June 17, 2024

In the Room    

Welcome to Theatretrain's blog! Kevin Dowsett, the Artistic Director, shares his recent experience returning to the classroom. In a movement workshop at The Place in London, he worked with a Laban expert from Brazil, exploring creativity through movement. Discover how these exercises inspired flexibility and connection, and the lasting impact they had on him and his peers.

Yesterday I went back to school. I think it’s good for teachers and creatives to put themselves back where their students are and see things from their perspective.

This was a movement workshop at The Place in London and I was working with an expert in Laban from Brazil. We like Laban in Theatretrain – we even have a show about it – because it teaches young people a simple method of understanding how people move. It’s fun to move differently from your usual way and provokes creativity with new ideas.

The Laban lady asked us to imagine a cube around us with a front (high and low) and back (also high and low) so we started out making sounds and movements within that imagined space. Most people are a bit hesitant at first but I long ago stopped worrying about what people think of me so I was making sounds and singing away and enjoying myself linking sounds to movements. As with acting, it works better if you have a thought before you make an action rather than just making sounds or movements for no reason.

Then she asked us to take the words, “Wake up, come and see the moon.” What you thought it meant and how you would use it was up to you. And she said we had to be ready to share it with everyone else. I imagined I was waking my daughter and simply showing her the beauty of a full moon – my actions started low and small but the moon was high and huge and out there. It was all coming along and I was ready to share my simple idea when she suddenly sprang a surprise. She said we had to work with the person next to us and bring the two ideas together.

That put us all on the spot. But that was the point – we had to adapt, listen watch each other and be flexible. So, the lady I was working with started and we fitted our two different ideas together. Then each group showed what they did and after each one, she made a suggestion. With us, she asked us to make eye contact but keep everything small. That changed it totally – suddenly there was a different connection between us as we improvised our movement. I don’t quite know what the connection was but different people in the group read different things into it.

For me, I took away the feeling that having time and space to try out ideas between people is so freeing. We spend so much of our lives in our heads – it’s great to be reminded that what we do is BETWEEN us in the work. At the end, after we had all applauded she invited us to make a circle by holding hands and smiling at each other. I’ve never done that before and again it connected you with everyone in the room.

I won’t see any of them again but I won’t forget what we did.

Theatretrain, a nationwide provider of weekend theatre schools for young people aged 4-18, specialises in weekly classes in acting, singing, and dancing. An emphasis is placed on learning valuable life skills such as confidence, empathy, courage, and resilience. If you know a child who loves to dance, act and sing or could do with a little confidence boost why not visit to find out what our performing arts classes can offer your child at one of our 80 locations across the UK.

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