Why Movement Matters

Movement Symposium on Saturday 18th April 2020 at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London

RADA invites you to submit proposals for contributions to a One Day Symposium on: 

Why Movement Matters

We are holding a one day Symposium with Industry Professionals and Movement Practitioners, directors, teachers and educators, to offer opinions, experiences and ideas about “Why Movement Matters”.

The aim of the event is to raise awareness about the vital contribution movement practice and movement direction make to the industry. We intend to explore movement’s past and its future as a creative maker of meaning in the theatre and hope to create the opportunity for open discussion and professional networking. On a practical level the event will generate opportunities for emerging and established artists to share their work with the possible option to write about and to interrogate questions around practice through journals and other publication outlets.

The idea for this event came from a panel discussion at the Dorfman Studio at The National Theatre in November 2018 to discuss the legacy of Jacques Lecoq and to launch The Routledge Companion to Jacques Lecoq. What emerged from this event was how wide ranging the influence of movement is but how little is known about any of the details of its development and about the variety of practices now available. This event provides an opportunity to share, to interrogate and to celebrate this powerful aspect of how theatre is made and how it continues to shape developments in production and in training.

Continue reading

CfP: Performance Knowledges: Transmission, Composition, Praxis (University of Malta)

Annual Conference hosted by the School of Performing Arts at the University of Malta
In cooperation with the Centre for Dance Research, Coventry University, UK

11, 12, 13 March 2020

Confirmed keynotes:
Professor Bruce McConachie (University of Pittsburg)
Professor Maaike Bleeker (Utrecht University)
Professor Lynette Goddard (Royal Holloway, University of London)

The seventh Annual Conference of the School of Performing Arts (University of Malta) considers knowledge in relation to performing arts practices. More specifically, the conference aims to explore, question, and discuss the different types of ‘knowledges’ that emerge from or are involved in performing arts practices including creation, production, performance, and spectatorship.

The conference’s focus on performing arts practices—dance, theatre, and music—acknowledges an affinity with Performance Studies, which originated in American universities as a new ‘knowledge formation’ (Kirshenblatt-Gimblett 1999) with the aim to integrate performance into interdisciplinary scholarship and offer a counterbalance to the emphasis on texts and literature within cultural studies. The conference focus on practices is also strongly connected to developments originating around the same time for artistic research in the context of European higher education. The debates about artistic research have posited basic questions about the constitution of knowledge and its valorisation (Borgdorff 2012). The conditions and opportunities for artistic research in higher education continue to evolve, but many questions about its status and relevance, in connection to knowledge production in particular, remain.

The aim of Performance Knowledges is to offer an opportunity to refresh some of these discussions and debates through a focus on performing arts from the perspectives of transmission, composition, and praxis. This is a chance to include research cultures working at the borderline with the social and cognitive sciences, where the vantage point of the performing arts should provoke a robust discussion of embodied and relational forms of knowledge. It also encourages participants to rethink how in composition and transmission processes knowledge is diversified into different types, including tacit knowledge—with emphasis on process and experience (Polanyi 1958). This should include addressing the question of skill—which is so often overlooked in academic debates about the subject.

We are looking for presentations that engage with questions of varieties, generation, transmission, and implications of performance knowledges. We are looking for inter- and multidisciplinary approaches that might contribute to the analysis of ways of knowing in the performing arts, and to the scholarly study of collaborative encounters between directors, choreographers, composers, performers, designers, and spectators. We are particularly interested in alternative and diverse conceptualisations of practice-generating knowledges, as well as knowledge-generating practices,

Presentation topics might include, but are not limited to, issues and themes of performance knowledges in relation to practices, methodologies, and technologies. We welcome submissions across a number of areas that address the multifaceted understandings of knowledge as emergent in theatre, dance, and music, including but not limited to:

– the artist’s perspective on languaging and documenting practices
– embodied cognition and moving beyond dualism in the practice of the performing arts
– problematising hegemonic knowledges, implications for performing arts
– training processes and compositional strategies as intangible heritage
– practice turn in contemporary theory, communities and ecologies of practice
– habits, skills and contexts for tacit knowledge acquisition and transmission
– perspectives on and from diverse atypical modes and mixed abilities
– historical, analytical, and theoretical understandings of embodiment in the performing arts
– case studies of creators, performers, spectators, and other agents of performance
– technologisation and the impact of digitisation on performance practices
– translation, transformation and/ or appropriation of performance forms

Abstracts of a maximum of 300 words should be submitted in Word Doc by 16 December 2019 to the conference convenors on these addresses: Lucía Piquero (lucia.piquero -at- um.edu.mt) and Scott deLahunta (aa9576 -at- coventry.ac.uk). Acceptance will be confirmed in January 2020. If an official invitation is required earlier for research funding purposes, please contact the convenors and ensure that you submit your abstract as early as possible. Abstracts should include a brief biography (additional 125 words maximum), presentation format whether conventional 15/20-minute presentations or lecture-demonstrations (participatory elements are welcome), and any technical equipment you might require.

Important dates:
Deadline for submissions: 16 December 2019
Notification of acceptance by 20 January 2020
Dates of the conference: 11-13 March 2020
Conference website: https://www.um.edu.mt/events/performanceknowledges2020

The Practice Diaries Exchange session 1: Call For Reflections

The Practice Diaries Exchange will begin the first discussion session on the concept of training based on the question contributed by Prof. Mark Evans:

Does History Matter?

If I am training myself or undergoing training, does the history that underpins the exercises that I do matter to me or have any meaningful impact on the efficacy of the training? Training typically takes place ‘in the moment’ and the immediate experience of the exercises is often what seems to matter the most. But what about the background to those exercises, their provenance and ‘heritage’? Can exercises come with baggage – either ideological, gendered, colonial or otherwise? And if so, how do we as trainers and trainees address that baggage and deal with it?

This question reminds us of the significance of history, background, or heritage of training approaches as we often tend to focus on the immediate, perceptible experience during training. It inspires us to consider looking back to or remembering the foundational nature of training approaches that influence our training processes and the results. In our responses, let us go beyond dualistic appraisals with regards to advantages or disadvantages related to the question. Rather, as we train, it is worth pondering how we think of, and what we do with ‘heritage’ encompassed by a training practice, whilst also considering that the ‘heritage’ may have changed over time when a practice moves from one cultural realm to another.

Everyone who is interested in this topic is welcome to send reflections, responses or findings to the editor of the section, I-Ying Wu, at ginggingla@gmail.com any time before the session is closed on 31 July. The material can be in any forms such as writing, video, audio, or other creative forms that are suitable to present your ideas or arguments clearly on the blog.

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.

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

Call for Papers – TaPRA 2019, Performer Training Working Group: ‘Exercise’

University of Surrey, 4-6 September, 2019

The Performer Training Working Group

The Performer Training Working Group has been meeting for thirteen years and has produced several collaborative outputs, including a variety of contributions to the thrice-yearly journal, Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (TDPT), dedicated to training in all its manifestations, and this blog.

The Context – ‘Exercise’

Performer training is often conducted through and made up of ‘exercises’. These short activities, put together in a particular structure are the substance of what the trainee undertakes in the studio.  And yet, what is an exercise?  The most obvious definition from the Oxford English Dictionary is ‘a task set to practise or test a skill.’  However, the many meanings of the word imbue it with a host of connotations including physical training, military drills, or the use of one’s rights.

Exercises to train performers are documented in the Natya Sastra (500 BCE – 500CE) and Zeami’s treatise (14th Century CE) and have proliferated around the world in the wake of Stanislavski’s systemization of acting at the start of the 20th Century.  Exercises are the core of performance training; books about performance in all its forms commonly contain catalogues of exercises; workshops and masterclasses are often structured around engagement with and critique of exercises.  And yet, possibly through the blindness of familiarity, this fundamental building block of our work usually escapes interrogation.

We are seeking contributions that add to our understanding of what exercises are, the different ways they have been used in performance training, what their limits are, and what might be beyond them.

We Invite:

We invite contributions in a variety of formats from practical demonstrations and workshops (30-60 minutes), traditional academic papers (20 minutes) and provocations (10 minutes).   Practitioners and researchers without institutional support are encouraged to apply and may contact the convenors to discuss ways that we might facilitate this.  Contributors may also wish to make use of the TDPT Blog as part of their presentation.

For full details please go to the TaPRA website:

The deadline for the submission of a 300-word proposal, plus additional information, is Monday 8th April 2019.

Embodied/Embodying Performer Training: Practices and Practicalities

TaPRA Performer Training Working Group Interim Event

24th April 2019, University of South Wales, Cardiff Campus, The ATRiuM

Call deadline: March 15th

Continue reading

Call for two Training Grounds Editors: Journal of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, Routledge

Now in its 9th year, the Journal of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training runs to three issues annually and attracts contributions from scholars and practitioners across the globe. As part of our tenth birthday celebrations, we are planning to grow to four issues per year and these two appointments reflect our expansion both in ambition and audience reach. The journal’s co-editors Professor Jonathan Pitches (University of Leeds) and Dr Libby Worth (Royal Holloway, University of London) are seeking to recruit two Training Grounds Editors to work closely with them and with the rest of the Training Grounds (TG) editorial team, on this very successful journal, published by Routledge.

We seek two highly creative, motivated, organised and collegiate individuals with demonstrable specialisms in theatre, dance and/or performer training to join the rest of the TG team at this exciting moment in the journal’s growth. For the last nine years, we have been proud of the diversity of materials and innovation of writing forms offered within the pages of Training Grounds and with this set of appointments we hope to build on this track record, taking the spirit of the experimental backpages section into the journal’s main body. Continue reading

New Blog Artist Awards

Following the success of the first TDPT Blog Artist Awards, we are delighted to announce a call for a new round of these awards.

The first TDPT Blog Artist Awards were launched to help artists, practitioners, students and freelance performance-makers to engage with the blog.  We aimed to mitigate the financial barriers facing those who did not have the institutional support that university academics are accustomed to.

Accordingly, with the generous support of Routledge and the Theatre, Dance and Performance Training journal, we were able to offer small pots of money (£50-150) to support artists who contributed to the site by investigating an area of performer training of interest to the wider community. Continue reading

The S Word: Stanislavski in Context – Symposium at the University if Malta

Organised by The Stanislavski Centre and The Department of Theatre Studies (University of Malta) in collaboration with The University of California Riverside.

Dates: 5th, 6th, 7th April 2019

Venue: The Valletta Campus of the University of Malta, Valletta, Malta

Keynote speakers: Prof. Laurence Senelick (Tufts University)
Prof. Vicki Ann Cremona (University of Malta)

Co-conveners: Dr. Paul Fryer (The Stanislavski Centre)
Dr Stefan Aquilina (University of Malta)

Creative Adviser: Prof. Bella Merlin (University of California Riverside)

Following on from the past three successful editions of the Symposium, we are very pleased to announce the Call for Papers/Presentations for the fourth major event of The S Word project. Continue reading

Call for Contributions: Performer Training in Community and Applied Theatre Contexts

The Theatre Dance and Performance Training Blog is creating a new section to investigate the role of training in applied and community theatre. We are looking for contributions from practitioners, scholars, teachers and others interested in exploring the intersection between training and community for instance, how training might be used in relation to theatre for social change, the relationship between training and some of the prominent themes of applied practice, or how we train for working in the community.

Augusto Boal discusses training bodies in the practices of Theatre of the Oppressed as a form of consciousness raising. He describes using theatre to train the body of the participant:

That is, to take them apart, to study and analyse them. Not to weaken or destroy them, but to raise them to the level of consciousness. So that each worker, each peasant understands, sees, and feels to what point his body is governed by his work (Boal 104).

Training allows the participant to become aware of how alienation has impacted upon her body: how economic, cultural and social structures mark the body. Training is a training in noticing how the world marks the body and accordingly changes the subject’s relationship to the world.

Through the blog we want to explore the complicated relationship that training has to practice in non-professional settings, considering the broader questions that this practice raises in terms of representation, cultural recognition, power and domination and social change. On the one hand, following Boal, training can be an act of consciousness raising, re-distributing skills and resources and accordingly giving participants the means of the production (bodily and vocal production). On the other, training can be a homogenising practice, eliminating cultural difference and perpetuating certain dominant ideas of ‘correctness’. The blog will explore the complexity of training, neither dismissing it as culturally domineering, nor fetishizing its value or social good. Continue reading

Call for Proposals for Global Improvisation Initiative Symposium 2019: “Awareness”

In sectors across the business and creative worlds, old models of cause and effect are becoming obsolete. We are beginning to acknowledge the complex and chaotic nature of the systems that surround us. Flexibility, fluidity, spontaneity and real time responsiveness are the essential qualities needed for this accelerated world. The future will belong to those who can improvise best.

      –  Lee Simpson & Phelim McDermott, Artistic Directors Improbable

The Global Improvisation Initiative (GII) was launched in 2016 to activate an international exploration into the art and impact of improvisation in depth and collectively, appreciating the rich history and diversity within our field in order to best serve the infinite possibilities of our future. The first GII Symposium took place in 2017 at both University of California at Irvine and Chapman University and served as an intellectual and artistic nexus for sharing, producing, and documenting new knowledge about improvisational processes happening within the performance arts industries and beyond. The first symposium brought together an international gathering of scholars, practitioners, educators, activists, and players all promoting the evolution and advancement of improvisation for future generations. Continue reading

Reminder – Call for a co-editor of this Blog – Deadline 9 April

Dear All,

Applications for a co-editor for the TDPT Blog close this Monday, 9 April.  Please apply or pass on to those who might be interested.

It might be particularly of interest to those Early Career Researchers looking to develop their networks of academics and practitioners.

Wee look forward to hearing from you!

Best Wishes,

James

View the original advertisement here

Call for a co-editor of this Blog

We are currently seeking a new member to join the editorial team of the TDPT Blog, www.theatredanceperformancetraining.org.

Associated with the influential journal, Theatre, Dance and Performance Training, published by Routledge, the blog’s interactive presence is designed to encourage a growing community of artists, academics, practitioners and researchers to share practice and debate issues that are currently alive within the disciplines of theatre, dance and performance training.

Now entering its third year, our blog has been highly successful in engaging new audiences for the TDPT journal, creating an online space that promotes spontaneous and productive conversation and debate. As we grow further it will represent a productive and discursive teaching ‘tool’ – or forum – within all levels of education and training preoccupied with dance, performance and theatre.

This opportunity will offer the chance to develop your own networks with scholars and practitioners, as well as contribute to the shape and direction of contemporary discussions on training.

We invite applications from researchers from any stage of their career, but especially Post-Graduate Research Students and Early Career Researchers who are actively seeking to develop their research and practice networks.  We also encourage those with an active interest in Practice-based research and/or Live Art, and those who have familiarity with editing audio-visual material.  As we are seeking to broaden our outlook and audience, we are interested to connect with scholars who reside outside England but above all we are looking for a team member who is highly organised, can work well in a team, and has a passion for the field of theatre, dance, and performance training.

The successful applicant will participate in regular Skype meetings with the Blog team to discuss the administration of the site and curation of posts.  They will also seek out new content from practitioners and scholars and liaise with these authors throughout the content-making process.  Such content may take the form of writing, photo essays, audio-visual files, and/or other innovative approaches. Applicants should be comfortable with editing and curating such content.

For further information, please contact blog editors, James McLaughlin, jimmyacademy@gmail.com (University of Greenwich), Bryan Brown, B.Brown@exeter.ac.uk (University of Exeter), or Maria Kapsali, M.Kapsali@leeds.ac.uk (University of Leeds).
To apply, please send a one-page statement of your relevant skills, interests and aspirations for the journal with an accompanying CV to James McLaughlin, jimmyacademy@gmail.com by Monday, 9 April, 2018.