The semester began with an introduction to Business Management, Marketing and Financial Administration, delivered by Ruba Atallah, which gave the trainees the opportunity to acquire business and administrative skills needed for day-to-day tasks of any organisation. The training continued throughout the semester with Ruba holding lectures once a week. Additionally all the trainees were offered the opportunity to implement their newly gained knowledge within the framework of the I CAN MOVE programme by performing various administration and coordination tasks.
The first dance module of this semester was held in September by visiting Palestinian artist Ayman Safiah, who got things moving with a session of Dance Technique titled ‘Expression Through Movement’. The fundamental theme of expression was examined in various manifestations of dance, including ballet, modern and contemporary techniques.
Ayman Safiah’s session was followed by Intensive Module XXI, which took place between October 7 and 27 2014, in which Lina Höhne covered the essential topic of ‘Creation in Education’ – creation as a teaching skill and creation in choreography. This module marked the first concrete step towards the trainees’ graduation performance/project, which came to fruition in August and September 2015.
The training continued in the hands of Alexandra Schwartz, who took over from Lina at the end of October and taught until the Christmas break. Her work mainly focused on aspects of Dance Technique and Communication – using the method of Possibility Management to enable individuals to take radical responsibility for themselves. Alongside the training Alexandra mentored the trainees in their learning process of implementing administration and coordination tasks. She concentrated on providing daily tools for the trainees to assist them in their process.
As this semester was to be the beginning of the final phase of the programme where the trainees needed to gradually start taking more responsibility and being in charge of the programme, individual weekly sessions of 30 minutes were held with the trainees by their mentor and artistic director Nadia Arouri. These individual sessions focused on the development of each participant, creating individual road maps for the specific development of each trainee on a short-term and long-term basis. These sessions also provided a space for the trainees to discuss various topics of choice, be it personal issues, recent dance choreographies or videos they have seen, or professional issues they have encountered.
Dance Technique – September 2014
Ayman kicked off the penultimate semester with three very intensive days of training – looking at different styles of dancing as a means of expression and particular teaching tips for each style. Aspects of ballet (‘tendu’ exercises in particular), contemporary and improvisation were examined, practised and discussed. Warming-up and breathing techniques were also further developed. Merging dance technique with teaching skills …
Ayman explored artistic expression through various types and styles of dance, including ballet, contemporary and improvisation. Each day’s class would start with warming up using the Cunningham technique and improving breathing techniques.
On day one the focus was on “tendu” exercises from the ballet repertoire, since, as Ayman put it: “In ballet and other dance forms, this stretch action (and the way the body reacts to it) is important preparation for just about everything”. Technical exercises following from the tendu and tips for teaching tendu exercises led to a close look at contemporary dance, with the trainees working on a solo choreographed by Ayman as a rounding off of the first day.
Day two was dedicated to improvisation, exploring the space, discovering it, its limits, its contents and inhabitants (dancers, audience) and using these as inspiration for movement. This was then taken further by using some conceptual tools to allow the dancers to generate movement by exploration of some of its own basic components: BODY, SPACE and TIME – looking at movement from an abstract perspective, and building on the choreography from the previous day.
Finally day three took a close look at contemporary dance, with the trainees focusing on the material that Ayman had taught them during the previous sessions as well as on a phrase from ‘A Linha Curva’, a contemporary dance production by the Rambert Dance Company.
Ayman’s observation at the end of the workshop:
“I could not believe what I was watching, when they started dancing they shined and glowed all at the same time, they performed the solo, with such strong presence and so confidently, I saw the use of breath which made them develop an excellent understanding of the principles of my class. That was the key for them to de ne and redefine new forms of thinking, feeling, and moving! Some of them had tears in their eyes and some wanted to do it again and again!”
Yousef Sbeih “You are a strikingly natural performer with a look about you that draws the attention of the choreographer …you move beautifully. Keep working to move outside of your comfort zone as you strive to become a more versatile dancer”.
Hala Sweidan “From day one I felt how much you are passionate about dancing; I feel that your movement quality has improved from day one of the workshop. You are very committed, and you try hard to understand what the teacher/ choreographer is getting at.”
Asef Masalmeh “I loved your energy from day one! Your movement quality was very good, you have an open, honest and con dent projection. I saw a huge improvement in your co-ordination and flow in your movement throughout the warm-up and the solo.”
Kamel Seef “You have produced work with great energy and exciting physicality throughout the workshop. You are highly motivated, a warm person and enjoy working with others. You are obviously very passionate about your dancing. You take correction well.”
Intensive Module XXI – Creation in Education – October 2014
Lina Höhne covered the extremely important topic of creation in education in her module. How do we deal with the choreographic and pedagogical equivalent of writer’s block? What to teach in which context? Where do I start? Lina demonstrated how to start with a statement, leading to a concept and using this as a springboard for creation. The module focused on dance pedagogy in disadvantaged communities, where creative skills are really valuable. Creativity and education are intertwined …
Lina Höhne led an intensive module titled Creation in Education: Creation as a teaching skill; creation as a process of creating choreography. The focus of this module was dance pedagogy and its artistic application in disadvantaged communities; therefore dance classes for disadvantaged children in schools in villages in area C of the West Bank accompanied the workshop.
Lina’s overall aim in this module was to make the creative process more accessible to the trainees, to enrich their sources and freedom in dance and to teach them how to deal with the choreographic equivalent of ‘writer’s block’. The skills learned are to be put to use by the students in their work in the communities in and around Ramallah, helping them create new works for their graduation performance in 2015.
During the working week, Lina held group as well as individual classes with the trainees on developing choreographic concepts and their realisation with professional dancers as well as beginners. Each trainee prepared and held a 4-hour dance class for his/her colleagues that focused on imparting a specific choreography. These choreographies were put together and presented in a public showing on Saturday the 25.10.2014 at the Shurouq community centre (YANTE headquarters).
The first week consisted of Lina demonstrating how it is done. She asked the students to prepare themselves by formulating a statement of interest in creating a piece within a socio-political context. This was to form the basis of an artistic concept, which would grow into a small creation. The idea of creation, of creativity, what it is, how to find it, in oneself and in the class was first discussed in theory. At the same time Lina explored the concept of individual responsibility within society. On the technical level Lina started with some floor work, which was gradually developed into a fish theme. Lina then used a poem entitled ‘The Fish’ by Elisabeth Bishop as a starting point for creation, with the students translating various aspects of the poem into dance. A feedback session on this creative process followed and the programme for the second week of the module was formulated, discussed, clarified and fixed (as listed above).
The final day of the week consisted of a self- discipline exercise in which the students ‘tuned out’ the outer world to focus within themselves in total self-awareness and self-discipline.
In week two each student led the class for one day each going through warm-up, movement work, creation, viewing the result. Each student therefore created a small choreography of his/her own, which were then knitted together in week three. Hala’s theme was emotions – negative, positive – get rid of one, gather the other. A rather difficult and rather controversial theme, which Lina believes she handled very capably. Kamel’s theme dealt with freedom and how to think out of the box. This was another ambitious and very demanding theme and it couldn’t be finished in the time allotted and so was carried on in the final week. Yousef put a huge effort into planning his class in exact detail. It dealt with the topic of feelings connected with limitation (e.g. doubt, lack of confidence) and how to get them out of one’s system. Finally, Asef continued with the trend of setting himself an ambitious target and dealt with the theme of the environment, nature and the spirit.
The final week consisted of putting the ‘creations’ together with more ‘creative work’, culminating in the first-ever performance to be held at Shurouq. Entitled ‘Smoked Fish’ and lasting about 30 minutes, it was another milestone achieved on the Yante – I CAN MOVE journey.
Dance Technique – October – December 2014
Alexandra looked at the techniques of Modern Ballet, House (Street Dance) and release-based Contemporary Dance, with the aspects she focused on being balance, movement flow and release technique respectively. Parallel to the dance technique classes she also looked at the Possibility Management method of empowerment. This postulates that clear and honest communication with the world around us is the key to personal development and crucial to opening ourselves to our feelings. A profound concept …
Within the 4-6 hours of dance technique, 3-4 times a week, Alexandra examined aspects of Modern Ballet, House (Street Dance) and release-based Contemporary Dance. Concurrently Alexandra also looked at empowerment through Possibility Management.
The focus of Modern Ballet was balance. Systematically she built up exercises to bring more awareness into the trainees’ bodies and gain more knowledge of the technical side. She also applied the new knowledge to jumps and turns. Ballet terminology was used and the trainees focused on the movement quality of the plié, relevé and tendu, adding variations and starting from different positions.
The focus of House (Street Dance) was movement flow. Simple steps initiated by the feet were introduced to embody the release-based flow. These steps were then used to play with different rhythms and tempo, challenging the coordination and stamina. As a freestyle or improvisation dance form, these basic steps served as the ground for individual movement exploration and self-expression. House served as a perfect warm-up tool to bring energy into the trainees’ bodies and to ready the body for the Modern Ballet. In future Alexandra intends to build on to this foundation. House steps are also very useful for the community dance context, so more choreographic skills based on House would be very useful, Alexandra said.
The focus of Contemporary Dance was to fuse the softness of the release technique with the explosive dynamics of more acrobatic dance elements. Alexandra looked at different pathways to change from one level to another, exploring different variations of the swinging, folding, spiralling and rolling. Strengthening core and limbs and using hands and feet actively to push off from the floor to be able to move faster and yet not lose the fluidity was the primary objective of her teaching here.
4 hours a week were dedicated to the method of Possibility Management. The purpose of this method is to empower individuals to take radical responsibility for themselves as well as for the world they live in. It provides tools, which are applicable in everyday life to gain more clarity of one’s own feelings, intentions, behaviour and patterns. The world is seen as a giant feedback generator, so clear and honest communication is key to personal development. By lowering one’s own numbness bar, the level at which feelings are blocked, we can build healthy relationships with our selves and others. Possibility Management believes that the core feelings of sadness, fear, anger and joy serve us professionally by evoking phases necessary to go through changes.
The focus of the module was “being centred”. Only when we are centred we can meet each other eye to eye, connect to our own resources fully, expand our horizons and become our very own authority. Alexandra chose to introduce the concepts on a more intellectual level, giving space for discussion and reflection. When the basic concepts were in place, she went on to work more experientially, touching on the field of working with feelings. Her intention was to show through exercises that giving our bodies space to deal with emotions that are being triggered, we could emancipate ourselves from painful experiences of the past.
Intensive Modules XXII to XXIV – Management and Administrative Skills – September 2014 – January 2015
These modules were designed to give the trainees the organisational and administrative skills they would need in their careers as dance teachers and community leaders. A very broad range of topics was covered, from financing to planning, from marketing to budgeting, bookkeeping, organization, controlling, recording, reporting and recruitment. These aspects were examined from different points of view – in the context of big enterprises and particular projects. Essential skills for everyone …
As with any organisation, indeed with any kind of enterprise, or even personal life, unless it is properly administered and managed it will not survive for very long, at least not without setbacks. Whilst it would be nice to have employees to do this, this is obviously impossible at the very beginning of one’s career. With this in mind, Ms. Ruba Atallah was brought in to introduce the practicalities and purposes of modern day administration and management. She met with the trainees once a week throughout the semester.
She looked at small enterprises, starting with the definition of a Small Enterprise and asking what the importance and functions of small enterprises in a modern economy are. She also examined the financing and development of small enterprises and looked at possible reasons for their failure.
Turning to organizational structures, Ruba led the trainees in examining the various structures available and then looking at the managerial skills required in the various key positions, within the context of the four functions of management (planning, organizing, leading and controlling).
Marketing was another important topic and her introduction covered an explanation of the tools of the marketing mix, marketing analysis and the importance of marketing throughout the enterprise. She also took the trainees through a market research form to be completed prior to the launch of a campaign. Ruba also took them through negotiation skills.
She also introduced them to the importance of financial planning, taking them through the preparation of budgets both for the family and for the enterprise and she led them through the compilation and completion of a financial study form to complete before the start of an enterprise.
Finally, she looked at costs, cost analysis and pricing and the rudiments of book-keeping.
Throughout the modules, all of the information that was explained was supported by the real-life example of the Yante – I CAN MOVE programme. The financial and the managerial systems of Yante’s organization were thoroughly explained and demonstrated to the trainees.