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 Feathersand 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!
MMM is always keen to increase the number of its teachers, and are constantly seeking new recruits – producing more classes and getting more people dancing with MMM! This year we have decided to make some changes to update and modernise our training programme for new teachers. We hope these changes will make the initial hurdle easier for those who may have been thinking of training but have not quite found the time, the energy or the courage to take the first step towards becoming a teacher. While simplifying in some areas, we are fully aware of the need to retain our high standards and the comprehensive scope of our course, thus enabling newly qualified candidates to start teaching immediately with confidence.
This year at Summer School we will pilot a new format for the Basic Teacher Training Certificate. Once we have analysed the results of the new format, everyone will be informed and those countries outside the UK, which run their own teacher training courses, will be able to benefit from the pilot course. So we are all looking forward to Chichester this summer and to our first candidates on the new programme!
Although we wear more clothes now, we still share the love of dance, art and creativity that JD Ferguson immortalised in his paintings.
Ann Flower and myself were able to get to the J D Ferguson exhibition at the Modern Art Gallery 2 in Edinburgh and we both felt a special connection to his work due to our life with MMM dance and Margaret Morris. I can see why he has gone down in history as a recognised special unique artist. His work is vibrant, bold, full of character and, in later work, obviously influenced by Margaret and Movement.
Take advantage of his work coming to Chichester while the MMM Dance Summer School is on at, Chichester University 26 July – 2 August 2014.
I can’t believe that Gillian and I have just completed teaching Dance Technique grades 1-3; it was a marathon. We now have Josette (Switzerland) with grade 3 and Monica (Germany) on her way to grade 1, as well as Marianne (Switzerland) aiming for grade 2.
In Josette I saw someone who not only can dance well, but also can construct a dance sequence in a flash. I now eagerly await a choreographic piece from her.
Gillian, with support from my notes, is working on a Grade 1 book – aiming to be ready in 2015. Another step in the future syllabus planning for MMM. Look out for it.
The course was a great success and fun was had by all in the beautiful Bradfield village setting, experiencing the ‘Harry Potter’ dining room and winding down with lots of hilarity at the end of a very full day in the lounge. Join us next year for a combination of hard work, dance and fun.
Even with the easter eggs & pinot grigio, Ruth managed to look beautiful
I found this popular piece of film extract whilst trawling through You Tube, under:
One Tears Apart (Landlord)
Baby Sleep – Lisbonne
Looks Very Jolly, Doesn’t It? (1921)
but this one this one is my favourite. Now MMM can add ‘Guest Appearance in Music Video’ to their list of achievements. Albeit a great achievement, I can’t help thinking that our film contribution to the world of music could do with a little (lot) of updating. Fashion and trends change fast, and I am thinking maybe recreate the dance in the style of Beyoncé
Please note that this video uses footage from the BFI Creative Archive website. The BFI should be credited as following: “Original footage courtesy of the British Film Institute (BFI) under the terms of the Creative Archive Licence.” Thank you.
In early February, I danced away a wonderful weekend at the MMM Lodge Hill Residential Dance Workshop. What I love about MMM courses is that they are all SO different almost as though they have their own personality! And Lodge Hill is no different. The accommodation is not the best in the world but the lovely old house is perfect for a cold winter’s weekend break, tucked away on top of a hill, surrounded by woodland and with magnificent views across the wintry landscape over the South Downs National Park. The food is superb and evenings spent chatting in the cosy, oak-panelled lounge after a full programme of MMM dance lead by the brilliant Jan Houselander, is bliss. If you haven’t done to yet, I highly recommend you give this course a try next year. It was a great weekend and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Gail
We were joined Rosalind, an MMM teacher from Switzerland ‘I had a great time with you girls and it gave me lots of ideas for my class, it’s always good to go back to the roots’
Despite my limitations, I had a great time at Lodge Hill amongst friends. Jan was an enthusiatic and tireless teacher and had the class dancing energetically throughout the weekend.Thanks to all who attended the course and look forward to spreading the word and bringing more people along for next year. Jeanmarie
Following my career as principle dancer and ballet master in Scotland and Internationally, I am now looking to take full advantage of this very fortunate and rich experience and further develop my art as a choreographer. The choreographic medium I have chosen to work in is an area in which I have been drawn into latterly as a mature performer and teacher. It is inspired by the life work and philosophical approach to movement developed by Margaret Morris (MMM), although in many aspects contrasting to the classical background I was raised in, it is also aesthetically complimentary and draws on my own artistic pleasure and fascination for natural movement. The psychological and physical demands of this movement genre are unlike other dance forms, MMM is, and should be, accessible to all. My aim is to bring together, this established yet, in many accounts, uncharted movement approach with my own expertise and joy for dance and to re-establish it as an inclusive art form that crosses ages, cultures and identities and to make it readily accessible for a wider creative community.