Programme & action: ERASMUS+, Key Action 1: Training Course
Venue: Ganties, St Gaudens, France
Dates: 14 – 24 May 2017
Participants: Ondřej Dobeš, Monika Lazarová, Daniel Navrátil
Participating countries: France, Estonia, Macedonia, Czech Republic, Romania, Cyprus and Poland
Hosting organisation: SolAfrika
This project is a continuation of a training course named Your Body is a Voice which took place in September 2016.
The name of this project will tell you a lot what was this 9 day long adventure about and the number 2 will reveal that the organizers and participants took this journey already for the second time.
The first edition of this project took place in September 2016 and was mainly focused on movement and dancing activities which served in the second part of the project as a base for creating dancing shows for festival and movement based workshops for the pupils of local primary school.
This year’s edition took place already in spring in the very same place but with new fresh energy, spirit and inspiration. And as the organizers and participants of last year edition dreamed about – they added singing and acting to the movement and dancing activities.
And now I am going to tell you how it was when 24 young people from France, Macedonia, Estonia, Czech Republic, Poland and Romania dance, sing and act for 9 days in beautiful French village of Ganties near Toulouse in France.
Peaceful and natural surroundings of this place welcomed all participants in friendly and harmonious way so the first common steps flew easily.
The first day morning was dedicated to getting to know each other, team building and discovering the surroundings of our venue. In the afternoon we already jumped into the topic and had world cafe debate on importance and role of movement, dancing, acting and singing in our society and our daily lives. Reflecting on this topic brought us smoothly to the mood of first acting activities which were still more focused on group dynamics, fun, team challenges and getting to know each other.
Fair part of the project was as well dedicated to experiencing life in community and so each day participants could try different roles from cleaning the common spaces to facilitating various activities and processes throughout the week.
Every day there was as well international evening where every day one of the national groups served their typical food and prepared fun and informational activity about their country. And of course the first night was invitation to experience French typical cuisine and daily life situation through funny theatrical sketch.
On second day we started with movement and dancing activities where we discovered our individual abilities, creations, limits and possibilities. Later we have learned how to work in pairs and bigger groups and respect and understand each other while moving and creating dance choreographies. And when we have reached the end of the day we were able comfortably and smoothly move and dance in whole group.
Day 3 may be for some groups the hardest one but for us it was piece of cake because for this day we have planned theatre and acting. Which pretty much meant a lot of fun and unexpected moments and situations because most of the processes were pure improvisations which later served as base for the performances we presented to public.
Probably the greatest challenge for most of the participants were the singing workshops on the next day because most of us didn’t believe or didn’t discovered so much our singing abilities. First we have learned how to warm up all body and important parts for singing and working with voice. After we got the right vibe we started to practice old French songs with easy lyrics and great melody. Sometimes it felt like choir of angels and sometimes more like secondary school class going through puberty.
In the middle of the week we slowly started to melt all the outcomes from the previous workshops. It was great to be part of the process where we basically created most of the performance from zero. The trainers were really amazing and leaded us through this experiment towards the end product which was a performance which we presented on the next day in Toulouse city and festival in nearby village. In the end we came up with various parts of performances – parade with music and choreography through the city center, individual theatrical performances with objects, dance choreography in trios, theatrical performance based on the methodology of viewpoints, group dance choreography accompanied by singing.
After these days filled with discovery, challenge, creations, challenges, highs and lows, performances we slowed down and reflected on our experience.
We have learned a lot and so finally we were ready to share and prove our skills. In couples we prepared short activities based on acting, dancing, moving and singing for children from local school. I can still remember the moment when children arrived for the workshops and you could feel there is little bit nervousness in the air – participants needed to prove their gained skills and children didn’t know what to expect. But also I can still feel the energy and vibe when we gathered in one big circle with the children after the activities and we sang together.
Looking back I am really thankful to have the opportunity to be part of this project and all its creations. It’s hard to believe what we could achieve within 9 days with people they were complete strangers and their only connection was passion for dancing, singing and acting.
And we could not share our passions without people they were involved in creation of this project. So I would like to thank to all the people they invested their time and energy and made this project happen – may it be fellow participants, facilitators, organizers, hosting and sending organizations.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to listen to the voice of my body and the space to be heard.
And if you didn’t catch the first or the second edition of this project – do not worry something is telling me the third is coming soon.