EncoreEast Collectively Share the Joy of ‘Focus’

EncoreEast Collectively Share the Joy of ‘Focus’

I am privileged to be the ethnographic participant researcher for ‘Focus’ our collaborative project with the Russell Maliphant Dance Company. Each week members of EncoreEast share their thoughts, feelings, struggles and joys as we engage with RMDC’s technique and creative process. So, it seems important to write collectively, combining our voices to share our experience of the first two sets of live workshops with Edd Arnold and Alethia Antonia.

The first weekend began with the joy of being EncoreEast together in real time and real space. Excitement pulsed through the group creating a feeling of connected anticipation. The pure physicality of each other, the 3D-ness of dancing together made the workshops magical.

After a summer spent in Zoom classe,s seeing Edd and Alethia live was a rush of remembrance, we felt at home, safe and secure. The morning was wonderful as we began easing into movement, finding our feet and feeling the space

It feels that we are discovering things we never knew about dance, we are in a process of building strength, alongside a relaxed fluidity that supports how we move. The constant feeling of being grounded strengthens our movement, creating expansion within and between us. Embodying and inhabiting the movement we lose ourselves in the process of deep engagement. Being really present allows us to believe in ourselves as dancers. Throughout the workshops our understanding is continually deepened as Russell’s technique is so sensitively conveyed.  

Edd and Alethia have a powerful focus on the dance and the choreographic task, being neither patronising nor judgemental but projecting a sense of being in the moment. They showed, rather than talked this approach. It was non-verbal, authentic and compelling. At times we loved feeling like part of a puzzle to be solved, a dancers’ toy box. But when Edd and Alethia solved the puzzle the results were astounding. They added flow, focus and richness of movement to the phrases we created, and we were collectively overjoyed as we experienced our choreography expand.

Edd and Alethia are teaching us a shared movement language, enabling us to connect through movement in ways we never have before. The process of minds and bodies working together so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts reveals the miracle of dance, cementing connections within EncoreEast and establishing a belief in Russell’s technique that goes from strength to strength. 

After the weekends, there are of course aches and pains and the odd bruise and at times our confidence ebbs and flows, but we can’t wait for the next set of workshops to begin, excited by the challenge and the progress we know we can make.

By EncoreEast

Book Tickets for Focus at DanceEast 3rd November:


Book Tickets for RMDC Open Workshop 27th October: