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The weekend before last saw me down in Brighton with my friend Tamsyn, studying under the very talented Olivia Kissel (pictured below)of Zafira Dance Company (my love of whom I have declared previously…). Tamsyn has blogged beautifully about the workshops already, so I shan’t say much except to say that Olivia had me, right from the very start of the first workshop, when she talked about dancing with soul.

The dancers I enjoy the most are the ones that evoke an emotional reaction in me, that touch me somehow. I believe that I feel touched because the performer is in touch with their emotional core and that is what’s being communicated to me through movement; that my reaction is an empathic one, empathic in the same way that I can shed a tear when witnessing another’s tears even though I myself am fine. What I aim for when planning a performance is that my dancing can communicate what I wish it to, that it can communicate from my heart, that it be soulful. Studying under another performer who thinks likewise, who spoke about it, encouraged us to speak about it and incorporated it into her teaching was incredibly inspiring. Thank you Olivia.

The below dances both move and inspire me, I hope you enjoy them too.

[An aside: of course it’s not enough for the dancer to simply feel and ’emote’, there must be technique behind and backing this up otherwise the communication of the emotion is stifled. Olivia used the term ‘mumbling’ when  referencing the communication divide where technique is lacking.]

I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to the Shimmy by the Shore event this Sunday… and I’ve got some wonderful old school music to perform to that’s getting me excited! I love the spontaneity of Elspeth’s plans for this event – turn up with your music, and dance if you want to. Fantastic!

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