieu Ricard (https://www.matthieuricard.org/en/).

This special issue, co-edited by Virginie Magnat (University of British Columbia) and Nathalie Gauthard (Université d’Artois), features thirty-eight contributors from eleven countries. The virtual launch was hosted by the Université d’Artois in France and sponsored by the UBC-funded “Culture, Creativity, Health and Well-Being” Research Cluster (https://eminencecluster.weebly.com/) in partnership with the Canadian Association for Theatre Research (https://catracrt.ca/).

Martial Arts Revisited: Bibliography

A bibliography of selected English-language sources on intersections between acting, actor training and martial arts.

Compiled by Grzegorz Ziółkowski.

All online sources were active as of 31 March 2022.

Błaszczak, P. 2021. “Aikido in Actor Training: A Personal Perspective.” In The Paper Bridge: Contemporary Theatre and Film Interconnections Between Japan and The West, edited by W. Otto and G. Ziółkowski, 87–95. Poznań: Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM.

Blau, H. 1973. “Shadow Boxing: Reflections on the T’Ai Chi Chuan.” In Break Out!: In Search of New Theatrical Environments, edited by J. Schevill, 360–362. Chicago: Swallow Press.

Conaway, L. 1980. “Image, Idea and Expression: T’ai Chi and Actor Training.” In Movement for the Actor, edited by L. Rubin, 51–69. New York: Drama Book Specialists.

De Miranda, M. B. 2010. Playful Training: Towards Capoeira in the Physical Training of Actors, Saarbrücken: Lambert Academic Publishing.

De Miranda, M. B. 2012. “Jogo de Capoeira: When Actors Play a ‘Physical Dialogue’.” Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 3 (2): 178–191.

De Roza, E., and B. Miller. 2018. “The Lion and the Breath: Combining Kalaripayattu and Fitzmaurice Voicework Techniques Towards a New Cross-Cultural Methodology for Actor Training.” Journal of Embodied Research, 1 (1). Video article: https://jer.openlibhums.org/articles/10.16995/jer.6/.

Delza, S. 1972. “T’ai Chi Ch’uan: The Integrated Exercise.” The Drama Review: TDR, 16 (1): 28–33.

Dillon. R. W. Jr. 1994. “Beyond Acting in Fights: Stage Combat as a New Martial Art.” The Fight Master: Journal of the Society of American Fight Directors, 17 (1): 17–19.

Dillon, R. W. Jr. 1999 [2000]. “Accounts of Martial Arts in Actor Training: An Enthusiast’s Critique.” Journal of Theatrical Combatives, Dec. https://ejmas.com/jtc/jtcframe.htm. Accessed 31 March 2022. A shorter version of the text with the same title was published in 2000: The Fight Master: Journal of the Society of American Fight Directors, 23 (2): 19–23.

Edinborough, C. 2011. “Developing Decision-Making Skills for Performance Through the Practice of Mindfulness in Somatic Training.” Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 2 (1): 18–33.

Kapsali, M. 2013. “Rethinking Actor Training: Training Body, Mind and… Ideological Awareness.” Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 4 (1): 73–86.

Karczag, E. with G. Geddes. 1999. A Preparation for the Walk in Tai-Chi. Exeter: Arts Documentation Unit. Video material.

Latiff, Z. A. 2012. “Revisiting Pencak Silat: The Malay Martial Arts in Theatre Practice and Actor Training.” Asian Theatre Journal, 29 (2): 379–401.

Lindner, D. 1975. “Martial Arts and Dance.” Dance Life, 1 (Fall): 31–49. 

Mroz, D. 2008. “Technique in Exile: The Changing Perception of Taijichuan, From Ming Dynasty Military Exercise to Twentieth-Century Actor Training Protocol.” Studies in Theatre and Performance, 28 (2): 127–145.

Mroz, D. 2009. “From Movement to Action: Martial Arts in the Practice of Devised Physical Theatre.” Studies in Theatre and Performance, 29 (2): 161–172.

Mroz, D. 2011. The Dancing Word: An Embodied Approach to the Preparation of Performers and the Composition of Performances, Amsterdam: Rodopi.

Nichols, R. A. 1980. “Empty-Handed Combat in Actor Training Program.” In Movement for the Actor, edited by L. Rubin, 87–98. New York: Drama Book Specialists.

Nichols, R. A. 1991. “A ‘Way’ for Actors: Asian Martial Arts.” Theatre Topics, 1 (1): 43–59. Reprinted in: Zarrilli, P. B. (editor), 19–30.

Nichols, R. A. 1993. “Out of Silence… Action: Kendo and Iai-do.” In Zarrilli, P. B. (editor), 104–113.

O’Shea, J. 2019. Risk, Failure, Play: What Dance Reveals about Martial Arts Training. Oxford, New York: Oxford UP.

rayambrosi. 2019. “The Role of History in Motivating Meihuaquan Martial Arts As a Somatic Method for Performers.” Theatre, Dance and Performance Training Blog. 1 August. http://theatredanceperformancetraining.org/tag/martial-arts-and-theatre/.

Richmond, P. G., B. Lengfelder 1995. “The Alexander Technique, T’ai Chi Ch’uan, and Stage Combat: The Integration of Use, Somatics, and Skills in the Teaching of Stage Movement.” Theatre Topics, 5 (2): 167–179.

Ruffini, F. 1995. “Mime, the Actor, Action: The Way of Boxing.” Translated by D. Salgarolo. Mime Journal (special issue titled Incorporated Knowledge), Claremont, CA: Pomona College, Theatre Department, 54–69.

Ruffini, F. 2014 [1994]. Theatre and Boxing: The Actor Who Flies. Translated by P. Warrington, Holstebro, Malta, Wrocław, London, New York: Icarus Publishing Enterprise, Routledge. Italian edition, 1994: Teatro e boxe. L’‘atleta del cuore’ nella scena del novecento [Theatre and boxing: The ‘athlete of the heart’ on the 20th century stage]. Bologna: Società editrice il Mulino.

Scott, A. C. 1993. “‘Underneath the Stew Pot, There’s the Flame…’: T’ai Chi Ch’uan and the Asian/Experimental Theatre Program.” In Zarrilli, P. B. (editor), 48–59.

Smith, H. 1997. Breath and the Actor. Exeter: Arts Documentation Unit. Video material.

Turner, C. 1993. “Aikido: A Way of Coordinating Mind and Body”. In Zarrilli, P. B. (editor), 90–103.

Turner, C. 2000. “The Intersection Between Combative and Theatrical Arts: A View.” Journal of Theatre Combatives, Feb. https://ejmas.com/jtc/jtcframe.htm.

Turse, P. 2003. “Martial Arts and Acting Arts.” Journal of Theatre Combatives, May. https://ejmas.com/jtc/jtcframe.htm.

Wedderburn, E. 2016. “Violence in Martial Arts Actor Training: A Dialectical View.” Performance Research, 21 (3), 84–91.

Weiler, Ch. 2019. “Grasping the Bird’s Tail: Inspirations and Starting Points.” In Intercultural Acting and Performer Training, edited by P. B. Zarrilli, T. Sasitharan, and A. Kapur, 167–178. Abingdon, New York: Routledge.

Zarrilli, P. B. (editor). 1993. Asian Martial Arts in Actor Training, with a foreword by R. Benedetti, Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Center for South Asian Studies.

Zarrilli, P. B. 2002 [1995, 1993]. “‘On the Edge of a Breath, Looking’: Cultivating the Actor’s Bodymind Through Asian Martial/Meditation Arts.” In Acting (Re)Considered: A Theoretical and Practical Guide, edited by P. B. Zarrilli, 181–199, 355–358. London, New York: Routledge. First edition 1995. First published as “‘on the edge of a breath, looking…’ Disciplining the Actor’s Bodymind Through the Martial Arts in the Asian Experimental Theatre Program.” In Zarrilli, P. B. (editor), 1993, 62–89.

Zarrilli, P. B. 2009. Psychophysical Acting: An Intercultural Approach after Stanislavski, with DVD-ROM by P. Hulton, Abingdon, New York: Routledge.

Zarrilli, P. B. 2015. “‘Inner Movement’ Between Practices of Mediation, Martial Arts, and Acting: A Focused Examination of Affect, Feeling, Sensing, and Sensory Attunement.” In Ritual, Performance and the Senses, edited by M. Bull and J. P. Mitchell, 121–136. London, New York: Bloomsbury Academic.

Ziółkowski, G. 1997. “The Role of Martial Arts in the Actor’s Training.” In Modern Theatre in Different Cultures, edited by E. Udalska, 219–224. Warszawa: Energeia.

The compiler wishes to thank Laura Wayth for her help in accessing some materials.

Voices Advocating Martial Arts in Actor Training

Compiled by Grzegorz Ziółkowski

Sophia Delza (1972): “The simultaneous use of mind and body is where the value [of Wu style of taijiquan] lies for the actor. The exercise frees the actor to become what [s]he needs or chooses to be through the mastery of the physical body so that it can function with correct or easy energy, simultaneously making the mind concentrate. The use of the body and mind then helps to put one into a state of calmness. The actor feels ‘whole’ and totally confident, not distracted by random thoughts and victimized by irrelevant emotions. It is this ‘state of well being’ that acts as a tranquil base of creativity”. (p. 29)
Delza, S. 1972. “T’ai Chi Ch’uan: The Integrated Exercise.” The Drama Review: TDR, 16 (1): 28–33.
Linda Conaway (1980): “T’ai Chi [taiji] encourages the actor to discover the physiological center of his [sic] person because all activity grows out of the center (tant ien) [dantian – energy centre two inches below the navel and centre of gravity of the human body]. In applying the teaching and movements of T’ai Chi the actor not only intellectually understands the center but utilizes it in motion”. (p. 55)
Conaway, L. 1980. “Image, Idea and Expression: T’ai Chi and Actor Training.” In Movement for the Actor, edited by L. Rubin, 51–69. New York: Drama Book Specialists.
Richard Nichols (1991): “Martial arts training can play a formative role in the establishment of new physical horizons for the actor. The physical forms required, the intense physical commitment, and the intense mental focus can lead the student away from restrictive habitual movement/behavior patterns towards creation of a more positive personal view of one’s mental and physical capabilities – present and future. There is no reason to believe that a more positive outlook should not carry over into the actor’s work as well”. (pp. 51–52)
Nichols, R. A. 1991. “A ‘Way’ for Actors: Asian Martial Arts.” Theatre Topics, 1 (1): 43–59.
Adolphe C. Scott (1993):T’ai chi ch’uan [taijiquan] … has a great deal to offer in helping to develop the mental and physical counterpoise that is the mark of a good stage presence. Most student actors tend to overdo their movements and gestures in the belief they are being natural. In their concern for realistic characterization, however, they rely far too heavily on facial expression and fragmented bits of business and, in the process, sacrifice the rhythmic unity that is the result of a perfect coordination of internal and external behavior. Pauses and silences make them nervous; they are uneasy onstage when confronted by the necessity of standing still. At first it is difficult for them to realize that elimination is a positive force in acting, which is a skill acquired not so much by learning what to do as what not to do. These are the problems that the practice of t’ai chi ch’uan helps to eliminate in the serious student of acting”. (p. 55)
Scott, A. C. 1993. “‘Underneath the Stew Pot, There’s the Flame…’: T’ai Chi Ch’uan and the Asian/Experimental Theatre Program.” In Asian Martial Arts in Actor Training, edited by P. B. Zarrilli, 48–59. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Center for South Asian Studies.
Phillip B. Zarrilli (1993): “Practice of disciplines such as t’ai chi ch’uan [taijiquan] and kalaripayattu allow students to discover the breath-in-the-body and, through acting exercises, to apply this qualitative body-awareness to performance. Working toward mastery of embodied forms, when combined with the ability to fix and focus both the gaze and the mind, frees the practitioner from ‘consciousness about,’ allowing the person instead to enter into a state of ‘concentratedness’ focused on the performer’s relationship to his or her breath, its circulation through the body, and the deployment of this energy and focus through the body into the performance space. Training in the martial arts … empowers the actor with a means of making embodied acting choices, and not simply choices that remain empty ‘mind-full’ intentions”. (2002, p. 194)
Zarrilli, P. B. 2002 [1995, 1993]. “‘On the Edge of a Breath, Looking’: Cultivating the Actor’s Bodymind Through Asian Martial/Meditation Arts.” In Acting (Re)Considered: A Theoretical and Practical Guide, edited by P. B. Zarrilli, 181–199, 355–358. London, New York: Routledge. First edition 1995. First published as “‘on the edge of a breath, looking…’ Disciplining the Actor’s Bodymind Through the Martial Arts in the Asian Experimental Theatre Program.” In Asian Martial Arts in Actor Training, edited by P. B. Zarrilli, 62–89. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Center for South Asian Studies.
Phyllis G. Richmond and Bill Lengfelder (1995): “Studying somatics [such as taijiquan] develops kinesthetic sensitivity, an understanding of personal movement habits and preferences, a body-level sense of how movement is put together, and an awareness of the mind-body link”. (p. 168)
Richmond, P. G., Lengfelder B. 1995. “The Alexander Technique, T’ai Chi Ch’uan, and Stage Combat: The Integration of Use, Somatics, and Skills in the Teaching of Stage Movement.” Theatre Topics, 5 (2): 167–179.
Daniel Mroz (2008): “Much of actor training is directly concerned with de-conditioning the stress-response. Actors’ lack of physical ease, vocal projection and ability to respond creatively to their fellow players are all caused by habituated over-reaction to actual or anticipated stressors. This in itself is enough to recommend traditional taijiquan to any actor-training programme”. (p. 139)
Mroz, D. 2008. “Technique in Exile: The Changing Perception of Taijichuan, From Ming Dynasty Military Exercise to Twentieth-Century Actor Training Protocol.” Studies in Theatre and Performance, 28 (2): 127–145.
Campbell Edinborough (2011): “A martial situation, much like the situations presented by live performance, necessitates the ability to respond clearly and instantly to constantly changing events. Indeed, the dangerous nature of any martial situation emphasises the importance of effective decision-making and the avoidance of mindless behaviour”. (p. 28)
Edinborough, C. 2011. “Developing Decision-Making Skills for Performance Through the Practice of Mindfulness in Somatic Training.” Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 2 (1): 18–33.
Maria Brigida de Miranda (2012): “Jogo [game, play] de capoeira, adopted for the purposes of training actors, has the potential to develop a performer’s physical connection with a partner without submitting the performer to actual physical contact. This is because the physical response to an attack in the jogo is to evade, rather than to block, absorb or redirect the blow. … In relation to training of actors, this ‘non-contact’ principle of capoeira is an advantage over a great number of other martial arts. It favours a gradual development of confidence for performers wishing to avoid injuries and/or who are not used to physical training with partners”. (p. 184, 189)
De Miranda, M. B. 2012. “Jogo de Capoeira: When Actors Play a ‘Physical Dialogue’.” Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, 3 (2): 178–191.
Zainal Abdul Latiff (2012): Silat can help achieve a balance in which the physical, psychological, and moral all merge in the actor. Silat can form the basis for evolving a distinct training method for the performer since techniques instill discipline and dedication. Silat is useful for developing sensitivity towards the body, improving the body’s mechanics, and freeing up the body for a better stage presence. Among its benefits are full-body physical training with balance and body control, correct alignment, groundedness, flexibility, coordination, kinesthetic awareness, relaxation, and breath work. This training leads to total awareness and efficiency in movement as well as improved physical control. This develops self-confidence, and actors face and overcome fear”. (pp. 392–393)
Latiff, Z. A. 2012. “Revisiting Pencak Silat: The Malay Martial Arts in Theatre Practice and Actor Training.” Asian Theatre Journal, 29 (2): 379–401.
Christel Weiler (2019): “… practising Taijiquan [taijiquan] means to give oneself up to a never-ending process of learning, searching and transformation. Insight and intuition could only be reached by doing, by acting in the double sense of the word; they would neither be the result of rational knowledge nor correspond to skills or tricks”. (p. 176)
Weiler, Ch. 2019. “Grasping the Bird’s Tail: Inspirations and Starting Points.” In Intercultural Acting and Performer Training, edited by P. B. Zarrilli, T. Sasitharan, and A. Kapur, 167–178. Abingdon, New York: Routledge.

The compiler wishes to thank Laura Wayth for her help in accessing some source materials.

Embodied and Oral Land Acknowledgement

Virginie Magnat (France/Canada): “HÍSW̱ḴE (SENĆOŦEN word used to express gratitude, to give thanks)”

Embodied Land Acknowledgement:

Oral Land Acknowledgement:

Virginie Magnat’s training is rooted in the teachings of Rena Mirecka and Zygmunt Molik, two founding members of Jerzy Grotowski’s Laboratory Theatre (https://virginiemagnat.space/about).

Warming up our hearts

“Warm up the body,
but not only the body,
because all inner motivations
are full of joy.”

Rena Mirecka is a founding member of Grotowski’s Laboratory Theatre. She is the only woman to have performed in all of its productions, and is a specialist in the physical exercises known as plastiques.

https://grotowski.net/en/encyclopedia/mirecka-rena

http://en.grotowski-institute.pl/projekty/the-sun-the-school-of-rena-mirecka/

https://www.routledgeperformancearchive.com/browse/practitioners/mirecka-rena

Never Ending Narrative Video showcase

Never Ending Narrative is a video showcase created by the Wayne State University Virtual Dance Collaboratory (VDC)—a student-led dance company dedicated to digital media creation. The video series includes original screendances and video interviews of students speaking honestly about their experiences making art during the pandemic. The entire showcase was created during the Winter 2021 semester and exemplifies students’ desires to cultivate joy in the midst of deep frustration and loss.

https://vimeo.com/showcase/never-ending-narrative

For the authors’ discussion of this video showcase, please see their article in TDPT’s special issue on Wellbeing: Jessica Rajko et al. (US) “Reimagining Dance and Digital Media Training in an Era of Techno-Neoliberalism: Collective Pedagogical Models for Digital Media Education in Dance”

Notes on Contributors:

Jessica Rajko is an Assistant Professor at Wayne State University. Her research includes critical scholarly and artistic approaches to research at the intersection of dance and computing. Her most recent research investigates how and why dance-based practices are integrated, adopted, and at times appropriated in computing research. She has presented and performed nationally and internationally, including Amsterdam’s OT301, Toronto’s Scotiabank Nuit Blanche festival, and The Joyce Theatre’s Gotham Festival. Author 1 has also presented her research at several transdisciplinary institutional programs such as Harvard’s Digital Futures Consortium, UPenn’s Price Lab for Digital Humanities, and University of New Mexico’s ART Lab.

Alesyn M. McCall is the Media and Production Coordinator in the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance at Wayne State University. A multidisciplinary artist, Alesyn is passionate about producing and promoting media designed to empower marginalized communities. Since 2010, McCall has worked professionally as a videographer, photographer, cinematographer, hip-hop artist, and editor for numerous documentary, experimental and promotional films. McCall obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard University in Washington, DC with a major in Radio, Television and Film Production and will complete her Master of Arts in Arts Administration from Wayne State University in Spring 2022.

Ethan Williams is a recent graduate of Wayne State University with a Masters in Fine Arts in Theatre Management. His primary focus during his degree was photography and videography to market theatre and dance performances. Ethan hopes to continue to use these content creation skills in the future to market the arts in a visually compelling manner. He is currently pursuing career options in New York City, where he will be moving in October of this year, and is MS in Camp Administration from Touro University of Nevada. Lindsey has experience stage managing plays, musicals, dance concerts, opera, and special events. She has spent her professional career working in theatre as a project manager, as a teacher, and as a camping professional where she served as the head of the theatre department and production manager at French Woods Festival of the Performing Arts.

Introducing the Barba Varley Foundation Website

The Barba Varley Foundation has been created to promote the vision, the causes and the values developed by the Odin Theater since its foundation. It continues a vision of groups and theatre artists who demonstrate the transformative function of theatre and establish themselves as autonomous cells of another system of production and relationships. In particular, the Foundation aimed at the « nameless » of theater. Its purpose is to support fields of action animated by people who are disadvantaged by gender, ethnicity, geography, age, ways of thinking and acting inside and outside theatre.

https://fondazionebarbavarley.org/

For more context around the Barba Varley Foundation, read the Extended Conversation with Eugenio Barba and Nathalie Gautard in TDPT’s special issue on Wellbeing.

Cultivating Vessel and Voice: Three Videos

This video demonstration connects to the essai “Cultivating Vessel and Voice: Embodiment as a Way of Being in Performer Training” by Gey Pin Ang and Ranice Tay in TDPT’s special issue on Wellbeing. 

Both practitioners shared their experience beyond paradigms of performer training by drawing on their physical and vocal practices stemming from Sourcing Within’s notion of “care of self”. 

Care of Self in Physical Training:

Care of Self in Song:

Care of Self – from Vessel To Voice:

Gey Pin Ang 

Gey Pin is a practice-researcher from Singapore. She co-founded and was the artistic director of Theatre OX. Formerly, she was an actress with the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards, Italy, under the company’s Project The Bridge: developing theatre arts. Since 2016, she initiated Sourcing Within comprising of international workshops, cross-disciplinary embodied researches in performing arts and anthropology. Her works are featured in journals and books dedicated to intercultural theatre and anthropology. She holds a PhD in Drama by Practice-as-Research from the University of Kent. 

Tay Kai Xin Ranice 

Ranice is a multi-disciplinary theatre and martial arts practitioner from Singapore. She graduated from the National University of Singapore with a BA (Hons) in Theatre Studies, where she was also a recipient of the NUS CFA Performing and Visual Arts Scholarship. She collaborates avidly with Ang Gey Pin, and has worked internationally as a teacher and performer. Her artistic practice is rooted in primality, embodiment, and surrender. She perceives the body as an open vessel, and creates to invite the encounter inside and beyond the self. 

Relational Performance Pedagogy: Documentary Film

This two-hour documentary film is linked to the essai “Relational Performance Pedagogy: North American Innovations in the Lineages of Decroux and Grotowski” in the TDPT special issue on Wellbeing. The film features the pedagogical innovations of the four teachers, Dean Fogal, Linda Putnam, Kathleen Weiss, and David MacMurray Smith. It includes footage gathered during a week of shared participatory research in July 2018 which I hosted with these senior artists, plus a subsequent three-day intensive workshop that three of the teachers led for twenty-three participants.  

Claire Fogal:

Supported by SSHRC and the Public Scholars Initiative, Claire Fogal’s doctoral work at UBC celebrates her father Dean Fogal and the other senior Grotowski and Decroux based theatre artists who are her primary mentors. A Vancouver director, actor, teacher and creator, Claire is a graduate of UBC (BA in Theatre and English Literature), UAlberta (MFA in Directing) and Tooba Physical Theatre Centre (where she became the Director of Educational Programming). Claire is Artistic Director of Minotaur’s Kitchen, supported by Cor Departure Physical Theatre Society, which she co-founded in 2000, and contract faculty at Douglas College. Portfolio: clairefogal.com. 

Performance Training as Healing

Sonia’s Monologue:

This is an excerpt of Sonya’s monologue from the Indigenous adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya” by Floyd Favel and performed by Sabina Sweta Sen-Podstawska. This video was recorded by Adam Podstawski. Originally the adaptation took place on the Poundmaker Reserve, on the land by a lake. This excerpt was recorded in a park in Chorzow, Poland as Sabina tried to remember and recreate the original performance to demonstrate the use of Plains Indigenous Sign Language (PISL) in indigenous performance. Some of the PISL used in this excerpt are: time, before, know, woman and the dance mudras from Indian classical dance Odissi, incorporated are: flower, bird, mirror. The gestures, action signs from the sign language and dance mudras are used according to their original ways but also as impulses and half formed gestures that originate in the body as it connects with the land through movement. In this process, traditions, cultures and languages meet: English and Bengali language in a Tagore song meet the Plains Indigenous Sign Language and mudras from Indian classical dance Odissi.

Excerpts from Uncle Vanya:

This video presents excerpts from an Indigenous adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya” by Floyd Favel as a tale of colonization. It was part of performance training workshops and festivals organized by Miyawata Culture on Poundmaker Reserve in Canada in the summer of 2018 and 2019. Participants included artists, theatre directors, performers and academics from Canada and Poland. The video was recorded and edited by Noah Favel. The adaptation focuses on a healing journey of two protagonists: Uncle Vanya and Sonya. Sonya returns back to her home and land to honour her beloved uncle on his funeral. As she enters the abandoned house, she encounters the memories of her own lost soul, younger Sonya who is stuck in the old house along with the spirit of her deceased uncle. According to Indigenous shamanistic beliefs, one of the major causes of life’s illness is we leave a part of our spirit behind, that does not grow. Re-living the story of colonization offers a healing process for Sonya and sets free the uncle Vanya’s spirit.

About the Practitioners:

Sabina Sweta Sen-Podstawska, an Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Silesia in Poland, holds a PhD in Drama from the University of Exeter, an MA in South Asian Dance Studies from the University of Roehampton in London and BA-MA in English Literature and Culture from the University of Silesia in Katowice. Her research interests embrace sensory-somatic awareness in Odissi dance, body-mind relationship, somatic studies, and psychophysical training and performance, minority cultures, and dance and performance of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. As a dancer and performer, she continues her embodied explorations through Odissi dance crisscrossing disciplines and mediums. 

Floyd Favel is a theatre theorist and Cree cultural leader based in Saskatchewan. He studied theatre in Denmark at the Tukak Teatret and in Italy with Jerzy Grotowski. He has developed his own theatre process he entitles ‘Native Performance Culture’, or NPC. He is the curator of the Chief Poundmaker Museum (winner of the 2018 International Indigenous Tourism Award). In 2020 he was awarded the Multi-Cultural Leadership Award in Saskatchewan. He produced a documentary on the Delmas Indian Residential School which opened the Presence Autochtone Film Festival in Montreal in 2021.

CfP: Performer Training Working Group, TaPRA, 2022 — Passing it On: Genealogies and Legacies of Training

Deadline for Proposals: 1 April, 2022

Conference: 12-14 September, 2022, University of Essex.

Training isn’t easily contained within a single person. Although the individual subject is often the nexus where training is realized, it generally depends upon a community for its sustenance, upon trainers to pass the disciplines on, upon trainees to carry them forward, and upon successive generations to rediscover and renew the practices. The focus of this year’s meeting of the working group is about these processes of passing training on.

This discussion leads on from our focus in 2021’s conference on Training and Agency. From one perspective the genealogies and legacies of training might represent the structure against which individuals assert their agency. However, from another point of view these ideas might provide alternative structures that empower individuals through collectivity, tradition and community. What might be the narratives of training through which an individual ascribes meaning to their own practice? Could these narratives offer people and communities a site of resistance to an individualizing capitalist culture?

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CfP: TDPT Special Issue: Touch and Training

Special issue: Touch and Training to be published June 2023

Call for contributions, ideas, proposals and dialogue with the editors

Guest editors
Dr Ha Young Hwang, Korea National University of Arts, School of Drama, Seoul, South Korea (hyhwang@karts.ac.kr)
Dr. Tara McAllister-Viel, East 15 Acting School, University of Essex, London, UK. (tamcal@essex.ac.uk)
Liz Mills, AFDA The School for the Creative Economy, Cape Town, SouthAfrica (LizM@afda.co.za).

Training Grounds editor
Dr Sara Reed, Independent researcher, writer and project manager (sbenhardreed@gmail.com

Touch and Training (Issue 14.2)
Global happenings throughout this past decade, such as ♯MeToo, ♯blacklivesmatter, Asian Spring, Arab Spring, the Marriage Act (2013 UK) and Russia’s “Gay Propaganda” law (2013), and COVID-19, have radically repositioned touch in performance and performer training. Touch is a socio-cultural event, a political act between two people as well as a network of power positions and layers of institutional infrastructure: who touches, how does/should one touch, why and when can/should touch occur? These questions when raised within performance traditions, theatre, film and television rehearsal and performance spaces and performer training studios ask creative artists to (re)consider the ways we think about, talk about and stage touch: for instance, the rise of the “intimacy coordinator” in response to concerns about the inequitability of touch during re-enactments of intimacy is only one of a number of recent developments in performance-related fields (re)considering the role of touch during the creative process.

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TDPT Issue 12.3 – Performer Training in Australia, Now Published

In an oft-repeated anecdote, Australian actor Nick Lathouris tells of the arrival of Jerzy Grotowski’s ideas in Australia in 1969 — courtesy of a badly-Xeroxed copy of Towards a Poor Theatre that circulated between the acting company that formed around director Rex Cramphorn in Sydney as a kind of hallowed totem, a connection to a rich vein of tradition and experimentation in training in a continent that was sorely lacking both. Speaking of the same period, playwright John Romeril remembers the early days of the Australian Performing Group (APG) recalls: “much of what we did by way of acting exercises we drew from magazines and books. We read of and ripped off whatever came our way”. Origin myths such as these inform Ian Maxwell’s characterisation of Australian trainers and trainees as “theatrical bowerbirds”, metaphorising the distinctive Austro-Papuan bird family that is renowned for a courtship ritual where the male decorates his bower with an eclectic range of bright objects, both natural and inorganic. Down under, disconnected from the celebrated training traditions of the northern hemisphere in the decades before globalised publishing, Australian trainers collected whatever they could get their hands on, arranging bespoke lineages that combined native and imported traditions.

A satin bowerbird at his bower in Lamington National Park, Queensland. Photograph by Joseph C Boone. CC BY-SA 4.0.
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Student Reflections on Psychophysical Training, Part One: Injury/Recovery

Introduction

by James McLaughlin

Many trainers are used to writing – preserving their experiences, their systems of training, and their worldview in words.  What is often forgotten is that there is more than one person in the studio, that the discoveries of the ‘master’ are due to the work of the ‘student’, and that the thoughts, voice, and discoveries of the students might be as valuable to understanding the phenomena of training as those of the trainer.  A desire to demonstrate this was the impulse behind this collection of posts from five students who I have led through a version of Phillip Zarrilli’s psychophysical training at the University of Greenwich this year.

The Covid-19 pandemic set up a unique experience for me and the diversity of the students’ reflections shows that I am not alone in this.  Alicia Bowditch-Gibbs’ piece shows the compromises made to allow an injured body to acclimatize to the training and the way a new training can resonate with older strata of training in the body.  Paul Cole writes of recovering from Covid and the adjustments and innovations he was forced to make to fully engage with the work.  To put these into context, I will introduce the student contributions with my own background with the training.  In a follow-up post, three more students will reflect on the role of breath, spirit, and neurodiversity in training.

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TDPT Issue 12.2 – Independent Dance and Movement Training, Now Published

What is independence? Independent from what or whom? And what is training, learning and knowing?

These questions have formed the basis of our approach to this issue. Seemingly simple, these questions have been at the heart of Independent Dance’s work since 1984, when the organisation emerged out of informal collaborations between artists seeking a common ground to share training opportunities across dance forms. Remaining artist-led ever since, ID is preoccupied with supporting learning through dance, and with articulating what that might mean, and for whom.

We were therefore delighted to accept the invitation to guest-edit Theatre, Dance and Performance Training and have aimed to carry these threads throughout. We were also keen to reach beyond the boundaries of our own context and traverse borders between fields and forms. While ID has historically been associated with somatic practices, the range of practices featured in this issue is true both to the original intention of ID to support a very wide breadth of forms, and to our current commitment to supporting research across forms of dance, with questioning and open-ended curiosity being key ingredients, rather than an emphasis on product or aesthetic.

Through an international call-out, we invited proposals illuminating as broad a range of perspectives as possible, exploring how artists create, practice, and develop independent training forms, and what current practitioners consider relevant.

The resulting issue, published in July 2021, includes contributions ranging from articles to one-page ‘postcards’, by the following artists and writers: ‘Funmi Adewole, Casey Avaunt, Katrina Brown, Laura Cervi, Guy Dartnell, Thomasin Gülgeç, Stefan Jovanović, Lliane Loots, Simone Kenyon, Georgia Paizi, Helen Poynor / Hilary Kneale / Paula Kramer, Aswathy Rajan, Carolyn Roy, Stephanie Sachsenmaier, Niamh Dowling / Miranda Tufnell / Lucia Walker, Rebecca Weber, Simon Whitehead. It concludes with an obituary for Nancy Stark Smith written by Colleen Bartley.

The editors have selected the following two articles to be free to access until the end of October:

‘The dance artistry of Diane Alison-Mitchell and Paradigmz: Accounting for professional practice between 1993 and 2003’ by ’Funmi Adewole

‘Impermeable bodies: Women who lion dance in Boston’s Chinatown’ by Casey Avaunt

Contents:

EditorialHenrietta HaleNikki TomlinsonGitta Wigro & Sara Reed

The Companionship ScoresCarolyn Roy (Article)

Impermeable bodies: Women who lion dance in Boston’s ChinatownCasey Avaunt (Article — free to access in September and October 2021)

‘Critical Pathways’ – Training and Investigating the Art of Choreography-Making with Rosemary ButcherStefanie Gabriele Sachsenmaier (Article)

Decolonising dance pedagogy? Ruminations on contemporary dance training and teaching in South Africa set against the specters of colonisation and apartheidLliane Loots (Article)

Tik Tok and generation ZLaura Cervi (Essai)

“From ‘Guru-mukha’ to Contemporaneity”: metamorphosing divergent trajectories of Mohiniyattam pedagogy and performativityAswathy Rajan (Article)

StandingThomasin Gülgeç (postcard)

Getting into your head: social distancing and the intimacy of audio-only movement sessions on earpodsGeorgia Paizi (postcard)

.Behind from Appears NoticingKatrina Brown (postcard)

Post card from an insider artistGuy Dartnell (postcard)

Journeying towards multitudinous bodies: working with body weather practices through the creation of Into the MountainSimone Kenyon (Essai)

Walk of Life Training in Non-stylised and Environmental MovementHelen PoynorPaula Kramer & Hilary Kneale (Article)

The dance artistry of Diane Alison-Mitchell and Paradigmz: Accounting for professional practice between 1993 and 2003Funmi Adewole (Article — free to access in September and October 2021)

Holding the edge: between embodied trauma and choreographic learningStefan Jovanović (Essai)

Shared discoveries in theatre and danceNiamh DowlingMiranda Tufnell & Lucia Walker (Article)

LocatorSimon Whitehead (Essai)

Social (distance) dancing during covid with project trans(m)itRebecca Weber (Essai)

Nancy Stark Smith February 11, 1952 – May 1, 2020. Dancer, Teacher, Writer, Curator, Editor, PhenomenonColleen Bartley (Obituary)

Notes on Contributors:

Guest editors, special issue

Henrietta Hale is co-director of Independent Dance (ID) since 2018, leading the curation of an artist-led, dance development and research organisation. She has a 25 year dance artist practice, most significantly as founder member of collective Dog Kennel Hill Project since 2004, creating performance research across theatre, gallery, screen and unusual sites, within a range of producing partnerships such as Whitechapel Gallery, Dance Umbrella, and Brighton CCA. Roles as a dancer/collaborator include Ricochet Dance Productions and Rosemary Lee projects and movement direction with visual artists. She has taught regularly in higher education contexts, significantly, Trinity Laban (2002 − 2013).

Nikki Tomlinson is a producer and dramaturg with a background in curation and performance-making. Over the past 20 years she has developed interests in performance, participation, social justice and interdisciplinarity, advocacy for and with artists and widening access in every sense to experimental work. Her previous roles include Lead Artist Advisor/Producer at Artsadmin, Programme Manager and later co-chair of Chisenhale Dance Space, ESOL Course Leader and Refugee Advisor at Hackney Community College. She joined Independent Dance as co-director in March 2020. Alongside her role with ID she is a Trustee of Home Live Art and continues to work freelance across the UK and internationally.

Sara Reed is an independent academic, researcher, writer, project manager and a qualified Feldenkrais practitioner. With a career that has spanned a wide range of dance, performance, arts and education contexts, she has published widely in the area of embodied-movement, dance, somatic practices and pedagogy. Her experience includes interdisciplinary teaching across art forms. Sara is an Associate Editor for TDPT Training Grounds and on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Dance & Somatic Practices and Dance, Movement & Spiritualties. She is Co-chair for Independent Dance and a trustee for Wriggle Dance Theatre – for children and families.

Gitta Wigro is a former co-director of Independent Dance. She is a freelance dance film programmer and curator, and part of the team behind the MA Screendance at London Contemporary Dance School. She has worked in artist and artform development at The Place, Arts Council England, and Independent Dance, as well as in freelance roles. As a dance film specialist, she has worked with many international festivals, including Leeds International Film Festival (UK), COORPI (IT), Festival Quartiers Danses (CA) Dance Umbrella (UK), among many others. She co-ordinates the International Screendance Calendar and other resources to support the dance film field.

The editors

Jonathan Pitches is Professor of Theatre and Performance at the University of Leeds and Head of School of Performance and Cultural Industries. He specialises in the study of performer training and has wider interests in intercultural performance, environmental performance and blended learning. He is founding co-editor of the TDPT and has published several books in this area: Vsevolod Meyerhold (2003), Science and the Stanislavsky Tradition of Acting (2006/9), Russians in Britain (2012) and, Stanislavsky in the World (with Dr Stefan Aquilina 2017). His most recent publications are: Great Stage Directors Vol 3: Komisarjevsky, Copeau Guthrie (sole editor, 2018) and the monograph, Performing Landscapes: Mountains (2020).

Libby Worth is Reader in Contemporary Performance Practices, Royal Holloway, University of London. She is a movement practitioner with research interests in the Feldenkrais Method, physical theatres, site-based performance and in folk/traditional and amateur dance. Performances include co-devised duets; Step Feather Stitch (2012) and dance film Passing Between Folds (2017). She is co-editor of TDPT and published texts include Anna Halprin (2004, co-authored), Ninette de Valois: Adventurous Traditionalist (2012, co-edited), Jasmin Vardimon’s Dance Theatre: Movement, Memory and Metaphor (2016). Chapter contributions include on clog and sword dancing for Time and Performer Training (2019, she co-edited) and ‘Improvisation in Dance and the Movement of Everyday Life’ for the Oxford Handbook of Dance Improvisation (2019).

Contributors

Funmi Adewole moved from Nigeria to Britain in 1994. She performed with African dance drama and physical theatre companies in Britain for several years before studying for a doctorate in Dance Studies. She is a senior lecturer at De Montfort University, Leicester.

Casey Avaunt is Assistant Professor of Dance in the Department of Performing Arts at Elon University. Her research interests include critical dance theory, Asian and Asian American performance, and the role of culture and gender in the production of choreography.

Colleen Bartley is an independent dance artist and improviser who lives with an invisible disability. She co-edited Contact Quarterly CI Newsletter (US) with NSS & co-organises London Contact Improvisation (UK). She holds a degree from Swarthmore College and a diploma from Laban Centre London. She teaches movement & dance and creates film and performance.

Laura Cervi is Serra-Hunter Lecturer at the Department of Journalism and Communication Sciences of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain. PhD in Political Science from the University of Pavia (Italy) and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain). Journalist and amateur dancer. Her main research interest is media literacy and citizen participation.

Niamh Dowling is Head of School of Performance at Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance in London. Niamh trained with Monika Pagneux in Paris, Anne Bogart, Nancy Topf and Eva Karczag in New York and as a teacher of the Alexander Technique with Don Burton. She collaborated closely with Teatr Piesn Kozla in Poland for fifteen years. Niamh has been training in Systemic Constellations for 8 years, which has deeply influenced her practice and supported her holistic approach to education and performance training. Niamh is one of the practitioners on the online Routledge Performance Archive.

Stefan Jovanović is a queer-neurodivergent performance-maker who designs spaces and site-specific performances. His artistic practice embraces a maximalist aesthetic, creating speculative fabulations about future-forms of kinship and social healing. As a trained trauma therapist and architect, he incorporates spatial dramaturgy and philosophies of well-being into spaces of cultural production.

Simone Kenyon is an intra-disciplinary artist, dancer and Feldenkrais practitioner. For over twenty years she has developed a practice of expanded choreographies; encompassing movement, ecology, cultural geographies and walking arts to create participatory events for both urban and rural contexts. She is a current PhD researcher at the University of Leeds.

Hilary Kneale is an independent interdisciplinary artist, who works in collaboration with others from different fields. She is a published writer, movement practitioner, educator, guardian of Vision Quest, and healer, living within her own quest to remember the true nature of interrelatedness. Her work is widely body based and includes performance and ritual in the landscape, calling strongly to the ancient stories held deep within the earth. Having trained to embody, develop and teach practices with support of the work of Helen Poynor, and Northern Drum Shamanic Centre, she inhabits ways of opening the body, heart and mind, that reawaken the native soul.

Paula Kramer is an artist-researcher and movement artist based in Berlin. She holds an artistic PhD in Dance (Coventry University) and was a post-doctoral researcher at Uniarts Helsinki (2016–2019). Her work explores intermateriality through site-specific outdoor movement, rooted in Amerta Movement (Suryodarmo) and Non-stylised and Environmental Movement (Poynor). She collaborates with materials of many different orders as active agents in the creation of movement, performance and choreography; as well as daily life practices and sense-making. She publishes widely in the context of artistic research through bodily practices and is a board member of the Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices.

Lliane Loots holds the position of Dance Lecturer in the Performance Studies Programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She completed her PhD in 2018 looking at contemporary dance histories on the African continent. As an artist/scholar her PhD research is framed within an ethnographic and autoethnographic paradigm with a focus on narrative as methodology. Loots founded Flatfoot Dance Company as a professional dance company in 2003 when it grew out of a dance training programme that originally began in 1994. As the artistic director for Flatfoot, she has travelled extensively within the African continent with her dance work.

Helen Poynor is an independent movement artist specialising in site-specific and autobiographical performance and cross-artform collaborations. She runs the Walk of Life training and workshop programmes in Non-stylised and Environmental Movement on the Jurassic coast in East Devon/West Dorset. Helen is acknowledged as a teacher by Anna Halprin and Suprapto Suryodarmo, with whom she trained. She is a mentor for established and emerging dancers and practitioners and a guest associate teacher with Tamalpa UK. Helen has contributed chapters and articles on her work to numerous dance publications including the Journal of Dance and Somatic Practices. Helen is a registered dance movement therapist and somatic movement therapist. www.walkoflife.co.uk

Aswathy Rajan is a Lecturer in Dance at the International School of Creative Arts, Cochin, Kerala. She received BPA in Mohiniyattam from Kerala-Kalamandalam (2009) and MPA Dance from University of Hyderabad (2012) with First Rank. She qualified for UGC- Assistant Professor in Dance and started her Ph.D. as a UGC-JRF/SRF at the University of Hyderabad in 2020. During her Ph.D., she worked as a teaching assistant at the Dept. of Dance, UOH. She authored two books; “Dancethesis: An Amalgam of Dance perspectives” and “Aesthetics of Kuchipudi” besides writing several articles.

Carolyn Roy is a London based dancer who performs and teaches in the independent dance sector. Her work is concerned with attention, perception, being-with others and encountering our environment. Her current preoccupation is the political agency of dancing. She has recently completed a PhD at the University of Roehampton.

Stefanie Sachsenmaier (PhD Middlesex University, DEA Sorbonne Nlle, MA Goldsmiths College, SFHEA) is Senior Lecturer in Theatre Arts at Middlesex University and Programme Leader of BA Theatre Performance and Production. Her research centres on the processual in creative practice, with a particular interest in the ways that performance extends into the socio-political context. She co-edited Collaboration in Performance Practice (Palgrave 2016) and published a series of writings related to her long-term research with British choreographer Rosemary Butcher. She has a background as a performer and is an experienced practitioner of Wu Style tai chi chuan.

Miranda Tufnell is a dance artist, writer and teacher in movement and imagination and also an Alexander teacher and cranio-sacral therapist. She has been teaching and making performances for 40 years. Her work explores the ways movement shapes our sense of meaning, language and perception. With Chris Crickmay, she created a film Dance Without Steps and co-authored two handbooks on sourcing creative work: Body Space Image (1990) and A Widening Field (2004). She has worked extensively in the field of arts and health as documented in her most recent book, When I Open My Eyes – Dance Health Imagination (2017)

Lucia Walker has been teaching Alexander Technique internationally to both individuals and groups since 1987. She is also a movement artist and teacher specialising in contact improvisation and ‘instant’ composition, teaching and collaborating in dance, physical theatre, communication and movement research projects (Forgotten Angle Theatre Collaborative and Flatfoot Dance Company, South Africa, Rosetta Life, England). She works with a wide range of people including young people, people with chronic illness, professional musicians and singers. Working with performers is a particular interest and Lucia works regularly with classical musicians, singers, actors and dancers. She is also involved in Alexander Technique teacher training and assessment of readiness to teach Alexander Technique.

Rebecca Weber, PhD, MFA, MA, RSME/RSMT/RSDE, THE, FHEA is a Dance Studies lecturer at the University of Auckland. Co-director of Project Trans(m)it, director of Somanaut Dance, and editor for Dance, Movement, and Spiritualities, Weber’s research interests include: somatics, technology, choreography, cognition, and pedagogy.

Simon Whitehead is a movement artist and craniosacral therapist living in west Wales. Simon hosts the Locator workshop series and is a member of Maynard, an interdisciplinary artist collective that collaborate on a programme of engaged dance activity in the village of Abercych, working through on-going residencies, the village dance, workshops, local and international partnerships. As part of an AHRC-funded PhD(PaR), based at the University of Glasgow, he is currently exploring what posthuman ecology means with reference to an expanded choreography of touch.

Training Grounds Call for Postcards (TDPT Journal)

Amidst the current disruption the Training Grounds’ section of Theatre Dance and Performance Training Journal continues its search for responses to our regular themed Postcards feature. This regular feature attempts to collect different perspectives of training from a variety of people via short responses on a given theme. Our next theme (for the Winter 2020 issue) is:

Training and Buildings

Call out for TDPT’s regular, themed, Postcards feature. This regular feature attempts to collect different perspectives of training from a variety of people via short responses on a given theme.

We are interested in receiving responses from anyone engaged in thinking about/doing training for performance in all its myriad forms.

You could be a formal ‘Trainer’, a doer, a student, a practitioner, a provider, a supporter, or a thinker about training. You could work in theatre, dance, music, circus, live/performance arts, design or construction for performance, or any other connected discipline.

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CfP: Proposals for the Performer Training Working Group, TaPRA, 2021

We would like to announce the call for proposals for the Performer Training Working Group of the Theatre and Performance Research Association (TaPRA) Annual Conference : 6-10 Sept, online & co-hosted by Liverpool Hope University.

The Performer Training Working Group’s theme is Training and Agency.

For full details of the call, details concerning submission, costs and bursaries, please visit our TaPRA page:

http://tapra.org/call-participation/tapra-2021-performer-training-working-group-cfp-training-and-agency/http://tapra.org/call-participation/tapra-2021-performer-training-working-group-cfp-training-and-agency/

Please do share to anyone else who you think would be interested in joining us.

Please note, deadline for submitting proposal is Friday, April 9th.

In addition, look out for an additional email call to an exciting online interim event that we are putting together and will share with you in a couple of week’s time.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us (the Working Group convenors: Sarah Weston (S.Weston2@bolton.ac.uk), James McLaughlin (j.a.mclaughlin@gre.ac.uk) and Jane Turner (J.C.Turner@mmu.ac.uk) should you have any queries/questions.

TDPT Issue 12.1 Published

This new issue of the journal is international in scope with rich contributions from around the globe including articles on indigenous theatre in New Zealand, explorations of planetary performance pedagogy from practitioner scholars in Singapore, USA and Australia, training histories in Australia and in the former Yugoslavia, and a collated series of conversations on theatre pedagogy from Drama School Mumbai. Contributions include short essais, postcards and reviews as well as articles, several of which respond to creative responses to being in the midst of a pandemic.

It’s always a delight to see how submissions to one of the open issues of TDPT reveal new debates simply by sitting side by side with each other. In 12.1 a prominent theme that emerges is that of tracing past training practices and examining how they link with or challenge contemporary training experiences. One way of exploring this, beyond the pages of the issue, is to read the essai on Peter Hulton’s pioneering work on Arts Archive that links perfectly with Hulton’s offer here in the blog to make a wide range of training workshops available to explore.  .

Contents

Editorial
Libby Worth, Jonathan Pitches, Chris Hay and Aiden Condron

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CfP: TDPT Special Issue: Martial Arts Re-Visited

Special issue: Martial Arts Re-Visited to be published in September 2022
Call for contributions, ideas, proposals and dialogue with the editors

Guest editors:
Prof. Paul Allain, University of Kent, Canterbury (P.A.Allain@kent.ac.uk)
and Prof. Grzegorz Ziółkowski, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań (grzeg@amu.edu.pl).
Training Grounds Editor: Thomas Wilson, Rose Bruford College, London (Thomas.Wilson@bruford.ac.uk).

Martial Arts Re-Visited (Issue 13.3)

This special issue wishes to reinvigorate discussion about the applicability and usefulness of martial arts in actor, dancer and performer training. It opens the door particularly wide to contributions which intend to critically re-evaluate and re-examine martial arts’ role and place in performing arts training approaches and schemes.

Following in the footsteps of proponents of the newly established scholarly discipline of martial arts studies, such as Paul Bowman, Benjamin Judkins and Sixt Wetzler, we see the widely used and discursively constructed notion of “martial arts” as inclusive rather than exclusive, embracing traditional martial arts, competitive combat sports, military and civilian self-defence systems, as well as many activities straddling the boundaries between these. Moreover, for us the term “martial arts” denotes not only those practices and techniques which when skilfully executed may prove effective in physical struggle/contests, but also a vast pool of adjunct activities related to health, wellbeing, meditation and performance broadly construed that have their roots in or are connected with combat methods. Borrowing from Wetzler, we advocate that “martial arts” activate several dimensions which often interrelate and intersect, including: (a) physical and psychological preparation for confrontation with violence, usually carried out according to systematic and reproducible protocols and schemes, (b) combat competition adhering to set rules and frameworks, performed for fun or to determine a prize winner, (c) the display of martial skills and techniques in front of others, (e) pursuit of transcendent goals, consisting of cherishing specific philosophies and worldviews as well as character formation, (f) therapies and illness prevention. Furthermore, we note that martial arts cannot be reduced to their Asian or – more narrowly – East Asian incarnations since the phenomenon pertains to every corner of the world and as such strongly questions the dominant East-West axis, just as it unsettles the South-North axis too, with highly influential forms such as capoeira practised worldwide.

We are therefore open to proposals which confront not only the practices most commonly associated with martial arts and most frequently employed in performer training contexts, such as Japanese aikido and Chinese taijiquan, but also lesser known styles and schools as well as other non-obvious manifestations of martial arts’ approaches, attitudes, ideas and techniques.

In the turbulent 1960s, with a hunger for alternative models of organizing socio-political realities and related fascination with Eastern philosophies and practices of bodymind cultivation, elements of various (mainly East Asian) martial arts started to populate various Western actor, dancer and performer training programmes and regimes carried out both in academia and professional studios. Over time, as Robert Dillon observed in 1999, “the notion of ‘martial arts for actors’ has gone from being alternative in every sense of the word to being mainstream” and presently martial arts are a well-established component of many theatre, dance, circus or performance training routines, often part of a larger programme of psychophysical activities and approaches. Different artists, practitioners and scholars (sometimes in one body, as in the case of theatre scholar and practitioner Phillip B. Zarrilli) have listed the numerous physical and/or psychological benefits of employing martial arts in the formation of performance artists. The most often cited examples include: (a) heightening psychophysical awareness, sharpening perception and a sense of being here and now (presence), (b) cultivation of bodily and mental flexibility, (c) integration of body and mind, (d) development of focus, rootedness, balance and a sense of timing, (e) elaboration of respect for discipline, (f) improvement in terms of stamina and movement capacities, etc. This long list of advantages, however, does not dispel doubts which arise when considering the presence of martial arts in performer training and should not make us overlook related questions. These dilemmas comprise, for example, risk of injury, the presence of violence (even in a nascent form) and the subjugation of critical thought in confrontation with (often mythologized) practices and attitudes enshrined in (often esoteric) traditions. In an age when hierarchies are being acutely questioned and overturned, in life as much as in the training studio or classroom, when inclusivity and equality determine our every move, how do the structured forms of martial arts and their related pedagogical or dissemination models speak to such concerns? Can they only reinforce authority, or can they overcome such binary models? How might martial arts help shape the performance revolution that is yet to come? And how do martial arts impact on wider notions and practices of gender and sexuality? Are they purely conformist, homogenizing, or can they offer possibilities for transgression and transformation? We are convinced that these problems and issues deserve attention and careful scrutiny.

We would also like to highlight the following questions to be – potentially – tackled by contributors to the special issue:
• Are martial arts in performer training gender, race, class, age, (dis)ability determined? If they are, how does this manifest itself and what are the implications of this?
• How do cultural, political and social contexts play out in martial arts as part of performer training? Amateur and youth involvement in martial arts is extensive; how does this feed into performer training?
• How do social distancing and isolation as consequences of the global pandemic affect martial arts’ presence in performer training curricula?
• Which style(s) or school(s) are better/worse suited for performer training? Are any not suited at all? If so, why?
• Are martial arts primarily used as a movement training substitute? Are other dimensions of martial arts, such as meditation, work with energy, ethical dimension, etc., included in performer training regimes as well? How might work on martial arts support vocal practices and training?

Other important problems which we think could be addressed in this issue include:
• Strategies, consequences and risks of adaptation of martial arts or their elements for performance training needs;
• Interrelations between martial arts and other training systems within one curriculum (the problem of syncretism);
• Martial arts in training for a specific performance type in terms of aesthetics and/or philosophy;
• Martial arts’ performance pedagogy and its organizational milieus: drama school, university, studio theatre, workshops, etc.
• Usefulness of the martial arts’ pedagogic strategy of dialectics of form and improvisation in performing arts training contexts; issues around imitation, form and discipline in martial arts – how do these aspects prepare performers for rehearsal and creative processes, if they indeed do? 

We welcome submissions from authors both inside and outside academic institutions, from professional practitioners and those who are currently undergoing training or who have experiences to tell from their training histories. To signal your intention to make a contribution to this special issue in any one of the ways identified above please email an abstract (max 250 words) to Paul Allain and Grzegorz Ziółkowski at: P.A.Allain@kent.ac.uk and grzeg@amu.edu.pl. Training Grounds proposals are to be made to Thomas Wilson (Thomas.Wilson@bruford.ac.uk), copied to Paul and Grzegorz.

Our deadline for these abstracts is 16th June 2021.

Theatre, Dance and Performance Training has three sections:

  • Articles” features contributions in a range of critical and scholarly formats (approx. 5,000-7,000 words)
  • “Sources” provides an outlet for the documentation and analysis of primary materials of performer training. We are particularly keen to receive material that documents the histories and contemporary practices associated with the issue’s theme.
  • Training Grounds” hosts shorter pieces, which are not peer reviewed, including essais, postcards, visual essays, speaking image (short text responding to a photo, drawing, visual score, etc.) and book or event reviews. We welcome a wide range of different proposals for contributions including edited interviews and previously unpublished archive or source material. We also welcome suggestions for recent books on the theme to be reviewed; or for foundational texts to be re-reviewed.

Innovative cross-over print/digital formats are possible, including the submission of audiovisual training materials, which can be housed on the online interactive Theatre, Dance and Performance Training journal blog: http://theatredanceperformancetraining.org/.

About Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (TDPT)

Special Issues of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (TDPT) are an essential part of its offer and complement the open issues in each volume. TDPT is an international academic journal devoted to all aspects of ‘training’ (broadly defined) within the performing arts. It was founded in 2010 and launched its own blog in 2015. Our target readership comprises scholars and the many varieties of professional performers, makers, choreographers, directors, dramaturgs and composers working in theatre, dance, performance and live art who have an interest in the practices of training. TDPT’s co-editors are Jonathan Pitches (University of Leeds) and Libby Worth (Royal Holloway, University of London).

Issue Schedule

  • 16th June 2021: 250 word proposals to be submitted to Paul Allain and Grzegorz Ziółkowski at: P.A.Allain@kent.ac.uk and grzeg@amu.edu.pl.
  • Early July 2021: Response from editors and, if successful, invitation to submit contribution.
  • Early July 2021 to end October 2021: Writing/preparation period and submission of first drafts.
  • End October-End of December 2021: Peer review period.
  • January 2022: Author revisions, post peer review.
  • September 2022: publication as Vol. 13, Issue 3.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Call for TDPT Co-editor

Journal of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (TDPT), Routledge.

The two editors of the international journal, Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, Professor Jonathan Pitches (University of Leeds) and Dr Libby Worth (Royal Holloway, University of London), are seeking to recruit a coeditor to join them on this very successful journal, published by Routledge.  Now in its 12th year, the journal has just moved to publishing 4 issues annually and attracts contributions from scholars and practitioners across the globe. It has a very active blog site, hosting multi-media content.

As the journal has grown in stature and in size, the editorial team has expanded, and we now have a group of associate editors and blog editors numbering over twenty individuals. True to our ethos of publishing and practising training, we seek someone who might be an ‘editor in waiting’, not necessarily fully versed in all the details of journal publication but with a deep-seated interest in performance training and with some experience of editing others’ work and engagement with academic journals.

While you may not be a fully fledged editor, you will need to bring strategic ambition and vision to the journal, helping us take TDPT into the next decade of its development with energy and imagination. Working on TDPT will offer you unique insights into academic publication and provide you with opportunities to expand your own networks with scholars and practitioners. You will be a key contributor, helping steer the journal’s direction and ensuring it keeps up to date and responsive to current ideas and movements in performance training.

You should be:

  • Invested in contemporary debates in training and performance and committed to the principles of ethical research.
  • Visionary and creative with clear ideas about how the journal can continue to develop and prosper.
  • Highly organised and efficient with excellent communication skills.
  • At your best when working in a tight-knit, collegiate team of editors and associate editors.

Editor’s responsibilities include:

  • Working with the other two co-editors of TDPT to set the strategic direction of the journal.
  • Upholding the highest levels of integrity in dealing with the journal’s contributors and content.
  • Liaising with the journal’s publishers, Routledge.
  • Collaborating with the TDPT extended team of associate editors (including blog and Training Grounds editors)
  • Sourcing (and liaising with) peer reviewers.
  • Becoming familiar with the the submission of manuscripts through the web-based peer review tool ScholarOne and the production platform CATS.
  • Commissioning and responding to proposals for Special Issues.
  • Sharing the writing of TDPT Editorials with the other editors.
  • Attending and helping to organise the Assistant Editors’ AGM and annual Training Grounds team meetings.
  • Supporting launch events for Special Issues and actively disseminating news about TDPT through social media.
  • Acting as an advocate for the journal at conferences and symposia.

TDPT is committed to fostering a culture of inclusion, respect and equality of opportunity for all. We will select candidates on the basis of merit, and ability and aspire to further diversifying our community. We particularly welcome and encourage applications from candidates who have historically been under-represented in our journal including, but not limited to: Black, Asian and ethnically diverse people; gender non-binary, transgender or gender fluid people; and people with disabilities. 

To apply please send a maximum two-page statement identifying how you see the journal developing over the next five years, plus an up-to-date CV. You may also want to include an assessment of your skills and interests along with a statement of what you would like to learn from working as co-editor. These can be sent directly to Jonathan Pitches and Libby Worth (details below).

For more information and an informal discussion please contact: Jonathan Pitches j.pitches@leeds.ac.uk and/or Libby Worth libby.worth@rhul.ac.uk.  Our consultant editor Simon Murray is also available for advice simon.murray@glasgow.ac.uk.  Finally, please feel free to contact any one of our international editorial board members, who can offer a more distanced but invested perspective on the journal’s culture and operation.

The post is unpaid but all expenses incurred in working for the journal are covered.

Deadline for applications

March 31st 2021

Interviews will be held in April

Call for Associate Editor (Peer review) for TDPT

Journal of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (TDPT), Routledge.

TDPT has an international profile and wide remit covering a range of arts training. For instance recent special issues have expanded to include training for: Popular Performance, Voice, Live and Performance Art, Immersive Performance, Independent Dance and focus on training places such as Dartington College of Arts. Current political and cultural issues that impact on, and that are generated by, training for performance, are regularly addressed in both open submissions and Special Issues such as ‘Training Politics and Ideology’, ‘Intercultural Acting and Actor/Performer Training’ and most recently ‘Against the Canon’.

As the journal has expanded over the years to full quarterly status in 2020, the number of submissions to both the Special and open issues has risen substantially. This welcome enthusiasm for writing on and from performance training comes with additional demands on the peer review process. The journal operates a single blind anonymous review process (i.e. reviewer’s name is not revealed to the author) with two reviews for each article. Given this growing need, the TDPT editors see that there is an opportunity for a new role within the journal for an Associate Editor (Peer Review), to lead on the journal’s strategy for peer review and to help us ensure its continuing rigour and supportiveness.

The Role

As this is a new editorial position, we invite you to contribute to its development and shaping. We expect that you will gain valuable experience in editorial processes within a highly respected and lively journal. Contact with a wide range of peer reviewers will increase your network substantially and has the potential for you to offer mentoring. Given both the numerical increase in submissions and expansion of fields of interest we envisage the role as follows:

  • Researching internationally for appropriate reviewers for the wide range of articles submitted.
  • Expanding the pool of peer reviewers the journal can draw upon and developing a clear system for access.
  • Encouraging new scholars and practitioners unfamiliar with the reviewing process to contribute. This is an extension of our current practice in mentoring practitioners and new writers to submit to the journal and the blog.
  • To contribute to actions and discussion on peer reviewing that support the further diversifying of our contributor base. In particular it is important to invite engagement from those who have historically been under-represented in our journal.
  • To reach out and engage with related journal editors in the current lively debates on the ethics, challenges and potential of the peer reviewing process.
  • To work closely with the editorial team and with Routledge.

   You should be:

  • Interested and fully engaged in many aspects of performer training.
  • Very well organised with strengths in preparing spreadsheets or similar for easy retrieval of information.
  • Keen to participate as part of a close team and excellent at communication.
  • Interested and able to contribute within the wider related scholarly/artistic community on peer reviewing.
  • Eager to learn or develop your skills in editorial work within TDPT.

TDPT is committed to fostering a culture of inclusion, respect and equality of opportunity for all. We will select candidates on the basis of merit, and ability and aspire to further diversifying our community. We particularly welcome and encourage applications from candidates who have historically been under-represented in our journal including, but not limited to: Black, Asian and ethnically diverse people; gender non-binary, transgender or gender fluid people; and people with disabilities.

To apply please send a maximum one-page statement identifying how you see the journal’s approach to Peer Review developing over the next couple of years, plus an up-to-date CV. You may also want to include an assessment of your skills and interests along with a statement of what you would like to learn from working as an Associate Editor. These can be sent directly to Jonathan Pitches and Libby Worth (details below).

For more information and an informal discussion please contact: Jonathan Pitches j.pitches@leeds.ac.uk  and/or Libby Worth libby.worth@rhul.ac.uk.  Our consultant editor Simon Murray is also available for advice simon.murray@glasgow.ac.uk.   Finally, please feel free to contact any one of our international editorial board members, who can offer a more distanced but invested perspective on the journal’s culture and operation.

The post is unpaid but all expenses incurred in working for the journal are covered.

Deadline for applications

March 31st 2021

Interviews will be held in April

TDPT Issue 11.4 Published

We are delighted to announce issue 11.4 of TDPT.  With this issue we are formally ‘a Quarterly’, both in the planning and the execution. As you will see, this is another very full issue, replete with six long-form articles, threaded through with postcards, a vibrant transcribed discussion, book and event reviews and a beautiful obituary, marking the passing of our dear friend Ali Hodge, and complementing a moving series of blog posts already published.

Look out for another innovation too: Speaking Image which takes forward – in microcosm – a key debate we have been having in the journal since its inception: how are embodied training practices communicated across media – and what does the interplay of image and word offer to this communication?

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Contents

Editorial

Editorial: dedicated to the memory of Alison Hodge (1959–2019)
Jonathan Pitches, Libby Worth, Thomas Wilson & Roanna Mitchell

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Arts Archives and Theatre Papers

The not-for-profit documentation project ARTS ARCHIVES and THEATRE PAPERS — a millennium compendium of performance practice research 1985–2015 — is closing and going into the British Library where it will sit alongside the International Workshop Festival collection. The material is also in the special collections at Exeter University as part of Exeter Digital Archives of performance research.  

https://humanities.exeter.ac.uk/drama/research/projects/eda/

However, if anybody is interested in obtaining at cost a private copy of all the material – it has been placed onto one sd card — for their own research and teaching, could they please get in touch.  You can see catalogues of the material at www.arts-archives.org 

Peter Hulton  

P.R.Hulton@exeter.ac.uk 

Call for Papers: Laban for Actors and in Acting Online Conference

Athens, 8-10 January 2021

The Laban for Actors and in Acting is an International Conference held under the auspices of The Makings of the Actor, the Michael Cacoyiannis Foundation, the Labanarium and Hellinoekdotiki, organized by Post-doctoral Researcher Dr Kiki Selioni, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London.  

The Makings of the Actoris organising a series of conferences based on books from international research practitioners discussing in theory and presenting in practice their works. Practitioner’s books are always a difficult task due to the struggle they have transferring practice into the written form of a book. Although there is always the possibility of recorded documentation with regards to practical work however this is unsatisfactory for practitioners to present their work in a complete way. Current practices like webinars offers a better understanding but still there is no immediate communication that can offer debates, questions and finally exchange of knowledge.

To submit a proposal, please visit the conference website:

https://themakingsactor.com/

The Performative Power of Vocality, Book Launch.

Free online book launch event for the monograph The Performative Power of Vocality by Virginie Magnat, published by Routledge in 2020 (https://virginiemagnat.space/the-performative-power-of-vocality).

This event will be hosted by the University of British Columbia Center for Mindful Engagement and Dr. Magnat will be joined by two special guests, Indigenous scholar Dr. Vicki Kelly and French scholar Dr. Nathalie Gauthard, who are members of the “Culture, Creativity, Health and Well-Being” Research Cluster that Dr. Magnat co-leads with Dr. Karen Ragoonaden (https://eminencecluster.weebly.com).

When: Dec 3, 2020 11:00 AM Vancouver  – please see digital poster attached.

Please register in advance for this meeting:

https://ubc.zoom.us/meeting/register/u5Yrf-yqqzgvGdJQO0gN-a0j3_05EN7FuJx-

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Call for Papers: TDPT 13.2 Special Issue on Performance Training and Well-Being.

Image: Arvin Singh Uzonov Dang, July 29, 2020.
Performance: Magnat, V. (2020). ’alhut (Hul’q’umi’num’ word meaning to honor, to look after, to be very careful with, to restore).

An Embodied Land Acknowledgement honoring the Sc’ianew First Nation’s traditional, ancestral and unceded territory (V. Magnat, 2020).

Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (TDPT)

Special issue Performance Training and Well-Being to be published June 2022

Call for contributions, ideas, proposals and dialogue with the editors

Guest editors: Dr. Virginie Magnat, University of British Columbia, Canada (virginie.magnat@ubc.ca) and Dr. Nathalie Gauthard, Université d’Artois, France (ngauthard@orange.fr).

Performance Training and Well-Being (Issue 13.2)

Conceived as a way of foregrounding the relevance of performance-based artistic practices in response to the current health crisis caused by the global pandemic, as well as a way of challenging neoliberal conceptions of creativity and performance as hallmarks of capitalist productivity, adaptability, and efficacy, this special issue will explore the relationship between performance training and the notion of well-being, broadly conceived, to reignite, reconfigure, revitalize, renew and/or reimagine their inter- and/or intra-action.

We seek contributions by performance and theatre studies scholar-practitioners, artists, educators, and activists ​committed to critically and reflexively investigating the cultural, social, political, ecological, and spiritual dimensions of performance training modalities that have the potential to promote, enhance, restore, and sustain the well-being of practitioners, audiences, and other/more-than-human participants and collaborators.

We are committed to integrating the perspectives of non-Western and Indigenous scholars and artists, and welcome contributions examining the ethical implications of conducting research on performance and well-being in the neoliberal academy, as well as decolonizing approaches to performance training that take into account the ​well-being of culturally diverse communities.

This special issue will therefore respond to the urgent need to acknowledge and to include multiple ways of knowing and being within Eurocentric paradigms that still inform dominant knowledge systems.

The contested term “well-being” is intended as a generative provocation. In this light, potential contributors are invited to engage with topics and questions such as:

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The S Word: Teaching Stanislavsky Online

A webinar brought to you by the Stanislavsky Research Centre, co-hosted by the School of Performance and Cultural Industries of the University of Leeds and the School of Performing Arts of the University of Malta.

Date: 4 November, 17:00 (GMT – London Time)

‘A Slice of Zoom Life: Uta Hagen’s Object Exercises in the COVID Era’

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Prof. David Shirley, Executive Director, Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia

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Following a brief contextual overview of the aims and purpose of Hagen’s training techniques, this presentation will reflect on the advantages and challenges encountered during the delivery of a series of classes to first year actors at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) during April-June 2020. How do notions of authenticity change in this context and how important is the role of the actor’s imagination in this reconfigured approach to practical training.

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‘Psychophysical Actor Training for the Small Screen’

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Prof. Stephanie Daventry French, Professor of Theatre, East Stroudsburg University, Pennsylvania, US

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French will demonstrate subtle mind-body exercises using the anatomy of thought (WEDGAG).  These have the power to create a sculptural story through the body, stimulate inner life and thoughts in the circumstances, and activate emotions.

Session Moderated by Stefan Aquilina, Director, School of Performing Arts, University of Malta

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Registration:

https://universityofmalta.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Zy3fq0iVSryUdFIq4-Bcqg

Teaching with the special issue: ‘Against the Canon’

A collaborative document, with contributions from: Mark Evans, Cass Fleming, Rebecca Loukes, Sara Reed and Amy Russell.

This piece of writing aims to offer reflection and provocation on the ways that the TDPT Special Issue ‘Against the Canon’ might be used as part of teaching and learning activities within theatre, dance and performance courses and training programmes. We write this as academics and artists, aware of our position as white and privileged – and we invite critique, challenge and debate.

For work ‘against the canon’ to have continuing impact, it needs to reach out beyond the page of academic journals and start to affect the ways in which pedagogy operates and the ways in which teachers and students engage with canonical forms of training and canonical content. Editing the special issue has brought to the fore for us so many questions about deep assumptions underpinning much practice in Universities and conservatoires. The changes being wrought by #MeToo and by the Black Lives Matter (BLM) campaign also offer profound challenges to the ways in which training for performance is structured, taught, assessed and perceived. The suggestions and provocations outlined below are offered only as a number of possible starting points and are in no way definitive – they should themselves be open to challenge and critique. We suggest that those interested in this work should approach it collaboratively, as befits the subject matter, working in partnership with students, colleagues, industry partners and interested communities.

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TDPT 11.3 Against the Canon

We are delighted to announce the publication of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training 11.3, “Against the Canon, guest edited by Mark Evans (Coventry University) and Cass Fleming (Goldsmiths University), with Training Grounds section edited by Sara Reed (Coventry University)

This special issue of Theatre, Dance and Performer Training addresses the forgotten and marginalised contributions made by various collaborative artists and practitioners to the development of performer training during the twentieth and twenty first centuries. 

Many previous publications on training have tended to focus on canonical figures and the dominant historical performer-training narratives. Less attention has been paid to collaboration as an important characteristic of avant-garde performance training, and to the complex exchanges through which pedagogy and work has been developed and disseminated.  This journal issue intentionally centralises these acts of cross-fertilisation and collaborative exchanges, thereby shifting the focus away from canonical individual figures and towards frequently overlooked or under-recognised practitioners and pedagogues. In doing so, we are aware that this special issue is not alone in advocating for such a shift of focus. In many respects we see this issue as one particular marking point in a turn away from a linear, white and patriarchal history of theatre, dance and performance training.

Our contributing authors challenge the manner in which traditional performer training histories often still seek to capture the ‘purity’ of established methods and to identify individual (often white male) owners of successful techniques.  This issue will seek to challenge the ways in which practitioners such as Stanislavsky, Craig, Copeau, Laban, Lecoq, Chekhov and Meisner are often uncritically revered as ‘Master Teachers’ and the ways in which this obscures or negates the existence of wider networks of artists who contributed to the development of these training practices, many of whom were women. To this extent our authors are not looking simply to critique existing canonical figures, but to bring forward the work of those who are usually ignored.

Contents

Editorial

Mark Evans, Cass Fleming & Sara Reed

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Tributes for Ali Hodge (1959 – 2019)

Ali was a long term and loyal supporter of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training and, as an innovative and rigorous advocate of the importance of research in performer training, a significant presence on the editorial board. There is little question that Ali’s texts such as Twentieth Century Actor Training (Routledge, 1999) and the second edition Actor Training (Routledge, 2010) were acclaimed when first published and remain valued and important resources for theatre artists and researchers. So too, her work with Wlodzimierz Staniewski, Hidden Territories: The Theatres of Gardzienice (with DVD, Routledge 2003) provide detailed analyses of the Polish company’s training and performance making processes, whilst Core Training for the Relational Actor (with DVD, Routledge, 2013) revealed much about her decades long development of directorial work with her company The Quick and the Dead. However, the following series of reminiscences open up a different kind of space in which to celebrate and reflect on Ali’s lifelong journey in theatre practice, together with the impact she had on those she met. The voices of some of those who worked and lived most closely with Ali, over different periods of her life, speak out in their own manner about what was distinctive and important to each of them in their contact with her. Each emphasises the essential connection between the personal and the professional in her work, her humour, courage, generosity, insight and rigour. The series of recollections, grouped very roughly around the place, company or type of work she undertook, opens with Chris Hurford’s, Ali’s husband, invocation of her passionate drive to ensure that theatre, through its performers, communicated meaningfully and compassionately. And they end with Ruth Way’s memory of Ali’s joy in her ‘incredible vegetable patch’.

These tributes for Ali sit together with an appreciation of her life written for the journal by Katie Normington.  

Reading through these recollections reminded me of one of the aspects I found most compelling when working with Ali during her time at Royal Holloway This was her capacity to step back from an assessment or directing moment and pause before offering penetrating questions. Her own spaciousness in allowing time for the response process to happen, encouraged those she worked with the same freedom — to take time, to think, to reflect and importantly to gain perspective on even the most challenging, emotionally charged movement and vocal work.

Ali’s husband, Chris Hurford (who’s reflection is immediately below), has just completed work on www.alihodge.com, a website dedicated to Ali’s work. It is primarily intended as a resource and a portal for students, practitioners and academics — as many have already expressed an interest in such a site. For those who knew Ali it also is a great reminder of her extraordinary achievements. 

Please feel free to comment below or contact the Blog editors to submit a post if you wish to add your thoughts, this is the beauty of a blog space.

Libby Worth Reader in Contemporary Performance Practices, Royal Holloway and Co-editor with Jonathan Pitches, Theatre, Dance and Performance Training. 

Fig 1. Ali in Poland, photographer unknown.
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