aep skills exchange: self, support and emotional vulnerability

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resilience

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I have spoken about burnout and resilience building to many dancers across my work and I have been personally affected by the negative impact that lack of support for resilience as an individual and in organisations can have for your physical and mental health and wellbeing. In my research preparing for the AEP launch, I was interested to hear that many artists are struggling in the same way to find a sense of self, life and work balance and to stand up for their values when under pressure to survive. As part of the AEP Skills Exchange Sarah Lewis offered a workshop and discussion on resilience practices to support the artists to understand their values and what they are uncompromising on...

aep skills exchange: misbehaving

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aesthetics, translation and the detail of intention

Kimberley Harvey led a cheeky and payful workshop on day 2 of the SEP Skills Exchange which gave space for considering aesthetic preference and accessibility. In her own words, Kimberley explains the work she shared this week and the intentions within her practice:

Initially, I was a little apprehensive about my decision to use rep from my company’s, Subtle Kraft Co, piece ‘Moments: Revisited’ as the basis for my creative session. But then I reminded myself that, actually, learning other dance company’s repertory material has always been such a treat for me as a dancer - giving you the chance to ‘live it’ and experience the movement of the dancers in the piece.

aep skills exchange: objects, stories, people

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Community Dance as Curatorial practice

On the second day of the AEP Skills Exchange, Lizz Fort took us through a practical task to highlight the importance of artistic choices, and how to deliver a session which provides trainee students with a window into the values of community dance, creative practice and artistry. In her own words she shares her thoughts behind the practice:

In my work as a dance teacher educator, as trainee teachers journey from dancer to teacher/facilitator, I feel strongly that they see themselves as artists in their teaching practice before they develop the skills to host creative dance activities with others.  The activity I hosted at the AEP is one way that I start this conversation. In addition, I wanted to open up a discussion with the other artists about my current interest in rethinking community dance as a curatorial practice, an idea I have been formulating for a PhD research proposal. The ‘object-writing-hand phrase activity’ seemed well suited to achieve both of these objectives.

aep skills exchange: Coaching and creative practice

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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...