Sunday, December 9, 2012

Training Trends: reporting back!

Last Sunday, December 2nd, approximately 30 dance artists gathered at Cafe Cito for the Training Trends meeting. It was great to see so many people out and artists from different generations, engaged in conversation about the training activities in our city. The meeting was buzzing with positive energy and conversations which were productive and can lead us somewhere new. The word, choice, seemed to continue coming up as a value. The training options that are available in Toronto are quite wide in what they offer and the consensus was that this is a strength. People see the value in training which is seen as perhaps more traditional, as well as training that is more research based. The fact that classes which fall into both categories are available to us, is a positive place to start.

The distinction between these two camps seemed to be defined by something which could be viewed as a kind of 'dance maintenance', where you show up and are taken through a class of known vocabulary, which is a great workout and helps you to stay in shape for whatever project you happen to be working on. The other option being a class which may be a bit more nebulous to describe, in which we may be focusing on acquiring new skills, patterns for movement and exploring new methodology in how we use our bodies for artistic practice. We see these kinds of classes being offered more often in a workshop setting as opposed to a drop-in class structure. We spoke of the value of both of these ways of working to the community at large. The descriptions above are of course very general and cannot encompass the scope of all the training being offered. A statement was made at the meeting which may be obvious but struck me as being potent right now. In a climate where there is not much work for independent artists, when talking about training, that activity then becomes my artistic practice in place of actual 'work'. Also the idea that I am working all the time and that everything I do informs my practice, lots of work or not, how I choose to engage physically becomes very important to me.

We were nervous in planning for the meeting because we know that training is a subject that we all have a long history with and is very closely tied to our artistic values, therefore very personal. I think it is impossible to speak about how we want to train without speaking about what we value in our creative practice. It is evident to me that the way I train my body, directly and quite profoundly impacts the work that I make. It is impossible to look at the history of dance in Toronto and not acknowledge that, that history runs parallel to the training lineage we have followed over the years. I'm sure this is true of other communities as well. It seems that there is currently more choice today in 2012 than perhaps there has ever been, in terms of the modes of training available to the community on an on-going basis. This choice allows for artists to pursue their interests and what feeds them in their artistic life by taking ownership of their own training activities by pursuing what is potent and of interest for them.

We also talked about space, community, sustainability, communication, development, partnership and what we could each individually do to affect the change we wanted to see.

Watch for a centralized community training calendar coming soon. Sometimes you express a need and someone answers your call and quickly!

Thank you for everyone who came and those who couldn't but expressed their regrets and asked for these notes. These were my personal take away impressions but if you have your own please leave your comment below!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Training Is Creating

It seems that people are talking about training everywhere I go lately... As someone who trains daily as part of my practice as a dance artist, as a training provider through my work with the Love-In and a new teacher myself, I am asking myself many questions all the time about this very large part of my professional life.

How does training feed me artistically? Am I just going through the motions? How can this part of my practice continue to serve my needs as I inch above 30?

After being introduced to the Axis Syllabus and Countertechnique about 3 years ago, I felt very empowered with lots of new insights about my body as well as the realization that how I think can dramatically change how I work and move. I have been thinking about how we train, why we train and am certain that the training we do directly informs the work that we make and how we make it. I came across a great essay (thank you Andrew Hartley) written by Thomas Hauert, artistic director of ZOO company in Brussels. The essay echoes many of the things I had been thinking about and maybe you too... I stole the title of the essay for the heading of this post. You can read the essay here:

Please share your thoughts below or join the Love-In for a lively conversation about this very popular topic on December 2nd at 6pm at El Cafecito Espresso Bar at 3 Westmoreland Ave (north of Bloor, one block west of Dovercourt).

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Place for thoughts, inspired by the Swedish Dance History

Last winter we launched our official website, so haven't been actively using the blog to post information about our workshops or events... Please visit our website for information on our training season and other events!

I would like to re-launch the blog as a place for writings, articles, thoughts and rants for the community at large about creative practice, thinking, talking and making dance. While at the Impulstanz Festival in Vienna in 2010, a group of young artists were at the festival, promoting the launch of the second edition of the Swedish Dance History, a free, published document created in collaboration by over 200 authors, makers and doers in the field of dance and choreography. I grabbed my free copy of the very large, silver book at the closing party on the final night of the festival and have been inspired by the idea of a collaboration in collecting thoughts and a process of documenting and sharing. I extend an open invitation to you, to send along your own writings or articles that have inspired you to create an online vault of thoughts to be shared here. Read more about the Swedish Dance History here .
Email us your desired contributions:

'The history of dance is initiated through dance, but it is writers that fasten it and its readers that secure it. The Swedish Dance History is dance’s claim on its own history, a history created and authorized by us who create dance and choreography. The Swedish Dance History is a collective effort to realize this history and ultimately to claim the right to our future.'

Watch for words coming soon!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Workshops coming up!!

Farley Johansson

We have just posted all workshop descriptions for our Winter and Spring workshops for 2012! We have an amazing line up of talented dance artists coming to share their work, movement research and gifts with us. Don't miss it! Visit the Winter/Spring workshop page for all the details on each workshop and the facilitators. Look forward to dancing with you!