With help from a Theatre Bristol Bursary I was able to attend Candoco Dance Company’s 6th Teacher Training Intensive in London.
The three day workshop was an introduction to the principles of Candoco’s inclusive teaching methods, with a focus on the fundamentals of teaching practice, exploring adaptation and technique, use of language, inclusive environments and the models of disability.
It was attended by international participants from a variety of background and experience. Dancers,movers, teachers, practitioners.
Several of the company dancers led different group warm ups, creative tasks and technical dancesequences. This gave the opportunity to translate other dancer’s movement onto our own bodies,whilst also presenting examples of possible considerations to make when teaching an inclusive class.eg. How to translate choreography created in and demonstrated from a wheelchair if I do not have awheel chair. It was encouraged to explore different versions of these sequences, no right or wrong.Sitting on the floor. Standing.
Diverse bodies and imaginations = diverse interpretations.
This questioned which element of a movement we choose to focus on. How do we teach materialwith detail and clarity, without being body-specific.
By identifying and specifying the aims of an exercise or movement we clarify which element we wishto focus on when translating it for different bodies (eg. to travel, to turn, to reach). Perhaps whendemonstrating, show several different interpretations of an instruction which could work fordifferent bodies.
There was much discussion around use of language.
Whilst it may initially require careful planning, intelligent and sensitive use of language can reallyimprove your relationship with a group, and quickly becomes common sense.
Examples of Inclusive language instruction:
Stand up = Get ready to move
Reach your hands above your head = Reach up to the ceiling as far as you can
Walk around the space = Move around the space.
Providing different ways into your material can also be useful. Laban movement analysis and effortqualities are one way of creating or deconstructing movements, where focus is on intention andeffort quality over more body specific instruction.
Creating an environment which encourages participants to take responsibility for their own body and adapt material to best suit their own requirements can be very empowering.
On the last day of the workshop each individual was given the opportunity to lead a short movementexercise for a small group of participants, followed by group discussion, evaluation and feedback ontheir mini class. This gave us the chance to see different approaches, different teaching methods forvarious dance styles and to put into practise some of our learning.
It was a very inspiring workshop to attend, and an invaluable professional development opportunityfor me. Thank you Theatre Bristol.