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  • Writer's pictureAdela Cleverley

Learning from the Greats: Carol Anderson

The Academy was pleased and privileged to invite esteemed Canadian dance artist, choreographer, and scholar Carol Anderson to share her knowledge in a contemporary workshop with our dancers today. What a wonderful opportunity this was for all of our dancers to learn from one of the greats!

Carol Anderson has chronicled Canadian dance since the 1980s, often working with dedicated dance archives Dance Collection Danse. A founding dancer/member of Toronto’s Dancemakers in 1974, she has created choreography and taught dance in many professional, educational and community settings across Canada since the early 1970s. Now a Professor Emerita of York University’s Department of Dance, where she designed and taught graduate and undergraduate studio and studies courses, Anderson continues to write, move, teach and choreograph. A certified GYROKINESIS® instructor, she promotes the benefits of mindful motion for movers of all ages and stages. Currently, she is creating site-specific dance installations.

In the Junior-Intermediate workshop (which was open to dancers of all styles) Carol taught a contemporary class focusing on basic Limon principles of breath and initiating movements from the back.

The dancers started with some warm up floor work which led into an attentive study of arm movement as well as further foot and leg warm up with several centre exercises. The class culminated in a sweeping travelling combo across the floor.

The Advanced workshop was an exploration of the choreographic process through various improvisation techniques. Carol guided the dancers to explore their impulses with and without structure and to move dynamically through the space while being fully aware of those around them.

They started with a movement phrase built by writing their names in the air with different body parts. They were then encouraged to play with this phrase by sharing and bouncing it off of each other, travelling with it through the space, and changing the dynamics of each piece.

For the second half of the workshop the dancers were exploring the feeling and shapes and movements of spirals, inspired by sea shells and other spirals in nature as well as the feeling of spirals in their own bodies. This led to an energetic and beautiful improv and play with movement as the dancers navigated the space around themselves and in relation with each other.

The Academy is very fortunate to be able to invite such well-practiced and worldly dance artist to share their experience and teachings with us! We found this afternoon's workshop invigorating and inspiring and will carry a new understanding of dance and movement forward into our classes and performances. Thank you to the Parents Association for making this workshop possible, and thank you Carol for teaching us!

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