Programme & action: ERASMUS+, Key Action 1: Training Course
Venue: Ganties, St Gaudens, France
Dates: 5-15 September 2016
Participants: Denisa Zábranská, Andrej Dobeš, Nicole Schicková
Please read the info-pack
Participating countries: France, Czech Republic, Macedonia, Poland, Estonia, Cyprus, Romania
Hosting organisation: SolAfrika
Bonjour! Greetings from France – beautiful country with delicious cousine, extremely friendly and kind people and very easy life (at least in countryside). It was my pleasure to have the chance to travel to Burgundy – lovely part of this country and to participate on the amazing project Your body is a voice. It was a great experience!
When our Czech team landed in the city Toulouse, I fell in love with this place on the first side. It´s quite small but very nice city with seaside atmosphere, allthough the sea isn´t in the near yet. My enthusiasm was rising when our way continued by train to Saint Gaudens – this was already countryside full of green hills, nice rivers, lakes, pretty villages full of hearty people and gardens full of delicious local food. I love nature and I love every kind of artistic activities, so it was a dream combination to be part of some so creative project in so beautiful and healthy environment. I also love to meet new inspiring people, so I really enjoyed travelling with other two participants of our Czech team – Andrej and Denisa. When we arrived to Saint Gaudens, we met already our great main organisator from the host team – Julie, who brought us by car together with the guys from Romanian and Polish team to our final destination in the lovely village Ganties. There waited on us the rest of participants from other countries and we all were welcomed to our new home for those 10 days – a very nice big house with a beautiful garden and a hammock between few trees.
There were 3 guys in each team – Macedonian, Cypriot, Polish, Romanian, Czech and Estonian (and also an Estonian family) and 3 organizators from the French team (Julie, Adelle and Nico) and our amazing dance-teacher Angelique.
In the beginning of the project we started to know each other better and to colaborate during playing games and ice-brakers. Immediately we got the feeling it´s a pleasure to meet such great, inspiring, unique, creative and also friendly people and we started to create an amazing big team together. A little bit later we were divided into few groups and by playing a game we started to discover also our invironment – the village Ganties and meanwhile we had also the chance to meet some locals.
When we acclimatized, we have delved into the topic of the project. Already its name „Your body is a voice“ reveals, that it´s about body language, movement, creativity, expression of emotions and stories – in one word: contemporary dance. First we had the chance to discuss our expectations, fears, experiences, skills and knowledge about the topic. We also shared our opinions during the debate about the theme: „Is the body well considered in our society“? Then we learned some useful theory about the contemporary dance and then we were already looking forward to practising during workshops with our amazing dance-teacher Angelique.
Following days we started to feel and use every part of our body during some motion exercises in the nature and also inside the hall. A little bit later we experienced a lot of new dance-techniques. We also tried to imrovise during dancing together as a group, in pairs, solo or with an object. Soon we started to train some choreographies and even to create our own choreographies. It was amazing to realize, how beautiful performances we made, allthough we were dancers on different levels. Then came the challenge and amazing experiences during performing our shows at the street and at some local french music festival in the city Urau, that had a great atmosphere, that was escalated during the concerts by dancing with the locals and incredibly cool fire-show. We performed our dancing show later also in the village Ganties in front of the local council, because they invited us and they prepared for us a small celebration. Allways when we danced in front of an audience, we got very positive feedback.
After those amazing days full of dance, we experienced a lecture with Brita – she´s from Estonia and she works with handicapped people and children, so she told us more about dance therapy and during a workshop she teached us how to communicate without words. It was really interesting.
Then came another challenge for us – we started to prepare our own workshops for children. We could cooperate in pairs. First we had the chance to discuss our ideas, later to try the program of our workshops on the others of our team, if it works well and next day we already worked with a group full of french children. Some of us were afraid about that, but it worked very well and it was also a beautiful experince.
Besides the great dancing activities and workshops, we watched also some dance movies about some famous choreographers to be more motivated, inspired and to know more about the contemporary dance history. Once we went even into the cinema to watch a movie about the famous Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin – „Mr. Gaga“. For those who wanted, we could also visit a lecture about dance-forum-theater, that was also very interesting.
We had also the chance to know a bit more about the culture and the country of the participants, during nice multi-cultural evenings. Each team had to make a presentation about the country they come from, to cook a traditional food for the others and also to teach them some traditional dances or games. That was always very delicious, interesting and funny too, so we enjoyed those evenings a lot. To have a friendly and funny atmosphere during the whole project, we played also some games as a secret friend, or we wrote secret messages into a secret box, that we read every evening after the dinner.
It was also very good to eat organic french food every day and to discover France – at least in the near of the place, were we lived during the project – we made some trips into the nature, to a lake, and to some nice villages and local markets.
The whole project was veeeeeeery well organised and it´s not just my subjective opinion, because I fand it out also from the others, especially during the evaluation at the last day. We enjoyed those days so much and we learned a lot. I think all of us also appreciate, that we wrote by a small assistence of the organisators together a booklet about everything what we learned during the project and because it was a training course, we expect to use it by our work with children and teenagers in the future.
It was really one of my best life experiences! Thousands of thanks belong to phenomenal and experienced organizators from the French organisation Sol Afrika – Julie, Adelle and Nico (and also to our great dance-teacher Angelique)! Another thousands of thanks belong to the organisation European youth center of Břeclav (EYCB), that sent our Czech team to France! I´m really very grateful for everything and I hope to be part of some similar beautiful projects again in the future! Au revoir!