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Issue 1 | Summer 2012

A Touch of Pina Exclusive insight into a piece choreographed by Wuppertal artists with CAT students


STUDENT STORIES from classes to the career, two stories of what training can do when you have potential


Award winning cutting-edge venue – available for creative and awe-inspiring events. Located just outside the historical town centre of Greenwich, South-East London. Call us today on 020 8469 9452 or email


the coolest piece of architecture in the capital

Trinity Laban is committed to equality of opportunity. Registered Charity 309998. Supported by Arts Council England with National Lottery funds.


Photo: Tim Crocker

Evening Standard



Guardian University Guide 2011: Drama and Dance

We are one of Europe’s leading centres for the training of professional contemporary dance artists and practitioners. Train in Contemporary Dance with a renowned teaching faculty, at our unique award-winning Laban building. Over 97% of our first degree leavers are in employment or further study six months after graduation – the fifth highest figure across the whole higher education sector.


City University London validates Trinity Laban’s postgraduate diploma and degree programmes across music and dance, including the Research Degree Programme. Within the validation partnership Trinity Laban is responsible for the delivery and management of the provision and City University for assuring the quality and standards of the programmes. Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance is a company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales. Company No. 51090. Registered Charity No. 309998. Photography: Kyle Stevenson

HESA Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Institutions, July 2010 leavers


CONTENTS 7 PASSION, PATHWAYS AND POTENTIAL IN DANCE A groundbreaking collaboration between Trinity Laban dance science researchers and the Centres for Advanced Training

8–9 LIFE AFTER CAT: STAYING IN TOUCH elcome to issue 1 of the Centre for Advanced Training Magazine, which celebrates the achievements of the many young people who took part in Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance’s Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) programme over the past year.


This year has been one of significant achievements and exploration. Our CAT students have developed their practice technically, creatively and as performers, working with leading professional dance artists such as Arthur Pita, Darren Ellis, James Wilton and Lea Anderson, as well as our own team of creative practitioners and teachers who work with them on a regular basis. In addition to this, they have also had the opportunity to collaborate with other CAT students from The Place, London Contemporary Dance School and worked with artists from the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch, one of Sadler’s Wells’ finest associate and visiting companies in Compass, a performance which was staged on the main stage at Sadler’s Wells in April. We have also taken part in a number of prestigous dance platforms, including U.Dance at the Royal Festival Hall, English National Ballet’s Big Dance Tent in Greenwich, and a performance at the Royal Ballet Upper School, which was the culmination of a collaborative project between Trinity Laban CAT students and Royal Ballet School students with choreographer Toby Norman-Wright. Within this issue you can read and watch interviews with the professional choreographers talking about their work and practice, as well as their time with the young people on the CAT programme; hear stories from the young people themselves about their experience on the projects and training; and find out what some of our Trinity Laban CAT alumni are doing now. Veronica Jobbins Head of Learning and Participation at Trinity Laban

Martin Collins Programme Manager, Centre for Advanced Training

What the future held for two former CAT students


aDvANCE, the Royal Ballet School Partnership Scheme in collaboration with CAT students: an artist and student perspective

16–21 MEET THE ARTISTS Introducing the exciting and eclectic range of artists that worked with CAT students this year


An exclusive insight into the collaboration with Sadler’s Wells choreographed by Tanztheater Wuppertal artists with CAT students

27 OPENING UP OPPORTUNITY A year of outreach

28–29 CREATIVE CATALYST How the Choreomission programme impacts on students’ choreography and creativity

30 QUESTIONING LIMITS A review of DV8’s controversial Can We Talk About This? by Marian Tuckman

32 BECOME A DONOR How you can help

Editors Ian Bramley / Martin Collins Editorial Assistant Bethan Peters / Design Adam Hypki / Tara Hughes Web Content Manager Oliver Barrett Corporate Events Manager Sylvia Ferreira Publisher Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance Cover Photo James Keates Photography Rachel Cherry, Gig Giannella, Merlin Hendy, Ben Johnson, James Keates, Belinda Lawley, Eimi Leggett, Tony Nandi, Brian Slater Contributors Alex Bird, Rosalynd Carrie, Martin Collins, Jack Cooper, Taha Ghauri, Darren Henely, Veronica Jobbins, Theo Livesey, Fione McGee, Scarlet Perdereau, Louisa Pestell, Bethan Peters, Arthur Pita, Lee Smikle, Durone Stokes, Marianna Tuckman, Emma Waller, Charlotte Wilmott, James Wilton Print Newton Print, Heidi Besley / Thanks to: Lea Anderson, Ginny Brown, Felix Bürkle, Darren Ellis, Jane Hacket, Alex Leonard, Pascal Merighi, Toby Norman-Wright, Dr Emma Redding, Molly Sanders



Injured dancer?

Want to reach your optimal dance fitness and perform at your best? The newly established National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science aims to enhance dancers’ health and performance. Through shared expertise and a network of multidisciplinary hubsites and partners, it is working to provide access for all dancers to high quality, evidence-based, dance specific healthcare and dance science services. The first phase of the Institute was launched on 30th April 2012.

For more information on how to access NIDMS dance medicine and science services including the first NHS dance injury clinic go to: or contact Helen Laws, Manager of the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science: or 020 7713 0730.

national institute of dance medicine and science



and Science (NIDMS) in April 2012, a partnership led by Dance UK and including Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Jerwood Centre for the Prevention and Treatment of Dance Injuries, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, the University of Wolverhampton, the University of Birmingham and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. When the Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) at Trinity Laban was established in 2006, with an aim to provide developmental training for young people, Veronica Jobbins and the team, at the time, worked to ensure that the organisational structure, curriculum, pedagogy, and learning environment for the programme was appropriate for young people and not just established on professional training models for adult dancers. They therefore commissioned a review of the existing research into dance training practice. The review highlighted issues around adolescent growth spurts as well as gender differences from both psychological and physiological perspectives. More importantly, it showed that there was a gap in the knowledge of how to train, at an advanced level, young people in dance. This inspired Dr Redding and Trinity Laban to develop a threeyear longitudinal research study to better understand how to train young people aged from 13 to 18, developmentally in dance, funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the then Department for Children Schools and Families. This was the largest project ever undertaken in dance science on this age group, in terms of scale, funding and the number of researchers on the project. The research team worked very closely with the National Centres for Advanced Training, working with nearly 800 young dancers. The research covered a number of areas, including: well-being, learning environment, physical characteristics and training, and nurturing creativity.

2001, Dr Emma Redding, the current president of the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science (IADMS) and Head of Dance Science at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, established the first MSc in Dance Science in the UK at Trinity Laban. Dance science investigates dance training and performance potential using a systematic, scientific method of understanding the body and mind in dance. Since Trinity Laban’s innovation, a number of MSc Dance Science programmes have been set up across the country, often developed by Trinity Laban alumni. The work of these postgraduate programmes are now impacting on undergraduate dance training programmes, providing the dancers and teachers of tomorrow with specialised knowledge of training the dancer’s body.


According to Dr Redding, these developments have established the UK as the leading country in dance science and medicine. The interest in dance science’s discoveries and the demand for evidence-based healthcare for dance artists led to the founding of the National Institute of Dance Medicine

The study’s findings endorsed the approaches that were being used with CAT programmes. It found that CATs provided healthy environments in which to develop young talent and nurture creativity, environments in which every student was valued and supported. CAT students exhibited a healthy passion for dance and were encouraged to judge success in terms of their own improvement rather than outdoing others. Dancers on the programme showed increased levels of fitness, had low to moderate injury rates and high levels of self-esteem. Dr Redding, who led the investigation, and her team have not stopped there. They have already embarked on research into the developmental dance training of disabled students in collaboration with Dance4, are developing continued professional development opportunities for teachers and creating factsheets for young people. Perhaps most significantly, they continue to investigate the vast amount of information the research team have collected over the past three years to see if it can yet further increase our understanding of how best to train young dancers. Martin Collins The current research findings can be downloaded from


E : F IL CAT R E G T N I F A TAY S IN H C U O T rinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance’s Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) attracts gifted and talented young people from across London and Southern England. Through our world-class teaching, students excel in their training, perform at exceptional levels and push creative boundaries. Over 97 percent of our students progress to higher education, going on to take diverse pathways in dance and the creative industries.


Here, recent Trinity Laban CAT graduate Charlotte Burt reflects on her experience on the scheme: “Trinity Laban CAT gave me some of the greatest experiences of my

life, from working with choreographer Hofesh Shechter to opening the

show at the Royal Festival Hall. It allowed me to meet some of the most incredible people I have ever known.

Looking back over the past five years spent on the CAT programme, I

Trinity Laban CAT alumni have gone on to train at prestigious higher educational institutions, including: Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance; The Place, London Contemporary Dance School; P.A.R.T.S.; Urdang; Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance; and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Former students now perform for major dance companies, such as Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, and in hit musicals and West End plays.

know that leaving it behind is going to be one of the most difficult things

We are keen to hear from all former students, so please get in touch. We would be delighted to hear about what you are doing and have the chance to let you know how you can stay involved with the CAT programme, whether by sharing your experiences with current students or attending CAT events as ambassadors. You might also want to take up the free reference access to the Laban library and archive that is available to former Trinity Laban CAT students. For more information please visit: student-facilities/libraries/laban-library-archive

My years at CAT are something I will never leave behind. From

The best way to keep in touch with other CAT alumni is by joining our alumni page on Facebook, simply search for Facebook CAT Alumni and request to join the group.

I will ever have to do. As the only Year 13 student going on to study a

subject unrelated to dance, it can be hard to hear of the auditions that

my friends are preparing for, the plans they are making and the stresses of competing against thousands of other dancers for a very limited

number of places. The dance world is a tough one and I don’t envy

them. However, the one thing that CAT programme has unequivocally given us all is, to put it simply, an extra string to our bows.

completely ridiculous to utterly sublime experiences, my time at Trinity

Laban and as a dancer has changed my life in a way I could never have

predicted five years ago. Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote, ‘Dancing in all

its forms cannot be excluded from the curriculum of all noble education; dancing with the feet, with ideas, with words, and, need I add that one

must also be able to dance with the pen?’, and though I may be pursuing an academic path, I will never truly stop dancing.”

Opposite, two former Centre for Advanced Training students reflect on their experiences on the programme and the impact it has had on their future development.

STUDENT STORIES I was one of the first students to attend Trinity Laban CAT when it opened. I came from a strong commercial dance background. I had no technical experience and did not know much about contemporary dance. But I did have a huge passion for dance and I found the CAT programme embraced me with open arms. I always knew I wanted to be a professional dancer and CAT helped me to understand and learn what dancing professionally could be like. By watching professional performances, working on our own performances and taking part in intensive weeks during holidays, I got to experience and appreciate the life of a dancer. CAT pushed me out of my comfort zone, making me explore movement in a new and inventive ways. I gained a huge awareness of many dance genres whilst training; not only was I meticulously taken through the disciplines of contemporary, ballet and the strategies of choreography, I was also exposed to a range of workshops that included dance styles from India and Africa and Lindy Hop which gave me a broader picture of dance in other cultures. After the CAT programme I took a gap year to complete my A Levels and consider my university options. I found myself going back to teachers and figureheads from Trintiy Laban CAT for guidance on pursing dance as a profession. I decided to audition for musical theatre schools to encompass a wider range of performance disciplines. I was lucky enough to get a full scholarship on a degree course at Urdang. Here I have had some amazing opportunities. In my first year I was selected to perform at the Brit Awards with Olly Murs and was recently booked to do London Fashion Week. I know my experience on the CAT programme helped me to get where I am today and I would recommend it to anyone who loves to dance.

Encouraged in an environment that sought the best for me, and supported by friendly peers – the Trinity Laban CAT set my foundations in dance which led me to where I am now. I am in Belgium, studying dance in the performance art university P.A.R.T.S. I am challenging myself every day. The CAT programme offered me the fundamental grounding and confidence I needed in order to push my development. I took my first technical classes in dance at Trinity Laban CAT. Having started to dance in my late teens, all the teachers were supportive of my training, and gave me the incentive to set myself high goals and accomplish them. I was presented with opportunities to showcase my own work and to make pieces with professional choreographers such as the artists from Lost Dog. I aspired to choreograph and the highlight of my time at CAT was being given the opportunity to create a piece, which was performed at the Laban Theatre. The teachers mentored me and provided invaluable encouragement during the creative process. Holding close to what I learnt from those teachers, in my two years at university, I have made pieces which have been performed in theatres around Belgium. I have a passion for moving. CAT gave me the freedom and drive to begin to physically embody it. I intend to continue studying at P.A.R.T.S. and hopefully keep on dancing and choreographing into the future. Trinity Laban CAT is a home for dance I continue to cherish, one that I hope will provide support for many others as it did for me. Taha Ghauri

Charlotte Wilmott

With thanks to Youth Dance England





From the completely ridiculous to the utterly sublime experiences, my time at Trinity Laban as a CAT Student has changed my life in a way I could never have predicted five years ago. Charlie Burt | former CAT student




A RIGHT ROYAL COLLABORATION etween October 2011 and February 2012, students from the Trinity Laban Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) took part in a collaborative project with the Royal Ballet Upper School as part of aDvANCE, the Royal Ballet School Partnership Scheme. Both the Royal Ballet School and Trinity Laban’s CAT are members of the Department for Education Music and Dance Scheme and were delighted to celebrate the achievements of this scheme by building on their current relationship.


The project brought together young people to share the skills, knowledge and different dance training of Trinity Laban and The Royal Ballet School. The students benefited from the unique resources of each partner through a number of workshops and weekly creative class. The core of the project enabled participants to explore the media of ballet and contemporary dance by working with choreographer, Toby Norman-Wright, along with his assistant, Suzanne Thomas. The resulting joint dance work, Signature, was performed at the Royal Ballet School. Additional dance pieces from both Trinity Laban CAT and the Royal Ballet School were also showcased. aDvANCE is available to secondary schools, academies and youth dance training programmes. For more information, please visit

Toby Norman-Wright in conversation with Bethan Peters Bethan: What was your experience of the project? Toby: Overall it was one of the best I have had so far, dancing, choreographing or teaching. I had a really great group of students from both schools that were both in the project for similar reasons but also separately had their own outcomes. There was support from both organisations and therefore there was a context; everyone arrived at the studio knowing what they were doing and why, which makes all of the difference. Being from the Royal Ballet School myself, having the opportunity to go back there to teach and choreograph was pretty amazing. To combine that with working with the Trinity Laban students and being able to draw from my contemporary dance experience was a bonus. For the first session the Trinity Laban CAT students went to the Royal Ballet School to watch some classes, get to know each other and take part in a joint workshop. The CAT students sat and watched the Upper Royal Ballet School students doing a typical class – highly disciplined, with strong

13 Choreographer of Signature, Toby Norman-Wright started dancing when he was six years old; he studied at the Royal Ballet School and danced with the Birmingham Royal Ballet for the majority of his professional career. He has worked for Arts Council England, Youth Dance England and within education departments for major ballet companies. Much of his recent choreographic work has integrated dance and digital media.

classical technique – and thought they were incredible. I said, ‘Just wait, it’s going to be your turn soon.’ When they started working together around the theme of the piece using visual imagery and internal somatic work the opposite happened. The CAT students just went off and for a moment the Royal Ballet School students looked around them and thought. ‘Oh wow, they are so creative and are coming up with so many movement ideas.’ Both groups had very different techniques that in themselves are both at a good level. It wasn’t about the CAT students being ballet dancers and it wasn’t about the ballet students dancing like the CAT students; it was about them being themselves and finding ways of being creative together. After that first session they understood this. In terms of their dance training and practice, what do you think the students got from the project? I asked them to be authentic in their dance styles but also to hold their judgement on what they thought classical ballet is. It was about broadening the idea of how to be creative within your own dance form and looking at what classical ballet is when it is classical ballet and when it is not. That is one of the main things that the Partnership and Access department look at in its work.

We called the piece Signature because we were looking at choreographic signatures and I think the students learnt quite a bit about that what a choreographic signature is through the project. What advice would you give young dancers in any form to have a long and successful career in dance? Keep going! It’s an incredibly hard career and very competitive. It is such hard work but there are moments that you chase that really make it all worth it. There are incredible moments when you experience a sense of achievement or feel that you are really a part of something, whether you are dancing or watching somebody else dancing; a shared motivation. However, it’s not always like that. Some days it’s really hard and you just have to live through it. It can be very confusing, to be really into it and feel great one day, then the next day it can feel completely the opposite. But you just have to keep ploughing through. I remember David Bintley, Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet, talking to me about choreography. He said: ‘Just do something, make a start and go from there.’ You have to carry on when things get difficult and they do get difficult. That is a good approach with a dance career or any career. But it is worth it and there are moments that make it all worthwhile. To see the full interview please visit



The performance was amazing, I felt so good knowing my family were watching me collaborate with The Royal Ballet School in Covent Garden. Trinity Laban CAT student


our experience s part of our first year at the Royal Ballet Upper School, we participated in a creative collaboration with Trinity Laban CAT students to choreograph and perform a piece based on an iconic phrase of ballet movement choreographed by Frederick Ashton. ‘The Fred-Step’, as it is commonly known, formed the initial stimulus for both us and the Trinity Laban students to develop dance motifs under the guidance of choreographer Toby Norman-Wright. This proved to be a challenging exercise showing the diversity in styles of all the dancers involved.


oby (Norman-Wright) is such a great choreographer, by tailoring the content of the piece to accommodate both contemporary and ballet dancers he gave us all the chance to flourish in our own field. He was so precise. He would tell us stories of how he’d practise the moves he created in his living room and he would do all the popping, locking and breaking moves we made up in a really precise balletic way! I admired how he and Susie [Suzanne Thomas] would work together and share the load; it was almost as if they were telepathic.


The Royal Ballet School students we worked with were around the same age as most of us, and to see what they were capable of doing was crazy! Their neatness inspired me – how they took care of their presentation. It made me realise how important it is to be mindful of your presentation and how it can be reflected in your approach to class and performance. Every one of them exuded so much confidence, even down to the way they walked. I asked a couple of them if they got nervous when the Second Years watched them and they said they get nervous all the time! So from then on I realised that they were not that different to us and they don’t need to be, and probably don’t want to be, put on a pedestal. The final performance was amazing! I felt so good knowing my family were watching me collaborate with the Royal Ballet School in Covent Garden. During the performance, we all began to bond and become supportive of one another, which was a beautiful thing to see. This epitomises what dance should be about – bringing people together! The Royal Ballet School project is up there with some of the best highlights of my time at Trinity Laban CAT. I feel that I’ve learnt a lot from just being a part of it. It was a truly unforgettable experience and I am so glad that I was selected to be a part of the project.

We were given one rehearsal a week to choreograph and put together the piece. This began with working individually on exploring The Fred-Step. In some cases this was very functional: changing the direction, speed, etc. Others took different approaches, making the movement far more abstract and contemporary based. Toby urged us to work outside the boundaries of ballet technique and be as open-minded and inventive as possible. This was quite difficult for us as we are naturally accustomed to being instructed on how to move in a very classical way. Despite this we soon adapted to a new way of working. It was refreshing to share ideas with dancers outside the ballet world. Long Saturday rehearsals didn’t seem like great news at the time but it was invigorating to have the opportunity to work in a different space. With a wide variety of dance backgrounds, all of us seemed to bring different skills to the choreographing process. It was inspiring to see how strong the Trinity Laban students’ improvisational and creative skills were and we definitely felt the project developed these for us. A few combined rehearsals saw us working closely in partners and groups, giving a faint glimpse of how the dance work would come together. We were surprised to see in the final rehearsal how quickly and efficiently the piece formed showing the commitment and successful collaboration over months of hard work. Besides the collaborative piece, the final performances held at the Royal Ballet School also showcased the separate work of both schools. This gave us all a chance to enjoy and appreciate the contrasting areas of dance that we study. There was a great sense of energy in these performances that came to a climax in the closing piece. The dance was enhanced by the use of lighting and the interesting backdrop displaying images of dance notation for The Fred-Step. This was also printed on to simple yet effective costumes. Personally we felt we learnt a great deal throughout the duration of the project and benefited from this creative collaboration. Fiona McGee and Alex Bird, Royal Ballet School students

Durone Stokes, Trinity Laban CAT student



ach year the Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) at Trinity Laban commissions a number of professional artists to work with the young people on the programme. The professional exposure to the dance world this provides is a key element in their training programme. The projects are treated as professional companies in their own right, supplied with rehearsal directors, lighting designers, costume designers, producers and, of course, the artists themselves. The young people receive call sheets for the production days and rehearsals, and get to perform the work at some of the most prestigious venues in the UK: the Royal Festival Hall, English National Ballet’s Big Dance Tent, White Lodge, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Clore Ballroom, Robin Howard Dance Theatre and, of course, the Laban Theatre. These works are developed to the highest production standards often with acclaimed reviews.


The artists and companies that we have worked with in previous years include: Nigel Charnock, Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, Frederick Opoku-Addaie, Sarah Linstra, Lost Dog, Bim Malcomson, Lee Smikle, Tina Krasevec, Kenneth Tharp, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance, and Hofesh Shechter Company.

This year’s artists were James Wilton, Lee Smilke, Arthur Pita, Lea Anderson and Darren Ellis. For 2012/13 we have already invited Bim Malcomson, Wayne Mcgregor | Random Dance and Mafalda Deville to contribute to the CAT programme.


James Wilton

Lee Smikle

Arthur Pita

James began his choreographic career whilst a student at The Place, London Contemporary Dance School (LCDS) where his works Drift and Threads were toured nationally and internationally with LC3, LCDS’s third-year performance group. After graduating from LCDS, James was commissioned to re-work Drift for Scottish Dance Theatre for touring throughout 2010–2014.

Lee is a teacher, choreographer and creative producer. Originally from Yorkshire, he trained at Swindon Dance and the Ballet Rambert School and went on to perform. A member of Matthew Bourne’s Adventures in Motion Pictures and New Adventures companies for nine years, he toured internationally in Swan Lake, Highland Fling and The Car Man. Lee was also rehearsal assistant for the company and now leads on choreographic projects for its educational company, Re:Bourne. He has taught for Essential Alston, Swindon Dance and the Rambert School, The Place (BA and CAT) and Trinity Laban (BA and CAT). Lee now specialises in teaching and choreographing on and with young dancers.

Arthur works internationally as a freelance choreographer and collaborator for theatre, opera, musicals and commissions as well as his own company Open Heart Productions. His work has been brought to venues such as Sadler’s Wells, Royal National Theatre, The Young Vic, Royal Albert Hall, Royal Opera House, Los Angeles Opera, Israeli Opera, Broadway including others. Most recently Arthur directed and choreographed The Metamorphosis for Linbury Studio Theatre Royal Opera House in which he won a South Bank Award for dance and Olivier nomination for new dance production. Arthur’s work can be viewed at

James’ first professional work, The Shortest Day (2010), has been performed both nationally and internationally in numerous venues. The piece won the Sadler’s Wells Global Dance Contest in 2010 and received the Audience Award for Best Choreography at the 16 Masdanza choreography competition in the Canary Islands in 2011.


In December 2010, James received his first grant from Arts Council England which was used to create Cave, while Artist-in-Residence at South Hill Park Arts Centre in Berkshire. Cave was further developed as part of Choreodrome at The Place and prepared for touring in 2012.

Lee is the Artistic Director of Shoreditch Youth Dance Company, a performanceled creative company for talented young dancers, which he founded in 2010. He was on a Cultural Leadership Programme, Peach Fellow, Associate Artist-in-Residence at Rich Mix, and currently teaching on the Trinity Laban Centre for Advanced Training.

An exceptionally creative and enthusiastic group of young dancers. The future of contemporary dance is in safe hands with these students. James Wilton

Scarlett Perdereau, Assistant Choreographer for Arthur Pita, trained in ballet, modern dance, English, Theatre, and completed an MA from The Place, London Contemporary Dance School, she gravitated towards contemporary dance and trained independently in a wide range of techniques. Since 2003 she has performed internationally in dance, physical theatre, opera, film, sitespecific and multimedia performance. Choreographing since 2006, showing works at Sadler’s Wells’ Connect, Riverside Studios, The Place, Cloud Dance Festival, Barcelona’s Teatro Mercat de les Flors, and assisting Arthur Pita on The Metamorphosis at the Royal Opera’s Linbury Theatre.



in conversation


Lea Anderson MBE is a British choreographer and artistic director. With Teresa Barker and Gaynor Coward, she co-founded the all-female dance company, The Cholmondeleys, in 1984 and the all-male The Featherstonehaughs in 1988. She has choreographed over 100 works for the two companies and under her artistic direction, they have created a distinctive choreographic language that is as defiantly individual as it is recognisable.


Martin Collins: How did you get into the dance industry? Lea Anderson: I suppose I have always danced. I told the Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) students that I first choreographed something when I was six years old with my friend Denise and it was called ‘Going to School’. Every day we walked the same route to school and gradually we put in steps, hops and turns until we had filled the entire distance from home. I hadn’t got any of the vocabulary of the site-specific promenade performance then but that is what I wanted to do. Then it just took another 20 years to find out what that meant in the real, grown up world! I went to ballet classes when I was little because that’s all we knew about and gradually, as I was getting closer to leaving school, I was going to class every night. However, I knew I wasn’t going to be a ballet dancer but I didn’t know what else to do or how I could be a dancer, so I went to art school. I started at St Martin’s Art School (as it was called then) and the principal had to take me to one side and say: ‘You’ve knocked over three of your colleague’s sculptures. You have smashed through a painting by leaping down the hallway. You can’t stand still in a studio. What makes you think you can be an artist who sits still working in a studio? Why don’t you do dance?’ This was a light bulb moment where I realised I could take what I had learnt about creating art and take it to dance. I went to the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance in 1981 and did the degree course. It was the only place that did a degree in dance at that time. In those days you could get grants and I chose to do the degree because I could get the grant.

people, but really making my own work has been the most important thing for me. I still love performing. Before Christmas I got to do Baby, Baby, Baby, an old Cholmondeleys piece, with the original company and I loved it. I had forgotten how much of a buzz it was. It was great fun and I thought, ‘Hey we could start a company!’ What influences have you had over the years in your work? I was so taken by Pina Bausch’s work when I first saw it; it was so overwhelmingly wonderful. I’m not sure what that has to do with me making work but it was a great discovery. Most of my influences have not come from dance. I have always been interested in taking structures or conventions from another art form and translating them into dance to see what happens. I like to misread things, such as pictures or notebooks, and then reconstruct them as dance. So quite often my influences are cross art form. How have you found working with the CAT students from Trinity Laban? It has been great and they responded very well to my working method, which was to bring images, photographs and art works for them to sample and reproduce on stage. We got to talk a lot about early twentieth-century Russian theatre and Meyhold’s biomechanics. They were far more enthusiastic about it than I had expected and it worked very well. To see a video of the full interview please visit trinitylaban/cat

Do you enjoy performing? I used to dance in The Cholmondeleys in the early years before I realised that I can’t actually dance in things and choreograph. I danced for Perry Mackintosh, Liz Aggis and a few other TRINITYLABAN.AC.UK/CAT


in conversation


Darren Ellis is a choreographer and has been working in dance for 22 years. He trained at Rambert Dance School and went on to dance with various different dance companies including New Adventures, Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, and Richard Alston Dance Company. He established Darren Ellis Dance in 2007 and has been making his own work since then. He is currently working on an intergenerational piece with four female performers ranging from a 14 to 70 years old, titled Long Walk Home, which inspired the piece he made with Trinity Laban Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) students.

Assistant Choreographer Joanna Wenger

Martin Collins: Can you talk about your process for the Long Walk Home? Darren Ellis: The piece is essentially four solos that link together. I wanted to work with each performer individually and find out what dance meant to them at their stage of life. We used live music by The Askew Sisters; folk music seemed to make sense with the theme of generations passing things down to future generations. The process was about developing a one-to-one relationship between me and the performers, finding out what dance means to them and what they were going through. I chose a piece of music for each performer and gave them tasks to work with. We then linked the solos together. Each dancer has a pair of shoes, symbolising her journey on earth; tied to the shoes are clear helium balloons, creating a sense of the spiritual realm. When you go into the studio, do you have a plan in mind? This piece was a departure for me because there was no firm plan or narrative as such. I didn’t go in with any predetermined idea of where it would go; originally it started as a research time for me to find out a bit more about each performer. It grew into something else as it went on and it took me a while to find out how it was going to work. How did you find working with the CAT students at Trinity Laban? We’ve had a great time just playing a lot. The piece we created is based on Long Walk Home and I have used parts of that, particularly what I learnt when working with the 14-year-old dancer in the piece, taking themes of starting a journey, being on their way somewhere, dreams and aspirations. We have also been using the helium balloons and shoes. I let the students create quite a lot of movement and then I directed it. There were 19 of them. There was a lot of energy there and they were really up for being creative and trying new things. What advice would you give CAT students on developing careers in the industry? Continue working with every aspect of dance and get a varied, full education in the form. Go to see as much as possible and find out what is happening in dance at the moment, because there is a lot happening. Stay open to things but also start to think about what it is you want to do. To see a video of the full interview please visit TRINITYLABAN.AC.UK/CAT


a touch of In 2012, Sadler’s Wells Creative Learning department, Connect, approached both Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and The Place, London Contemporary Dance School (LCDS) to embark on a collaborative project with professional artists to create a compelling new work for the main stage at Sadler’s Wells. Compass brought together a team of choreographers, a writer, a film-maker, composers and musicians with a cast of over 100 dancers encompassing all ages and levels of experience.

23 Pascal Merighi. Together they structured and developed the piece, along with the help from us!

Set to an original score of live and recorded vocal and instrumental music composed by Hannah Peel and Donna McKevitt, and accompanied by arresting visual imagery by filmmaker Tal Rosner, Compass drew on the rich cultural heritage of the company members to create a thought-provoking performance. Audiences were moved by a work that shows that although we live in one city, within that city can be many worlds, and as many routes to ‘home’ as we choose. The choreographers who worked on this project represent some of Sadler’s Wells’ finest associate and visiting companies, including Jasmin Vardimon Company, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Eastman and Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch. As well as Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) students from Trinity Laban and LCDS, dancers included the critically lauded Company of Elders, vocational students from leading dance schools and community groups from East, South, West and North London, reflecting the capital’s cultural diversity in its Olympic year.

At first I doubted whether it was worth a whole week of my time, but after the very first day I knew I had made the right choice. I was especially pleased because I got picked to have my own little bits away from everyone else on the stage. Not only were we performing on Sadler’s Wells stage, we had our own changing rooms (which even had the mirrors with the lights down the side), we were provided drinks and snacks, and we had announcements for the half and five minute calls for when we were to go down to the stage. It made me feel like a professional dancer. Felix and Pascal were amazing choreographers, but at the same time they would joke with you, play games with you and talk to you. If we had any other choreographer I don’t think it would have been half as much fun! The performance went really well. I could not wait to get on the stage. I was nervous but not as much as I expected. As I took my first step, I looked out the corner of my eye to see thousands of people watching us! It gave me my first taste of being a professional dancer, at the UK’s foremost dance venue and producing house, and I hope it’s not my last. I will miss everyone from Compass, but I will always remember Felix and Pascal. Jack Cooper, Trinity Laban CAT student

Compass was an outstanding success and, following a number of production meetings, flights to and from Germany, and many hours in the studio, young people from Trinity Laban and LCDS re-staged part of Compass with artists Pascal Merighi and Felix Bürkle. Pascal had been a member of Tanztheater Wuppertal and since leaving has been working as a guest of the company. He created 1, 2 as a group (as the restaged work was titled) in collaboration with Felix, an independent choreographer, to an original score of recorded sounds, vocal and instrumental music composed by Hannah Peel. The finished work was performed at U.Dance at the Royal Festival Hall, the Laban Theatre, and The Place, Robin Howard Dance Theatre.

My performance at Sadler’s Wells On Monday, 26 March 2012, I, with some other CAT and vocational students, performed on one of the biggest dance stages in the world under the direction of the Pina Bausch Dance Company. We had spent all of the second week of the Easter holidays creating the piece with Felix Bürkle and TRINITYLABAN.AC.UK/CAT


in conversation

Pascal Merighi and Felix B端rkle

25 Martin Collins: Can you tell me about your training? Felix: My first training in life was as a self-taught juggler. I then started to make street performances when I was 13, so I come from a street performance tradition. I ended up at a circus school in Toulouse called Le Lido. I was there for one year before going on to study at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen which is closely connected to Pina Bausch as most of the teachers used to be dancers in Tanztheater Wuppertal. Pascal: I trained in the Ecole Superieure de Danse de Cannes Rosella Hightower for three-and-a-half years, going on to work with its postgraduate company after that. Pascal, can you talk about your experience with Tanztheater Wuppertal and working with Pina Bausch? I was in the company from 1999 to 2007. I gave up being a fulltime member of the company as I wanted to experience other working situations, meet and work other artists and put myself in uncomfortable places – in the theatre world for example. But I am still very attached to Pina’s work and the company, and I have kept on working with them as an invited performer. My experience of working with the company was life changing. First of all, there was a lot of love from Pina. Of course it was hard work; when she offered me a place in the company she said, ‘It’s a lot of work’, but I did not know what she meant until we started! It is a 24-hour a day job. We were always touring and there was a lot of repertory to learn when you started – and they are all two or three hour pieces – and there was a new piece every year. The new pieces took full engagement because you don’t have three months to make a piece, you have about two weeks to work on the piece, then you would be on tour, then you would come back to it. So a piece could take about eight months to create with touring commitments at the same time. Pina really took care of you. She was not my best friend, she was my boss, but at the same time it was very personal and her love came into it. It was a very big experience, and it was different for each dancer. We notice now that when we do pieces, and she is not here anymore, every dancer has different memories of her intention. Of course there is the prompt book of the piece, videos and rehearsal directors but we try to collate our memories because every dancer has different bits of information. Pina would go up to a dancer and talk to only them about a section or part or intention. She wouldn’t share that information with the rest of the company as it was information for you in that moment. She was very strict with the details. Every morning you would have a two-hour session of notes. But she would give you the information that you needed to know at that moment in your development as a performer. To see a video of the full interview, please visit atouchofpina TRINITYLABAN.AC.UK/CAT

Acupuncture massage pilates STUDIO physiotherapy and more


For further information visit email or call 020 8469 9479 (from October 2012: 020 8305 9482)

Photo: James Keates



OPENING UP OPPORTUNITIES Alongside the Centre for Advanced Training (CAT), Trinity Laban runs a large regional programme of outreach and recruitment activities to raise the profile of all the CATs throughout England and offer opportunities to young people interested in developing their dance skills. In the past academic year we have worked with some 900 young people from across the South East through our outreach and recruitment activity and we look forward to welcoming some of these participants on to the CAT programme next year. Highlights from the past 12 months include the Blaze Girls Dance Day and Explode Boys Dance Day in February when we were overwhelmed by applications to participate in the free taster events. Participants enjoyed workshops in street, contemporary, bollywood and capoeira and were able to watch performances by FuzzyLogic Dance Company and T21 Dance. With over 90 students signed up to each day, we were delighted with the number of new faces we were able to welcome to Trinity Laban. Our ongoing partnerships have allowed us to expand our reach and develop the opportunities we offer. Hosting a visit from The Royal Ballet’s PrimarySTEPs scheme and co-delivering the Boys Only! project in Battersea with the Royal Academy of Dance were memorable, as were the longer schools projects run in Kent with Loop Dance Company and across Lewisham and Greenwich with Greenwich Dance. Our weekly Boost and Launch classes for students who show potential in dance continue to grow and the 12 to 14 year olds attending Launch this year were excited to be working on the Lookout project with the Southbank Centre.

For further information about the CAT outreach and recruitment programme of activity please email Louisa Pestell, Projects Manager, at


crea TI CAT ALY 28


uring the spring term, as a part of the Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) creative curriculum, we run a project called Choreomission. This is part of the year when the CAT creative team dedicate their time and experience to the students’ own choreographic practice. The project provides students with open space to play, explore and develop their approaches to movement without the pressure of performance.


As part of the project students can apply to be a choreographer who is mentored through the process of creating material with a small group of fellow CAT students, who may also contribute to the creative process. During the spring half term, all CAT students took part in a two-day intensive exploring this year’s Choreomission theme of ‘technology’. The intensive consisted of discussions and creative responses to the theme as well as exploring various ways of generating material through task based work. Over the term, the six student choreographers developed ideas with their dancers, exploring different methods of creating material, before manipulating, editing and developing what they had created. At the end of the spring term, there was an informal sharing of the work the choreographers had produced. Three of the choreographers were then chosen to continue to develop their work over the summer term to be performed in the end-of-year CAT show.


A mentor’s view Choreomission offers a fantastic opportunity for the CAT students to explore their creative voice. Acting as a mentor in this process, I have been able to watch as their choreographic ideas are realised. For those who have been new to choreography, it has challenged and pushed their understanding of the practice, and for others, it has presented an opportunity to strengthen and develop their skills. Either way, there has been a real energy in the studio, and an abundance of creative thought and play. It is truly great that these young artists are offered such an exciting creative platform, and it has been a pleasure to share this experience with them. Emma Waller

iHuman I have taken part in Choreomission almost every year since I joined the CAT scheme, as both a choreographer and a dancer. It is always one of the highlights of my CAT year. This year I was lucky enough to be given six immensely talented dancers and the opportunity to create an original piece of work in collaboration with them. One of the best parts of the process for me this year was that, while I am technically the ‘choreographer’ of the piece, it was very much a team effort in every way, and I relied very much on my dancers’ creative (and open) minds. In terms of my choreographic process, I tend to plan many creative tasks and choreograph a lot of material, and then promptly use almost none of it! Although this could sound negative, the complex and surprising nature of choreography is one of the main reasons I love to choreograph and hope to continue doing so in my future career. iHuman explores the technology of the human body. The material stemmed from 16 original ‘gestures’ that were created by the dancers which were then developed through further creative tasks and manipulation. I chose to focus on the technology of the human body as it is something which I experience and use every second of my life, and instinctual behaviour is something that has always fascinated me. Although when writing this I am still in the process of finishing the work, I feel that through Choreomission this year I have begun to take more risks (such as bringing elements of improvisation into the work). I can’t wait to see my dancers performing the work. It will be the last year on CAT for many of them and I really hope it is a piece that they will enjoy, remember and learn from. Theo Livesey





‘Do you feel morally superior to the Taliban?’ On a Saturday evening in late March at the National Theatre only a fifth of the audience raised their hand in response to this question. Lloyd Newson addresses why with Can We Talk About This?, a new pertinent piece performed by a staggeringly talented group of 10 performers. By combining intensely physical movement with eloquent speech, Newson has found a new level of articulacy that enables contemporary dance to communicate complex, political ideas. Joining movement to text also makes contemporary dance more accessible, which is why DV8’s production has inspired such fierce debate from many who would otherwise accord little respect to the art form. The production tested not only the limits of freedom of expression but also the limits of the performer’s bodies and how much an audience can process in one sitting. This combination could be overwhelming as audiences are unused to such immediacy and the need for total concentration demanded by this medium. The movement often worked in unsettling contrast to the text as the sombre content of the latter was undermined by playful, comical dancing. Newson seemed to be underlining his view that a contradiction exists within the Western liberal mindset between our own moral values and the toleration of intolerant positions on areas such as women’s rights in Islam. The performers spoke clearly, barely acknowledging their astounding movement perhaps a metaphor for Newson’s belief that Britain’s ‘left’ is guilty of a blind acceptance of political trends. The calm, collected approach of the performers presented a contrast to the hysterical depictions of extremist Islam. In addition, the physicality of the movement seemed to emphasise the need for action in response to this perceived problem within Britain. The production’s content created an unsettling and prickly atmosphere in the theatre as such open criticism of Islam is unusual. Newson argues that the piece does not represent a criticism of Islam itself but elements of the religion that go against human rights; he condemns the use of any religion to

limit freedom of expression. His main line of argument is that multiculturalism in Britain has led to cultural relativism and a fear for condemning aspects of religion, particularly Islam, that go against what we instinctively know to be wrong; no one wants to risk being called an ‘islamophobe’. At times the production felt relentless and imbalanced; in the Guardian, Sarfraz Manzoor argued that the choreographer seemed to have ‘decided on the answer long before asking the question’. This may well be true but such a compelling presentation of one of side of the argument encouraged the audience to re-assess positions and opinions that they had hitherto taken for granted. All in all, this production was an exciting departure from anything I’d seen before. It re-affirms my belief that dance has the potential to do anything and everything. Marianna Tuckman is a current CAT student. She will continue her dance studies at Northern School of Contemporary Dance later this year.

Performers: Hannes Langolf & Christina May Photographer: Matt Nettheim

As well as providing practical and creative opportunities, enabling students to see the work of a wide range of dance artists is an essential part of the Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) programme. The aim is to broaden student’s understanding of the current dance scene and to develop their critical skills. Here CAT student Marianna Tuckman reviews DV8’s Can We Talk About This?


Without the hard work of the CAT team, I wouldn’t have gained the confidence I now have not only in my dancing abilities but in all areas of my life. This has truly been an amazing time. Trinity Laban CAT student



BECOME A DONOR he Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance focuses on providing access to world class training in contemporary dance to all young people. The CAT programme receives support from the Department for Education (DFE) via means-tested grants for young dancers aged 13 to 16 with exceptional potential and dedication, and who do not have the financial means to access the best available training.


A significant proportion of students attending the CAT programme come from financially disadvantaged families that struggle to afford the investment needed to support a gifted child. The difficulties are compounded for those families that have more than one gifted child, especially in this unsettling financial climate. Whilst a number of students are eligible for some level of financial support via the DFE Music and Dance Scheme, many of our 120 students would benefit from financial assistance to enable them to study with us. Trinity Laban has secured additional funding from the Leverhulme Trust and, in 2012, the Ernest Cook Trust to provide bursaries to ensure that gifted students are never prevented from developing their talent because of financial hardship. The bursaries help people travel to and from the centre, purchase the necessary dance wear, and support attendance at additional classes outside the programme.

How you can help If you share our passion for supporting young gifted dancers, you might consider establishing a named bursary at CAT. Our supporters often speak about the pleasure they experience in getting to know their bursary students and seeing them flourish in their studies.

SUPPORTING A NAMED BURSARY AT CAT The minimum gift to secure a named bursary is £3,500 per annum for two consecutive years, a total of £7,000. This enables two years of study for one student. The establishment of a named bursary for £18,000 over 5 years would provide invaluable security and support to an exceptional young dancer during this formative period of training.

£7,000 will support two consecutive years of bursary funding £18,000 will support five years of bursary funding £100,000 as an endowed gift will provide two bursaries per annum in perpetuity Gifts of any amount up to £3,499 are also welcome and go towards the Trinity Laban CAT Bursary Fund. Every gift to the Bursary Fund makes a difference and can help transform the lives of the talented young people who study with us. Please contact Esmé Patey-Ford, Development Manager at Trinity Laban, if you would like to discuss any aspect of supporting Trinity Laban CAT: | 020 8305 4457




Centre for Advanced Training

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance Faculty of Dance, Creekside, London SE8 3DZ 020 8691 8600 |

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CAT Magazine Issue1 2012  
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