Isaac Clarke joined Sydney Dance Company’s Pre-Professional Year (PPY) in 2018. The first few weeks of the program have been full of intensive learning and he has been thriving on the hard work and opportunity to learn from some well known and established choreographers. Isaac gave us some insight into the start of the PPY year.
My first week at Sydney Dance Company’s Pre-Professional Year has inspired a focus on authenticity. This created a division in my mental arena in regards to the kind of dancer I want to be. The atmosphere of PPY classes motivates comfort, improvement and the ability to express organic movement by creating a non-competitive environment.
My perceptions on what is important in technique has renewed after my very first ballet class with course director Linda Gamblin. Linda inspired a regenerative take on ballet that exercised technical aspects and encouraged a mentality within which ballet can become a facilitator for contemporary dance whilst encouraging an appreciation for both styles. The class helps me to develop my artistry whilst incorporating freedom-of-movement and technique.
Our Cunningham classes with Associate Artist Fiona Jopp stimulate contemporary technique fused with elements of classical ballet. I was inspired by Fiona’s ability to be a playful, corrective and supportive teacher that produces great improvements that I can already see in myself and my class mates.
Natalie Ayton, our first guest teacher for PPY, worked with memories of adolescence, high school drama and nostalgia. Natalie created a comfortable and friendly collaborative environment within the course. She eliminated our boundaries in order to establish trust between fellow dancers, motivating confidence in our theatrical ability, especially when performing out of our comfort zones in front of our class mates. It became clear to me that Natalie’s workshop and the qualities she brings are the reason she was chosen to be our first Guest Artist for the year.
Our second guest artist Theo Clinkard shared his choreographic practice with us which encourages freedom of movement. With a sense of confidence that was established from our first week with Natalie, the second week with Theo allowed me to grow through new avenues of learning and interacting with my peers. Theo emphasised the importance of the sense of touch, explaining that touch can be something that isn’t sensual, overly meaningful or philosophical. A touch can be transformed into simple movement that is maybe meaningless at first, but then expands into many beautiful things as well as creating physical dialogues.
We also played with an exercise that evoked physical improvisation which focused on a play with invisible balls that expanded, changed shape and direction and fabricated amazing movement. It was special to experience a type of movement which is un-styled, un-choreographed and purely spontaneous.
Find out more about our Pre-Professional Year