Friday, 16 December 2016

Submissions of work...

A reminder of the submission date for all MAPP DTP written work - January 6th 2017.

All work must be submitted electronically via UniHub AND hard copy (in person or via the mail).

Submission via UniHub:

Login to MyUniHub
Go to MyLearning
Go to MA Professional Practice Dance Technique Pedagogy Programme page
Scroll down to the folder named JAN SUBMISSIONS
Upload your work (as one word document) to the Turnitin drop box for your module

Submission in Person:
Hendon Campus
Sheppard Library
UniHelp desks
Please retain your receipt as proof of submission

Submission via mail/post:
Please send to: (date of posting counts as date of submission)

Helen Kindred / Adesola Akinleye
School of Arts and the Creative Industries
TG55 Town Hall Annex Dance Office
Middlesex University 
The Burroughs
London NW4 4BT

For all submissions - 

Please ensure your name, our names (Helen Kindred / Adesola Akinleye), the programme name (MA Professional Practice Dance Pedagogy) and the module code are clearly marked on your front/cover page.

Module codes: 
Module One - WBS4510
Module Two - WBS4630
Module Three - WBS4760

With all best wishes for the holiday season! 

We look forward to reading your work and seeing you (if possible) at the presentations in January!

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Second Group Skype...Nov 6

The second conversations today during the group Skype chats were largely around data, gathering, sorting, analysing, managing...finding links between things (themes, experiences, literature) and being OK with 'things' not having to fit neatly into pre-defined pockets.

Sam is going to talk more in her blog about the dialogue between external influences and internal processes in dance.

Tammy was interested in discussing further embodiment and how our perspectives may challenge existing systems.

Tara is going to follow on our discussions today around assumptions and the assumptions we hold as/about dancers in particular.

Davis will talk about his current thinking around translation, perception, the recognition of differences and similarities in our practices, in our learning as a global community.

Alanna will follow-up discussions we began in the call around the need to make choices in our selection of data, of experiences in order to find/reveal relevance and make meaningful the intentions of our research.

Great to be a part of discussions today, look forward to furthering these through the blogs ...

First Skype call...Nov 6...

Some good discussions from those of you able to join the first call today around Experiential Learning, the value of it, how we might articulate it, the balance between reflection, critical judgement and personal narratives, the role of literature and theory and its relationship with our experiences...

Maïté is going to blog her thoughts around finding the balance between personal narrative and reflective practice in writing the AOL essays.

Becky spoke about possible ways of illustrating the AOL claims and will blog around the notions of not having to prove yourself and what you've done, but fleshing out the writing of the AOL claim and the different shapes the 'evidence' might take.

Barbara will write about the way she feels literature has been inspiring her journey through this module and guiding her thoughts and reflections.

Samantha has been intrigued by the theories of learning, (Kolb, Gibbs...) and will talk about these in relation to her teaching/learning practice.

Parimala wants to talk about the moment of re-addressing balance in the AOLs and the use of the literature within these, integrating theory with practice.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Group Skype -Sunday Nov 6

Please do make every effort to join with the AM (1100 UK time) or PM (1700 UK time) group Skype conversations this coming Sunday Nov 6.

I will be making the call to join you all up in conversations- I am not connected with all of on Skype -


My Skype address is helen.kindred2

We suggested at the end of the Skype calls last month that you each propose something to bring to the discussion for the next calls, remembering these are conversations between you all as a community of  practitioners on this MA, facilitated by Adesola or myself but not as a Q&A directly with us as your advisers.  Please do think about what you would like to discuss with the group, with each other and post in your comments as Adesola has asked on her blog on this, what you will propose to discuss...this will make for a more efficient use of time in the call and allow for richer discussions as we're all a little more prepared with each others interests.

Look forward to talking at the weekend !

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Bite size...

Some thoughts (geared particularly towards those on Module Three), hopefully useful to all at some point on your MAPP journey on not getting overwhelmed.

As you've been reading through the handbooks for your module of study this term it's understandable to feel that there's a lot of information to take in...there is!  But remember that the handbooks are there to support you throughout the duration of the module.  The handbooks (readers) for each module are to be read initially to offer you an overview of all that the module encompasses, but then to be dipped into in sections at a time.  Taking the module in bite-size pieces makes it more manageable (it is do-able!) and less overwhelming.

As you progress through the modules you will notice that the handbooks become less task orientated and a little looser in structure as the emphasis of your study shifts more and more to you devising and undertaking your own research project.  As advisors we are here to talk through your ideas, listen to challenges that have come up, offer further challenges by questioning you.  As a community of learners, others on the MA are here to bounce ideas with, share your thoughts, concerns, revelations through your blogs, through our LinkedIn discussion group.  

Those on module three, try not to get too caught up at this stage in the term with the details of your submission...your submission for this module is the sharing of your research - you cannot know what this will look like until you have completed the research.  Try to take and enjoy the first stage of this module by becoming immersed in your field; continuing your reading/research through the literature, gathering your data, taking time to make your notes, continue your reflections as you go through this.  You need data in order to have something to analyse in conversation with the literature and your own experiences.  Enjoy your observations, interviews, being open to the experiences of the participants/environments of your research.  Keep in mind your research questions yes, but don't attempt to analyse in the moment of gathering.  We've talked about reflection during the group Skype calls...reflection takes time.  Be in the moment of gathering your data, then allow yourself some space to reflect, keep reading, keep blogging your thoughts before you begin to analyse.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Making Connections...

Two interesting Skype conversations yesterday and great to hear many voices coming through to recognise, give space for, and begin to find our way collectively through some shared observations...

In the morning conversation I was drawn to people's thoughts on navigation essentially, how we work things out, patterns of teaching and learning.  A few of you spoke about different teaching strategies for different learners.  How we approach the teaching of dance; be it through 'technique' as the building blocks, or seeing the 'dance' and working backwards to unpack what it is and how it can be learnt.  

In the evening conversation the discussions were largely centred around reflection; as a mode of learning, a process, a thing in its own right. We spoke about different methods for reflection, questioned what it is and why we engage in it and talked about the act of looking back to move forwards (reading your feedback from the previous module as you move into starting the next).  I am interested in the notion of patterns and feel both conversations yesterday spoke to me in terms of the way in which patterns once revealed may become useful in connecting our learning and development, both within us and within the wider context of our professional communities and the world.

For me, it is important to recognise that learning doesn't have a 'one size fits all' pattern.  As teachers we can usually understand that in our teaching of others, knowing that we need to adjust, re-think, deliver differently in order to engage the different learners to our classes.  But we tend, I think, to seek a clearer pattern, something more known, in our own learning.  This possibly is tied up with patience and our own expectations of ourselves, but I would like to suggest that rather than the drive to look forwards, to see results, achievement, progress we begin to look all around us...seeing ourselves in a pond rather than on a road perhaps.

Gary Peters (musician/improviser/philosopher) speaks of the practice of improvisation as a way of marking (time).  He suggests that when we improvise, we mark the past in the present.  Acknowledging the 'nowness' of improvisation, happening in the present moment, Peters suggests that far from being a spontaneous act only deriving from the present, we are, through our improvised performances (teaching for me being just that), drawing on our past.  Our backgrounds, cultural heritage, own training, experiences are given a voice in some way through our actions in the present moment.  In my own research, analysing the conversations I see revealed between the practice and performance of improvisation in dance, I see improvisation as a mode of reflection.  Not as a process of getting somewhere else as such (not travelling on a linear road) but swimming in a pond, aware of what has come before (my past) what is all around me (my present practice, students, colleagues) and how these things affect my present understanding of me as I am in relationship with them.

Finding different methods for doing something, be it baking a cake or teaching a dance class, needs to embrace trial and error in our learning.  Making adjustments, looking at what we know in order to contextualise what we do not know.  Something I adore about improvisation in dance is the not knowing, and with that not looking (for answers, for the correct movement, timing, aesthetic...) but accepting and enjoying the movement between what has come before (recognising and validating past) and what may come next (future) whilst being in the moment of consciousness (present).  

The conversations amongst us as a community of learners at the start of a new term yesterday evoked in me these musings on improvisation.  How improvisation can be a mode of reflection, can be a way of getting into something, offers the essence of trial and error and an acceptance of process as product.  It allows us to be open to possibilities.  

Being open to what the experiences of the MA might offer is key to its value.  Whether engaging in reflective practice as a mode of articulating your past learning in the present in module one, planning your research inquiry in module two or conducting interviews and gathering data in module three, it is important not to shut off possibilities for what might be there, instead we encourage you to swim around, notice, acknowledge, question, re-think in order to (re)locate yourself in transaction with the flux of your environment (your practice, your research, your community) acknowledging the fluidity of process rather than seeking the fixity of product perhaps.

Love to hear your thoughts, please do comment... and look forward to reading your own blogs this week...

Monday, 26 September 2016


So today is the start of the new term on the MAPP programme!!

Welcome back to all returning students and welcome to all new practitioners to the MA community...

Whilst today's date marks the 'term start date' on our calendars it is important to recognise that starting something isn't usually as quick as a calendar date suggests.  

Starting out for the first time, or starting back to re-join something after a break can mean a re-balance of patterns, schedules, spaces and places...finding how study is integrated / (re) integrated into your work/life patterns.  We think it is important that you begin to find some kind of 'home' for your study, this might be clearing a physical space in your house to work in, finding a café that has a good vibe to you to be able to work there, checking out libraries or other spaces that may feel good to you.  Looking at your may be that you are able to block out one day per week that you ring as your 'MA day', it may not...You may prefer to set aside an hour each morning / an hour each evening and decide that you;ll dedicate that to your studies.  You may see already that you have a particularly busy period next month and so no you will not be able to dedicate time to your studies then, but can free-up some time either side of that period.  Whatever the pattern, whatever works is individual to you, and important for you to recognise and commit to.  Adesola and I are pretty flexible with our work/life patterns too and so we can work with you in terms of appointments for one-to-one Skype calls, responding to emails etc, and this is where the blogs are a great way of can blog whenever you feel like it...2am, 6am... and others will engage with this when they feel like it, quite possibly in a different time-zone altogether!

So take this week to observe your patterns, re-jig a little space where needed, feel comfortable in your study environment, locate yourself within the university systems (UniHub / My learning / handbooks) and be sure to comment on Adesola's blog to indicate which Skype conversation you would like to participate in this coming Sunday Oct 2.

I'd like to leave you 'starting' with a note on beginning from Musician/philosopher Gary Peters;

'The beginning is not the start of the work but the choice of a way into that which has certainly already started'.

Look forward to connecting on Sunday...

Thursday, 15 September 2016

New beginnings...

WELCOME to all those joining us in the MAPP community this term...looking forward to meeting you all online on FRIDAY SEPT 16TH, 1200 (UK TIME).

and WELCOME BACK to all current students re-engaging with your MAPP journey this term.

Term formally starts on Sept 26th, and we'll have our first monthly GROUP SKYPE MEETING of the term on SUNDAY OCT 2ND with the option for you to join either the 1100 or 1700 (UK time) Skype calls - remember to let Adesola know which one you'll join so that she can add you to the call! - comment here with either '1100' or '1700'

Programme and Module Handbooks are online for you now - don't get overwhelmed by them!! But worth taking a look at the module handbook for the module you're enrolling on this term and to have the Programme Handbook to hand to general study / university protocol reference.

To find the handbooks and other MAPP resources;

Go to: Unihub -

My Learning (tab)

MA Professional Practice Dance Technique Pedagogy (tab in the drop down list)
Here you will find resources, guides, handbooks, assessment submission drop boxes and more...

Monday, 11 July 2016

Congratulations all...

Just a short blog to say congratulations to all on your assessments this term, you should all have seen your grades published on Unihub now, and a big WELL DONE and look forward to seeing you at the graduation ceremony on Friday to our finalists!!  

Whilst we wish you all the best on the next step of your journey, do remember you are still part of the MAPP community and welcome to continue to contribute through blogs and our monthly Skype calls, and we'd love to hear what you're up to!

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Submitting work...

A reminder of the submission date for all MAPP DTP written work - MONDAY MAY 9th.

All work must be submitted electronically via UniHub AND hard copy (in person or via the mail).

Submission via UniHub:

Login to MyUniHub
Go to MyLearning
Go to MA Professional Practice Dance Technique Pedagogy Programme page
Scroll down to the folder named MAY SUBMISSIONS
Upload your work (as one word document) to the Turnitin drop box for your module

Submission in Person:
Hendon Campus
Sheppard Library
UniHelp desks
Please retain your receipt as proof of submission

Submission via mail/post:
Please send to: (date of posting counts as date of submission)

Helen Kindred, Senior Lecturer in Dance
School of Media and Performing Arts
TG55 Town Hall Annex Dance Office
Middlesex University 
The Burroughs
London NW4 4BT

For all submissions - 

Please ensure your name, our names (Helen Kindred / Adesola Akinleye), the programme name (MA Professional Practice Dance Pedagogy) and the module code are clearly marked on your front/cover page.

Module codes: 
Module One - WBS4510
Module Two - WBS4630
Module Three - WBS4760

We look forward to reading your work and seeing you (if possible) at the presentations next week!

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Plurality of meaning...

It was good to hear from Alanna and April in this morning's Skype call, both at different places (geographically and in the MA) finding connections through notions of teaching and learning, values, motivations and expectations.  It is always something of a 'push' I think to be asked to articulate to others your research in order to begin sharing it, and this push was well met this morning.

Something that arose for me during the discussions was the idea of plurality.  The idea that there are, and there should be, space for multiple methods, perspectives, meaning, not only in dance but in the world.  There is a need to make this space more visible through research, to experience is one thing, but to be aware of it moves it.  We talked a little about polarities, distinctions around what we are not, but the danger of then 'fixing' of limiting what we are as a result, about different perspectives as we reveal the many voices to our research.  So in attempts to promote a move away from a culture of either / or and advocate instead for multiple alternatives, I am going to share here some research around the practices and philosophies of improvisation in dance. 

"All binaries need now investigating not for their deceptively reassuring ability to be collapsed into stable - and static - units, but the very opposite: that all binaries are 'really' hidden - and dynamic - triads. Because any two terms necessarily postulate the notion of 'relationship' as the necessary - third - factor which simultaneously separates and joins any two related forces or factors ... The crucial factor here is not how many ways two different units can relate to each other, but recognition that this 'third element' is not a unit but an axis, not an entity but a state of being, less a relationship than an act of relating"    (George, 1989: 71-85)

Writing on ambiguity in performance David George posits the need for an investigation of binary terms, a need to acknowledge and I would argue, to value the fluidity of the space between polarities.  In the practice of Improvisation it is in this between space that things happen. The Gap as Nancy Stark-Smith refers to it, between the conscious and the unconscious, the place where you do not know where you are, where frames of reference (of normality, of practice, of visibility) are suspended - this is the place in research, investigation of any kind that you need to experience and to be aware through reflection that you are experiencing it.  It is only through suspending what you know, that you can be open to acknowledging the value in what you do not know.  

The nature of dance improvisation being that you are making choices in the moment of movements arising in relationship to your self, others and your environment necessitates for me a relinquishing of control, a letting go of fixed ideas around this or that and a move towards taking pleasure in the multiplicity of options available to you.  The body as a site for investigation is infinite in its possibilities.  The ability to play between inner and outer spaces (Bartenieff), offers in itself a site for exploring beyond the binaries of mind and body, body and environment. If we can accept that our self is not limited to a fixed notion of mind and body (as two entities) but take pleasure in negotiating, re-articulating our sense of self through an exploration of the relationships between the two we may move through our research with a similar acceptance of plurality.  

One research question will usually grow to give voice to several other questions (I thought I was looking at one colour, but now I'm aware of the whole rainbow!).  These questions in turn will be addressed through a number of methods as feels appropriate to your field of practice and the context of your research.  The methods used will in turn gather data which is unlikely to offer a singular meaning.  Whilst multiple voices to your research (yours, those of the literature, the participants to your research, the context of your practice) may present conflict and this tension may throw into question what you thought you knew, your sense of stability (we very much hope it does!) the acknowledgement of these pluralities is crucial to change and development.  

April spoke this morning about her research making space for new learning, offering alternative experiences of dance for young children in the primary school where her research js based.  I think it is the responsibility of the researcher to make visible the spaces for alternatives.  If we move away from a need to be this or that, to align with this theory or that one, to see dance as entertainment or education, we are able to offer a voice to many possible meanings.  Making space for alternatives is necessary if we are to give value to the plurality of meanings and reduce the privileging of one over another.

What spaces have been made visible through your research?

Thursday, 21 April 2016

MAPP Finalist Presentations...

We would like to invite you all to join us as our MA Finalists present their research this term.

The presentations will take place across May 12th and 13th, at our Hendon Campus in London.

If you cannot attend in person, but might be able to join us via Skype please do let us know and we will do our best to call you in to join on the day(s).  Details below:

MA Professional Practice, Dance Technique Pedagogy
Finalist Presentations
May 12th & 13th 2016
College Dance Studio (CG60)
Middlesex University London

Thursday May 12th
Schedule of the day
0900 Space for finalists to prepare.  
0930-1000 – coffee/tea/juice served outside the studio

1000-1130 Presentations 1 -
1000-1040 Sinead Keaskin (skype)
1045-1125 Ainsley Sudds

1145- 1315 Presentations 2 -
1145-1225 April Brown
1230-1310 Louise Warren

1315-1400  Lunch 

1400-1440 Presentations 1  - One-to-one with assessors / Video Booth
1400-1420 – Sinead (skype)
1420-1440 – Ainsley

1445-1525 Presentations 2 – One-to-one with assessors / Video Booth
1445-1505 – April
1505-1525 - Louise

Friday May 13th
Schedule of the day
1600 Space for finalists to prepare.   
1600-1630 – coffee/tea/juice served outside the studio

1630-1830 Presentations 3 –

1630-1710 Hayley Arthur
1710-1750 Sarah Lockwood
1750-1830 Julie Campbell

1830-1900 Light tea 

1900-2000 Presentations 3  - One-to-one with assessors / Video Booth
1900-1920 – Hayley
1920-1940 – Sarah
1940-2000 - Sinead

You will each give your oral presentation / present your professional artefact. Each presentation is 30mins (max) in total (20mins oral plus 10mins for artefact) with approx 5mins for questions, comments, invited from the audience afterwards.
The one-to-one discussions that follow after all presentations are with Adesola and Helen and are a chance for us to raise any questions looking across your critical review, oral presentation and professional artefact as your three modes of dissemination of your research and for you to respond.

Video Booth:
As a way of creating a legacy of your MAPP journeys we would like each of you to come prepared to record a short (max 5mins) video in which you share a bite-size chunk of your research; stating the title of your research project, outlining your methodologies, identifying any emerging themes, and noting any change or impact the research has had on your professional practice.  This is basically the outline of your oral presentation which you are all working on anyway.  We simply thought it would be great to have your research documented in this way.  We will record these in the sound studio (directly above the Grove Dance Theatre where you will be presenting) in the time slots after your presentations allocated for questions/discussions with us.  It would also be nice if you would like to offer any tips or advice for future MAPP students!

Please confirm attendance via email to Adesola Akinleye / Helen Kindred

If you are travelling by car, please let me know ASAP as parking on campus is limited, I will do my best to book spaces for those that need them.  Any queries about the space, technical facilities etc please do email

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Summer Intensive...

Our Annual Dance and Writing Professional Practice Summer Intensive is now booking!!

5 days of transitioning between moving and writing, communicating, connecting, sharing...

The summer intensive is open to any movement practitioners and we strongly advise all MAPP students to attend during their MA journey (it doesn't matter what stage of the MA you are at and as students you book through the concessionary rate!)

Through the intensive we will move together, starting each day with morning class alternating between GYROKINESIS and Bartenieff Fundamentals (Release) followed by looking at and discussing key texts, developing thoughts and ideas around literature reviews, making connections between our movement practice in the studio and our expression through academic writing.

Plus it's a great way to connect with each other in person, develop friendships moving, thinking, talking, writing together and spend a week in London with social events and performances on and off campus to enjoy!

At the end of the Summer Intensive programme we will move into our Dancing & Writing Professional Practice Symposium 'Wright-ing the Somatic' - a coming together of artist/practitioner/researcher/academics through the sharing of papers, workshops and performances looking at how we articulate and capture our embodied experiences in dancing, in writing.  'Wright-ing the Somatic: Dancing & Writing Professional Practice Symposium is open to all attending the summer intensive for just a small top-up fee to cover catering.
Booking for the symposium will be open shortly!

Reminder for now that we have our monthly Skype this weekend - SUNDAY APRIL 3RD,
1100 AND 1700 (London Time)

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Tools for learning...

Good to check-in with those of you on the evening Skype at the weekend.

A thread I picked up through the conversations was the notion of having, needing, seeking, support in your learning and we talked about referencing across the modules of the MA in order to re-engage with specific tools like reflection, when needed.

Reflective practice is introduced in the first module and very much forms the basis of the analysis and writing you are engaging with there as you compile your portfolio of prior learning (annotated CV, Job Description, Area of Learning claims, Review of Learning essay).  The tasks you get to grips with through the Introductory handbook (reader) in module one, are offered as tools for your learning beyond this module however.  The notion and value of reflective practice is something that runs throughout the MA and we believe is important as we see ourselves as embodied, living, sensing, experiencing beings.

In Module two, you should feel as though you are perhaps more forward-facing as you identify and area of potential research and plan for how you might undertake this.  Time for reflection (as a considered 'act') may not seem as pertinent here, but should still be flowing through your practice, notes made in journals, blog posts to share your experiences and thoughts as you process your engagement with extended literature, research methodologies, revealing your questions around your professional practice.  

As you delve into those research questions on module three, and remain open to others that may come, you should find yourself looking back in order to move through your research.  Coming back to and re-analysis theories, viewing your practice through the lens of your research, reading, considering, forming responses to others through blogs and linked-in discussions are all methods of you continuing to engage in reflective practice and should all feed your research, your journey.

With reference to Adesola's blog this week on distance, something that I was aware of through our conversations on the Skype call was a sense of immediacy that seemed to come with the action of 'reflection'.  Making notes immediately after an event, or in-situ particularly through your observations is important, but consider perhaps that these notes have not experienced any space/time/distance yet from the event to which they relate and so 'reflection', I would suggest has not yet been possible.  Try not to look at the MA, your research, your practice as a linear journey from a beginning to an end, but more of an interweaving thread of connections that go back and forth and around in their journey of knowing and understanding, with plenty of 'not-knowing' on the way.

Beginning to see reflective practice as something of a rhizome underpinning, flowing through the MA is perhaps more useful that addressing it as a specific 'thing' one module at a time.

What are your thoughts?


Thursday, 18 February 2016

Mdx Dance Lecture Series

Dance at Middlesex
Professor Joanne Butterworth
University of Malta
What are the considerations and conditions for the creation of new narrative ballets in the classical genre? Northern Ballet, based in Leeds, has a constitution which specifies that the company should create, produce and perform such ballets. This paper investigates the creative and rehearsal processes of one ballet, David Nixon’s Hamlet (2008). The work was set in 1940s occupied Paris, and challenged the company to explore and create a tragedy, in ballet, where believable characters play out their lives under extraordinary and fearful conditions. How was a Shakespearian text transformed into dance?  What influences were pertinent and how were the interdisciplinary elements perceived?

Jo Butterworth is Professor of Dance Studies at the University of Malta, where she set up a new Dance department in 2010 and was founding Director of the School of Performing Arts. Formerly Head of Dance at Bretton Hall College/University of Leeds, she initiated the BA Hons Dance and MA in Performance Studies programmes. Her research interests focus on dance making and its applications; she co-edited Contemporary Choreography: a critical reader with Liesbeth Wilschut in 2009, and published Dance Studies: the Basics in 2012.
Tuesday 23rd February
Grove Dance Theatre

All interested members of staff, faculty and students are welcome.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Opening doors...Allowing space...

Letting things simmer before they change.
Finding comfort in the uncomfortable.
Accepting uncertainty before expecting transformation.

These were all themes that emerged for me from our last groups Skype on Sunday Feb 7th.

Tara shared with us an experience of a past teacher who would pose questions and leave (what felt like a very long, uncomfortable) amount of time before a response was offered.  I felt as though many of us have had this, or a similar experience.  Allowing space in teaching I believe is crucial to nurturing independent thinking, learning and growth.  It is in that 'time' which can feel like hours, that  'space' which can feel like a barrier in the distance between student/teacher or students and each other, that we reach a real state of not-knowing.  In the process of learning (seeking new knowledge) we need first to recognise what we know of ourselves (module one - reflection).  We need space to do this.  Time to reflect.  The uncomfortable space Tara recounted offers that space for growth through self-regonition, time to think and feel a little lost, rather than being fed with an answer to move on.   It is perhaps our expectation of teaching/learning and being 'fed' that makes this space uncomfortable.  It does not meet with our expectations.  It offers an alternative and we need to take time to consider this in the context of the MA.

The role of the teacher (I would argue in any capacity) is not to feed but to open and hold spaces for independent learning.  In the context of teaching dance, whilst there may be a codified language in the movement, a vocabulary of steps, a discipline of the body to be learnt by the student dancer, I would still suggest that this learning is most valuable when it is owned by the student.

In posing questions, and allowing space for responses (not answers) to emerge the teacher is opening what can feel like an uncomfortable space where the student is faced with uncertainty, a need to 'know', a sense of their own response to openness in learning.  Much learning takes place in this space.  The student may or may not attend to, but will likely notice thoughts that come into their mind, notice the space around them, others in it, notice reactions in their body.  This noticing offers the ground for reflection later on in their journey.

Accepting uncertainty, being unfamiliar with something in order to get to know it better is all part of learning.  I will share here an excerpt from a previous blog I have written on this theme as it seems relevant here also.

In teaching dance technique I draw on the work of Irmgard Bartenieff, and use her language of the body, the system she has developed (referred to as Fundamentals) as a frame for improvisation and a structure for building classes (Hackney, 2002) .  The improvisation I guide by using anatomical reference points, an articulation in language of specific body patterns, allowing for/encouraging individual interpretation of these through movement.  I do not consider that I am ‘teaching’ these body patterns in a traditional sense, rather my intention is to facilitate the autonomous learning of others of, (from within) their own bodies.  Bartenieff Fundamentals offer a frame to this learning experience, points of knowing or points to connect with to explore the unknown. 

Not knowing, being uncertain, feeling lost, I believe are all positive states of being, as a dancer/artist/researcher.  They are the states that I feel need to be inhabited during any process of creation; be that choreographing new work, planning a research project, writing a paper, teaching a class.  Life is largely unpredictable and that it is within the complexity of our capacity as humans that we are able to respond to change and accept it as a necessary condition of growth and progression.  In teaching dance we are putting ourselves constantly in places of uncertainty.  When we meet a new class of dancers for the first time (or even subsequently down the line) we cannot know entirely how they will respond to our teaching.  We have to offer something (plan exercises, choreography) and wait (in the unknown) to see and sense their response…then we react.  Our reactions, I would suggest, are largely intuitive (Atkinson and Claxton 2008), based on prior experience, in response to what we see and feel happening in that moment.    We don’t know everything that will happen in that class until we are in it, but we know enough about our selves, our practice, our art form to be able to be responsive to the environment at any given moment and we trust ourselves in this.

Planning and conducting research isn’t that different.  We have some knowledge (within us, our experiences…think module one), we are interested in and engaged with dance (embodied experiences), and we are curious about things we are seeing and sensing in our lives (professional practice).  There are areas of the known and the unknown, a mutual requirement for us to be curious, to have questions and to be open to and responsive to change as a process of learning.  What is needed perhaps is trust in ourselves as researchers in the same way as we trust in our teaching?

Being ‘lost’ in the unknown is not a place of fear but of possibility.  It does not mean you have no idea, but that you are open to other ideas.  How you navigate your way through this journey relies on you, your sense of yourself, your practice, your feelings on learning, experiencing and knowing.  So you already have a frame of reference – you. 

As you enter each new module you are never completely lost, you have your sense of self, constructed here through your portfolio claims and ROL from module one, you have the module handbook as a reader/guide for the next phase of your journey, you have your professional practice.  You feel/sense, you read, you observe and do.  Each one of these trees (if you like – thinking live, slow growing, complex roots and many branches) talks to the others.  You know because you experience things.    If you rely only on one of these trees your journey may feel unstable, vulnerable, unclear.  If you rely solely on intuitive knowing, you may feel quite content but perhaps a little removed from others, from a wider context of being with, for and of others (Sartre 1958).  If you rely only on your observations and actions in your daily practice without analysis or evaluation of these within a wider context, you may feel stunted in your growth, restricted from moving forwards in your knowledge.  Similarly, there is a tendency because you are enrolled on a module and because that module comes with a handbook, to seek your knowing from this source primarily, at this stage.  Whilst the handbooks for each module are there to support your learning journeys they are not intended to define it…only you can do this.  The handbooks, your advisor, your community as learners/practitioners on this programme at this time can offer you support, guidance, a critical eye/ear, a probe of thinking, reflecting but they do not carry the answers or contain a direct map to ‘knowing’.

Allow space...see/feel/sense what you think.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

New term...

Welcome back all returning students continuing on their MAPP journeys this term and warm welcome those joining us this week too!

So, just a short post from me to check-in on the first week of term.  First week back, getting yourselves into study mode again...whether that's after the winter break or after a long break from studying in any formal sense...trying to find space, physically and metaphorically for the MA in your lives, re-adjusting patterns, finding your grove again with all the elements that make up you, your practice, your home-life, your study.  Taking some time this week to read through the handbook for the module you're starting, checking in on blogs, setting one up if you're joining us now this term (have a look round at others to get a feel for them), requesting to join our Linked-In discussion group (MAPP Dance Pedagogy) if you're not on there already...maybe posting something of your research interests those of you on Module Three now, to share with others...

Check-in with Adesola's blog -

she has posted times for our first monthly Group Skype back - It's this coming SUNDAY FEB 7!  Please do comment on her blog to indicate which call you would like to join (AM / PM) and make sure you've connected with us on Skype before then also!


Any queries around enrolment / re-enrolment please do contact our admissions team <> new starters or student achievement team <> returning students.  For finance please email <> let us know if you experience any problems though, we don't want administrative issues to delay you getting going on the programme!

Looking forward to hearing from you all on Sunday!

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Between Modules...

Thanks for your submissions of work this week and WELL DONE! 

Just a note to let you know what happens in this in-between modules time now...

Please do make a note and attend if you possibly can (in person or via Skype if you let us know beforehand) our MA finalists presentations on MONDAY JAN 18TH.
These will be held on our Hendon Campus (London NW4) in the Grove Dance Theatre (G190)
and will run from 10am to approx 3pm (UK time) with four finalists, Maria, Sarah, Cathie and Suzy presenting their research.

Whilst Adesola and I are busy marking, you are encouraged to access the module handbook for your next module (all available on our MAPP DTP page on UniHub).  Start having a read through to familiarise yourself a little with the next shift in your MAPP journey.

The next term starts on MONDAY FEB 1, with our first monthly group Skype meeting on Sunday Feb 7, for all new and returning students (and any MA alumni very welcome to still join!).

We aim to send you feedback on your work submitted by the end of January, with grades being published on UniHub after the assessment boards in February.

All best wishes for the year ahead...