Dancing Dragons in London: Creation, Collaboration, Improvisation

The nine of us Dancing Drexel Dragons here at Trinity Laban are lucky enough to be able to work with three different choreographers during the three weeks of our choreographic workshops. In our first session we worked with Kate who challenged us to explore ways in which to choreograph that we might have not tried before and to enjoy not knowing, and perhaps running into to some failures.

As I briefly wrote about earlier, we were asked to move and then draw the imprint of ourselves on paper, and then translate that back into movement once again.


Next, we viewed stunning art galleries from the work of Jenny Seville: grotesque images of bodies overlapping each other, with red smears covering every work. The interesting part about these paintings though are the pencil markings and previous brush marks, showing the process and the human error in the art, which can be seen by the viewer.


This relates to us as choreographers because sometimes it is better to explore something unedited in order to find its essence and its true value.

From there we were asked to think about what interests us in choreography and something choreographically we would like to explore further. We created small exploratory works on other dancers. Kate challenged us to approach choreography in a new way. In the past, many of us have produced choreography for pieces by improvising and creating movement on our own bodies, and then asking our dancers to recreate that movement in their bodies. Instead Kate asked us what would happen if we stepped out of the direct production process and took on a new choreographic role as director. This was a new but rewarding challenge for me because I found that I was keener on producing something different than my norm when I could tell someone else to do it rather than simply falling back into my old habits of moving exactly how my body indulges in movement.


We were asked to think about what sound lent itself to the work, if any at all. We experimented seeing our pieces with different types of noise or in silence and observing how it might have changed the work. As we thought about sound we worked on the challenge of deciding what of which was absolutely necessary for the piece to make its strongest impact whilst doing the least. For me this meant simplicity in movement vocabulary and simplicity of the quantity of movement.

We prepared a small showing of our work within our class in order to receive feedback from our peers about what they saw. This is such a valuable tool for any choreographer because it is easy for the work to get lost in itself, therefore mostly unbiased feedback is helpful to know what is really being translated in the movement.

After the movement and sound stages, we were privileged enough to be able to collaborate with lighting designer, Fay Paterson to add yet another layer of artistry to our experimental pieces. Working with light can allow the work to develop into something else, and for both performer and choreographer to make new discoveries within the movement and the concept.

After these six workshops with Kate we will work with another choreographer to further explore creating and composition.

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