CUDS had the privilege of hosting a ballet class on Zoom, led by former Rambert dancer, Salomé Pressac. The class was orientated on refining barre technique but with a twist. Rather than using classical/piano music as is the norm within ballet, Salome used music from a whole range of genres which was refreshing and motivating. We really enjoyed the fact that the exercises were technique orientated, as it has been hard to keep up training over lockdown. After barre exercises we moved to the centre for some tendus and then had a much needed stretch at the end. Salome was such a generous and encouraging teacher, helping us to focus on enjoying the movement and letting go of tension. It was great to catch-up with Salome for a brief Q&A about her time in Rambert and Rambert 2 - we are very excited for her future projects, be that related to dance or her other business endeavours. A great way to end a challenging term in lockdown!
On Sunday 7th March we were delighted to welcome dance movement psychotherapist Yeva Feldman, Birmingham Royal Ballet first soloist Kit Holder, sport and exercise therapist Dr Irina Roncaglia and advocate, educator and researcher Erin Sanchez for a discussion on dance and psychology, covering a range of topics including dance and mental health, motivation, anxiety, performance psychology and dance therapy. To begin, we heard from each panellist individually, who explained some of their interests and research in the field. Kit told us about his experiences with motivation as a dancer in lockdown and Yeva about her work with groups of young people suffering from eating disorders and the way that dance has helped them. Erin then discussed the importance of mental health awareness in the dance industry, with Irina discussing the dance research she has carried out, and the way that a dancer's mental health may be compromised. This was followed by questions from the audience a discussion between panellists, in which they explained their research and experiences further. This was an absolutely fantastic opportunity to learn from world-class dancers and psychologists, and to gain further insight into the way that mental health is discussed and dealt with in the industry. We are so grateful to our panellists for taking the time to talk to us!
On 5th March, we held our final social as a committee, which was a movie magic evening, learning the dance to 'We're all in this together' from the first High School Musical film! Led by our wonderful socials officer Ella, we learnt the routine to the chorus, which was more quick and challenging than we had realised, and was so much fun! It was a great opportunity to get together and dance in a fun way to celebrate the end of term!
On Saturday 27th February, we had the wonderful opportunity to have a class taught by renowned Jazz artist Dollie Henry, who founded the dance company BOP and has also performed on the West End, in theatre plays, TV and film. Dollie led a Jazz warmup, to classic Jazz music, and taught us some choreography to music by Duke Ellington. We focussed on making our movements sharp and clean, like they would be on the West End stage and Dollie encouraged us to imagine being on stage to really help with our performance, despite being in our own homes. Dollie then chatted to us about her experiences as a dancer and founding her own company, which was so inspiring and encouraging. It was amazing to learn from Dollie’s extensive expertise and she was so full of energy, it would be wonderful to have her for another class!