Thursday, June 6, 2013

Discovering The Moment: An invitation to presence. Workshops led by Tom Pritchard!

I actually meant to decompress and reflect on my workshop experience at Coisceim at the beginning of this week, but then the work rut caught up with me. At the moment, my schedule is so tight with work and dance commitments that I am unsure if I will last much longer. I am so sleep deprived at this point that I am afraid I may turn into a zombie any day- Not very yoga minded of me at all.

Anyway, I still want to write a short entry because I am so glad I did join Tom Pritchard's invitation to presence over the June Bank Holiday weekend. 

The whole idea was a bit daunting at first since I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. To be frank, the voice element of the workshops had me particularly worried. Sadly, I have not used my singing voice properly for a few years. While I used to sing along to my favorite music and didn't have any reservations or worries about how it sounded in the past (I enjoyed it way too much to care), my adult conscience caught up with me eventually. Now that I am sharing a flat, I am usually mute when listening to my favorite tracks and surpress the urge to sing along. Humming along I do at times, but full blown singing? Over my dead body, or at least only when I can guarantee no living soul is around to witness my pitiful attempts of singing.

This observation leads me to explore adult inhibitions. It makes me wonder why with age most of us lose the ability to simply engage in non-judgmental play. Most of the time, we demand a solid reason to engage in activities. Most of our activities need to be geared towards an ultimate (respectable) goal in order to be valid and for us to get a sense of achievement out of it. What we often don't realize is that his achievement driven mindset does not actually increase our sense of self worth but rather prevents us from allowing ourselves simple (and yet so vital) play time.

The sense of wanting to get it perfect the first time around without acknowledging the fact that the journey is more important than the actual outcome is what has played on my mind a lot in the recent past. And this is probably one of the reasons why I wanted to participate in the workshops. It feels like I need to start allowing myself a lot more room for creative play because play is as precious and valid as discipline and commitment. I suppose it's the balance between the two forces that makes all the difference.

The workshops allowed me to tap into my playful self although some parts (like the use of voice and synchronizing sounds and movement) still scared the living daylights out of me. But at least I tried, and alas, it wasn't as bad  an experience as I thought it might be. I even got to improve my fluency in gibberish which was  interesting, to say the least. Also, it was really rewarding to find myself in a room full of individuals from different backgrounds ranging from theatre to literature and dance and hearing about their personal challenges in other areas. Despite our perceived differences, we are all so connected. Indeed, the fact that Tom provided a safe environment for us meant that we could open up to one another and support each other much more quickly, without the pressure of expectations. The sense of mutual support in the group was very tangible!

Needless to say, I particularly loved the movement and body work Tom introduced to us. My body is used to moving so it was happily jumping on the opportunity to do just that. I love being able to improvise as it's not nearly done enough in led classes, or in my own time. And Tom's gradual instruction and progression into improvisational play, I think, was helpful and non-threatening even for individuals without a movement and dance background. The group dynamics that emerged from creative play were really amazing, both in a movement and theatrical way. It's incredible what happens when you listen to the group, and when you allow yourself to just go with the flow and try things, no matter how silly your intellectual and analytical mind may deem it.

So in short, I am ever so grateful to have had the opportunity to join this invitation to presence, and while I am still digesting all this precious information, I am already sure that I want to incorporate (at least some of) the elements and concepts Tom introduced into my own creative (dance) practice (play).

Thanks ever so much to Coisceim for hosting Tom, and thanks to Tom for being patient and super supportive!






Discovering The Moment: An invitation to presence.Two day improvisation workshop in movement and voice

Tom Pritchard is a Glasgow-based dancer who will be performing in the upcoming CoisCĂ©im production, MISSING.
Whether your interest stretches to performance, making art or simply continuing your journey to greater self-knowledge, this physical workshop aims to support your exploration.
Through Tom’s improvisation practice, you will be guided to explore different manifestations of the expressive, present self: voice, movement, painting, writing, singing, stillness.
“We will consider the nature of being solo, in dialogue and existing as part of an ensemble; being in contact and apart; excavating the narratives in our anatomy and the games in our senses.  By tuning our senses, we aim to rediscover the simplicity of inspiration that lies dormant, present and eager within each of us.”

TOM PRITCHARD is a Glasgow-based performer, improviser and facilitator working across dance, theatre, poetry and improvisation. He has performed internationally in solo and ensemble works for companies across Europe and has choreographed for, amongst others, Scottish Dance Theatre, IndepenDANCE and the SSCD. Tom is also an international facilitator of dance, improvisation and multidisciplinary performance and has directed On The Stage Of The Present since 2010. For more information about Tom’s practice, please visit

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