Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The next step...

Nice talking on Skype with most of you on Sunday and good to hear where you're at in your journeys.  As promised some notes now on the practical side of making that next step to submitting your work...

Submission date for all modules is TUESDAY JAN 7, 2014

Module One:
Submission of your portfolio (which contains your annotated CV, Job Description, AOLs with evidence and Review Of Learning essay including bibliography) is via hard copy to the UniHelp desk in the Sheppard Library at the Hendon Campus and all documents as word docs, bar any evidence, via email to me at <h.kindred@mdx.ac.uk>

If coming into campus in person, go through the main entrance into the library and take your work (which MUST include a cover sheet outlined below) to any of the desks in front of you.  They will take your work and give you a receipt for it, do hang on to this, it is your proof of submission.  If mailing in please address to:

UniHelp - Coursework Submission
Sheppard Library
Middlesex University London
The Burroughs

Module Two:
Submission of your Research Proposal and Review of Learning essay via hard copy to the UniHelp desk (address above for mailing in) or via UniHub (My Learning/WBS4630) and via email to me at  <h.kindred@mdx.ac.uk> 

Module Three:
Submission of your Critical Review and Professional Artefact (if possible depending on its nature) via hard copy to the UniHelp desk (address above for mailing in) or via UniHub (My Learning/WBS4760) and via email to me at  <h.kindred@mdx.ac.uk>

ALL submissions must include a cover sheet with the following information:

MODULE CODE - WBS4510 - module one / WBS4630 -module two / WBS4760 - module three

A last note;

Those on Module Three will have their final submission, their Oral Presentations on

It would be great to see as many of you there as possible to support those finishing the programme, and a chance for you to get an insight into what's to come for you at that stage too!  Please do put the date in your diaries now and let me know if you intend to come, so that we have an idea re-numbers to expect.

Our next group Skype scheduled for SUNDAY DEC 29, 11am, if you can make it, a good opportunity for a last check-in before submissions.  Equally you can email/Skype with Adesola and myself on a one-to-one basis.

All good wishes for the festive season along with the last push for your modules!

Friday, 29 November 2013

A Bumpy Road...

Sadly I didn't get to attend the Dance UK conference 'Beyond the Body' today, but have been left with thought provoking words as I catch up on the day's discussions via Twitter this evening.  If any of you did attend, please do feed in more thoughts...

'Long term talent development needs a bumpy road so the learner learns to think autonomously & can face challenges' (Dance UK, Beyond the Body)

Timely as I had just been speaking with an ex-student about her journey since graduating from the BA Dance Performance programme last year, and re-assuring her just that, that pathways with unexpected twists and turns, challenges and struggle are all very much a part of dancing, living, learning and being.  

It is the challenges, I believe which build us, our ability to be flexible, responsive, open in our learning and our teaching, which allow us to grow in confidence and the independence needed to survive to an extent?

I wonder how many bumps in the road there have been on your journeys as learners, movers, teachers. Remember through your AOLs in Module One to explore these bumps in your writing. They represent the process, the journey to your AOL title and are so valuable to you understanding how you know what you know now.  

Those on Module Two, maybe your blogs this week could reflect some of the bumps in the road to planning your research. I'm interested to hear what the twists and turns have been for you in defining your research area and situating yourself philosophically within this, what bumps have thrown you in a different direction?

So Module Three's...what are the bumps you are adding through your research projects for others learning journeys to follow? How might you be encouraging their autonomous learning, by challenging their boundaries, perceptions, expectations of dance?

Do feed in your thoughts...

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

A body of knowledge...

Something to share with you all this week, a new site launched today which documents the specific teaching methods of Robert Cohan.

Cohan was responsible for bringing contemporary/American Modern dance from his training/work with Martha Graham in the US to the UK.  Anne Donnelly (Director of Programmes in Dance at Middlesex) and Prof. Chris Bannerman (Professor in Dance and Director of the Research Centre for Dance at Middlesex (both former dancers with Cohan) have engaged in this research project specifically looking at and capturing Cohan's teaching methods.

Take a look...http://www.rescen.net/rctp/index.html#.UnlqcY7H021

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Those moments...

I'm really happy to be hearing from so many of you this past week that those moments of things 'clicking', questions coming, feeling your research has been kickstarted.  I know a few of you have already spoken in your blogs about waiting for those moments of productivity to come, about hoping that that flash of inspiration may just strike at the moment when you're in your study place, armed with computer, notepad, books etc..but also at how that is just not always the case!

I do think it's worth reflecting on those 'moments' though (after the flurry of frantically trying to get all the thoughts down on paper that is before the moment passes)! Maybe begin to identify if there is anything in particular which leads to them, a state of mind, a place, surrounding environment, activity you;re engaged with etc, that may be your trigger if you like to having that mind/body space for moments to occur.  It may be more sporadic and random than this, or you may begin to see a pattern, and so could use to learn to recognise how you learn/work/create most effectively?

I co-led a workshop last weekend called Creative Spaces, and found it really interesting to notice through movement patterns our habits, securities, insecurities, 'moments' and how these revealed themselves in different relationships with others, the space, time, music and conversation throughout the day.  As teachers we learn to recognise and pick up on a dancers habits (usually deemed as 'bad' habits) in terms of posture, alignment, tension etc, but once out of 'training' as such (though never out of learning at all) perhaps we don't benefit from the eye of another picking up on these for us.  Identifying them for ourselves becomes imperative and moves far beyond the studio (posture, alignment type references) to embody, I believe a more environmental consideration and observation.  How do we react in certain situations, where do we feel comfortable, where do we feel challenged, inspired, creative, how do 'those moments' occur for us?

Some food for thought anyway as you move through your modules at this stage.
Module Ones' identifying your Areas of Learning now, choosing one to work on initially with your advisor and then building and developing the others.  Remember the number so AOLs will vary between you, we're looking for somewhere between 5 and 8, do let Adesola or myself know your proposed titles so that we can advise you here.

Module Two's you've identified your area of research - great!  Looking back to the handbooks now and beginning to look at possible research methods, how are you forming your questions, what are you questioning, how will you gather data, what might that data look like...?

Module Three's, heads down and ploughing through!  Remember we're here when you need us, equally realise you've got plenty to be keeping you busy right now, so not going to prompt you with tasks as such.


Saturday, 12 October 2013

CPD workshop

Hope you're all beginning to get a workable balance between your home / working / studying lives this week?  Lovely to see the beginnings of your journey's through your blogs on this, and very pleased that you are realising you're very much not alone...we are all great jugglers!

I apologise for the lack of notice on this one, but wanted to flag up to you a series of CPD workshops I am co-running across this year with two other colleagues that I work with on the BA dance programmes at Middlesex.

It's called Creative Spaces, and it is essentially that;  us offering professional dancers / practitioners, post grad students, and final year under grad students, space and time within which to explore movement ideas collectively.  These sessions aim to be open to all, for whatever suits their needs that day, so participants are very welcome to fully engage on a practical level as thinking/moving bodies, on a choreographic/creative level feeding in thoughts and observations for extending explorations and / or engage purely as observers, maybe to view a way of working that is a different practice to your own.  Whichever mode suits, we hope everyone will find the day of value to their own professional development.

The first session is next SUNDAY OCT 20, 11.00-15.00, at our Hendon Campus.  Full details of the CPD programme including future dates are below for you.  Do contact me if you have any queries, would be lovely to see some of you some of the sessions if you can make it.



A CPD project offering time and space within which to experiment with movement, ideas, share practice, feed creatively from one another and enjoy some time, off schedule, on a Sunday just to move…

Creative Spaces will run as a programme of four days at intervals across 2013/14.  The days will take the format of open workshops facilitated collectively by Helen Kindred, Louise Kelsey and April Brown and are open to the professional dance community, inclusive of final year dancers in training, graduates and post-graduate students. 

It is thought that the concept of identity will offer a common presence throughout all sessions, with an encouragement on how we define, realise, embody and present this, through the explorations that will be initiated.

Schedule for Creative Spaces is as follows;

Session One:
11.00 – 15.00
The Upper Forum Studio

Session Two:
11.00 – 15.00
The Upper Forum Studio

Session Three:
SUNDAY FEB 9, 2014
11.00 – 15.00
The Upper Forum Studio

Session Four:
11.00 – 15.00
The Upper Forum Studio

All sessions will be held at Middlesex University London: Hendon Campus (NW4) http://www.mdx.ac.uk/facilities/location/london_hendon/index.aspx
in the new Upper Forum studio, located within the Forum Sports Building.  The studio will be open from 10.30 to allow for registration, changing and time in the space to warm-up ready for an 11.00 start.

The cost of the sessions is as follows;
FULL RATE (employed, funded)
Individual sessions - £15

CONCESSION RATE (unemployed, post grad students)
Individual sessions - £8

Application is via email to h.kindred@mdx.ac.uk

Booking is made one week in advance of the session via http://www.onlinestore.mdx.ac.uk/

Confirmation of booking will be the receipt generated through this store.

Any queries should be made via email to h.kindred@mdx.ac.uk

Friday, 4 October 2013

Week One...

I hope you've all had a good week and managed now to get your heads around the module's you're moving through with us this term.

Those that have requested hard copies if module handbooks, these should have reached you now, if anyone else would like theirs sent please do let me know.

So, what has your week offered you?

Module One's great to see most of your blogs up and running now and that you're linking in with each other through them.  Don't forget to get into the habit of keeping your personal reflective journal also.  This is not for us to see or comment on, but may well be useful to feed into your writing (Review of Learning Essay) later in the module.  Equally Module Three's, good to see your presence back on linked-in as well as your blogs.

Tasks for the week ahead:
Module One - drafting, un-picking, re-drafting you CV's.  Taking your time to look at the learning embedded in each experience, and remembering that on this programme we value experience as knowledge, whether work has been paid or unpaid, long or short term, it's all part of your journey, and we want you to reflect on it in terms of your learning and knowing.

Module Two - Identifying your area of research now and starting to look at where you may position yourself in relation to it in relation to your stance in knowledge and learning.  Try to work through the initial tasks in your handbook and share with us your thoughts and findings through your blogs this week.  Look at the body of work from a dancer that inspires or excites you and try to relate it to notions of knowledge, certainty, body positivism; explore and expand your own understanding of these notions. 

Module Three - sharing with us all (if you haven't yet) your area of research.  Talking through what you're looking at, what your questions may be in relation to your research through your blogs can be a really useful way of moving forward in your understanding, maybe finding some resolutions, maybe finding more questions!  

Leaving you with this link, an article from Rebecca Enghauser, that I hope will resonate in some way with all of you and your journey on the MAPP.


Week One...

A very frustrated post, in a nutshell this is why...

'Imagine you've been working on a Blogger post for several hours.    It's finally ready: you've got the wording exactly right, everything is formatted with bold, italics and bullet-points, your pictures and links are all correct, etc.    

But then your internet connection stops working.   Or you click the Publish button - and get a message like  "Post cannot be saved due to HTML errors".  

OR, you try to add a link to an article that you think will be of interest to all across the three MAPP modules and in doing so you lose the blog you've just been writing!!

Sorry, calming now and trying to re-draft!

Hope you have all had a good week anyway, enjoying reading your blogs and seeing that you are beginning to connect with each other through them too!

In brief,
Module One - take a look at your CV this week, unpicking, re-drafting, unpicking some more, reflecting, knowing, re-drafting.  Email this to your advisor this week please, and continue to reflect on your learning and share via your blogs.  Try to get into the habit of using your personal reflective journals too.  These are not for us to see or comment on, but will be useful for you and may feed into your writing (Review of Learning essay) later in the module.

Module Two - identifying your area of research and beginning to look at where you sit within it in terms of your stance, experiences.  Take a look at the work of a dancer you admire and try to relate it to notions of knowledge, certainty, body positivism. This is in order for you to explore and expand your own understanding of these notions not to define right or wrong.  

Module Three - share (if you haven't already) your area of research.  Talking/writing about what you are looking at, what your questions are can really help you to both articulate with confidence what it is you're interested in, and may help you find answers, and hopefully more questions as you move forwards to critically reviewing your project.

The article I wanted to share with you is written by Rebecca Enghauser, entitled The Quest for an Ecosomatic Approach to Dance Pedagogy...daren't try to attach it again, I hope you can find it!!  Any problems, email me and I'll attach it to an email by return!

Good wishes for the week ahead!

Monday, 23 September 2013

Getting started...

Lovely to meet with most of you last week, and catch up with returning students of course!

As you know we like to communicate through a variety of means on the MAPP DTP and those of you on Module one now, your first task is to set up and post your first blog.  If you could let me have your blog addresses ASAP I can then add them to our LibGuides page and you can all link up with each others blogs in order to be able to comment on and exchange thoughts that way.

Those of Module two and three, please do make sure you are linked with each other through your blogs too (I have updated on LibGuides, so that you can find links to each others blogs under the separate modules and under a comprehensive list also, titled Blogs!).  Module three's, we spoke about you all sharing what you're doing in terms of your research through your blogs with each other to start you back into using your blogs this term.  Module two's for you to get linked in on Linked-In on our MAPP DTP discussion group, for a wider sharing of practice and ideas here.

Your learning/study weeks for all of you this term run from MONDAY SEPT 30 (being week 1) through to Friday Dec 20 (being the end of week 12)  with submission of work for assessment on MONDAY JAN 7 2014.  Module Three's will also have their oral/practical presentations of TUES JAN 21 2014, to which you are all welcome to attend and support.

So in preparation for week 1 - blogs up and running, dates in diaries, linked in on Linked-in, and bedtime reading of your handbooks!

Of course, any questions now, or at any time, Adesola and I are here, online, on the phone, in person...

Deep breath in and let's go!!


Thursday, 5 September 2013

New Term...

Welcome back those continuing on their MAPP journey's and welcome to all our new MAPPers too!
Hoping you all had good, restful/research-full summers and are keen and ready to go at the end of this month.

Some dates and info for you ahead of the term starting...

Induction -
New starters for this term we would like to meet with you for and induction/orientation chat via Skype on Friday Sept 20th, 17.00-18.30.  Please make contact with myself and Adesola (your advisors for the MAPP DTP) before then so that we are sure not to miss any of you in that call.
Skype: Helen - helen.kindred2 / Adesola - aonthephone

If you would also like to meet in person at our London campus in Hendon, I'll be happy to see you there at 13.00, also on the 20th.  Please let me know if you intend to come.

Returning students, whilst you don't need an induction to the programme, it would be really good to catch up and talk through the modules you are progressing onto.  We would like to do this via Skype on Saturday Sept 21st, 10.00-11.30.  Please can you also make sure that you make contact with Adesola and myself before then, I know I have contact for some of you and Adesola for others, but it would be good to have you all together for this.
If you would also like to meet in person on campus, I'm happy to catch up with you in Hendon at 14.30.

Handbooks -
Programme and Module Handbooks for 2013-14 are now up on our Library Guides page for you to access.  If you would like a hard copy of any sent to you please do let me know.


Looking forward to talking with you all soon!


Monday, 15 July 2013

Summer Check-in...

As the sun has finally made an appearance and I'm getting ready to take some annual leave, I thought I would check-in to see how everyone is doing for MAPPing thoughts over the break.
You should all have received now your grades (via UniHub) and feedback on your most recent submissions (via your Advisor) and hopefully had a chance to read through it, reflect a little, ready to feed forward to your next module on the MAPP DTP.

Updated module handbooks for 2013/14 (they will be labelled as such under the Modules and Materials tab) will be uploaded onto our LibGuides page in August, if you would like a hardcopy sent to you, please drop me an email confirming this with the postal address you would like it sent to and I'll be happy to do this.  As always, any queries you may have about the modules please do talk to your advisor.

Otherwise, enjoy your summers, enjoy some pre-reading, preliminary research AND a break!

I leave you with a quote from an Alexander Technique workshop I took with Rebecca Netti-Fiol over the weekend,

'We must remain adjustable...always'


Friday, 21 June 2013

Practice or Performance...

After a great evening at RichMix watching, talking with, listening to a group of artists, makers, creative people, as part of the Free to Fall Trip season, my mind is on overdrive with the main questions of the evening, surrounding practice and performance and the apparent need to define and identify each.

When is something a practice, when is it a performance?  This was raised during the Q&A after artist/maker Charlie Ford's installation work combining movement, himself, drawing, designing the space and creating an on-going dialogue whilst the 'audience' moved in and out of observation.  Charlie talked about the want to be himself while he was creating and not feel pressured into stepping into any sort of performance mode just because of there being people watching him create his art.  So what defines performance for us?  Is it the presence of an audience? The offering of something by an artist for public consumption?  What is the difference from watching an artist practice his art to watching a performance of it?  Or is it just language?

Other artists presenting work were no more conventional in their art but all presented their work in a theatre/stage space (Charlie's was in a foyer space outside the theatre).  The very framing of the stage space, the use of lighting, if only to denote the beginning and end of something we are watching tends to put that work into a performance context.  Why?  Isn't it our prior experiential learning that has conditioned us to see something presented this way as a performance?  Something with a beginning and an end, defined largely by lights or dancers or music which occupies a space a 'safe' distance from us, enabling us to observe, from a distance, and whilst I would not suggest an audience does not interact with a work purely because of its proximity, it is, I believe, a very different experience of interaction than that of being within and closely moving around an installation.  So, if we are in a theatre space, by prior knowledge of these conventions we 'expect' a performance to take place?  If we are walking through a more open, public, non-seated area we do not have the same expectations?  Maybe.  So do we interpret Charlie's installation as a performance or as us being witness to him practicing his art?  Whilst he wanted to remain at ease within his process, he acknowledged an awareness of his audience, of their presence, pleasure he drew from them moving around the space, though he was not creating the work for them as such, there was undoubtedly a level of interaction between artist and audience.

If you are being observed doing something, could that in itself be classed as a performance?  Is it your awareness of others or indeed your awareness of your self in the presence of others that shifts the mode from that of practice (private) to performance (public)?  Marketing of events, platforms for artist's work aside, who is defining the moment of performance?

A presentation from another artist this evening, Mari Frogner, saw us come back into the theatre after the interval, taking our seats whilst dancers were already moving (and talking) on stage.  The beginning of a performance was not indicated in the way that lights/music may have done, but the placement of the dancers within the stage space, and our pre-defined knowledge of that, we assumed this was a performance.  Had the dancers been amongst the audience (a thought that was raised in this particular Q&A) we would undoubtedly had a different experience.  Would we still have viewed the 'dance' as a 'performance'?

I guess we come to frames of reference.  If familiar with site-based work and/or audience interaction within performance contexts, then yes this would probably still have been viewed as a performance.  However if our experience of performance, is situated only within stage/theatrical contexts then anything outside of that frame of reference raises questions for us.  Questions then of interpretation? Of interpreting our experiences based on our own frames of reference, coloured by our own back stories, our own cultural, social, philosophical values, inherent in us, in how we perceive and interact with the world around us.  So is what defines practice from performance actually us?

Room for much more discussion here...would like to hear your thoughts.


Saturday, 1 June 2013

And Relax...

WELL DONE!!!! May 31st submissions all in, looking forward to reading through them all.

A reminder that Adesola and I would love to see you on June 7, 4pm for coffee and a chance to catch up, Hendon Campus, if you can make it, please let us know.

In the meantime..Happy June, and all best wishes for some time to relax for you all now : )


Friday, 3 May 2013

Bringing fresh energy in...letting go of unnecessary clutter

The title for this post is something I say (in some form or another) with reference to the process of breathing at the start of a release-based class.  The notion of breathing in fresh oxygen/energy to every cell of our being and of emptying on exhalation unwanted tension and clutter from mind and body.  A process akin to a practical working environment but equally I feel in the process of drafting essays, proposals, literature reviews; to continue to draw in, to be open to fresh ideas/thoughts and recognise how they may fuel your writing, your research, and (possibly harder) to be able to let go of the clutter, editing your drafts, being able to lose what is not so relevant, to really find the essence of what it is you are trying to say.  This, I believe, is a huge learning task in itself, finding what you want to say, how you are going to say it and not being too precious over all your have read, experienced and learnt, if it is not relevant to the purpose of the particular piece of writing you're engaging with now. That is ok, hang onto it, it may well come to the fore in another task, or in another context altogether of your practice.  The knowledge is still with you, but you need to make choices as to where it is shared most appropriately.

Like the process of making work choreographically.  I am in the process of making a new work for our BA Dance Performance students show on May 23rd and was talking to dancers this week about not being precious over material they/we create if it is not then used in the final piece.  It is not wasted.  The process of creating it has still been of value, and the resulting material is (in my mind) theirs to use as they please in their own work, in another project when/where it may be more relevant.

So, as the essay writing for you as well as the choreographic process for me comes to the editing and refining phase, embrace the 'in' breath, let go of the 'out' breath, keep breathing, keep learning, seek relevance and clarity in mind, body and on paper!


Friday, 19 April 2013

Looking Ahead...

So, aware that much of your time (particularly those on Module One) has been spent looking back, reflecting on past experiences, I thought we'd take a look forward now in light of working towards your next deadline of May 31, but DON'T PANIC, we do have time before we get there!!

Module Ones, you're now well into writing up your AOLs and gathering evidence to support the claims that you are making in these for academic credit.  A reminder here not to worry too much about the number of individual AOLs, nor to stress about each being of equal volume.  By the nature of your prior learning and experiences some of you will have more individual AOLs, which may be less weighty by cover a range of titles amongst them (teaching, managing, directing, marketing, business, choreography, working with children...) others may have less AOLs in number, but more weight within these depending on your experience of fewer roles in greater depth perhaps.  So please do remember that YOU are the key to all of these, that each Portfolio submitted is individual, reflective of YOUR learning journey, YOUR experiences, they do not have to conform to any standardised method as such.  You portfolio once complete should comprise of your CV and current Job Description, your Areas of Learning (in number and depth appropriate to your experiences) with accompanying evidence to support these claims, and finally your Review of Learning essay, drawing on the reflection you've engaged with during this module, integration of theory you've applied and an evaluation of your learning journey on the MAPP so far.  Remembering you can discuss your draft RoL with your advisor for feedback before submitting.

Module Twos, you've been busy looking at what's out there in the way of literature on and around your proposed areas of research, of philosophical thought that may influence or underpin your stance as a researcher, trying out some pilot studies to ascertain the possibilities of your planned inquiries.  Start looking now at drafting your inquiry proposal.  Thinking about the design and methodology you will use, the ethical considerations of your proposed research (remembering that an Ethics form along with employer consent and individual consent forms must be completed and submitted as part of this proposal - check on LibGuides for the form/format of this) and its potential impact.  Continue to blog and to contribute to discussions on Linked-in where appropriate in order to fuel your own journey and support each others.  Looking lastly to your Review of Learning essay.  As in Module One, this is an evaluation of your journey through the MAPP from Module One through Module Two, reflecting on how your learning has developed, changed, been influenced by the process of arriving at your planned inquiry.  Remembering that you can draw on thoughts noted in your personal Reflective Journals, on blogs, through discussions here too.

On June 7, Adesola and I would very much like to offer the opportunity for all MAPPers to get together for coffee/tea, dare I say a cold drink, should the weather improve ever!  We thought it would be a good opportunity to meet, with us and each other to share experiences in person, get to know one another more and review/question any aspect of the MAPP.  So please do make a note of the date in your diaries, FRI JUNE 7, 4pm at our Hendon Campus.

Wishing you all a good week for now..

Tuesday, 26 March 2013


Sharing an article I have just been re-reading, from Gill Clarke (former Siobhan Davies Dance Company founder member, Independent Dance Artist, performer, teacher, educator and advocate for dance who sadly passed away in 2011).  Lots in there that I think would be useful for you to consider in reference to the development of 'self', understanding, acceptance, appreciation of yourselves within your learning, and some good practical references to themes of embodiment, dualism, dance/science.


keep warm..enjoy your week!


Friday, 15 March 2013

Teaching Dance...

Just some thoughts to share with you (via CandoCo Dance Company) as you look at how you approach and develop your teaching practice...


DSC_1432'One of the questions I have always had about teaching ‘inclusive’ dance is how different it is from just teaching dance. What I keep asking myself is: Have I ever met anyone who is exactly like me? Anyone with exactly the same big toe as mine? Or with the same nose?
The answer is NO and this is the starting point of my teaching no matter who the ‘students’ are.
I think that a traditional approach to dance has tricked us to believe that everyone must move in the same way and, if they do not, then the dance is read as unsuccessful. The illusion of perfection has confused us and forced us to fight against our own bodies – underlining what is not there rather than exploring what could be there.  In the last century, thanks to some brave artists, the dance world has opened up to a different approach to movement: enquiring bodies and minds have led many artists to look beyond old and – in my opinion – limiting traditions. Many what ‘ifs’ have been posed since the beginning of the 20th Century and many more what ‘ifs’ need to be asked to allow dance to be more accessible at a professional level.
What if we start considering that not ONE human being is the same as any other?  We are unique in the physical, mental, emotional puzzle that makes each of us one of the many creatures who inhabit planet earth. Not one vertebra is built as any other one.
Teaching inclusive/integrative dance is nothing more than acknowledging this fact. Diversity is the base of humanity, perfection does not exist and dance has the potential to celebrate the possibility of coexisting without merging. When I teach I hope to stimulate each individual’s curiosity for their own physicality: what is one’s relation to gravity, how joints fold and unfold, how we create flow in our own body and how we feel as part of a group.
In the Teaching Training Intensive organised by Candoco in November 2012 one of the things that seemed very important to share with the participants was that there is no formula that one should follow in order to then declare: I am teaching an integrated dance class. What is essential is the HOW not the WHAT. How language is used, how intention behind actions is communicated, how clarity and virtuosity can be embraced by everyone. We experienced that even ballet can be taught to anyone who is INTERESTED in finding personal solutions or so called adaptations. The secret ingredient of inclusive practice is an insatiable curiosity for movement. A valuable skill for anyone who is interested in dance is to have the capacity to try, fail, try again, succeed then try again: this is human and goes beyond abilities.
Curiosity first and then a good dose of open-mindedness.
candoco lab 415Few days ago, during my lunch break I spent some time outside the studio with Vicky. We were talking about a task that she then taught in her class at Greenwich Dance Agency. It is the ‘this is enough’ game. It is done with a partner: one person lies down to receive touch, the other offers touch. The latter places a hand somewhere on the other person’s body and slowly applies an increasing amount of weight/pressure. The person receiving the touch can say at any point ‘this is enough’. It is a brilliant exercise that can break presumptions of what we think a person is able or willing to take at any point.  What can be visually perceived as a frail hand might take much more weight than one can imagine, a strong thigh may take much less than one would expect.
Each person’s potentials and limits in relation to their physicality are unknown to each other. We don’t know, so we need to ask, try, share, experience, be with, in order to find out. A first look might often create misconceived ideas about what is possible and what is not. And the beauty of dancing everyday is that each single day is different… a good lesson I am learning since I joined Candoco. Break preconceived ideas about oneself first and then open one’s mind towards others.
So the invitation when speaking about inclusive practice in dance is to have the curiosity to find out about the amazing potential of the human body and the infinite possibilities that dance can lead us towards.
So keep curious, keep trying, keep finding out, keep dancing!'
Susanna Recchia is a dancer with Candoco

I look forward to more on your blogs and linked-in this week, Module Ones, let's talk on your first AOL drafts this week..

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Plans and Drafts...

The before bit.
Before you jump head first into your research (module twos) or the writing of Areas of Learning (module ones) take a look at what you're proposing to do.  Gain an understanding from your handbooks, conversations with your advisor, as to the context of what is expected of your actions in relation to the MAPP programme, and try out what's in your mind.  For module two, that does mean quite literally 'try it out'!  Create a pilot study of your planned research, an area of it.  A pilot study on a smaller scale than your intended research inquiry will allow you to navigate your way on a trial run, identify potential areas of concern, flag up some unexpected surprises which you won't have been able to see before putting thought into action.  Pilot Studies are a learning tool, a way of testing the water, but only if you then take the time to learn from (through reflection and further research) what they have shown.  To be particularly alert to, and this pertaining also to the linked-in discussions this week, is ethical considerations.  As some of you are working with young people, or intending to use young people within your research inquiry, you must consider the ethical implications of your proposed research on those involved.  Please do use the Ethics Form under your Module page on LibGuides, and of course ask your advisor if there is anything you are unclear about with regards to this.
Module One asks you to identify your possible Area of Learning titles and to draft your first one this week.  Begin to put in writing what that area or your learning is to you.  How do you define this area? How does it define you/your practice? What does it entail? Which hat(s) does it require you to wear? Who does it affect?  Drafts...Put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) and begin to play with the words which may enable you to communicate to others an area of your learning.  Email your draft to your advisor, arrange a skype call, so that you can discuss this draft, we can offer feedback in order for you to re-draft, and in so doing broaden/deepen your thoughts and your demonstration of them in writing.

So, I'll leave you to plan, to discuss...to draft, to discuss... to continue with your journeys for the week...


Saturday, 2 March 2013


From blogs and emails with you this week, I am pleased to see I am not alone in having had a rather busy (with the word busy seeming a complete understatement!) week.  But I am pleased to see that the busy has been coupled with reflection on your journeys also.  

I am quite pre-occupied with notions of time, how we manage it on a day to day basis, what it is philosophically, scientifically, in reality, if it is actually anything more than an opportunity for things to happen?  If the latter is the case, I wonder how some periods of time (days, weeks..) seem to offer no opportunities for anything to happen as so much is happening, or is it just that we find ourselves with little time to absorb and reflect on what has happened as we are so busy making things happen?

WE are responsible, I believe, for shaping what we do, the opportunities we allow to arise, those we take and develop, those we choose not to follow.  WE have the ability to affect the world around us and to shape it by our actions, not knowing precisely what effect our actions will have in the future as we can never be in tomorrow today, but having ownership over our actions in the present.  Actively interacting with each day, with the opportunities that time affords, with the people we share that time with I believe is vital in continuing to grow and to learn.  Being open to what each day may bring, to what the class we're with offer in/of themselves, learning from what they are offering how we may best respond in guiding, challenging and supporting them in their learning, and in turn what this time has offered us in terms of opportunities (in reflection) is a key tool to learning and understanding learning and knowledge.

Notions of who we are (module one) and how we interact with the world around us (module two) resulting in what affect our actions/interactions may have on others (module three) is in essence what the MAPP programme is interested in.  Whilst our point of reference is dance, and specifically the teaching of/pedagogical practice of dance, we are only really able to identify and attribute value to impact/interaction/affects by understanding our place within them.

Where do YOU stand within all of this?  Have you been shaped/shaped yourself and your practice through training and experiencing dance as dance alone or through your experiences of you in a far broader picture?


Saturday, 23 February 2013


Hoping that you've all had good and productive weeks, and schedules that have allowed for some time to think, reflect and assimilate learning also...

Those on Module One - thanks for sharing initial thoughts this week on beginning your MAPP journeys, hopefully you've had a look through your CV and current Job Description this week, please send drafts of these to your advisor via email so that we can feed into your reflections on yourself via your practice past and present and discuss areas that have been significant in your coming to this point in your career.  Please don't forget to attribute value to unpaid as well as paid roles, to experiential as well as accredited learning routes, to question what experiences have shaped and influenced your journeys, to question how you have learnt what you now consider you know, and question what you know you do not know.  To begin to reflect on your learning through different roles, different phases in your career.   Question, how did you get here, and where is here?

Modules Two and Three, it has been great to read and join your discussions on Linked-in this week, keep unpicking the notions of positivist and non-positivist approaches understanding them as they stand in themselves as well as in application to research in dance.  Question where you sit within these proposed systems...Why?

A question raised recently by the Higher Education Academy is that over the use of touch in dance teaching and learning.  I have been approached this week by a student questioning the use of touch within a dance class, describing an incident in which she felt uncomfortable with a teacher using a hands-on approach in giving a correction.  She asked me whether teachers should ask a students permission before making physical contact with them in class.

Quite a difficult issue, whilst physical contact is widely considered part of everyday practice in the field of dance, training, choreography, performance..it is still an issue with carries ethical considerations and needs responses.

I came across a report, written by Fiona Bannon, commissioned by the Higher Education Academy, entitled Relational Ethics, Dance, Touch and Learning, thought I would share it with you and be interested to hear your views on the subject too.


Friday, 15 February 2013


Nice to catch in on some of your blogs this week and read about the thoughts arising from your initial reading of the module handbooks and from your research specific literature (Module Twos and Threes).  Questions concerning time, process, documentation, sharing of practice, intentions of imagery in teaching all out there..do take a look and respond to each others blogs when you can.  Some great opening discussions around Professionalism on the Linked-in group discussions also this week, take a look and feed in your thoughts if you haven't already, this is going to be a great place for sharing ideas, research, posing questions, maybe finding answers, maybe posing some more questions!    Start to share your experiences of the suggested tasks in your handbook this week also if you haven't and if you can, start forming your opinions based on knowledge, related to philosophy within a particular field of practice.  How do you interpret an historical account, how do you interpret what you see in a body of work?

Module Ones I hope you have had a chance to wade through (without feeling too swamped) your introduction and task handbooks this week, it would be great if you could share your thoughts on what you've read, on embarking on the MA, raise any questions through your blogs this week.  I wonder if any events in your own teaching practice have struck you this week, what have you experienced, what have you thought about it?  Do start keeping your personal Reflective Journals to document all of this as you go through the whole programme, those on Module Two remember to keep these journals going also, but try to share your thoughts on the tasks in the handbooks as you complete them too; whilst they are not for formal assessment, it would be interesting for you (and us) to share your experiences.  What have you learned from theory about reflection, and what are you thinking about how this theory might relate to your own teaching practice?  What questions arise for you?  What is affirmed?  Try to blog on this, this week as it will also help you in preparation for looking at your CV and current Job Description next.

Have a good week, look forward to hearing about some of it!


Friday, 8 February 2013

New Beginnings

So, we're all getting ready to start term on Monday...A big Welcome to those joining the MAPP journey this term and a warm welcome back to those of you returning this term to embark on the next stage of your journey through the MAPP DTP.

As we're all thinking about new starts and preparation for new experiences and learning I thought I would make a list, as I find lists help me to at least identify things that are happening in my life.  Whether I work through the things on that list methodically or end up adding more to it, as one item, sparks an idea that generates three more, that's another matter!  But here we go..

A weekend 'to do' list:

1.  Make sure you can access all the materials relevant to your module on the libguides page


2. Have a read through your Module Handbook.
For those about to start Module One make sure you read through the Introduction to Module One Handbook FIRST, and for all, note down any thoughts or questions you may have as you go.

3.  For those on Module One, have a go at getting your blogs set up, we recommend using the e-blogger site for this, guidance on 'how to' is in your Introduction to Module One Handbook, or feel free to skype with your advisor for help.  Once set up, why not post your first blog and share your thoughts on starting the programme with the rest of the MAPP community here.
For those on Module Two and Three, get yourselves linked-in on Linked-in!
and join the discussions, check in with each other there with your thoughts on planning or starting your research for your next modules.

4.  Go through your diaries and make a note to check in with each others and our blogs at some point each week if you can.  Do this at a time that works for you, when you have some time, and don't worry if you have a hectic week and don't manage to blog religiously on the day you'd intended!  I tend to blog on Fridays, Adesola on a Thursday or Friday.  Blog when you want to, when you have something to share, and do leave comments to other blogs that you read also, lots of fruitful discussions about dance, art, teaching, MAPP modules and life in general can grow that way...

5.  Go out for a walk, bake a cake, run yourself a hot bath...have some time to do whatever it is you like to do to relax, rest mind, body and spirit and look forward to the journey that lies ahead...


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

New Year...New Info

Hello, welcome (almost) back!

As it's feeling rather a long time since I blogged last on here and just to begin to get your minds and bodies back into gear a little before we re-start MAPPing on Feb 1, I thought I would post this...

Firstly a very Happy New Year to you all, I hope you have all managed to enjoy something of a break and some peaceful time with family and friends and I hope January has begun well for you.

Adesola and I have been reviewing course materials for the MAPP DTP and have had a bit of a re-jig of your LibGuides page too, hopefully making it a little clearer and easier for you to navigate and able to accommodate our growing community with some new folks starting their MAPP journeys with us in Feb.


If you have a chance to take a look and want to get your heads around your next module, you can find your Module Handbooks under module specific pages, (Module One, Module Two, Module Three) under the Modules & Materials tab.  Please refer to these handbooks now, not older versions you may have viewed on LibGuides before the Christmas.  As you begin to plan your research (Module twos) or implement your research plan (Module threes) there are a number of consent forms you will need to complete in order to safe guard your practice and those your research may impact on.  These are all listed under your module pages for you to download.  For Module Two and Module Three we also want to encourage the development of special interest groups (related to your individual areas of research) through Linked-in discussion forums.  If you're not familiar with Linked-in, maybe take a look at it now.


When we meet on Feb 1, I will have hard copies of your handbooks to give to you, if you are unable to make it to the campus coffee afternoon on the 1st, do let me know and we can arrange a time to make our own coffee and enjoy them over a Skype call!  If you would like me to post you a copy of your next handbook, not a problem just let me know.

So...on with the marking here : ) and looking forward to seeing some of you, and talking with others on Feb 1.  Let's meet in the Grove Atrium (Costa) at 4pm?