Season 5, Session 15: “On Gender Conventions in Dance” – Facilitated OL with Thom Wootton.


On Friday 7 April 2017 Thom Wootton will facilitate On Gender Conventions in Dance, an OPENLAB session at Chisenhale Dance Space – Performance Studio, 10AM – 1PM.

For this OPENLAB session, Thom will begin by guiding a short warm-up to prepare the body, building from simple yoga and stretches to a short loose combination to begin dancing and bring the group together.

The first half of the lab will focus on exploring what makes a movement gender-specific playing with the participants’ physics, the shape and manipulation of movement, the dynamic producing the movement and the intention behind it. Exploring these will give us a better understanding of why a movement may have an assigned gender and the results of each task will be fed-back by the group.

The second part of the lab will begin by initially locating our natural dancing selves on the spectrum of movement gender. Starting by improvising the task will then be layered with open-ended questions to highlight and draw attention to different details of our bodies movement. This self-exploration will then be discussed and inform the next section, creating a short sequence based on the natural movement style explored. Then with this sequence, we will play with adding tasks that encourage us to add opposing movement gender ideas to allow our bodies the opportunity to gain a new way of moving and how this can aid us as dancers.

OPENLAB sessions are open to any performers: dancers, musicians, actors and anyone interested in presence and awareness in performance.

The facilitators of OPENLAB are also participants “in” the session and participants can propose their ideas for a future session. If you’d like to know more about this, come to one of our sessions or e-mail Antonio de la Fe (

The sessions function in a pay-what-you-can contribution basis to cover expenses and as an incentive for the facilitator of the session. We suggest a £7 contribution for the 3-hour long sessions (‘Facilitated OL’ sessions).

Chisenhale Dance Space
64-84 Chisenhale Road
E3 5QZ

Season 5, Session 13: “Embodied traces: Retrieving and Creating Archives of Moving Memories” – Facilitated OL w/ Rebecca D’Andrea and Vanessa Michielon.


On Friday 24 March 2017 Rebecca D’Andrea and Vanessa Michielon will facilitate Embodied traces: Retrieving and Creating Archives of Moving Memories for OPENLAB at Chisenhale Dance Space – Research Studio,  10 AM – 1 PM.

Through our dancing body, engaged in a process of rediscovering and reorienting its archive of memories via a somatic practice, we may access a transformational place of understanding that can shift our embodiment of the present moment, enhancing a permeability that affects our way of moving as part of it. What’s the relevance of this re-patterning of our relationship to space and time on a bigger scale as part of a wider coordinate system?

When storing memories, encoding happens consciously or unconsciously by creating meaningful connections to already existing knowledge. Furthermore, movement-related memory is multi-modal – kinaesthetic, visual, auditory, spatial and temporal – and employs implicit knowledge, such as the ability to perform certain movements, and explicit knowledge, that is the understanding of movement phrases and how they fit together.

From a cognitive point of view, in this process a crucial question arises: what is the nature of the representation of movement in memory that stores and integrates visual, auditory, propositional, spatial, temporal and kinaesthetic features?

The lab will be co-facilitated as an ‘embodied’ conversation between Vanessa and Rebecca’s practical approach to the proposed topics.


“I am interested in the way in which the quality of our ‘attentive state’, towards our environment changes our way of engaging with it, affecting the quality of our communication.

Our attention towards space is intertwined with the history and the archive of information that is carried and carries our body, shaping our perspective about space. How does a different embodiment of space (as in our body, but also as in the physical surroundings, as well as in our mental space) change the way we relate to it?”

Rebecca will question this by offering an open score based on felt sense as a way to allow kinaesthetic images to emerge, to move from and as a filter of perspective to revisit space. She will bring drawing materials to explore this idea further through a synesthetic approach grasping how ‘felt-meaning’ translates through our senses.


“Information received by the senses arranges itself on the basis of previously stored memory. The brain analyses this information for structures to fit over some existing patterns and then creates additional constructs to fill the gaps. I am fascinated by the way everyone employs, more or less consciously, different strategies to create memories of movement and I wonder how aware are we of these habits. When learning, which associations do you use, how do we try and “make sense” of new movements, how is verbal language involved?”

Vanessa will offer simple tasks in couples to explore the participant’s habitual mnemonic patterns and facilitate a discussion about knowledge in motion.