In November Pavilion Dance South West in partnership with Dance in Devon ran Young Choreographers South West residential weekend with Russell Maliphant at Dartington. The programme aimed to enable dedicated and talented young dancers to be challenged and nurtured as critics, performers and also as choreographers. Dan Martin, originally from Bath, was a student on the Youth Dance Academy: Swindon Urban Programme at Swindon Dance. Dan was chosen as the Young Choreographer SW which meant that he, along with 16 other successful applicants, had the opportunity to be tutored by Russell and company member Carys Staton.
Dan said this of his experience:
“The weekend with Russell Maliphant was fantastic! We were staying at Dartington’s dance space, situated in what felt like the countryside. The site was absolutely incredible. On the first day, we found out that unfortunately Russell Maliphant has ripped the cartilage inside his left knee, so couldn’t participate as much as he wanted so were very lucky to have Cary’s to help demonstrate in the workshop.”
“The first day started with a skill based lesson with movements going across the floor consisting of handstand work, rolls and shifts of weight. Towards the end, we added more movement; being off-centre, working with speed etc. This was hugely beneficial for me and I enjoyed this work the most as the feedback from Russell was very helpful to find my unique movement quality. It was very challenging to keep adding more and more elements into the work every time we repeated the sequence.”
“The second day was focused on partner-work. I was very privileged to work with Carys for most of the day which was a huge lesson on its own. She shared her knowledge while working on lifts which was massively helpful, and I am very thankful to have had this experience. Russell then instructed us to remain in our pairs in order to work on a duet. He showed us how to lead each other softly to the floor, whilst supporting our partner’s weight. Russell then explained that this is one of the ways he makes movement. This process that he taught us, always produces completely new ideas and concepts and having learnt this method I am certain that I can use it as a tool if I am ever stuck for ideas for movement in a group setting.”
“Overall, I really did have a fantastic time! It was a major change of gears from pace of inner city life London! Everything felt like we just had more time for things, which gave the whole atmosphere, both a relaxed and feeling. It really gave me the chance concentrate on the task at hand without distraction which was great.”
Dan is currently completing his degree at London Contemporary Dance School at The Place.