Thursday, 20 December 2012

Submissions and Coffee : )

So, as you're furiously all wading through your portfolios and your essays in amongst passing thoughts of Dec 25th looming and remembering what you haven't bought yet...just thought I'd add to the brain overload with the nuts and bolts if submitting your assessment materials too!

Jan 7th 2013 Deadline:

You can submit by post:

Helen Kindred, Programme Leader MA Professional Practice, Dance Pedagogy
School of Media and Performing Arts
Middlesex University London
The Burroughs
London NW4 4BT

by email:

or in person
UniHelp desk in the Sheppard Library, Hendon Campus (please note the UniHelp desk is closed Dec 22-Jan 1)

and then...
time for a coffee and a catch up altogether!!

Adesola and I thought it would be really nice to have a couple of points in the year after submission points when (if possible) we can all come together for coffee and a chance to touch base with each other and share experiences (stresses) of the module.

So, we would like to invite you all to a MAPP Coffee Morning (except it's in the afternoon) on

This is not a requirement, just an informal coffee break that we hope some of you will be able to make. It will be a chance to meet and share your experiences with the new January starter MAPPers too, as this will be their induction day too.

So, wishing you all, all the very best for the holidays and the scurrying together of your assignments,

I am on email/Skype/phone until midday tomorrow (Dec 21) and will be available again from Jan 3, 2013 if you need any help.


Sunday, 16 December 2012

Write and re-write...

Drafting, re-drafting, writing what you know, writing about what you didn't know, grappling with what you still don't know, but know you don't know it...
reading, re-thinking, re-writing, re-considering...

but don't forget the PAUSING AND BREATHING...

module one has been all about reflection, why would the process of writing the assignment be any different?

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Supporting Thinking...

How do you know what you know? (yes I come back to it!)

You know something because you have experienced it, felt it, sensed it, touched it, been moved by it, moved in it.  Huge amounts of learning as dancers taking place within and through our bodies.  Though through an understanding of embodiment we know that the body is not (for those that follow this theory) a separate entity from the mind.  How do we know about theories such as embodiment and dualism?  Because we have read about them, understood them through applying them (in practice) and been able to integrate our learning within both body and mind.  

The same process needs to happen in academic writing, integrating theory with practice.  What have you read during this module?  What have you related to in terms of your practice;  doing, teaching, observing?  What/who has influenced you along your journey through this module?  Who/what has inspired, challenged, provoked you?  Students, writers, practitioners, colleagues, philosophers, artists, all sources of research, which from reading your blogs I know you are identifying with and feeding from, so make sure you acknowledge them in your writing.

Adesola has already posted on her MAPP blog offering guidance as to academic writing, citations, references to research for the...use this.  Writing at this level must be supported, ie: backed up by research, underpinned by theory, acknowledged in context.  Whilst the RoL essays are your reflection on your journey through this module, they need to move beyond personal narratives and find greater substance within a pedagogical, artistic, philosophical and academic framework.

Go back to your notes from whatever you have been reading in relation to this module/time, to the tasks suggested in your Introduction to Module One handbook, how did you approach them, what did you take from them, where did they or your reading lead you?  Try to follow this learning journey, which has you very much at the heart of it, but which also contextualises you and your experiential learning within a broader framework of knowledge.

See how you sit the glory of YOUR knowledge of dance pedagogy.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Summer Puddings

 I have been finding it really interesting both reading other blogs on the MAPP this week, but also draft AOLs.  Picking up on Adesola's blog this week, looking at how we work, I find it really interesting to see the different approaches we all take, not only in our learning and teaching, but in how we approach documenting that learning.

Finding your personal narrative has been the first step in putting pen to paper and writing your first AOL, for some of you, for others, thinking of the specific area in your practice and delving right in with what that stands for professionally, what that encompasses for you now, and then working the process back through a more historical account that embraces your learning journey along the way.

Both approaches (along with others) are fine.

Some of you have been questioning your AOLs along the lines of 'is this right?'.  One of the (many) aspects of teaching and learning in HE which excites me is the diversity it can embrace, the room for finding your own way through the pathways you choose.  The MAPP not only allows for, but really promotes this independent journey, and embraces the different routes you have all taken in teaching and learning at its core.  Equally individuality in your presentation of these AOLs and your ROL in general is embraced.

There is no right or wrong as such, and our role as advisors on this programme is really to support your journey, encouraging and guiding you in reflective practice and writing with an understanding of expectation in academic contexts.  Please remember that in addition to your advisor, you should be referring to your module handbooks when approaching written work.  The handbooks are written to support you within an academic framework of learning, and act as a starting point for resources and literature which you should refer to in order to further your understanding and your writing through each module.

Do make reference to your research, beyond you.  Whilst you are the source of much knowledge and experience and are at the core of your learning through the MAPP, there is a wealth of information around you also, offering support to your learning and allowing you the possibility of contextualising what you have learnt through experience within an academic framework - what the MAPP is all about.

As you really get into the writing part of your modules now, and are heading towards assessment of your learning through this writing in the form of your RoL essay, try to integrate theory with practice.  Refer back to the Introduction to Module One handbook at this point, how have the tasks helped you to identify different areas of your learning and develop an understanding of knowing how you know what you know?  How might theories on learning support what you are now observing of your practice through reflection?

Begin to blend your learning and the presentation of it.  To draw on Hopal's cooking analogy from an earlier blog, try to produce something more along the lines of a rich summer pudding than a lemon meringue pie...layers of different fruits merging together over time, wrapped in/surrounded/supported by bread (which has also absorbed the juice of the fruits), not too separate entities of lemon and meringue merely co-existing in time.

: )

Friday, 16 November 2012

Communities Learning...

Wow... this week has been non-stop BUT, has afforded me so many opportunities to observe learning, teaching and learning, communities growing through learning and teaching and learning through minds, bodies and spirits.

I thought I'd share this with you in two areas:

Firstly, I ran a Community Dance Module on the first year BA Dance Studies programme at mdx this week, which involves artists that I have invited in, sharing their practice during a day of workshops with the students, in which the students participate practically, observe, question and evaluate.  I enjoy doing the same, in a two-fold approach, observing them in their learning, participation, observation, questioning and evaluating, watching artists and students learning from this sharing of movement based experiences.

We were joined this week by Suzie Birchwood, artistic director of Act One/Arts Base

Simona Scotto and the Company of Elders from Sadler's Wells

Anna Daly, an Early Years movement specialist and former Community Dance Artist with Ludus Dance

(I include these links for your interest, should you wish to delve a little deeper into other practices, which may differ from your own also.)

The week was inspirational on many levels, and I felt privileged to observe fundamental patterns of learning in practice, to witness a community of students (still very new to each other, being in week 6 of their term) bonding, growing in confidence, communicating, accepting, respecting each other through moving together, taking inspiration from the artists working with them, having eyes, minds and bodies opened to 'new' experiences, alternative ways of being not only as dancers, but as individuals.  In curriculum terms the week/module aims to introduce community dance practice to students, equipping them with a knowledge of community dance in theory (historically/socially/politically) and in practice through engaging with a range of different practices in dance.  In practice the module address learning in a much broader sense, it inadvertently creates its own 'community dance'.   This, to me is invaluable in terms of the students learning and is the reason I love this week each year.  To be a part of this unique learning journey with the students and to be reminded through the artist's facilitations each day of where my heart lies within life long learning through moving.

The second part to my wow week, came in the form of the Practice as Research presentations I attended yesterday.  Led by Professor Vida Midgelow, the presentations each 30mins in length were by current performance PhD students at mdx.  Here I was pushed to question practice; my own and that of others in the field of dance/performance.  I observed (in one presentation) 'nothingness', 30mins of silence and space established by one artist/performer.  I sat with 7 others in the studio, a space I inhabit daily with a variety of other bodies, usually with me as the teacher/facilitator/choreographer, and yet during this 30mins I took in new information about the physical space, about the tensions within it, space/tension between bodies, relationships between 'performer' and observers, and between observers.  It was an unexpected opportunity to look, to listen, to sense, to feel, to reflect and to evaluate and not DO.  I enjoyed the experience, not of the 'performance' itself necessarily, but of my experience of being.  Being present in that moment, absorbing information from what accompanied me in that experience, the space, the performer, the other observers, and being able to reflect upon and evaluate that experience, and my learning within it.

I wonder if any of you have had similar experiences with your AoLs or your research inquiries, if not, perhaps look at how you can create that time and space, possibly silence of some kind in your practice in your lives to allow those moments; the experience of just being for yourself and that of learning through the observations you make of your student's learning...

Do share those moments through your blogs along your journeys...


Sunday, 11 November 2012


With your RoLs well under way now, (module ones) and research methodology's building (module twos) I thought it may be a good time now to invite you to share a little of 'your current practice' with each other, as YOU define it today, based on the learning so far from your RoLs and feeding in from Adesola's blogs this week also..

You may like to look at this through your blogs, and/or in person if you are able?

I blogged last week about a Practice as Research day that my colleague, Prof.Vida Midgelow is hosting on Thursday Nov 15, at the Hendon Campus, this would be a great opportunity for you to come and share something of your work in a practical environment (no writing involved!) if you would like to... Vida's aim is to build a community of artists, teachers, choreographers who engage in PaR and offer opportunities in terms of time and space for informal sharing of your areas of practice/research.
If you have something that has come to the fore of your mind through the process of drafting your AoLs, maybe Practice as Research is one of your titles, something which you actively engage with, or maybe it isn't a title yet, but in reviewing your learning you are seeing patterns emerge reflective of the context of your learning in this way?  Areas of research in terms of your teaching practice, how you relate to teaching and learning as an individual, or maybe an interest to flesh out in the studio a research idea you're grappling with in words?  The session is open to you as artists enrolled on the MAPP, alongside being open to current PhD students at Mdx.  It will be an informal session, giving approx 30mins to each person wishing to share something of their area of research/practice, with opportunity to observe, comment, feedback within a supportive environment.
The session will run from 10am-2pm, please do let me know if you would like to attend, observe, contribute at all in person.  I appreciate this may not be possible for many of you, and if you can't make it in person, please do think along these lines in your blogs this week and share within our on-line MAPP community.

Happy practice, research, moving, reviewing and learning for the week ahead...

Friday, 2 November 2012

Which hat(s) did you wear today?

Really interesting to be reading/talking through some of your thoughts on your AoLs this week.  I am reminded by them, of just how many hats we wear as dancers!!  The ability to change hats (at speed, and not always at will) is a skill I believe we develop through experience hand in hand with the ability to inhabit those hats.  To move from being teacher, to administrator, to counsellor, to choreographer, to careers advisor, to technician, to production manager, to mum in a single day is quite a feat and yet I (and from the looks of it, I am not alone) can do this on a daily basis!
Making sure we embody what these hats mean to us and are present in the moment whilst wearing them is vital, that the shifting of hats doesn't equate to the diluting of each role is (another) responsibility we carry.

The same needs to apply to your AoLs; understanding what each area means to you, how and what you have learnt in that area of your career and how you attribute value to it as an individual strength in your practice.

I am a big fan of colours, and colour-coding information in order to make sense of it.  If I am preparing a written paper, I will get all of my research together, lay it all over my lounge floor and get busy with the highlighter pens!  Anything relating to education - blue, to choreographic practice - green, to performance - yellow and so on.  It then really helps me to see what research sits where, where different themes may integrate and to lose the research that maybe turns out not to be so relevant.

It may be something you want to try in order to see more clearly your individual AoLs and later to compile your RoL.

Do share your thoughts on hats, colours or anything else that comes to mind here!!


Practice as Research

Some interesting sharing of practice amongst the post graduate dance community at Middlesex coming up this month...

Dear all PhD and MA candidates,

I would like invite you to share your practice in a half day event of PaR research.  The event is an opportunity to meet with your peers and is intended to offer a supportive environment in which to show your work and test out ideas.

Thursday 15th November  10am-2pm, Hendon, College studio

As it is rather late notice and will take place in the college dance studio, all technical requirements must be minimal and self managed  - a sound system, laptop and projector will be provided.
I expect that each presenter will have approx. 30 mins (including discussion) which will give us time for 5 presentations.

Do note however that that there will I hope be another similar event in the new term enabling more technical arrangements to be facilitated.

Please let me know if you would like to present by MONDAY 5th NOV.

Very best

Vida L. Midgelow
Professor, Dance and Choreographic Practices
Middlesex University 

Friday, 26 October 2012

New discoveries...

This week has been fast-paced to say the least (hence the late night blog now!) but a week full of revealing old habits and finding new beginnings.  As I share my knowledge and experiences with my students on a daily basis, through release-based practice in the studio, choreographic improvisations, essay tutoring, I am able check-in and remind myself of my values in life, in dance, and where those values have come from.  Listening to and observing my students evolving practice in dance I recognise traits in my own learning, ones which I've been able to move through and beyond with experience in practice as an artist and an educator, but which still hold a firm place and value in my journey.  
Today I led a research and development workshop with my company, working also with final year dance undergrads at Middlesex.  It was a great afternoon of learning, watching, talking, moving, understanding past practice in order to define our next journey.   Learning through sharing, an open dialogue, making new discoveries, not only in movement, but in relation to how we learn, how we know what we know, and how we find what we don't know and begin to understand why and what we need to know at this present moment.
Looking at your Areas of Learning, try to identify where, how and why that learning took place, what has it fed into for you, what do you value about it, what did you value then, what do you value now?  Time and reflection on time past is such an insightful thing, allowing us to contextualise our experiences and attribute value to them.  Enjoy this process, learn from it, learn from sharing with other (other MAPPers, Adesola and myself), and let the whole process (self reflection and sharing) feed your next journey...


Monday, 22 October 2012

If you are able to make any, we have a series of CPD workshops at Middlesex this term..first one is this Friday, free to MAPP DTP's, you are welcome to participate or observe, and very much invited to join in the discussions of each session.

Professional Practice Fridays

"A series of workshops offering the
opportunity for Post Graduate and
Final Year Undergraduate dancers
to engage in Practice As Research
within a professional environment."

Studio To Stage
Helen Kindred/KindredDance
An examination of Release-based
technique from a pedagogical
perspective, encouraging discussion of
the relationship between internal processes
and performance within a choreographic
context. Session includes a release-based class
workshop and discussion based around
KindredDance's current choreographic work.
Friday October 26th
2pm -6pm
College Studio, Hendon

Unpacking Process from Product
Shaded Voice
Analysis of the choreographic process
through observation and participation.
(open class and rehearsal session)
Friday November 2nd
College Studio, Hendon

Other sessions will include Contact Improvisation with Susanne Martin and Ballet (Cecchetti) with Denzil Bailey, plus repeated sessions with KindredDance and Shaded Voice.

all best for the week

Friday, 19 October 2012


So, I am wondering how your 2nd week has been?  My week seems to have flown by, a little too fast..I have noticed how the time spent in the studio seems to be on a different clock than the time I spend at my desk, at home, with my family.  The studio is, for me, a place where I can find time and space and the energy I need to play, investigate and learn through moving with my students, I feel as though time stops for us for those moments, and allows us to share knowledge and new discoveries, whilst out of the studio I feel as though I play catch-up constantly, with my energy split in so many different directions, I need to keep working on this balance!  I know some of you have been really busy this week too, and that TIME has come up as an issue in your blogs.  It is important to find those spaces in your day/week/month/life where you don't feel so governed or pressured by having to fit so much into your time, and I hope rather than being an additional burden on your time, your engagement with the MAPP DTP is offering a little of that space, encouraging you to press PAUSE, look, think, learn, before pressing PLAY again.

You have been delving into your CVs this week and looking back on what you've done in your careers, don't forget to seek to understand the 'how' of your learning here also, this is really important for you to value and to use in your RoLs.  Remember that your CVs are exciting, diverse, creative, reflective of you as professionals, keep them quite open as you progress through this module, and refer back to them as you begin now to think about unpicking your current Job Description and identifying your Areas of Learning.  Be sure to be honest with your Job Description; what is the job you actually do? Not the Job Description that is supposed to represent that role.  I think in dance we all know that a formal JD often takes flexibility to the extremes! So look at what you actually prepare, deliver, share on a day to day basis in your current role(s).  This again will feed into your Areas of Learning, which you need to start identifying also.

I will post information this weekend on some CPD opportunities coming up on campus this autumn/winter, it would be great to see some of you at these events if you can make them.

all good wishes for now

Friday, 12 October 2012

Week One done. Week two...

Looking back...
I wonder how you've all been doing this past week?  If you've managed to wade through the Introduction to Module One handbook, found any time to start your Reflective Journals?  I wonder what thoughts and questions have come up for you as you've started your journey into this MA?  Try to record these in some way for yourselves, and to share on your blog with the rest of the MAPP DTP community online.

I'm really pleased that you've nearly all tackled your first blogs this week too!  Great start!  Do feel free to blog your thoughts, reflections, questions on a particularly interesting or difficult day, whether you feel this is directly related to the MA or not, it will help get you in the practice of reflective writing, and you may well find similar experiences amongst you as a community of practitioners, let's see...

Looking forward...
This week you could start to take a look at your CV.  What do you see?  How does it present your career?  Look to see if you have included all relevant areas that have contributed to your current practice, including any voluntary work, in-house training, short courses? Remember that (particularly in dance!) it is not just the paid work which builds your practice and so your reflections on your areas of learning need to recognise ALL learning which has informed your practice.  As you progress through Module One your CV should be a workable model, a document which develops with you as you identify and unpack your Areas of Learning.

Adesola has posted an excellent example of ways to see your own areas of learning on her MAPP blog today..please do take a look at it, and begin to start relating to areas in your own learning.

Find time to rest, read and reflect this week and I look forward to more on your blogs soon

Monday, 8 October 2012

How did I get here?

So.. I wasn't going to post a MAPP DTP blog until later in the week, but decided I should act as these moments occur, rather than planning to have something to share on a particular day! (as never seems to work anyway!)
I delivered the first lecture of the academic year at mdx today;  a Year 3 dance undergrad module I lead called Professional Studies.  The module runs over 11 weeks and unpacks the dance profession in its broadest sense, offering an opening of the eyes for some students as to the range of career routes out there in dance, and raising awareness of the role that they need to play as individuals in shaping the continuing development of the art form.  Anyway, today's lecture looked at 'Portfolio Careers' and in order to illustrate by example in part, I shared with the group my career in dance, certainly not on one linear route, but drawing experience from many different pathways, and continuing to do so.  I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment in having this opportunity to share my learning and achievement to date, but more than that I really enjoyed opening discussions with the group as to our life journeys, how dance is intrinsic to them and visa versa.
Having fresh in my mind past experiences, jobs, study, changes in my life, I spent the journey home engrossed in notion of how we get to where we are going, if we ever reach that destination, and what forces shape our pathways..(apologies to anyone else on the A1 this evening for my lack of concentration on the road!)  I wonder what are your thoughts on this..How have you reached your current professional status/context/time?  What have been the driving forces shaping that journey?...

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Induction Sept 2012

Welcome to all MAPP DTP folks!
Welcome to my blog, a place where I look forward to sharing thoughts, experiences, observations with you and guiding on your journey through the MAPP Dance programme this year.
With term starting on Monday (Oct 8th), I hope you can all get your blogs started this weekend/early next week so that we can start a community of thinking, sharing artists right away..
More soon..including video introductions from Charlotte, Alison and Hopal : )