Kilquhanity, South-West Scotland

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Kilquhanity House – venue for the MMM Scotland Residential Dance Course 2015

In the 1943 Margaret Morris held a summer school in the rural region of Dumfries and Galloway in South West Scotland. In 2014 MMM Scotland held its first dance residential course. This was so successful that a further one at the same location-Kilquhanity, will be held in 2015. The course encompasses several aspects of Margaret Morris Movement with classes in MMM Colours, variations, Dance Classes and an exploration of Margaret Morris’ creative practice based on her writings in “Margaret Morris Dancing”. From this book we particularly discover her chapter “Rhythm, Sound and Music Composition” and how these are interpreted through movement. The course has a communal air with everyone dancing together in the one dance studio, a converted stable with a heated wooden floor Kilquhanity is part of four school sites based in Japan that have developed education inspired by the teachings of Aitkenhead, A.S. Neill and John Dewey amongst others. The essence of Kilquhanity since 1940 is as the focal point in Scotland for free, progressive and alternative education. The house, stables and surrounding buildings which comprise the site are surrounded by beautiful countryside making it a wonderful venue for enjoying the health and well being and creativity of Margaret Morris Movement. Please visit http://www.kilquhanity-centre.co.uk for detailed description of venue. Details of this course are available via the menu – Courses – MMM Scotland Residential

Carnival Time in Western-Super-Mare

MMM Dance Courses are springing up all over the country. In November there will be a residential course at the Grand Atlantic Hotel, Western-super-Mare. The added benefit of this course is that it coincides with the famous Western Carnival http://www.northsomersetcarnival.co.uk/ that passes within yards of the hotel which provides a popular viewing point in the comfort of a nice cosy warm hotel and bar.

“The Western Carnival happening on the Friday evening is a bonus. It was really amazing last year and such a great way to start the weekend. It can be cold, mind, so bring warm clothes if you intend joining the fun and buzz of the crowds. The carnival is SO big that I enjoyed being outside for nearly an hour then continued to watch the remainder of the procession in the comfort of a cosy hotel arm-chair with a glass of warming Drambuie.”

Due to the Carnival weekend – the Grand Atlantic Hotel gets booked months in advance. We have booked a number of rooms for this course but cannot guarantee availability, so get your booking in now.

The course will consist of MMM Colour graded exercises, MMM Dance Technique (grade 1) and Vincent Hantam will be joining the teaching team with Floor Barre. Included is breakfast and evening meal provided by the hotel and the choice of accommodation in a single or shared room accommodation in. – see courses for details.

Look forward to seeing you at Western in November. Gail Borrows

Devon Weekender

After two successful years of organising this dance weekend, Ruth Oatey has finally decided to make it an annual event. For those of us who have already been converted to MMM, this is a great opportunity to spend a whole weekend dancing. The additional benefit is that we can catch up with friends that we otherwise would not get to see.

For most of us, the weekly or monthly classes allows us to learn the technique in carefully progressive stages, but whilst attending over a weekend we can put that learning to the purpose that Margaret Morris intended – to dance. We can let our hair down and be creative.

Jan Houselander is experienced in using MMM to its great advantage and is prolific in choreographing dances within a class and developing them further for performances. On Sunday Denise Avent takes the reins, an experienced teacher, she is one of the leading lights for MMM in the South-West.

If you have not yet had a chance to come across MMM, this is an ideal opportunity to do so. Though not always easy for a newcomer to pick up, I can confirm that you will have a good time trying. If you already have dance experience you will be welcome to come along and gain an understanding of what it is all about. Saurday & Sunday 4-5 October 2014.

Visit: www.margaretmorrismovement.com and download the DEVON DANCE WORKSHOP PDF for more information and booking details

Barbara West Goes to Japan

Barbara looking colourful against the backdrop of city lights

Barbara looking colourful against the backdrop of city lights

Being invited as the guest teacher to Japan in 2014 was truly fantastic. Fukuoka and Kobe both had 3-day weekend workshops while Nagasaki, celebrating its 35th anniversary, had an extra day. In each city I taught a wide range of students: from small children to seniors, from complete beginners to highly skilled students and in Fukuoka a special group of dancers with a wide range of disabilities. I also taught many aspects of Margaret’s work: her Colours, Dance Technique, creative work including improvisation and my choreography. All the students and teachers were very appreciative and quick to learn and did well in their examinations.

In Nagasaki, a special extra was teaching The Water Lily (1911) one of Margaret’s archive dances – you can try it too this Summer School! We also had a ‘fun study session’ as they were keen to learn about my research on MMM as a system of training practised for over 100 years. I’d also found that Margaret had an interest in Japan. As early as 1912, she created a dance called The Robe of Feathers and in 1917 Margaret used music composed by Stravinsky for 3 Japanese Songs. Studying a programme from 1914 one student, Noriko, noticed that Margaret had incorporated Noh masks in her cover design. I’d never realised this before.

I saw the country more as a typical tourist on travel days and free days. I briefly toured in Tokyo and a wonderful day around Mt Fuji. On these trips I met other tourists who were impressed that the Japanese invite a guest teacher of a method of dance springing from the UK. Some were curious to know more.

It’s a long way to go, but I prepared well with the help of other teachers and friends and I feel my work was appreciated. I missed Sonja Couzy who began MMM in Japan and brought it to Nagasaki. The great thing is that we have the opportunity to meet in the UK at the International Summer School in Chichester. Lots to reminisce about, to plan and dream for the future and of course the opportunity to dance together again!

Barbara West