One of the big challenges of the Clash! project was to develop a Professional Empowerment Strategy using a common approach to face the issues coming from the three-macro area of the project: Dance Training; Audience Development; Marketing and Communication. The Team from Sapienza University of Rome worked hard in dialogue with the other partners – Balletto di Roma (IT); Polski Teatr Tanca – Balet Poznanski (PL); Companhia de Dança de Almada (PT); 420People (CZ); Derida Dance Center/Art Link Foundation (BG) – to find as solution a principle able to accomplish this goal. Finally, they recognized as a principle the body as site of knowledge able to provide models and to give value to the social engagements and community exchanges which dance practices can produce. This research made arise also the meaning of clash! as the contemporary partners’ attitude toward exploration, understanding, feeling, and research in the dance field with and within the body as a tool of human expression. Thanks to the project, the investigation underlined the need to re-direct our artistic practices in order to re-think the pedagogical approach used in the dance field, with the purpose at developing ways for combining several techniques able to drive us toward processes of discovery and to produce new ways to express ourselves and communicate with others. Within the strategy, the role of a pedagogue was recognized as crucial for the dancer’s training. With pedagogue we meant an expert with a theoretical and practical background in the discipline able to develop a training that brings together tradition and innovation, providing the dancer with tools to increase not just his/her physical skills but also his/her creativity and the capacity to talk about the practical experience in dance, in order to give a value and develop the importance of this domain of knowledge with the local and international community.
According to the Professional Empowerment Strategy proposed by Sapienza University of Rome Team, the five dance companies involved in the Clash! project had to study a way to combine the good practices learned during the previous workshops placed around Europe with the needs each organization found important to focus on in order to improve the impact of dance culture in their own country. From September to the end of November 2019, each partner carried 3 internal seminars, each of one of the three themes faced in the Professional Empowerment Strategy. Then, they chose one theme on which organize the external seminar open to stakeholders.
Clash! National Seminars for Stakeholders
Seminars were held in each partner’s country: Prague, Sofia, Almada and Rome.
Topics addressed were:
- Dance Training; to share new pedagogical and creative approaches in dance and choreographic practices;
- Audience development, to understand how to allow general audience to have an accessible entrance into the knowledge that is dance
- Marketing and communication, to share how to enhance the territory and its offer.
Each seminar was enriched thanks to the practical exchange and contamination of different traditions and the purpose to experiment innovation within dance and choreographic field.
Polski Teatr Tanca – Balet Poznanski (PL) was the first of the five dance companies that organized the external seminar on 22nd September 2019. They chose “Dance Training” as theme for the seminar proposing a new pedagogical approach for the dancer where ballet training is combined with Pilates, following a class of Polish folk dance, and finishing with a class of improvisation. The strategy was designed by Katarzyna Rzetelska, member of Polish Dance Theatre since 2005. Her aim with this strategy has been to lead stakeholders toward a new experience of the dance training by suggesting principles to apply in their environment as a way of sharing the Clash! experience. She recognized Pilates technique as an important somatic practice to support dancer’s physical training and able to bring strength, control, balance, coordination and body awareness. Polish Dance Theatre experimented that Pilates combined with ballet technique can be very efficient tool to warm up a dancer’s core and specific groups of muscles, working with breathing for the prevention of injuries. Folk dance class stylized in a contemporary dance choreography – from Polski Teatr Tanca’s performance Wesele Poprawiny – was chose then as a way to give an insight into Polish tradition and heritage as well as an opportunity to experiment a contemporary dance approach to it. Finally, Improvisation class focused on building the feeling and the trust within a group in order to learn how to work with different bodies around. Polish Dance Theatre chose to select a precise target group as participant at the seminar, or rather: teachers, pedagogues from dance schools, universities with dance department in Poland, from 18 to 65 years old.
On 5th October, Companhia de Dança de Almada (PT) organized its external seminar on Marketing and Promotion. Under the theme “Dance Festivals: the promotion of choreographers and the relationship between tradition and contemporary” four guest speakers presented the result of their research in the area. This opened a way for the discussion between all the participants about the importance of festivals in promoting choreographic creation, paving the way for the confrontation between traditional perspectives and more contemporary attitudes in cultural programming. The seminar worked on three key subjects/topics: “festivals”, “tradition” and “innovation”. The seminar included a coffee break, opening a place for interaction between all participants. It was aimed at dancers, choreographers, producers, and people interested in the promotion of dance at regional, national and international level and in exchanging ideas about policies and contexts for the performing arts. Participation was free, and there was an attendance of more than 40 participants.
420People (CZ) came up on 22nd of October with 5 hours long seminar day on Dance Training for dance school students and (soon to be) professional dancers. With this seminar, 420People would like to point out the importance of everyday dance (movement) training, on the individuality of every dancer and on his/her creativity, by working on an interdisciplinary pedagogical approach. The students and dancers were guided through those basic points during a class where 3 different personalities were taking charge of the flow of the seminar: Václav Kuneš (choreographer, seminar’s artistic supervisor), Filip Stanek & Veronika Tököly (both dancers from 420PEOPLE). Addressing the similarities and continuity of the 3 of them while stressing the points where they individually differ and take another/personal route. The 3 teachers were strategically prepared beforehand of course. The participants then would get the chance to see 420PEOPLE`s newest show Panthera and the whole day finished with a stimulating discussion and evaluation.
Derida Dance Company/Art Link Foundation (BG) hold one external seminar which took place in Sofia on 27th October on Dance Training, supervised by Jivcko Jeliazkov/
Finally, the last Clash! Professional Empowerment Strategy National Seminar was hold by Balletto di Roma, in Roma on 23 November on Communication and Cultural Diplomacy.
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