Reflections on EncoreEast’s classes with Paul Smethurst

Reflections on EncoreEast’s classes with Paul Smethurst

A new dance artist facilitating EE classes fills me with trepidation. The moment I saw Paul’s eyes sparkling with humour and big welcoming smile my fears dissipated, almost immediately. These six imaginative sessions were an absolute delight.

Each week a different, exciting task to think through. For example, working with an object chosen through touch from a capacious bag; or describing in movement and words the home a partner has verbally painted. The story Anna told of Margaret’s home was spellbinding.

Paul encourages authenticity in movement. His carefully escalating warm up routines leaving us breathlessly warm, even on very hot days, were wonderfully encouraging – without mercy – as he joined in all our activities with enthusiasm. In fact, his gleefully engaging tasks generally left me breathless and laughing – a childlike joy.

I felt fully engaged in what we were doing during every session. It was a challenge to individually improvise around some of the tasks, which seemed to take me an age; Paul’s skill, of course, left us long enough for a phrase to crystalize. Paul felt that our company style was based around ‘flow’ and he wanted us to experiment and experience a more dynamic movement pallet and different rhythms – super fun. 

We asked Paul if he would give us some set phrases to learn for the penultimate session. He kindly made time to do this, choosing a wonderful track based on an AC/DC song reinterpreted by two cellists. He envisaged a powerful wild animal idea – for an unaccountable reason mine turned from a bear to a panther.  We opted to continue learning this dance for the final session to see if we could master it – it was very fast and we made it, puffed out, laughing happily.

Oh Paul, thank you so much, I hope to benefit for your tremendous skill and experience again before too long.

Sue Sinclair