The MMM membership is blessed with a variety of artistic and creative dancers. Here is the story of one of them.
Donna Wootton at work
When I decided in my retirement to offer MMM classes they did not go well. It was hard to attract participants to something that was not understood. There was much competition in the small town where I now live. Many activities were offered to the public that are well known. By the time I arrived at summer school in 2010 at Chichester I felt defeated. That was my state when I came across a book on Lucia Joyce, daughter of James Joyce. It was a hard cover book with wonderful pictures including some lovely ones of Margaret Morris. I learned she had taught Lucia Joyce at one point in her thwarted career. That’s what I discovered reading the book. Instead of pursuing her muse she was compromised for the sake of her father’s writing career. My heart went out to her. I felt great empathy. I emailed the professor who had written the book saying I thought if Lucia had been allowed to continue with Margaret Morris, who served as a den mother to the young woman, she would not have ended up in an asylum for most of her adult life. Lucia could have been successful as a teacher of little children. My imagination filled in an alternative life for her.
So being a writer as well as an amateur dancer, I started to construct a novel. For years I wrote and had my work edited but failed to find a publisher. Then I learned that the professor whose book had inspired me had been sued by the grandson of James Joyce because he didn’t like how she had portrayed his family. Yikes! Had I wasted my time? I felt like that young woman with a thwarted career in dance and writing. Fortunately things have changed. The estate can no longer sue because the works are now in the public domain.
My decision to publish my novel as an ebook was based on my thwarted career as a dance teacher and novelist. We are all products of our time. Ebook publication is a cheaper route than print. It is available worldwide so can reach dancers who are also readers everywhere.
At the heart of Isadora & Lucia is the story of a young woman becoming educated and gaining independence. It is also the story of someone finding her muse and following her heart while working in Oxford, England, and travelling in Northern Italy.
Monday November 10th 2014 An evening of talk, exhibition, art and music.
Trinity School, Croydon – where the arts facilities surely rank among the best in the country. With a sublime ballet performance by London Russian Ballet School, an art exhibition, an illustrated talk by Chris Holley on Diaghilev, Ballets Russes and their extraordinary impact on Modernism in the visual arts – plus songs from a Russian singer and a glass of wine – seems like it’s not to be missed. Chris has been a great supporter of MMM for many years and following a Fine Arts degree course at UCA, Farnham, she has exhibited her work and given talks all over the country. <http://www.holley-projects.co.uk>
Through J.D. Fergusson, MMM has a great connection with Ballets Russes and it is embedded in its history. “…they were the greatest nights of anyone’s life.” Renowned Scottish colourist J. D. Fergusson whose art, along with that of Matisse, Picasso, Rodin, the Futurists and many more major 20th century artists, was inspired by nights out at scandalous Ballets Russes productions in Paris.
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
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
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.