Tag Archives: Collective Contemporary Class

A year of dancing, teaching, study and music…

On a quiet day in January at the Ivy Arts Centre in University of Surrey Jennifer Jackson, Nicholas Minns and I danced for Sonia York-Pryce as part of her research into ageism and the mature dancer, improvising on her material. This enjoyable experience resulted in short individual interpretations, which along with those of other dancers in UK and Australia Sonia edited into an atmospheric compilation, Interprète/Inappropriate Behaviour. Shown to acclaim as an installation at the Whitebox Gallery of Queensland College of Art at Griffith University in August it subsequently won the Gold Medal in the first ever Joie de Vivre Dance Film Competition here in the UK. You can read more about this and find links to the films here

Dancing continued in February with a further performance of Two old instruments with viola da gamba player Jonathan Rees in the impressive Hive library in Worcester; read about this here. We prepared for this with rehearsal at Didcot’s welcoming Cornerstone Arts Centre; and were back there again in June, this time with Jennifer Jackson and violinist Jenna Sherry, to work on another musical collaboration. Set to Ravel’s beautiful and richly complex Sonata for violin and cello, inflect, unravel received an informal showing in the Church Hall at Holy Trinity Barnes on 17th June before its first formal performance on 18th June as part of Donald Hutera’s vibrant GOlive Festival at the Giant Olive Theatre in Kentish Town. Read More

Delighted to notify you that Roosa Leimu-Brown returns to teach another of her lovely contemporary classes, full of dancing movement and exhilarating combinations, for Monday 8th June Collective Contemporary Class, 10.00-11.30am at URC.  If you have not been to one of her classes before, you can find out about Roosa here.  And as always follow updates about the Collective Contemporary Class series on the CCC Facebook page here.

But sad to have also to notify you that there will be no Monday ballet classes on 8th June; I am away on a course this week and have been unable to organise coverage.  Apologies.  However, delighted to report that Ségolène Tarte will be teaching advanced ballet class on Thursday 11th June morning 10.00-11.30am; and also on Friday 12th evening for Oxford Academy of Dance at URC as follows:

5.30-7.00pm  Intermediate

7.00-8.15pm  Intermediate/Advanced

You can find out more about Ségolène’s experience and stylish thought-provoking classes here.  Lesley Tunstall has left Oxford, so Ségolène and I will be covering these Friday classes for the rest of this term.  Drop-in cost per Friday class is £10.  We look forward to seeing some of you there!

I will be back teaching as normal on Saturday 13th June.


Delighted to welcome Sarah Hyams to teach a one off Afro-Brazilian class for the CCC programme on Monday 1st June, 10.00-11.30am at Summertown United Reformed Church Hall.  Don’t miss this chance to enjoy the rhythms and movements of Afro-Brazilian ceremonial and street dances, and sample a different and infectious way of feeling and experiencing movement. Sarah’s classes are a journey from traditional ceremonial dance forms celebrating the archetypes of Afro-Brazilian elemental gods, moving into more up-beat street and circle dances. Sarah brings an embodied approach to moving with the elements and archetypes as well as technique on the Afro-Brazilian dance form.

Sarah Hyams

Sarah Hyams

Sarah writes:

In the class we will…
Stretch and dive into Oxum’s waters (Freshwater goddess of love abundance and sensuality)
Embody the strength and dignity of Afoxe (ceremonial dance taken to the streets and outside ceremonial spaces)
Get down to the dynamic rhythms of Samba Reggae
Celebrate in the sensuality and playfulness of Samba de Roda (roots samba danced in a circle)

About Sarah:

Sarah has taught Afro-Brazilian dance for many years, in schools, community groups and at festivals as well as with samba groups in Oxford and Cornwall. With a passion for the roots of Afro-Brazilian dance, Sarah explores the culture, stories, traditions and power that lie in the rythms, song and dances.  She has performed and paraded in many carnivals and festivals in the UK including Notting Hill. She has learnt from great teachers both in the UK and in Brazil; Mariana Pinho (WOMAD, Tribe of Doris), Rosangela Silvestre and the great late Agosto Omolu.
She is currently training in non- stylised environmental movement practice with Helen Poynor and is bringing the elemental and embodied nature of the practice into the context of Afro-Brazilian dance.

See her work on Facebook:

Follow the CCC schedule on Facebook here

The inspiring Aya Kobayashi returns to teach another two classes in the Collective Contemporary Class series at URC on Mondays 13th and 20th April, 10.00-11.30am.  Don’t miss this chance either to acquaint yourself with her imaginative approach or to build on previous experience of it.  Aya describes the focus for these two classes as follows: “The class starts with improvised exploration with specific focus as we tune ourselves to find openness for various levels of awareness and inspiration. Through both set materials and improvisation, we will pay attention on skeletal connections and use of breath/energy pathway to develop richer dynamic movement.”

Aya Kobayashi

Aya Kobayashi

You can find more information about Aya and her work here, and about Collective Contemporary Class here.

For the next two weeks Collective Contemporary Class welcomes back Lizie Giraudeau to teach class at URC on Mondays 2nd and 9th February 10.00-11.30am.  An inspiring dancer of grace and fluidity, Lizie is keen to explore finding oneself in the transition between more structured material and free improvisation in her classes; this is her description:

CCC Lizie Giraudeau“A balance of improvised and structured work….We will begin by tuning in to our physical state and gently bringing warmth, energy and openness to the body. Moving on we’ll explore pathways through flowing structured phrases and playful, imaginative improvisation, individually, in pairs and as a group.”

Not to be missed…


Lizie Giraudeau/Saunderson studied at The Place before joining London Contemporary Dance Theatre in 1979 and was later a Founder member of the Siobhan Davies Dance Company.  As a freelance performer she has worked with Christopher Bruce, Kate Flatt, Ian Spink, Rosemary Butcher, David Toguri and Darshan Singh Bhuller. Read More

2015 set to start strongly as we launch into a new series of Collective Contemporary Class for experienced dancers on Monday mornings (10.00-11.30am) at URC.  First CCC class of the year is Monday 5th January, taught by Roosa Leimu-Brown who will also be teaching on the following Monday 12th January.  Only the beginning of an exciting spring term programme; you can find further details on the CCC Facebook page here.  Don’t miss out, put these enriching Monday morning gatherings in your schedule now!


It is New Year’s Eve, so time once again to look back on the year and take stock before ringing in 2015… A useful exercise!

A year of performing, testing my limits as a “mature“ dancer, at a time when there seems to be gradually increasing interest in older performers. Two old instruments, my collaboration with viola da gamba player Jonathan Rees, was paired with Dances, Oracles, Mysteries devised and performed by artists of Barefoot Opera in the double bill Visible Music for a mini tour of performances in Bristol, Shoreditch and Oxford at the end of April. Subsequently Jonathan and I also performed twice in the welcoming setting of St Helen’s Central Library in May.  Response has been most positive and we already have a further performance of this adaptable piece confirmed for another library, this time in the intimate studio space of state-of-the-art The Hive in Worcester on 7th February. You can find full information about this project here. Read More

Very good to be able to announce a further couple of stimulating classes in the CCC series to take us into the Christmas season.  We welcome Roosa Leimu-Brown, now resident and teaching in Oxford, bringing impressive European dance training and performing credentials, as well as experience of yoga.  Roosa will be teaching the Monday morning classes 10.00-11.30am on 1st and 8th December at URC.

Roosa Leimu-Brown

Roosa Leimu-Brown

Roosa Leimu-Brown started dancing at age 3 and trained at Helsinki Dance Institute and the Swedish Royal Ballet School in a variety of styles including ballet, contemporary dance, flamenco and jazz.  After dancing with the Swedish Royal Ballet Roosa became a professional research biologist, whilst continuing dancing with various contemporary dance teachers and training in and teaching yoga.  She currenly teaches contemporary dance and yoga in Oxford.

Roosa will be offering two energetic classes that combine technique and creative movement inspired by music.  The purpose of her class is the joy of movement…

See you there!


Delighted to announce that beautiful dancer Aya Kobayashi will be teaching the next two Monday morning classes for the Collective Contemporary Class series at URC, on 17th and 24th November 10.00-11.30am.  Aya’s local connection is as a Resident Artist for Anjali in Banbury, but her performing work has taken her far and wide. Looking forward to savouring her movement explorations…

Class Description:
Aya’s classes explore the internal and external various levels of attentiveness through improvisations and set materials. We will use imageries to deepen our ‘everyday discovery’ of sensations and gravity to move with clarity. We will focus on the pathway of energy and breath through the body to develop our tone and rhythms of movement.

Aya Kobayashi

Aya Kobayashi

Born in Japan, Aya began ballet training at Showa Ballet Academy in Tokyo before moving to UK and continuing her training at Rambert School. As a performer she has worked with choreographers such as Rosemary Lee, Charlie Morrissey, Kerry Nicholls, Bettina Strickler, Pete Shenton (New Art Club), Regina Weilingen. She works as a member of Flexer & Sandiland Company (former Bedlam Dance) and Lila Dance Company. Aya has presented her work in the UK and abroad at locations including The Place, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Birmingham Hippodrome, Stoke Mandeville Stadium (Paralympic 2012 Torch relay ceremony), Tokyo and Madrid. She is currently working with Tate Early Years and Families team and presenting her works for their festivals. Since 2009 Aya has been working as a Resident Artist for Anjali Dance Company, which works with dancers have learning disabilities, her pieces for their youth dance company have been selected as a finalist of U.Dance National Showcase in 2010, 2012 and 2013. Aya has taught at Independent Dance, Greenwich Dance Agency and various universities in the UK. She has recently completed her MA at University of Chichester.

Delighted to welcome the widely experienced and inspirational Fiona Millward for the next two classes in the Collective Contemporary Class series at URC on Mondays 3rd and 10th November 10.00-11.30am.  Fiona has a long association with Oxford, but is in demand nationally and internationally, so don’t miss this opportunity to tap into her wisdom.

Class description:  The framework for each class is a curiosity around perception, pattern, and relationship, and will consist of a combination of specific tasks with Franklin Balls, touch, set material and guided improvisation to help refine our relationship to gravity, space, self and other. Throughout the class time will be offered to notice the feedback from the body, and space will be shared to embody shifts in orientation.

Fiona Millward

Fiona Millward

Fiona MIllward has worked throughout the UK and abroad as a dancer, teacher and choreographer since 1985, and values immensely the alchemy of collaboration that underpins these various roles. Teaching provides an ongoing source of inspiration with opportunities to investigate her own creative practice, and sees her regularly teaching nationally and internationally in a variety of settings.  She is a Certified RolfingTM Practitioner and Franklin MethodTM Educator (Levels 1&2).  Her choreographic work has received a range of awards and commissions, and she has also enjoyed working as a dramaturg, mentor and choreographic advisor.  As a performer she has worked with many choreographers, such as Deborah Hay, Victoria Marks, Fin Walker, Charlie Morrissey, David Dorfman, Gill Clarke, Yael Flexer, Alex Howard and Darrell Jones.  Fiona was a Lecturer in Dance at De Montfort University in 2006; Head of Movement at the Oxford School of Drama 1999-2004; and is a National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) Fellow for her work with Independent Dance (ID), which she has co-directed since 1996.