Dance students explore cultivating a ‘present’ body with choreographers Cyril Baldy and Tilman O’Donnell

Choreographers and dancers in residence at the Department of Dance, Cyril Baldy and Tilman O’Donnell from the Forsythe Company offered a five day workshop with students and members of the community. In the workshop which formed a part of a project called ‘Whatever-ing’, participants explored how to be present in mind and body through dancing.

Posted: 22 April 2016

image for news story Dance students explore cultivating a ‘present’ body with choreographers Cyril Baldy and Tilman O’Donnell
Roehampton dance students Hokuto Kodama and Justyna Janiszewska in the workshop.photo credit: Ariadne Mikou
The workshop included Cyril’s guidance to focus on certain areas of the body in relation to movement and the people moving within the space. Beginning with the feet, he asked participants to imagine that they were leaving a trace behind them in space and time as they danced throughout the room.

Cyril Baldy said: “It has been wonderful working with students and the community at Roehampton to further our exploration of the concept of ‘Whatever-ing’. The workshop helps to explore movement as an open-source creative process to ask questions and remain present in the body in a world that is full of discourse.”

Cyril and Tilman’s approach to dancing in this project explored many different solutions forming an inclusive dance practise that supported participants to ‘say yes, and… what else?’ They encouraged participants to momentarily let go of habitual movement and capture a completely new experience. Participants moved in all directions, to release tension, stretch and to share ideas with each other through improvised dancing.

Roehampton dance student, Justyna Janiszewska said “This inspiring workshop gave me a chance to train my perception to observe sensations in my body whilst dancing in a room with other participants. It was a week of challenging the idea of how space is interpreted alongside exits and entrances, not only in relation to performance, but also in the ways that we live and connect to each other. I enjoyed this process very much.”

Cyril Baldy has worked with the Jeune Ballet de France, Nederland Dans Theatre II, Nederland Dans Theatre I and Frankfurt Ballet before being part of The Forsythe Company from 2005 to 2014. Tilman O’Donnell worked at The Göteborg Ballet, Staatstheater Saarbrücken, Cullberg Ballet and The Forsythe Company in Frankfurt from 2007 to 2015.

The Department of Dance is rated number one for dance research in the UK (REF2014). The immersive, supportive dance culture enables students to launch and expand their careers as well as benefit from established dance partnerships.

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