Blog posts from Fall 2014 Scholarship Recipients, Lesley Kosinski and Tricha Hamstra
Lesley, September 2014:
Words cannot describe how amazing it feels to be back in the studio dancing. One of the most incredible things about receiving this scholarship and attending these classes is the instant sense of community. Transitioning from a university dance program into the professional world is well…terrifying!! Coming to Working Class eases this fear. The environment is extremely open, supportive, dedicated, and friendly. Taking class with some of the dancers and choreographers I admire in Vancouver is a genuine pleasure.
Kate Franklin was the first teacher, and a perfect welcome to the fall session. The class combined different techniques, with floor work, basic patterning, and a bit of lyrical jazz coming through. There was a great flow to the class, and a lighthearted quality; after all dance should be fun. The music resonated with me; it instantly connected my heart and body with the present moment. At the start of plies on the first day, when Perfume Genius’s “Dark Parts” started, I felt my eyes well up and shed a few tears of pure happiness and joy.
Week two brought Daisy Thompson, and a European influenced release class. We worked a lot with basic patterning, head-tail initiation, and body halves. The beginning emphasized the internal environment, connecting to those deep parts of ourselves often overlooked. Gradually and organically the sequences increased in size and scale, with a focus on remaining soft and using the body’s momentum. The final combo was extremely dynamic, moving into and out of the floor with fluidity and strength. After Daisy’s class, every cell in my being was buzzing, fully charged with energy. If I could take this class for the rest of my life, I would!
And now for something completely different…hip hop with Cristina Bucci. The last time I did anything like this was years ago…and it took a while to literally get my groove back. Dressing the part always helps; runners were a must for this class. After getting over the complete awkwardness, I had so much fun! Moving in a way outside of your habit is extremely valuable. By the third class, I was really getting the hang of grooving, something I plan to explore further.
The final teacher of the month was Davida Monk, a nationally acclaimed dance artist and choreographer. She has a bright and colorful personality, and the pants to match. Her practice reminds me of my university technique classes, which do not necessarily agree with my movement preferences. After the first class, I knew the biggest challenge would be myself. If you think you don’t like it, you won’t. Perspective is a powerful thing, and it can overtake you in an instant. I had to use a different approach to find a way in to her work, focusing on breath or musicality, which wasn’t hard since we were fortunate to have the amazing live percussion and vocals of Ron Stelting. If I feel opposition to something, that usually means I need it. We grow the most when we are outside of our comfort zone.
Tricha, September 2014:
This first month of working class has been full of many valuable lessons. The first being how important weekly class is in maintaining a healthy training regime. Our first week with Kate Franklin I found that my biggest task was to get back in my body. I had performed multiple times in the past year but haven’t actually taken weekly technique since I finishing my Bachelor’s Degree in June 2013. Kate focused on ideas such as having a strong neutral spine, engaging the working leg, feeling oppositional pulls throughout the body, etc. Her excercises were clear and concise and just what I needed to ease into weekly technique again. Next we had Daisy Thompson. I felt very at home with Daisy’s movement. She would introduce the idea of movement very slowly into the body, usually starting with waking up the body by using the floor to massage the bones and muscles. The floor was an integral part to her class and connection to the floor was rooted in every movement, as was the internal connection of navel to spine. Lastly, there was Christina Bucci. Christina’s class was quite a dynamic shift from the previous week with Daisy as it was very groove and hip-hop based. I have to admit I felt pretty out of my element during this week, but it is always good to challenge yourself and feel humbled by movement. We even did some breaking exercises with the help of her assistant Dean and although it was difficult, I could see how there are correlations to floor work in contemporary dance and break dancing; a connection I had not thought to make before. All in all I am so thankful for being able to take weekly class with such talented and inspiring teachers and students. I am looking forward to the months ahead!