News: MOVE IT 2017 - Physical Theatre Workshop - EXCEL LONDON

Wednesday 15 March 2017


Physical Theatre Workshop delivered by Rhiannon Brace at Move It 2017

Our workshop began in a semi-carpeted room and a floor not designed for movement but as soon as the eager participants arrived I knew it was going to be just fine.

I teach open level classes where people of different ages and levels mix together. I really love seeing the stronger dancers inspire those who struggle with set sequences and the really natural performers who excel at the creative tasks. I was aware this class may be their first encounter with physical theatre, which is very different to a dance technique class. In my class they explore their physicality and their own style of movement and there is room to be really creative.

Most dancers struggle to leave their week behind and be completely present so I do spend time warming up bodies and minds and allowing their focus to come within the room. When we do some basic breathing exercises it feels really relaxing with the hum of the main stage and the exhibition buzzing in the background. The playful exercises are lots of fun and really suit the taster style 45 min workshop.

It is nice to work with a large group of people, as it allows us to try out the tasks with different groups. The dancers tie themselves in knots, find different ways of travelling round the room, form shapes and as a group lift up a manhole cover.

I tend to give a mixture of creative tasks and set movement to work on. I find both disciplines helpful. When I teach set sequences I focus more on how the movements are performed and bringing personal interpretation to it. I avoid putting counts on movement I prefer either to be driven by the music or the activity of the movement or why it is being performed.

During this workshop we explore having a physical conversation and before too long the room is filled with pairs of dancers toing and froing in a physical dialogue. We change the mood of the dialogue by changing the music and I allow them to explore beyond my set movements to make the conversation more improvisational. I can see that many of the dancers are enjoying the sense of freedom in their movement and are starting to add in their preferred turns and steps. I only wish I had longer to work with this group. I hope they take this confidence and playfulness with them once they leave the room.

Rhiannon Brace is a physical theatre practitioner and choreographer. The class photographs are from her Physical Theatre class at Move It. Rhiannon regularly teaches Physical Theatre at Marylebone Dance Studio. Class details can be found here Find her on Twitter:@Rhiannonbrace

Photos by Picture Taker

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