Tribal Remix- Brighton- 3-6 May 2013

Back home- back to the rut! I always find settling back into everyday work life the most difficult part.

Dance Intensives and workshops- whilst at times exhausting with all the travelling required- always nurture me so much, sustain my soul and contribute to my further education as a dancer and teacher. The creative, physical and emotional experiences I am able to gain at those events starkly contrast the routine of my office job, and  I often find it hard to accept the creative bleakness on my return to work.

Tribal Remix was an absolute success as far as I am concerned. A lot of sweat, a lot of floor work and contemporary modern dance (which is right up my alley). More muscles built, teaching skills experienced and acquired. I am ever so grateful for individuals like Hilde Canoodt whose organisational talent and zeal enable the European dance community to expand their dance expertise. Tribal Remix 2013 hosted dance teachers of very high caliber such as Mardi Love, Tjarda van Straten, Mirjam Sutter, Valerie Romanin and last but not least festival organiser Hilde Cannodt herself.

I was sick all of last week, but the zombie virus and my battered ankle did not prevent me from participating in all the workshops lined up for the weekend. I had no choice in this matter, to miss out on any of them would have been heartbreaking. I am so grateful that my conviction pulled me through, sniffling and congested, but all the same.

We actually arrived the Thursday night, and had Friday morning for a wee stroll on Brighton Pier and along the pebbly beach right outside our hostel. I always savor opportunities of going out into nature for peaceful walks so much, especially seeing that we are constrained to our office desks for most part of the week. Not exactly a fulfilling experience. Following our blissful stroll in the sun we had a really rewarding 3-hour workshop experience in Mardi Love's Original Choreography class. I had never studied with Mardi before, so was super excited at familiarizing myself with her teaching style and getting challenges thrown at us. I adore her lovely precise isolations and the combinations which she presented us with make for handy study material to improve precision and speed. It felt like being dipped into Vintage playful romance!

Saturday kicked off with Tjarda Van Straten's  2-hour The way you make me feel workshop which completely aligned with everything (and more) I am looking for right now as a dancer. I found the experimental nature of the workshops and the exercises quintessential to building expression and story line in my own dance. Expression and confident stage presence are aspects I am often struggling with, especially when put before audience. Tjarda made us present our own little improvisational sequence to the class participants at the end of class, and asked us to put emotion and expression into it. A seemingly simple, yet (to me) such frightening task. Again, I was confronted with my biggest fear of exposing  my bare emotions in front of others, which is contrary to my introverted nature. In front of audience, it just does not seem to come natural to me at all, despite the huge love and passion I feel for dance. We laughed a lot in this class though, especially when we teamed up together to tackle the exercises. Tjarda's "unconventional" class was followed by Joe Darby's Contemporary Dance Technique. Everyone loved Joe's warm-up and combinations, and both classes really inspired me to get back to my contemporary modern dance practice at Dublin Dance House and CoisCeim. The day was rounded off by a fun ATS inspired workshop taught by Hilde Canoodt in collaboration with live musician Sabio.

Sunday was another wonderful day filled with fun, dance and laughter. It started with Mardi Love's New Combinations workshop, followed by Mirjam Sutter's high energy Balkan choreography and completed by Valerie Romanin's Barefoot Flamenco workshop. Mirjam's teaching style is so high energy, and drill based and she makes sure to diligently correct students. Out of the whole Intensive this was probably the class that challenged me the most- due to the speed, the different movement quality which contrasts Tribal Fusion and Contemporary. Last but not least, Valerie's workshop really made me reflect on the expressiveness inherent in hand movements and the attitude transmitted by certain foot patterns.

The Saturday night we went to the student hafla, which was really fun. It is always so inspiring to see new ideas presented on stage! Sammy Gatehouse's performance that night blew me away, it was so strong and emotionally charged. Sunday night finished with a teacher show case which showcased stunning performances and although I loved all of them, I particularly responded to Mirjam Sutter's first piece which was dedicated to the Palestine population and their struggles.

Monday was our last happy day dancing. It was a little bit more relaxed than the days before, though I must admit my biceps and triceps thanked me for it with blissful aches. I most certainly "blame" (in a good way) Mirjam's floorwork class for that. I loved loved loved her floorwork items, and I totally want to play with contemporary floorwork more in the future. Tjarda's Silent Waves workshops again presented us with a lot of group exercises using voice to create rhythms and music, and experimenting with contrast, dynamics in movement. It was super interesting (and invited us to be goofy in groups) and I plan to incorporate those items in my personal practice in the future.

Mardi's Slow Layers and Sultry Combinations allowed us to revisit body rolls, chest circles and she taught us a lovely slow combination in the end. We then ended up in the parking lot for a Q&A with Mardi riddling her with questions on her experiences in creating dance opportunities and the like.

I am so grateful to have been able to participate in this event, as events like this always inspire me to push on and to continuously believe in my own path as a dancer and teacher. I love learning and I so appreciate the opportunities that have now become able to dancers across Europe that study Tribal Fusion and modern style belly dance.



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