Like a Flamingo, secure on either leg…

Like a Flamingo, secure on either leg…

These last years, time has telescoped, sometimes shrinking, sometimes stretching and I’m never quite sure when something was. So, when I say my first Russell Maliphant class was in June 2020, that seems so long ago but as it feels so fresh, I’m not sure.

What is certain is confirmation of what I had wondered, when reading about and seeing Russell’s work. Here was a way, to give an answer to how I could develop as a dancer, despite being 59 and without the body memory and grounding of previous dance training.

The fact he was two months younger than me both depressed (wow, how he moves) and yet elated me, again, (wow, how he moves!)

I’d learnt much from what DanceEast had offered which sometimes felt like an informal CAT for the older dancer. However, I lacked the grounding in fundamentals from not training when younger. I see in my colleagues that what is taught or absorbed osmosis-like in those earlier years lasts over time. I also lacked a way to understand my body and how it might move.

But in that first Russell Maliphant class, I found answers. 

Further classes with other RMDC dancers gave me continually expanding potentials, as I was guided to find and understand space and flow in my body. I just have to embed it in my movement.

That process has been supercharged by ‘Focus’ the EncoreEast/RMDC project, giving intensity and a performance target.

A series of online workshops with Edd Arnold and Alethia Antonia laid the groundwork for rehearsals with them this autumn, ready for the live performance/streaming on 3rd November. 

Through this process we’ve had the time we’ve never had before, to explore, apply and create. Learning from them and just benefiting from being in the same space, lifted by how they move. I’ve gained greater control in moving slowly with flow, no longer resorting to my 5-year old’s urge to barrel around using continual momentum to stay upright.

I’ve found places to breath into, which I had no idea could be reached, or even how to use that breath. 

I’ve become particularly intimate friends with my feet, so I agree with Pam’s blog ( I am fascinated by their multitude of components including toes, each learning to operate independently and together. My feet have spread, flexed and become places of support, impetus and control rather than trip hazards.

Carrying tasks and approach into my daily life, I recently reached the nirvana of underwear and socks going on like an ageing but controlled flamingo, secure on either leg…well most of the time.

I now have an approach that finds space in my body, to move not just with muscle and levers, but with the whole of my body’s structure.  I can see how to use its architecture, extending the ease and range of movement by flowing from, through and out of all the connections and spirals in my body. I can spread weight and minimise effort.

I hope I can do justice to all I’ve been given and guided on when it comes to the performance. But I know this is a process and with this approach I can have years ahead to work at it. Having this opportunity to engage with Russell Maliphant’s technique has been so good and I so want this to be shared.

By Andy Newman

Photo Ros Chesher

Book Tickets for Focus 3rd November:

Book for Open Workshop with RMDC 27th October: