RUDOLF LABAN’S MOVEMENT ANALYSIS, 1987-1992  AT UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM

  Photorapher: June Petit

Photorapher: June Petit

“I was introduced to Laban’s work in two different ways. Jane Winearls (the first full-time dance lecturer at a British university) studied with Laban and with Kurt Joos and Sigurd Leeder — members of Laban’s 1920s company. In my student years, Jane’s Laban-based dance teaching at Birmingham was led by Andy Adamson. In addition, David Hirst and Vic Hoyland used Laban’s action efforts in their experimental music theatre adaptations of Shakespeare, to shape movement and voice work. Laban’s frameworks help me locate myself in diverse and complex practices.”


EMBODIED VOICE TECHNIQUE, 1987 ONWARDSWITH NADINE GEORGE

  Photographer: Arthur Wilson

Photographer: Arthur Wilson

 

“Nadine George was a founding member of the Roy Hart Theatre. In 1998, she began to teach her development of Roy’s work at the University of Birmingham. Under her guidance, I formed a research group to experiment with vocal performance. My BA dissertation detailed our discoveries. In 1991, Nadine directed my on my solo Macbeth, which I performed in England, Scotland, Switzerland and at the Roy Hart Centre in France. Our practical research informed my MPhil dissertation about memory and performance. In 2011, I recommenced voice lessons with Nadine and began supporting her shift from Europe-wide touring to a central London teaching practice. Nadine’s work helps me methodically trace the links between my voice and my life experiences.”


 BHARATANATYAM (SOUTH INDIAN CLASSICAL DANCE), 1993-2005

WITH PRIYA SREEKUMAR

  Photographer: Alan Peebles

Photographer: Alan Peebles

 

 

“The first performance I saw at Birmingham was a bharatanatyam solo recital by Chitralekha Bolar. I attended her classes in 1987 and 1988. I moved to Edinburgh in the early 90s where I studied, taught and performed with Priya and her guru Nattuvangam Paramasiva Menon until 1998, presenting traditional and new works across Scotland. From 1999 to 2004, Priya and I met annually during my visits with Mika to Edinburgh Festival. In 2004, I studied with Paramasiva in Kerala. He presented me as his student in temple festivals. In 2005, Priya, Mika and I collaborated on UK-NZ production. The precision, coordination and tranquillity of bharatanatyam flow through all my movement work.”


JERZY GROTOWSKI’S LABORATORY THEATRE, 1989-1992 WITH ZYGMUNT MOLIK & JOLANTA CYNKUTIS

  Photo of Zygmunt Photograph: Molik’s private archive

Photo of Zygmunt Photograph: Molik’s private archive

  Photo of Jolanta Cynkutis :  Maciej Rusinek

Photo of Jolanta Cynkutis :
Maciej Rusinek

“From 1989 to ’92, I participated in intensive workshops led (separately) by Zygmunt and Jolanta. From Zygmunt (member of Grotowski’s first company), I learnt the core movement vocabulary he used to open the body to the resonance of the voice. He worked hands on with me to develop this link. Jolanta taught the work with movement, rhythm and partners evolved by her late husband Zbigniew Cynkutis (also a member of Grotowski’s first company). From a synthesis of Nadine, Zygmunt and Jolanta’s teaching I evolved the body and voice work I taught in Edinburgh throughout the ‘90s. I learnt from Zygmunt and Jolanta how to initiate impulses from the sacrum that can animate one’s whole being.”


TAI CHI CHEN, 2000-2004WITH MALISA NG 

  Photograph: www.taichichen.org

Photograph: www.taichichen.org

“From 1989 to 1991, I attended tai chi classes in Birmingham taught by Supawan P. Panawong Green who used the form to introduce students to meditation. I took a short course in Edinburgh with aikido master Laurent Haquin in 1992. My immersion in the form was in Chen-style under the guidance of Malisa Ng in Auckland from 2000 to 2005. Tai Chi Chen emphasises softening and releasing one’s body to tap stability and force. Malisa taught me an integrated programme of qi gong (holistic breath and movement exercises), ‘silk reeling’ (preparatory tai chi exercises), contact partner work and martial drills (both with and without weapons). The cast of Mika HAKA trained with Malisa also from 2002-2004. Malisa taught me that transmitting body weight through supple limbs is the key to physical power.”


ASTANGA VINYASA YOGA, 2001-2004 & 2010-2011WITH JUDE HYNES & PETER NILSSON

  Photographer: Motion Sickness

Photographer: Motion Sickness

  Photographer: Motion Sickness

Photographer: Motion Sickness

“I was introduced to yoga when I was 12. I took occasional classes during university. I learnt a Sivananda practice when studying bharatanatyam with Priya. I began learning astanga vinyasa yoga with Jude and Peter in preparation for a workshop with their guru Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, founder of this form. I continued to attend classes. Jude and Peter taught me the primary series and skills for keeping people safe in a yoga practice. In collaboration, we taught a shortened version of the primary series to the Mika HAKA cast. In 2010, before immersion in kalaripayattu training (Kerala martial art), I returned to Jude and Peter to renew my practice. The flow and methodical sequencing of the primary series informs all my movement teaching.”


NUAT PHAEN BORAN (TRADITIONAL THAI YOGA MASSAGE), 2001-2004  WITH ASOKANANDA (HARALD BRUST) 

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“I began training in nuat phaen boran with Asokananda to help support the young Mika HAKA cast. Asokananda had lived as Buddhist monk in Thailand. His massage training camps there had helped carry Thai massage across the world. Asokananda emphasised the meditative aspects of the practice; the giver helps the receiver access deep relaxation. I trained with Asokonanda in Auckland and at his home in Rotorua. He taught me a range of techniques, including work with the sen — a traditional Thai mapping of body lines. Asokonanda also taught me chavutti thirummal (Kerala’s massage). I massaged the Mika HAKA cast from 2002-2004 and taught them a simple sequence for work on one another. I use the practice to support my work with individual performers, helping them to release into their embodiment.”


KALARIPPAYATTU (KERALA’S MARTIAL ART), 2008-2011 WITH GURUKULA SATHYANARAYANAN GOVINDANKUTTY NAIR & RAJASEKHARAN NAIR

  Photographer: Shiva Rea

Photographer: Shiva Rea

“My bharatanatyam dance partner, Seona, introduced me to kalarippayattu in the late 90s, after a London workshop. She later trained at CVN East Fort in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala’s capital. In 2004, I met Samudra Performing Arts whose founders, Madhu and Sajeev, also trained at East Fort. Sajeev began my training in the art. I also trained briefly with Samudra’s coach Vineesh Kuttankulangara Chandran. In 2008, I spent my first period at East Fort and returned in 2010 for five months. I progressed through meithari (body preparative exercises) to kolthari (training in wooden weapons). The flow of kalarippayattu informs and advances my understanding of vinyasa (synchronising of breath and movement) and bodily links between sensuality, sexuality and spirituality.”

JUDO 2007-2010WITH CAN-AM-JU

  Photograph: www.canamju.org

Photograph: www.canamju.org

“In 2007, I began my doctoral research at the interface of martial arts and dance. To deepen my knowledge of full contact marital arts I attended judo classes. I joined small group coaching sessions for Commonwealth games competitors and trained three times a week for three years. The throws, grappling, locks and pins of judo taught me to use detailed physical alignment, strategic moments of muscular release and an intimate sensitivity to my opponent. The connection between these subtle principles and instrumental efficacy now informs all my movement practice.”


CAPOEIRA ANGOLA (BRAZILIAN MARTIAL DANCE ART), 2007-2010 WITH MESTRE ROXINHO & CAPOEIRA MANDINGA AOTEAROA

  Photograph: Capoeira Angola ECAMAR

Photograph: Capoeira Angola ECAMAR

“In 2005, I briefly studied capoeira in Edinburgh. When I began my doctoral research, I returned to the form because it interfaces dance and martial arts. I attended classes with the Christchurch (NZ) group of Capoeira Mandinga Aotearoa, led by Jon Vivien — supported some times by the teaching of Contremestre Eurico Vianna. Mestre Roxinho’s workshop visits from Sydney — and my travels to his centre there — metamorphosed my practice. With Roxinho, I learnt to experience capoeira angola,  played slowly, low to the floor and in close proximity,as neither a martial art nor a dance but as a singular unique form. This sensibility I cultivate when I engage with movement practices, meeting them as particular and individual ‘worlds’.”


MEVLEVI MUKABELE (DANCE OF THE WHIRLING DERVISH), 2013 ONWARDS AT THE STUDY SOCIETY, LONDON

  Photograph: www.studysociety.org

Photograph: www.studysociety.org

“In 2014, I graduated from training to become a participant in the Mevlevi Mukabele — a practicecommonly known as the ‘dance of the whirling dervishes’. I do so at Colet House in west London, home of the Study Society, where the practice has been present since 1963. The society was founded as a place for development of the teaching and practices brought to London by Russian émigré P.D. Ouspensky (1878–1947), a holistic philosopher and erstwhile student of the radical mystic G. I. Gurdjieff (1866–1949), both of whom sought to lead people towards an awakening shift of consciousness. After Ouspensky’s death the society continued under the leadership of Dr Francis Roles (1901–82), who pursued the formers’ instructions to forego his experimentations and instead

seek out practices from extant cultures that might offer experiences of transcendence and opportunities for personal evolution. Chance encounters interlinked the Society membership with a young Turkish whirling dervish visiting England. An exchange commenced that led to the practice being taught to the Society’s members by Resuhi Byakra under the direction of his sheik Munir

Celebi. This arrangement carried the proviso that the practice be maintained by the Society as taught with no modifications. At the time, the dance of the whirling dervishes in Turkey was only permitted at secular cultural events and state legislation in Turkey sustains this ruling today. Today, we practice at Colet House under the spiritual authority of Munir Celebi’s female descendant

Gulsan Celebi. Guest’s are welcome to attend mukabele on the first Friday each month at 7.30pm.”