Blog – The Singing Body

Follow “Dance of Cultures” on Social Media

 Singing Body C2: Intercultural Teamteaching

 The second meeting of “The Singing Body” with the title “Intercultural Teamteaching” took place from November 1st to 20th, 2021 with 17 participants in Portugal at the partner organization Popolomondo. There were daily music rehearsals and body-oriented workshops on dance, movement and voice, often with live music. Dance of Cultures taught elements from African dance, Shevitsa taught Bulgarian folk dances, and Popolomondo taught Portuguese folk dances. Participants from FES contributed martial arts and emotional kinesiology work, and participants from Il Faro theater education. The two professional singers have given several workshops on voice improvisation. Kundalini yoga and meditation were also taught. The question of how methods from different traditions can come together in “intercultural team teaching” without the individual traditions losing their strength or meaning was a continuous part of our reflection process.

A special focus at this meeting was on joint transdisciplinary teaching and professional reflection on a pedagogy that works with music, body and dance with transcultural groups. Discussion rounds took place on the subject of “European values”, which were discussed in particular from a racism-critical perspective. What do “European values” mean for working and learning in our diverse group? How can we create a culture with how we work together that represents an alternative to violent social structures? This question accompanied us – women, men, blacks, whites, young, elderly, professional artists, social workers, … – as a central point of reflection. It was challenging to talk about political issues with such a diverse group of people who had more or less consciously dealt with them beforehand. Here we have learned how helpful creative and body-based approaches can be, which translate these questions away from the purely intellectual debate into a full-body experience. We have worked with methods such as dance of frustration, feeling yourself in contact with others, call and response singing, exploring closeness and distance, meditation in silence and in movement, etc. In the pedagogical reflection we have talked about topics such as (re) traumatization, dealing with aggression, working methods and responsibility of the management. We defined helpful rules for working with the strong energies in music and dance in diverse various groups professionally and responsibly.

The music, which has been further developed with voice work on the topics of fire, water, earth and air, could this time also be presented in the form of a public live performance: In the cultural beach bar Corto Espaco there was a lively final concert with free-style dancing in dialogue with live music, which was a great success for both participants and guests.

 This time, too, the process was accompanied and structured from the start by working on the practice-oriented method manual with additional audio-visual material. The “intercultural team teaching” was an intensive continuation of the first meeting in June. Further innovative methods could be exchanged and explored within the framework of the musical-creative process: towards a playful examination of one’s own body and voice, in order to develop empowering dances and chants in a diverse group that are educationally valuable and at the same time artistically interesting

 Excursions to the cultural center of Porto with exhibitions and street art and to a folk ball in Baiao made the project meeting a great intercultural exchange, getting to know the host country Portugal from different angles. A great thank you to our host organisation Popolomondo and to everyone who made this experience so rich and inspiring!

C1 Laboratory June 2021

The 3-week “Laboratory” took place from June 1st – 21st, 2021 with 18 participants in Portugal. The focus of the laboratory was to lay the foundations for a successful collaboration in the exchange of good practice over the entire project period, both in the group process and in the artistic-creative process.

Over the 3 weeks, there were two workshops per day with movement, dance and voice improvisation, led by various participants, as well as intensive music rehearsals by the participating professional musicians.

There were workshops and practical reflection on improvisation in African dance, traditional dances from Portugal, bioenergetic work, theater education with a focus on the voice and yoga with a focus on mantra / breath work. The participants included professional dancers, dance teachers, musicians and teachers who would like to integrate dance / voice more into their professional practice. Great emphasis was placed on interdisciplinary cooperation, so that the musicians also took part in the workshops on creative bodywork. For many this was the first time to step out of their role as a musician on stage and experience their own body in motion as part of the group. It was the first time for the dancers and educators to work with live music. This was experienced as a privilege and an enrichment for the educational possibilities of dancing with voice work. Through the workshops, which were also conducted in teams from different partner organizations, all participants expanded their repertoire of professional practice and deepened their self-awareness with music and movement.

For the introduction to voice work as an empowering element in dance, it quickly became clear that a low-threshold approach is necessary to get rid of fears and shame – especially since the “Laboratory” was the first time for many people to work in a group after months of social isolation. In order to enable the exploration of voice, music has emerged as a central supporting element. Professionally played live music provides the structure and security for experimental voice work. Therefore, there was a lot of space for the music rehearsals, during which 5 songs were created. These were further worked out in dialogue with the dancers. The dialogue between music and dance was felt by everyone to be enriching for the respective artistic / educational processes. In addition, it was a pleasure that the music was used straight away. This created a powerful feedback loop for the creative process. The 5 pieces of music were recorded and will accompany the project over its entire duration as a musical foundation for dance education with voice work as a method for empowerment. In the further course of the project, the song writing and the vocal work with the music can gradually take up more space. As a basis for the work on the song writing and the creation of a final performance, all participants also created a performative short video with body / voice as a means of expression.

The Singing Body laboratory has laid a valuable foundation for the project goal of creating a platform for artists to exchange best practices in performance / pedagogy and to develop and disseminate innovative methods that actively encourage European values ​​in one’s own artistic practice.

Music and Dance: the dance of liberation

Intercultural non-verbal communication through play

Bioenergetics workshop

African dance workshop and music