Youth Dance workshop with Eva Percy and 2nd Nature Youth Dance Company

The Youth Dance workshop, led by myself, a 2nd Nature Youth Dance Company member and Amy Howard the company’s artistic director was extremely successful, with a good attendance of young people from a local college. They gained experience of what it would be like to be in 2nd Nature Youth Dance Company, and information on how to audition in September. Within the workshop we worked on basic technique, taught a contemporary phrase, repertoire from one of the pieces performed by 2nd Nature in the Youth Dance Platform, and they also created some of their own movement. Some of them had not experienced contemporary dance before, so this was a great experience for them. At the end of the workshop there was an opportunity for the participants to ask questions about the company, and also about being at Roehampton University. I found the enthusiasm extremely encouraging, and I know that 2nd Nature will be very privileged to have such dancers in their company next year.

For those of you that don’t know, 2nd Nature is a resident Youth Dance Company at Roehampton University, which consists of 3rd Year Dance students, as well as students from year’s 11-13 at various schools and colleges in the Wandsworth and Richmond Boroughs, and rehearses every Wednesday evening in the Davies studio’s at Roehampton University.

If you are interested in joining 2nd Nature Dance Company in the upcoming year, please email Amy Howard –


Hip Hop Workshop with Alicia Kidman

May 16 2012

Well attended by dance and non-dance students alike, Wednesday’s Hip Hop workshop was a great success. The class was run by German and European Hip Hop Champion Alicia Kidman, who is currently a BA Dance Studies student at Roehampton.  After a brief introduction to the history of hip hop, participants were put through their paces with a high energy warm up. Alicia then set the studio buzzing with old-style moves, participants battling it out with classic moves such as the running man to funky, infectious beats.

Having had a taster of ‘old style hip hop’, participants then learnt a quirky ‘new style’ choreography. Resembling commercial dance, this was a chance to add intricate gestures and personality to the bold presence developed in the first half of the class.

Participants left the workshop on a high, dance and non-dance students eagerly plotting ways to develop their skills in this dynamic dance style. Wednesday’s workshop was an insight into the multi-facetted nature of many of Roehampton’s Dance students, and a great opportunity to learn from one of Alicia’s hidden talents.

Participants’ feedback:

“Utterly brilliant – she smashed it!”

“How does she move like that? Seriously awesome!”

“It was amazing how she combined knowledge of the style and its development through the years with her incredible stylistic form and teaching….. I loved it!!!”

“Alicia had an incredibly informative and enthusiastic teaching style which made the workshop really enjoyable!”

“Her teaching is as good as her dancing – which is absolutely incredible! I loved every minute and her energy was completely infectious!!!”

“Alicia really is a credit to the dance-teaching circuit. Her constructive passion was inspiring and backed up by her advanced knowledge of hip-hop culture and its history. It was so refreshing to be taught by someone so enthusiastic about their art, and who does not set out to imprint their own ideas of dance on to the student, but gives them the platform and encouragement to find their own character through dance.”

posted by Jennifer Whittaker

Cunningham Workshop with Gemma Donohue

Friday 18th May 2012.

At the end of a busy week of performances, workshops, rehearsals and conferences, participants gathered for the penultimate workshop of Roehampton Dance Festival 2012. After a brief warm-up, however, every ounce of tiredness was forgotten, as Gemma’s compelling presence filled the studio. The class provided a fast-paced insight into “the lost world of Cunningham technique”, a style of contemporary dance developed in America by the late Merce Cunningham. Participants flew across the studio with quick travelling phrases, hovered in asymmetric balances and worked as groups and soloists.

A work-out for the mind as much as for the body, the class ended with a performance amongst the trees outside Michaelis Theatre. The performance space was divided into four lettered sections, while numbers one to twelve were placed on any upright objects nearby. In the true nature of a Cunningham performance, participants awaited instructions called over a mega-phone at random, running into the relevant area and performing one of the six pieces of class material.

This was an excellent end to a challenging, technical and inspirational workshop, and a great way to put dance technique into practice.

Participants’ feedback:

“Great fun…really got you thinking”.

“A lovely way to end the week – even the geese loved it!”

“Amazing! Loved dancing outside with such lovely ladies”

“So this is why we dance – absolutely loved performing outside!”

“I absolutely love Cunningham and Gemma is the reason why. I love the passion in her teaching and LOVED today.”

“Looking up through the trees was such a beautiful moment – could have stayed there forever”.

Posted by Jennifer Whittaker