REISTA Drama weekend of Dance and Physical Theatre
Thirty students from Years 7-13 recently took part in a weekend of Dance and Physical Theatre under the title of The Line of Movement. This is the fifth consecutive year that such weekends have taken place which is based on the Festival model of the International Schools’ Theatre Association of which the Regent’s is an active member school. Despite the absence of our sister school in Bangkok and the impact of the recent flooding, we were able to welcome three students from the International School of the Eastern Seaboard.
The students were divided into three ensemble groups in order to absorb the learning that took place and which provided a forum to develop a piece of creative work to show in the finale performance on the Sunday afternoon. In keeping with the title of the weekend, the ensembles were called Vaslav Nijinsky, Martha Graham and Pina Bausch, all names of famous dancers and teachers. Between these sessions were specialist workshops and master classes which, this year, were led by Mr Ulrich Gottlieb and Mr Terry Hatfield.
Students learning dance moves.
For Mr Gottlieb it was his third REISTA weekend and he provided interesting and exciting sessions exploring patterns of expressive movement using sticks, chairs and usually unused muscles!
Mr Hatfield led a memorable three-hour session on the hypnotic Japanese Dance form of Butoh which most of the students were meeting for the first time.
In addition, Mr Miller led a class bringing to life the theories of Tadeshi Suzuki with Mr Lewis teaching an exciting two hours of stage fighting and Gap Teacher Emily Westmoreland exploring new ways for the students to improve their vocal technique.
Ms Dewsnap’s session on basic dance steps was also hugely enjoyed. All the students were of the opinion that the workshops were extremely useful for their Drama practice as well as being fun into the bargain!
The unexpected discovery of this REISTA was the work of Pina Bausch, a German teacher of Dance and Artistic Director of Tanzteater Wuppertal in Germany. Her recent death led to the making of a film which included excerpts from her key works. Her approach to dance was unique in that it combined elements of classical dance with elements theatre and even speech. Like Butoh her approach enabled the dancers to powerfully express innermost their feelings on stage in such a way that connected directly with the audience.
In conclusion, this was a powerful and useful two days of learning which will contribute towards the students’ current studies of Theatre. Each ensemble produced excellent and contrasting finale performances which will undoubtedly linger in the memory.
As Year 11 GCSE Drama student Julianne Dionisio commented at the end: ‘This weekend was truly awesome: I will never forget the last few days!’
Thank you to all the students who took part, the teachers who led workshops and the parents who provided support and encouragement.