Contemporary dance workshops during university break
Gillian Rhodes, an American dancer, is currently leading a three-week contemporary dance choreography workshop at Cambodian Living Arts (CLA) with arts students coming from Mith Samlanh, Tiny Toones and CLA. The workshop will have each participant create his or her own solo. During the two first weeks, the young dancers have created their solo based on basic techniques and ideas shared by Gillian. The third week has been devoted to practicing the solo, ready for an informal showing at the end of the workshop.
“Creating a solo requires self-confidence. It is something very personal. When you create for the first time, it is better to do it for yourself only”, explains Gillian. This is the first experience of both contemporary dance and choreography for many of the students, and like any first time, it is not easy! “At the beginning they didn’t know what to do; they did not feel comfortable moving their bodies. But finally they’re getting really interested in their movements. Although it is new for them, I think they are really good.”
Participant and folk dancer Say Chanborey says: “This workshop is very good for me. I had similar experiences in the past, when dancers asked us to create a dance without sharing any knowledge or ideas. But here, Gillian teaches basics of contemporary dance and then encourages us to create. This brings me self-confidence and I don’t have to worry about what others think of my solo. I also like practicing with participants who are not artists and with a teacher who comes from a different culture.”
This solo workshop will be followed by a two-week collaborative choreography workshop, then a two-week composition techniques workshop in August. She will then go to deliver a final workshop with the Krom Selapak Akpiwad club for artists in Siem Reap. At the end of each workshop, students will present their work.
Gillian Rhodes graduated from Colombia University, New York City, USA. After her Bachelor degree she decided to travel to Cambodia to create innovative dance pieces. After these workshops she would like to create a dance show mixing Western and Cambodian dances. We will follow this exciting project as it develops!