Review | by Sarah Thompson
Day one began with a yoga class led by Simon Birch.
A room full of excitement, apprehension, and also open minds sat in rows with eyes closed; we all shared a communal breath of what was to come.
Charlotte Eatock led the first contemporary class. Just to watch her teaching the warm up displayed what a technical masterpiece she was! Fourteen pairs of eyes sat upon hard working minds, fixated with concentration on her every move. I haven’t really done much technique before, and especially to the level and pace that Charlotte was teaching. I often found my brain one step ahead of my body, but none the less I was determined to keep up!
I think quite often, it can be hard to enjoy something if you feel as though you can’t do it well. We like to feel we’re succeeding, and as a result, it becomes very easy to stick to the things you can do well, but despite my far from perfect technique, I was hooked on everything Charlotte taught and thoroughly enjoyed the class.
The next two classes were led by Joss Arnott, and whilst some of the group were gracefully training their ballet bodies upstairs with Amely Instance, the rest of us were getting friendly with the ground.
Naturally my body took to his style of work more and I must admit I was slightly relieved when he said, “let’s start on the floor”. You could feel the energy in the room and everything he taught was very dynamic and engaging. Series of sequential melting and powerful gestures brought a great feel to the room even with the end of day nearing, and the brains beginning to struggle to contain and withhold movement memory, it was a brilliant couple of classes.
I left day one feeling like I had felt when I first did a whole day of dance with Devon Youth Dance Company about 6 years ago. Aches and pains had no meaning, and for shear enjoyment I could have danced all night long!
… Having said that, the more sensible option was to head home, stock up on protein and get a good nights sleep before the start of day two.
The next morning was like awakening to Christmas as a five year old!
I was so excited, that I ran out the house to my car without realising I hadn’t put any contact lenses in. It was hard enough with full vision so learning half blind would have been one challenge many! … So it was a quick back track home to make sure I had actually packed everything I needed.
Joss Arnott provided a fast paced start to the day, and you could tell from the strange noises and grimacing faces that the vast majority, if not everyone, was suffering from the demands of the previous day; the first few deep pliés weren’t particular comfortable.
The room soon warmed up and with the sharp attention and love for the movement being taught, the aching pains were soon forgotten.
Charlotte Eatock took the last contemporary class, and whilst half the dancers were out hill sprinting and squatting with Alex Lloyd from Primal Fitness, I decided to not stick in that comfort zone and approach technique round two.
What was described to be the ‘slow’ class by Charlotte, was of course, not in the slightest slow and I’m not sure whether it was down to information overload or just tiredness, but I’m almost one hundred percentage sure that it was in fact, faster than the previous class she had taught!!
I absolutely loved it as much as I had done the previous day though and I didn’t get it all wrong! It’s nice to find things that you need to work on to strengthen yourself as a dancer, and I’m looking forward to training my body to respond a bit faster to intricate movement and be able to build a good level of technique.
We finished with a Pilates class with Clare Meardon.
A beautiful moment to reflect on, and appreciate, an incredible two days with wonderful people and great teachers. It did also feel overwhelmingly good to properly stretch out everything from head to toe.
I have always been fascinated in watching people dance and we can learn so much from watching other people move in and through space, and I think that is one of the best things about the Summer Intensive.
Above everything, I have learnt that when a professional dancer says ‘let’s do it slow’, that is more or less a direct translation to ‘this is going to be fast’ and when they say it’s going to fast … prepare for some mind blowing turbo speed!
Nothing beats the feeling of doing something you love, and I am grateful that I had the chance to be part of such an amazing and inspiring weekend, and what a great way to kick start my apprenticeship with Freefall.
Sarah Thomson 07/08/2014
Image credit: Dancer Sofia Colthurst | Photo John Jones