“These classes have made me happy, it’s made a big change in my life”
Participant in Rachel’s weekly class at Mind the Gap
For upcoming workshops please see Latest page. Rachel teaches Contact Improvisation and creative dance for the following:
- Independent Dance
- Mind the Gap Theatre Company
- Improvisation Exchange at Northern School of Contemporary Dance
- Leaps and Bounds at Yorkshire Dance, creative class for adults with learning disabilities
- CoActive, arts organisation for adults with learning disabilities in Wakefield
- Pyramid of Arts
- Northern School of Contemporary Dance
- Professional class at Yorkshire Dance when in residency
Rachel has been practising Contact Improvisation for ten years and teaching for four. She gives weekly classes at CoActive Arts and Leaps and Bounds, Yorkshire Dance and has taught for Phoenix Dance, Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Manchester Contact Improvisation, Improvisation Exchange at Yorkshire Dance, Leeds Contact Improvisation, York St John and The University of Chester. She annually attends the European Contact Improvisation Teachers’ Exchange and is passionate about sharing her skills in and enthusiasm for Contact Improvisation
This profile of Rachel was made by Careersoft for use in schools careers education
Here are some things that people have said after taking part in Rachel’s workshops
CI workshop at Cuts Cafe February 2011
Go around in a circle at end of workshop, anything you’d like to say?
Felt really safe although I was out of my normal comfort zone
Really nice afternoon
Much less scary than I thought it was going to be
The class was structured so that we made a beautiful smooth transition into something really interesting
I think this work is about control, about learning to let go.
Rachel created a safe space, I was grateful that that side of things was looked after really well
Seeing everyone glowing, so happy
Springboard for creating work that is political, without being overtly political
Finding movement in stillness, stillness in movement
A space where enough to be doing what you’re doing at that time
Listening is often the thing that gets lost in all forms of politics, this workshop gave space for that.
Drew attention to the common humanity of our physical bodies
Mind the Gap, adults with learning disabilities, July 2010
What has changed for you as a result of these Contact Improvisation classes?
Really enjoyed it. I never knew this kind of dance existed
That was beautiful. Fantastic, really enjoyed it. Love the bits on the floor
I felt in power and control of myself
You get to know your body, the movements and shapes that you can do that help you.
Moving on the floor helps my body to move
Set movements and fast dance classes don’t suit me, I’m a calm man. I feel relaxed and calm in these classes
Enjoyed the mix of physical and slow
Really relaxing, explored moving different parts of the body
Feel I’ve learned a lot, learnt how to trust a partner
Moving on the floor was uncomfortable at first, now I’ve learnt how to move without hurting myself.
Learning to trust a partner is hard at first but I’m learning gradually
I’m more flexible, my fitness has gone up, stamina and energy levels
I’m more happy in my body
I’m a bit fitter, I can run for the bus now
I love dancing, i love movement
Description of New Year Intensive workshop with Rachel Dean
More details here http://www.danielmang.com/node/10
Intentions don’t count for much in Contact Improvisation except when they come through your body. This workshop will take the Clear Intentions theme in the direction of embodying intention. We will practise recognising and responding to our own body’s intentions and those of the people we dance with, letting our bodies take the lead. How can physicality clarify our intentions, tapping into something different from making decisions, different ways of being and relating, becoming an animal, becoming alive.
We will begin from our own physical reality in each moment, using our senses, and listening to, trusting and respecting our body’s intuition. By starting from places of security and ease and expanding outwards with gentleness and awareness, what was once not possible (flying, disorientation…) can become so. We will try slowing down to allow time for this to happen, and speeding up so we depend on our bodies’ intuition and responses to find a way.
We will devote time to the physical skills needed to have autonomy in our dances, so our dancing can be an intersection of our intentions with those of the people we dance with and with the flow of gravity. For example we will practise both receiving a partner’s weight, and channelling undesired weight elsewhere. With the freedom to choose comes the confidence for safe, dynamic and effortlessly powerful dances. The workshop will emphasise Contact Improvisation as a practice of empowerment, personal responsibility and freedom.