DANCEEAST Two Day Intensive for over 55’s August 2022 – Review

DANCEEAST Two Day Intensive for over 55’s August 2022 – Review

I look forward to these occasions.  They are a great opportunity to see acquaintances again and meet new dancers.  10.00 – 16.00 is quite a long time and these two days were pretty hot, weather-wise.  The facilitators organized the time cleverly to give us sufficient breaks to keep us from becoming exhausted or dehydrated. Two very well paced days.

Well done DanceEast for putting together such an interesting programme for both very young dancers and much older dancers, each group spending a day with facilitators from Avant Garde Dance and Shobana Jeyasigh Company. Both groups learned a small part of company repertoire (plus a little of our own set improvisation).  We shared each other’s work at the end of each day. The two groups learned different but linked parts of repertoire; fascinating to see the young dancers’ more energetic interpretations, perhaps matched with the older dancers’ use of life experience in their movement relationships.  Everyone had a focus and intention that, I hope, did the facilitators proud.

Our first day was spent with Avant Garde (performing at DanceEast in the autumn).  I’d not quite picked up that this is a hip-hop company and my heart sank a little at the thought of what might be asked of me.  I shouldn’t have been anxious, it was a brilliant, if tiring day.  Dani was the most encouraging teacher, with an irresistible smile and boundless energy.  Once warmed up through different kinds of ‘running about’, we learned phrases in well explained, digestible chunks; building them up carefully, repeated many times. Dani counted the funky music for us with endlessly patient enthusiasm.  By the end of the day, we could show our moves with minimal help and, in my case, some pride for mastering ‘the brief’.  This part of a dance felt like a complete dance that really told the dance story.

Day two was spent with Eva and Alana from Shobana’s company (performing at Snape in the autumn).  Such a different and equally absorbing day.  Warm up began with a range of floor work, followed by straightforward centre work, including balances (my bête noire) and Indian dance technique-inspired movements.  Eva’s gentle approach belied her steeliness to keep my concentration ‘on task’. Alana tirelessly demonstrated the phrases we were learning.  We were allotted a fair amount of time to consolidate our improvisations which were split into a seated and standing group, dovetailing with aspects from different company works.  Showing our work to the youngsters felt good.

Watching the young people’s interpretation of a much faster and rhythmically more complex Avant Garde piece was mesmerizing – Dani gave a mega display of ‘beats counted’over the two days.

Very satisfying – many thanks to all involved for the care and attention you gave to enable us to see a snapshot of your special world of dance.

Sue Sinclair 

Don’t miss the new over 50s contemporary class at DanceEast