Costa Contemporanea 2014 guest teaching with James Hewison in La Isleta del Moro. Photographer: Pollobarba
For the past twenty-six years my performing, creating, teaching and writing careers in dance have been inseparable. The sense of interactivity and immediacy of communication through teaching dance has developed in parallel to my creative career as an independent choreographer and artistic collaborator with a range of fellow professional artists, and as the Madrid-based critic for Dance Europe Magazine from 1996 to 2001.
Through that ongoing dialogue of making and teaching, I have found myself in a constant process of investigation and consolidation, thus developing my knowledge and experience of professional dance and performance acquired as an independent artist and teacher working in internationally significant performance contexts since 1989.
My commitment to studio-based learning and teaching, primarily in the areas of dance technique, improvisation, choreography and production-work in dance and interdisciplinary performance, in turn has supported my creative existence as a professional dance artist.
I believe that I have a very broad focus in the teaching of dance, and my professional experience has engaged me in a wide spectrum of teaching situations including: delivering professional company classes, creative workshops, traditional technique classes (Classical Ballet, Modern Dance, Spanish Dance, Contemporary Dance and Release), workshops for introduction to dance for children and the elderly, work with professional actors, singers, large-scale choirs, and professional and student circus performers.
A large part of my teaching career has had a strong nature of continuity and commitment to specific institutions. For example, I have twelve years of teaching experience at the internationally renowned Circus Training School Carampa in Madrid, which has given me a clear vision of how persistence and human generosity can transform a start-up project into an expanding educational and artistic centre for advanced quality learning. In that time, I have played an important role in the artistic development of the curriculum and the aesthetic and professional growth of the students. As the school has grown I have been able to expand the dance department, creating work-experience for fellow teachers and broadening the offer of techniques, styles and approaches to dance. Collaborating with colleagues within circus technique is constantly stimulating and challenging.
The emphasis in my teaching in Dance lies in the nurturing of a sense of musicality through an enlivened anatomical awareness of the self. Music is present in my dance classes as: a rhythmical partner, an organic organiser, a conceptual painter of textures and colours in space, and a guide to flow. I feel that the dance however must never be dependent on the music. The development of a dancer’s sensitivity and awareness must also come through a heightened alertness towards all the senses and through a focus on the use of breath and silence as one’s inner silent song. I consider improvisation as an essential part of contemporary dance, as a source of pleasure, investigation and, in a teaching situation, as a confidence builder and key to a deeper sense of communication.
My professional open classes, which I have delivered in Madrid for over fifteen years, have attracted dance professionals and students from across Europe, as well as a range of non-dance specialists including: architects, psychiatrists, music teachers, community workers, Pilates teachers, actors, physical education teachers, landscape gardeners, and designers. Through this experience I have used those ‘open’ classes to generate a rich forum for discussion about, and into, movement and dance, and this has given me a greater sense of how dance affects and transcends many walks of life and goes beyond the dance-studio and into many other fields of practice. The relationship of learning and teaching is always reciprocal.
Guest teaching invites include: Estudio 3, Madrid; Dance Base, Edinburgh; Costa Contemporarnea, Almeria; LAVA ,Valladolid; La Parraga, Murcia; Museo de Gente Sergipana, Arracaju, Brazil; National Company of Wales, Cardiff; Eona Ballet, Avila;