aep skills exchange: 20 questions

news from the aep...

empathy, awareness, human experience

On day 3 Tom Hobden led the Skills Exchange artists through a creative process to highlight the principles behind his practice and what led him to the development of his current work '20 Questions'. 20 Questions is an intergenerational piece developed with local people with varying experience of dance. Every performer in the show goes on a process with Tom and co-director Kate Flurrie; learning who they are, who they were and who they might like to be; finding the answers to these big questions through movement. 

aep skills exchange: Coaching and creative practice

news from the aep...

the art of paying attention

Hannah Robertshaw introduced us to the creative parallels between our work and coaching practice on day 2 of the Skills Exchange.

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the art of listening

The things that emerged from this session are valuable for all of us to consider for ourselves, as well as for our practice with others:

  • Listening - REALLY listening, and giving space and time for the person to resolve their thoughts, is a different experience to partially, distracted listening
  • Holding the space (a theme that has arisen already during our week) invites the contributor to feel safe in their expression
  • Being alongside someone in their thinking, can men physically, in emotional terms or both in the creative setting
  • The principle of our creative work aligns with the coaching belief that a person has it inside themselves to find the right way, path, or answer
  • We are there to support a creative experience, not to make decisions about which way to lead someone down a specific path
  • Directing a process does not mean deliberately pointing in one direction
  • Sometimes allowing space and time, is more powerful than filling every moment
  • Coming to our own conclusions, helps us to commit to the answers we discover
  • It can be hard to get beyond pleasing people when making creative direction choices, but moving beyond our initial responses gives us space to find something else - ask what next, or what else of your practice and of those you work with

aep skills exchange: the role of the artist

news from the aep...

holding the space

To begin the Skills' Exchange, I delivered a workshop which illuminated some of the concepts and thoughts that have led to this week. Most importantly, to highlight the different roles that are held by the artist in a creative situation, and how and why these roles are important.

By taking away the leadership figure, I set up a workshop environment in which boundaryless play could evolve, and the dancers were free to interpret their environment as they choose. The resources, the space, the music, the text based instructions and the other bodys in the space were available as markers to hold the space and provide inspiration but fundamentally the creative interpretation of the dancers was unstructured and unguided...

aep skills exchange: the listening approach

news from the aep...

identity and relationality

Today Katie Green offered a short practical session through which she shared her thoughts and enabled us to explore a ‘listening approach’ to directing. In her own words she shares the thoughts behind her practice practice...

By ‘listening approach’, I mean that I wanted to reflect on the ways in which I had, over time, integrated my experience working with a mentor and being a mentor myself into my experience directing groups of people (including both professionals and non-professionals) in a choreographic context. For me this means facilitating a working environment or ‘holding a space’ in which other people feel free to create their best work, rather than one that is explicitly about me and my process; the idea being that if I can guide people to create something that is as much from them as from me, it will have more integrity, it will say what it is intended to say more deeply or fully because it is not only about me and my agenda; it is about people more universally, and about what it means to be human

aep skills exchange: listening, trusting, playing

news from the aep...

play, connecting, trust and listening

Today, we began the AEP Skills Exchange with Hannah Robertshaw and Tim Casson taking us through a warm-up to put us in the shoes of the dancers we work with. We considered:

  • Being together and being alert - how do we communicate the need to stay connected with the process to our dancers through interactive tasks
  • Opening the space for contribution, accumulating movement and being responsive to people's movements offers
  • Simplicity of instructions - setting clear rules and seeing how easy it is to develop relationships and movement material out of very simple gestures such as walk, sit down, stand still
  • Conversational movement - listening to and respecting each other
  • Exploring our ability to trust and let go of control by giving another person the role of the driver - how do we as artists step into the passive role
  • Working as a team, lead and follow and democratic leadership