people dancing conference 2017

I'm delighted to be presenting, sharing and joining with a network of incredible artists and experienced thinkers and movers at the upcoming People Dancing conference in Glasgow.

This conference comes at a time when many threads of my practice, experience, thinking and research are converging and I look forward to the opportunity to share this through the theme of dance with people with Parkinson's.

My workshop entitled 'Collectivity and Intimacy - exploring co-ownership of dancing experience in dance with Parkinson’s' will explore two clear threads:

  1. How the experience of dancing with Parkinson's is co-owned by dance artist and dancer and how we prioritise the contribution of the dancer
  2. How my personal knowledge of movement and the body as the professional artist, is owned equally by the dancers with Parkinson's that I work with

Both of these themes feature in my practice based research 'Collectivity and Intimacy' which is inspired by dancers with Parkinson's and seeks to explore the nature of contribution and the value of alternative perspectives on the dancing body. [See more on my project blog.]

In the collective space of the studio, the dancers are contributing to a shared energy and this feeds their experience of oneness with others as well as validating their physical achievement in class due to the powerful presence of mirror neurons.

In the intimate space, dancers are required to think, test and explore possibilities as individuals. This can enable an embodied learning and ownership, however it can cause vulnerability for dancers who benefit from being carried by the collective. 

In Dance for Parkinson's we often favour the collective due to the proven benefits of mirroring and external, visual cues towards movement. However, in recent research with founder of Dance for Health Rotterdam, Marc Vlemmix, we have begun to explore the huge value in the intimate exploration of movement. Not just due to the opportunities for personal freedom and expression that I believe lead to co-ownership; but also for the dancer to discover and train the body independently to achieve greater movement potential. Self learning / teaching / perfecting - enabling ownership of personal development - is vital to dance training and it is interesting to reflect on why this approach is not adopted in Parkinson's dance contexts and how we could begin to introduce this more readily...

This and more to be explored alongside the wonderful dancers of Scottish Ballet's Dance for Parkinson's programme at the conference in Glasgow. Looking forward to sharing with you!