Content and Timeline
In this semester the trainees gradually learnt what it means to pursue a career as independent art practitioners and pedagogues. Therefore each of the trainees was assigned the task of teaching a 6-day module to their colleagues. Additionally they expanded and intensified their community classes and embarked on a 3-week trip to Sweden where they joined classes at Vitlycke centre for Performing Arts, Danscentrum Stockholm, as well as the University of Dance and Circus in Stockholm.
The semester started with a 6-day dance technique module taught by the trainee Kamel Jirjawi under the supervision of Nadia Arouri. The classes focused mainly on the three-dimensionality of movement and the specific movement axis – horizontal, vertical and sagittal – in different situations. The purpose of these classes was for the trainees to gain further practical teaching experience and to get familiarised with the process of preparing, teaching and evaluating modular courses.
This was followed by an intensive module taught by Petra Frank, which deepened the trainees’ understanding of choreographic composition, explored working within artistic processes – individually and in groups – and expanded their knowledge on dance therapy. In dialogue with Petra the participants worked with improvisation methods and principles to put together choreographic material. Furthermore, Petra explored the value of dance therapy for the trainees’ work and developed their awareness of its potential.
Between February and March, Alexandra Schwartz supervised the planning, implementation and evaluation of a 6-day dance technique module held by the trainees Hala Sweidan and Yousef Sbeih. In addition, Alexandra Schwartz taught dance technique classes and held individual classes in contemporary dance for the trainees.
Hala Sweidan’s 6-day dance technique module focussed on release technique. It involved exercises for releasing the pelvis and legs as well as yoga elements and bodywork. The participants further explored the qualities of relaxation vs. release and dealt with more complex coordination exercises from slides and handstands to spirals and folding/unfolding combinations. Furthermore, the participants created a choreographic sequence together.
The 6-day dance technique module of Yousef Sbeih was taught under the supervision of Alexandra Schwartz and Lina Höhne. Yousef’s classes focused on martial arts in dance to improve the control and strength of core muscles. The classes introduced basic principles of martial arts and then bridged these principles with concepts of contact improvisation. The module contained balancing exercises, simple movements and repetition to support the embodiment of the introduced martial arts principles.
In the end of March the trainees spent three weeks in Sweden under the mentorship of YANTE’s artistic director Nadia Arouri. On March 27 and 28 the trainees joined a conference titled ‘exChange perspectives’ at the University of Dance and Circus in Stockholm and at dansenshus Stockholm.
After the conference they travelled west to Tanumshede where they stayed for one week at the Vitlycke Centre for Performing Arts. At Vitlycke the trainees underwent a reflection process on furthering their independent art careers together with Nadia Arouri and received intensive dance classes with Francesco Scavetta. Francesco started his classes with Tai Chi Chuan exercises in order to develop a strong connection to breathing and feel the contrast between tension and release. Throughout the training he focussed on the strength of the centre, on tension and release. The workshop continued with some floor exercises following the idea of the centre of the body as the engine for every movement. The trainees could further explore the space through improvisations. Improvisation and space as a creative tool gave room for clarifying the movement’s journey through the body and releasing tension.
Upon their return to Stockholm the trainees attended an intensive 2-day Fly-Low Workshop at Danscentrum by Aleksandar Georgiev. The technique classes explored the relationship with the floor and focused on intensity, speed, gravity and touch. The physical sequences in this workshop were composed of elementary models of movement developing the relationship between the centre of the body and the joints / limbs on the one hand, and on the other hand exercises stimulating creativity and the understanding of the idea behind Fly-Low as a system of moving.
Starting on April 6 the trainees spent two weeks at the University of Dance and Circus in Stockholm where they attended various classes on pedagogy, contemporary dance technique, modern dance technique, Klein technique, Pilates, jazz, flamenco, street dance, ballet and others. Additionally, the trainees received dance therapy sessions with the dance therapist Monika Thelin.
Back in Palestine the trainees were greeted by their teacher and mentor Lina Höhne. She supervised two of the trainees in planning, implementing and evaluating a 6-day dance technique module. Lina supported Summar Rasras and Yousef Sbeih in the process of preparation, observed them while teaching and gave them feedback afterwards. She also taught classes herself. These classes contained meditation exercises, which focussed on observing the breath as well as basic Yoga Asanas and an introduction to the philosophy that Yoga is based on. Furthermore, Lina and her students reflected on injuries and their potential of fostering creativity and healing rather than being something that limits us.
Summar Rasras’ 6-day dance technique module focussed on the arms and hands – anatomically, mentally and emotionally. The classes included warming up the head, spine, shoulders and arms, releasing the arms during exercises in vertical positions as well as strengthening the arm muscles. While focusing on the connection between the arms and the other body parts, Summar’s classes explored the emotions that are connected to the movement of the arms.
The semester was concluded by revisiting instructor Stefanie Sternig. She taught dance technique classes that evolved around giving the trainees time and space to explore different possibilities to create movement, allowing them to further develop their individual style and choreography material as well as helping them discover their personal way of teaching.
At the end of the month the outcomes of the classes were presented in a ‘Try-out-performance’ at Khalil Al-Sakakini Cultural Centre in Ramallah. Through this experimental performance the trainees explore further possibilities in setting up basic structures towards creating a ‘community’ performance.
In an open-space setting the performance brought different people together and created an atmosphere in which the children, the trainees and the audience were invited to participate in artistic exchange. The main goal was to dissolve the boundaries between the stage, the artists and the audience. Thus it was possible to present a show that incorporated and communicated the basic principle of YANTE – integrating each and every person through dance and art.
Dance Technique – January 2015
Supervision: Nadia AROURI
Trainees became the trainers in semester VII.
Kamel looked at the three-dimensionality of movement and movements’ axes in different situations. He examined these aspects of movement by means of various exercises from ballet to contemporary dance and from Yoga to Pilates. A lot of his work in this module focused on balance, shifting weight and the connections between head, tail and feet. He also looked at breathing and how this affects weight and balance. His module was concluded with a choreography developed from the elements he taught.
Semester VII started off with dance technique classes taught by the trainee Kamel Jirjawi. These classes focused mainly on the three-dimensionality of movement and the specific movements axis – horizontal, vertical and sagittal – in different situations. Kamel’s classes were designed to experiment with focus and relaxation and to play with the energy that is channelled into dancing. He deepened the trainees’ knowledge in ballet and contemporary dance through various exercises, such as flow sequences of foot movements, in which he focused on balance and the exploration of shifting weight. Kamel also incorporated Yoga and Pilates sequences in his classes.
Together with the trainees he experimented with balance in order to improve the awareness of their inner axis and the connection between head, tail and feet. Other exercises emphasised the art of using the arms, in which various angles of the elbows and shoulders were explored. Kamel built his classes on the idea that out of a small movement a bigger one can grow, meaning that movement does not have an ending point.
Day 1 dealt with the connection between dance and emotions. The participants explored the art of using their arms. Exercises that focussed on elbows and shoulders where also part of the session. Additionally, the participants did exercises on imagining the movement of the other person by mirroring it and explored relaxation and stillness on the floor.
Day 2 started off with an exercise on challenging the boundaries of possibility and how the trainees would behave if there was no such thing as the impossible. It further dealt with balancing and exploring the connection between imagination and reality. An exercise where the participants had to challenge their own mind and body when it comes to falling sought to expand the limits of their minds. The session also focussed on the axis in the body. Other segments of the class explored the interplay of fast and slow music and how it affects the way we move our bodies. Big and small movements, rotation and stillness were thereby explored.
Day 3 started with facing one’s fears. It also examined the connection between falling and the axis. Furthermore, Kamel’s class explored breathing and how it affects weight in movement. The session on movement dealt with spatial actions, including different paths and directions of movement.
Day 4 explored the connection between head and tail. The participants further worked with the factor of time in movement and its dynamics. The session also explored different manners of performance, such as positive and negative energy in movement.
Day 5 explored the art of using space in movement. It was about space management while dancing and exploring the boundaries and possibilities of space. The session concluded with a joint choreography.
Day 6 was the last day of Kamel’s module. He concluded the work by focusing on the choreography that the participants developed on the previous day. It included various elements that were explored throughout the course. The trainees practiced the choreography in depth and focussed on different elements of the movement. The class was then wrapped up with yoga exercises and the reading of a poem.
Feedback from Kamel on some of the participants:
Hala “I saw an amazing development in her way of movement. Through axis awareness she started exploring the same movements yet using less muscles. A great improvement was when she managed to do the shoulder roll with some help from Nadia and I.”
Yousef “He discovered many things through the work on balance and axis. One of these was the windmill cartwheel, which he managed to do by relocating the weight and aligning his hands, wrists and shoulders in one axis.”
Yara “She managed to do the shoulder roll on both sides and overcame her fear of leading the group during our last choreography.”
Intensive Module XXV – February 2015
Petra looked at choreographic composition, examining the artistic processes of creation from the point of view of the individual as well as the group or ensemble. Space, place, music, props, partners were all considered as inspirations for choreographic composition within which the trainees were all able to work on their own artistic ideas. Petra’s workshop also examined dance therapy and its potential in community dance. The trainees worked on putting their work and experience into words, improving their ability to report and communicate their ideas. Planning and reporting are as important as implementation …
This Intensive Module with Petra Frank deepened the trainees’ understanding of choreographic composition, explored working within artistic processes – individually and in a group and expanded their knowledge on dance therapy.
During the workshop the trainees gained deeper insights into creative choreographic composition as well as the use of stage/space, music and props in performances. In dialog with Petra, the trainees worked with improvisation methods and principles to put together choreographic material. During this process they were able to work on their own artistic ideas. The goal was to expand the trainees’ understanding on how different methods can set the conditions for their artistic work and how they can be used in various artistic processes and different contexts.
Further, the workshop aimed at developing an understanding of dance therapy perspectives when working with children and young adults. Petra explored the value of dance therapy for the trainees’ work and developed their awareness of its potential. The trainees were able to give verbal account of their knowledge through an active analysis and practice, thus improving their ability to describe their own development and needs for further growth. They formulated and reflected upon their own work as well as on the work of others by discussing it within the group.
In the course of the workshop the trainees explored their own artistic creativity, which strongly improved their movement and choreographic material. Petra Frank’s workshop deepened their understanding of basic principles and structures in the field of artistic/choreographic methodology as well as the positive impact of dance therapy tools on the trainees’ work. By the end of the course, the trainees were able to work independently with choreographic methods according to artistic ideas and physical principles. They were also able to show that they had further developed their ability to mediate and understand communication through a choreographic piece and to use dance therapy tools in various ways.
Dance Technique – February – March 2015
Alexandra Schwartz provided our trainees with individual tuition on contemporary dance, starting with Chi Gong exercises on breathing and flow and moving on to strength and balance: release, spirals, jumps, shifting weight and lifting the core. The trainees were able to experiment with their own work on movement and improvisation. Alexandra also introduced ‘restorative justice circles’ to the group as a tool for conflict resolution. She also supervised Hala and Yousef in their preparation and planning of their 6-day modules. Practice, practice, practice …
Alexandra Schwartz supervised the planning, implementation and evaluation of a 6-day dance technique module held by the trainees Hala Swiedan and Yousef Sbeih. Each class consisted of four hours, focussing on dance technique. The classes were divided into three parts: warm-up, dance technique and cool down. The trainees planned, implemented and evaluated the classes independently. Alexandra supported the trainees Hala Swiedan and Yousef Sbeih in the process of preparation, observed them while teaching and gave them feedback afterwards.
In addition, she taught dance technique classes and held individual classes in contemporary dance for the trainees. Further, an artistic exchange between the LARP Palestine community and YANTE took place during a two-day LARP event in Jericho and a one-day workshop in Shorouq.
Alexandra’s classes on contemporary dance introduced some Chi Gong exercises, which focused on breathing and flow. Other sequences explored strength and balance: release, spirals, jumps, shifting weight and lifting the core. In between the exercises she gave the trainees space for movement exploration and improvisation.
After an in-depth practice of Chi Gong, the students learnt a new release based floor exercise and practice. They also explored the technique of ‘anchor dance’ – an exercise where you dance with your eyes closed while a partner is holding your hands acting as your anchor and safety person. Each dancer had the chance to deepen their experience over the course of 20 minutes while listening to three different music tracks evoking various kinds of feelings.
Alexandra also held a session on restorative justice circles. Initially the trainees were briefed on the concept of restorative justice circles as a tool for conflict resolution. The aim was for the group to set up their own restorative justice system based on their understanding of justice. After the group brainstormed what works well and what does not when dealing with conflict, they altogether devised a plan on how to handle conflict situations. Afterwards a circle was called by one of the trainees and the group came together to apply this method.
Some comments from Alexandra about the students:
Kamel: “Kamel showed great commitment and reliability towards the programme as well as curiosity and ambition regarding his individual progress in dance. He was willing to share new skills he had acquired with the group such as giving and teaching Thai massage treatments.”
Yousef: “Yousef took the classes and his personal training very seriously. His intention of seeking further dance training abroad has become clearer to him, so he continuously worked on dance technique. His background in martial arts and his talents in fine arts have profoundly contributed to his development as a dancer. He takes feedback as a present and quickly manages to integrate corrections.”
Yara: “Yara has a strong will to improve as a dancer. During the individual classes she was focused and determined to fully embody the movement.”
Hala: “Hala supported the programme as much as she could considering the circumstances of the prevailing group dynamic. In the individual classes she showed great ambition to bring about changes in her body, but has difficulties to commit to a continuous training for herself. She has the ability to teach with enthusiasm and reach her students.”
Summar: “She is a natural improviser, strongly connected to herself and the environment. Now she needs to focus more on technique. She can come across as very self-confident and tough, but during class revealed a more vulnerable and insecure side. If she gains more clarity and learns how to commit, then the world will open up to her.”
Asef: “Asef managed to commit to the classes despite his work obligations. While he was in class he contributed with positive energy and curiosity. Since he missed the beginning and end of most classes, he could not fully grasp the purpose of the exercises and therefore not integrate the material into his body. He improvised with self-confidence but played it safe in the sense of not trying out new things and not challenging himself.”
Dance Technique – February 2015
Supervision: Alexandra SCHWARTZ
Hala chose the challenging topic of release technique for her module. Her classes combined release exercises such as releasing the pelvis and legs with yoga and bodywork elements, making full use of her knowledge of anatomy. The participants further explored the qualities of relaxation vs. release and dealt with more complex coordination exercises from slides and handstands to spirals and folding/unfolding combinations. A joint choreographic sequence was also created.
Due to Hala Swiedan’s background in nutrition and her profound anatomical knowledge Hala choose the challenging topic of release technique. Her classes combined release exercises such as releasing the pelvis and legs with yoga and bodywork elements. The participants further explored the qualities of relaxation vs. release and dealt with more complex coordination exercises from slides and handstands to spirals and folding/unfolding combinations. Furthermore, the participants created a choreographic sequence together.
Day 1 of Hala’s module opened with some Yoga exercises. Then the class focused on strengthening abdominal muscles and also dealt with anatomy, particularly the relation between the back and leg muscles. In the second part of the class Hala presented a choreographic sequence, discussed it with the trainees and led a process of incorporating the given feedback into the movements.
Day 2 gave the participants room for leg swings and to explore release technique according to their own sensations. Hala also discussed the connection between releasing and breathing. Based on an introduction on the anatomy of breathing, the trainees explored breathing during exercises and worked further on their choreography.
Day 3 focussed on strengthening the back muscles. In an exercise the trainees experimented with new ways of releasing their back to the floor and explored the release of various body parts. The trainees also gained insights into anatomical foundations of the back muscles and applied them in their exercises.
Day 4 explored further concepts of release technique. The participants watched a video and had to create a sequence that included three movements that were shown in the video. The improvisation part focussed on movement within the group and the interplay between the participants and their movements.
Day 5 was dedicated to the anatomy of the gluteal muscles. The trainees continued their work on the choreography and were additionally given room for improvisation.
Day 6 started with an exercise that combined acting, dancing and reacting to one another. The technique part of the class was a journey through all the exercises the participants concentrated on during the week and was followed by further work on the choreography and mutual feedback.
Some comments from Hala about the participants:
Yousef: “I really appreciate his focus and the effort that he puts in each class. I have to say that in the last class he danced the choreography better than me, although I had choreographed it. Because he worked on it extensively the movement felt like a part of his body. I could also see great development in releasing his back and shoulders.”
Summar: “She adds great energy to the class.”
Asef: “Asef faced some difficulties in the first class because he was out of focus, which is understandable after a long day at work. Nevertheless, the moment Asef regained focus I could see great change and effort. Also in other classes I could see how he changed tremendously in the technique part and how he tried until he got the movement right.”
Kamel: “Kamel is always focussed and asks many questions. Once or twice he proved me wrong in a movement or something I have said, which I really appreciate. In the last class Kamel attended, I saw how he released in his own way and how he used the technique in moving to and from the floor. This shows that Kamel really gets the meaning of release.”
Dance Technique – March and May/June 2015
Supervision: Alexandra SCHWARTZ / Lina HÖHNE
Meditation and martial arts in the context of dance pedagogy was the topic of Yousef’s classes. Yousef demonstrated how to clear one’s mind through breathing and meditation exercises, allowing our trainees to focus on the dance technique training. He also looked at various martial arts exercises as a means of strengthening core muscle groups and making it easier to control them in a very precise way. His interesting module also led them on to contact improvisation possibilities inspired by martial arts.
Yousef Sbeih’s classes focused on martial arts in dance to improve the control of core muscles and their strength. The classes used meditation as a warm-up and while focussing on breathing patterns it introduced basic principles of martial arts and then bridged these principles to concepts of contact improvisation. Furthermore, the participants explored the mental as well as the emotional aspects of martial arts and meditation.
The module contained balancing exercises as well as simple movements and repetition to support the embodiment of the introduced martial arts principles. Other elements focussed on strengthening the core/thighs, practicing pelvis lifts and exploring ways of lifting each other in partner exercises.
During his first two classes Yousef was mentored by Alexandra Schwartz. Due to an injury, Yousef had to take a break and was able to continue his classes under the mentorship of Lina Höhne by the end of May 2015.
Day 1 of Yousef’s classes opened with a meditation exercise where he brought attention to breathing patterns, included story telling and asked the trainees to find clarity and strength. He further integrated balancing exercises into his class, such as shifting weight. He also included martial arts techniques and worked on strengthening the core and thighs. Additionally, partner exercises in different variations such as strengthening the arms and lifting each other were part of this class.
Day 2 started with a circle, where Yousef set up class agreements with a pedagogical approach of not ‘punishing’ or blaming others for not attending and not cancelling, but rather motivating them and setting clear boundaries. The classes integrated meditation where Yousef guided the trainees into deep relaxation by telling a story of a warrior which is based on the three qualities of being clear, centred and respectful. Other exercises focused on the use of space, where Yousef skilfully connected the story of the warrior to the instructions. Further, he introduced contact improvisation basic concepts such as rolling point of contact and sharing weight.
Day 3 focussed on coordination and expansion of movement. Coordination exercises included arm as well as low leg movements through space. An integral part of this section was the exploration of speed, with the trainees learning a sequence for the arms while moving each arm at a different speed. Thus complex coordination was created. The students further worked on twisting, bending and stretching the torso. Other exercises explored how movement initiated by the feet can continue throughout the whole body.
Day 4 focused on centring the body and thus opened with a warm-up that explored moving in space with speed alterations while staying centred. Arriving in a circle Yousef tried to ground the participants further by focussing on breathing while they attempted to move the whole spine. He then introduced exercises from martial arts that help with stability and balancing. These exercises explored the interplay between the legs, knees and the upper body and further dealt with shifting weight and balancing.
In the second half of the class the group moved on to jumping, counterbalancing and lifting up while moving in space. Further, Yousef worked with the Aikido Shoulder Roll, where the students would roll over one shoulder with open legs and end back on their feet. This shoulder roll was also part of partner work, where one person acted as support for the other. Afterwards, the students created a sequence out of the movements that they had worked on during the day. The class then closed with meditation.
Day 5 concentrated on meditation and its role in creating focus for one’s physical practice as well as for dealing with emotions. The warm-up session of this class again dealt with increasing the awareness of the centre while walking through space and how to gain both flexibility and stability in standing. The class explored martial arts yet further to widen the dancers’ movement vocabulary. This included exploring the connection between the upper body, the legs and the arms in knee-kicks, kicking against a mat and boxing exercises.
Day 6 started with a warm-up that explored walking through space. This warm-up also included exercises for the arms and shoulder joints as well as partner work. It was followed by a longer meditation session to increase the sensational sensitivity, reconnect the mind with the body, increase coordination and muscle control, improve intentional relaxation and breathing as well as to reduce the chances of injury. Yousef then rounded up the module by introducing a movement sequence that combined martial arts and contemporary dance.
Dance Technique – March and April 2015
Francesco focused on the strength of the centre, tension and release; on exploring space through improvisation and using it to release tension; on partner work and the dynamic relationship of one dancer to another/others. His intriguing exercises served as constant invitation to new points of view, with different approaches to the same movement inspiring new improvisations, sometimes almost without consciously seeking to create them. Exhilarating …
Francesco started his classes with some Tai Chi Chuan exercises in order to develop a strong connection to breathing and feel the contrast between tension and release. Throughout the 5 days of training he strongly focussed on the strength of the centre, on tension and release. The workshop continued with some floor exercises following the idea of the centre of the body as the engine for every movement. The trainees could explore the space through improvisations: where is the movement generated and where does it transfer into space? Improvisation and space as a creative tool gave room for clarifying the movement’s journey through the body and releasing tension.
Francesco’s floor work exercises were directed at facilitating awareness of the external and the internal. The participants worked on allowing the movement to cross through the body, releasing the joints and isolating the limbs. The floor work had a crescendo throughout several exercises and movement sequences that engaged the participants in identifying the centre as the engine of the movement.
Francesco suggestions fostered a continuous endeavour for removing routines, habitual gestures and tension by proposing different approaches that had the participants focussed on the part of the body that received the movement more than on the one that initiated it. The sequences became more dynamic through changing levels from and to the floor and therefore allowed a constant sense of gravity to be present in the body. Moreover, Francesco’s classes integrated exercises that explored working in pairs. In doing so, the trainees crossed through space with a partner, ending the movement in a resting position while trying to be coordinated and harmonized.
Travelling through space was also understood as a personal journey through the body, transforming every limb into potential support. Together with Francesco, the participants focussed on directions in space in relation to where the movement begins in the body and where it leads to in space. For example: moving forward towards the ground, moving backwards, moving sideways and spiralling downwards. Crossing the space also meant shifting from one sequence to another in an intuitive instant composition, thus challenging the participants to let go of their mental control and to trust their intuitive reactions.
Throughout the improvisations the trainees explored personal ways to move down towards the floor and to travel up away from the floor while crossing the space from one side of the studio to the other. The classes furthermore introduced ‘hands-on’ exercises that focussed on the centre, spine and release of the joints. Together with the trainees Francesco continued adding elements to the improvisations through space, concentrating on the work in pairs. Working in pairs required constant attentiveness and renegotiation on the side of the trainees, which proved very valuable for the dynamics of the group.
Dance Technique – April 2015
Aleksandar introduced the Fly-Low technique to the group. This was a means to explore and better understand the relationships of movement to speed and gravity and to bring finesse and economy of effort into the related movements. The second part of the classes took the trainees through the sensation of touch and body contact and the reactions they provoke, all the way from the lightest touch through pleasurable or beneficial massage and right up to painful pressure. Exploring the limits …
Aleksandar’s module consisted of 5 hours of Fly-Low training and 5 hours of pain tolerance exploration practices. Aleksandar introduced the trainees to the Fly-Low technique, which explores the dancer’s relationship with the floor. The Fly-Low sessions focused on intensity, speed, gravity and touch. The physical sequences in this workshop were composed of elementary models of movement developing the relationship between the centre of the body and the joints / limbs on one hand, and on the other hand exercises stimulating creativity and the understanding of the idea behind this system of moving. Movements are built on the basis of spirals and the relationship between your own body centre and the floor. Through this technique the trainees learnt to use the body’s motion in a highly practical and effective way and to reach maximum speed with minimum effort.
The classes focused on creativity and understanding the idea behind the Fly-Low Technique. The participants combined systems of walking with other movements and explored the differences of speed in relation to movement. Physical exercises that triggered different effects of gravity and focused on touch as a concept in relation to the Fly-Low body were also part of the classes. The trainees explored playing with gravity and how to use all parts of the body. Additionally, the classes dealt with the transformation of physical energy of the body to reach maximum speed while using minimal strength and effort.
After the Fly-Low training Aleksandar introduced a practice that works with the sensation of touch, physical pain tolerance, pain-deconstruction and how these fit into the dance practice. The participants worked in pairs to explore the relation between touch and the body. This sought to activate the body and to distinguish the many layers and intensities of touch, which cause different experiences. After that, the participants moved to the next sphere, which was using well-recognized types of massage where touch would be considered as healing or pleasure and to then intensify the touch so that low levels of pain would be experienced. Aleksandar and the trainees slowly increased the intensity of the exercises to explore the levels of pain tolerance. Communication and trust were key elements of this process.
Teaching Skills – May and June 2015
Lina mentored two of our trainees – Summar Rasras and Yousef Sbeih – in the preparation and presentation of their dance technique modules and moderated the group’s evaluation of them. She also conducted classes on Yoga and meditation, in particular Hatha Yoga and Anapana meditation, which were used as a springboard for discussion about various philosophical topics such as health culture, energy, ethics and spiritual culture. She also looked at injuries as potential sources of inspiration. Finding the positives in the seemingly negative …
Lina Höhne supervised two of the trainees in the planning, implementation and evaluation of the 6-day dance technique module. Lina supported Summar Rasras and Yousef Sbeih in the process of preparation, observed them while teaching and gave them feedback afterwards. Each class consisted of four hours and focused on dance technique. The classes were divided into three parts: warm-up, dance technique and cool down. The trainees planned, implemented and evaluated the classes independently.
In addition, Lina held classes herself. These classes included meditation and Yoga exercises. As Lina had been in India two months prior, she could share newly gained knowledge on meditation with the students. The Anapana Meditation, which she integrated into the module, focused on observing the breath. Lina further introduced the trainees to basic Asanas of Hatha Yoga and talked about their background and how these physical actions are part of a philosophy and a spiritual path. This lead to a reflection and discussion about health culture, energy, ethics, free will, the mind and spiritual culture.
Another aspect of the classes was a reflection on past and present injuries. Thereby Lina tried to guide a process through which the participants could understand injuries as an opportunity and a source of creation and healing. She invited them to think about their injuries and difficulties as a path to creativity, rather then something that stops or hinders them.
Dance Technique – May 2015
Supervision: Lina HÖHNE
Summar’s module was all about the arms. She started with basic anatomical knowledge about the arms and then proceeded to take our trainees through warm-up exercises involving the head and the spine as well as the arms. She focused on three aspects of our arms – their anatomy and how to strengthen them, the emotions associated with and expressed by them and the use of arms as the initiators of movement.
Summar’s classes focused on the arms and hands – anatomically, mentally and emotionally. The classes included warming up the head, spine, shoulders and arms as well as releasing and strengthening the arm muscles. While paying attention to the connection between the arms and other body parts, Summar’s classes explored the emotions that are connected to the movement of the arms. The classes consisted of six segments and opened with basic anatomical knowledge of the arms and their relation to other body parts. The second segment sought to strengthen the arms and elaborated on the emotional value of the arms. The third segment worked on initiating body movement from the arms.
Day 1 opened with an exercise in a circle, where the participants closed their eyes and focused on their breathing. As Summar’s classes focused on hands and arms she explained anatomical basics and asked each participant to choose one muscle of the arm and the connected muscles in the upper body and gather information on them until the next day. This was followed by exercises that sought to stretch the arms as well as an improvisation session focusing on movement from the arms.
Day 2 started with stretching and strengthening the arms and their connection to the upper body. Exercises on moving through space with the arms as the leading body part followed. The participants further worked on improvisation that experimented with slowly initiated as well as sharp stops. Afterwards, they created sequences that were incorporated into a performance and danced the drawings of each other.
Day 3 explored the wrists and fingers and their connection to the arms. The class further contained partner work, during which the trainees were guided and pulled by the arms. Together with the trainees Summar experimented with sounds and the connection between movement and breathing.
Unfortunately, Summar Rasras only held 3 classes of the 6-day module.
Dance Technique – June and July 2015
Time and space are the essential prerequisites for dance movement and Stefanie took a detailed look at how these factors influence dance in the context of teaching. She also examined many aspects of group and community dance with particular focus on children’s dance groups, such as the creation of interest, how to capture attention, how to build trust, what to share and how to delegate and organise performances. She mentored our trainees in their teaching at children’s schools and in their production of a performance with their participants. Closing the circle of dancing, teaching and organising …
The class of Stefanie Sternig dealt with time and space to explore different possibilities to create movement, allowing the trainees to further develop their individual style and choreography material as well as discover their personal way of teaching. At the end of the month the outcomes of the course were presented in a ‘Try-out-performance’.
Every class started with some intensive floor exercises and incorporated specific aspects of contemporary dance from basic movements up to complex sequences. This part of the class dealt with qualities in floor-work i.e. melting, loosing, gathering, or touching the ground with different body parts. The exercises focused on release technique – particularly shifting the attention from single body parts to generalised movement – and on playing with gravity and flexibility. Other elements of the class supported the exploration of physical possibilities, which included working on different qualities of movement, playing with ones own body structures, working on complex dance phrases and developing a choreography.
Stefanie also discussed the difference between physical and energetic movement. She focused on deepening and understanding different movements, increasing balance, strength and flexibility and improving muscle tone and coordination. The trainees explored movement originating from necessity, individuality, limitations, emotions and reason. Together with the trainees Stefanie worked on a choreography, which was first introduced by her but further developed by the trainees themselves. This gave them the possibility to apply their creative energy and to reflect on their own choreographic material.
The classes furthermore sought to explore the creation process in teaching and methods for coping with group dynamics. Stefanie and the trainees talked about how to work with children – how to catch their attention, how to encourage their physical curiosity and how to build up good group energy. This also included dealing with the possibilities of creating and planning performances in a group and looking into various aspects of teaching, such as trust, sharing and leadership. Working on group activities also meant reflecting on the possibilities as well as the boundaries of cooperation – about our sense of existence in a group setting, about organising performances as a collective and the responsibility that arises with such an undertaking.
At the time of Stefanie’s residence YANTE resumed the dance classes for children in various communities after the return of the trainees from Sweden. Stefanie played a crucial role in mentoring the trainees’ teaching of these classes and also supported them in the preparation and evaluation process. Furthermore, Stefanie’s module provided the participants with the opportunity to discover their personal way of teaching, to improve their own teaching material and also gave them inspiration for generating new ideas. At the end of the month the material and the experiences were presented as a ‘Try-out-performance’ at Khalil Al-Sakakini Cultural Centre in Ramallah. The performance incorporated two segments: one performed by the trainees, and another performed by children of the villages Qibya, Budros and Ni’lin. Both performances took place in the open air and in interaction with the audience.
Through this experimental performance the trainees explored further possibilities in setting up basic structures towards creating a [community] performance. Hence, each of the trainees was involved in the process and dealt with aspects such as organization, logistics and coordination of the artistic programme.
The open-air performance brought different people together, creating an atmosphere in which the children, the trainees and the audience were invited to an artistic exchange. The main goal was to break post-colonial performance trends and dissolve the boundaries between the stage, the artists and the audience. Thus, it was possible to present a show that incorporated and communicated the basic principle of YANTE – integrating each and every person through dance and art.