Workshops are one-off opportunities to learn and, at times, experiment with diverse styles of dance we may not be able to try regularly. Or sometimes, we just want more of something we’ve done before.
They are more open to dancers of all skill and experience levels, and prioritise the process of learning over the outcome of what’s learnt.
And just like dance classes have their pros and cons, so too do workshops.
Workshops tend to be longer than dance classes and with it comes the freedom of trial and error. If it’s an exercise to improve your technique, failure means difference (to what you’re used to), and difference means new possibilities.
There’s no (at times self-imposed) pressure to master the exercise. There’s no pressure to ‘slay’ or ‘kill’ the choreography either. The length of a workshop allows you to work on your body and understand it at your own pace. Of course, the pace of the choreography and its learning is set by the teacher or choreographer, but the famed ‘pick-up speed’ skill is not the core objective. The process is what’s important.
That’s not to say it isn’t the case for dance classes, but rather that it’s more so the case and much more beneficial in workshop environments.
As you may know, our Kinjaz workshops were held at the start of the month over two days (8th & 9th), so instead of regurgitating what those who attended said about the experience, read the words from the horse’s mouth!
“This weekend has definitely been one of the most fruitful weekends in my life. I’ve learnt so much in these two days and for the first time, I’ve mentally and physically felt my progress in dance within the workshops… The challenges and advices presented by KINJAZ during the dance camp have made me realise so many errors in my current approach in dance, and learnt ways to fix them. I’ve learnt so much about expressing oneself and creating conversations instead of just movements.
“Another good thing about attending these dance workshops is the variety of people you’ll be surrounded by, different dance styles, different levels of dance experience, different ways of expression. The environment challenges you in so many different ways. Thanks to these workshops, I got to meet so many talented and phenomenal dancers. Their skills, their execution, and most of all their passion in dance has inspired me so much and pushed me through the two very intense days of 6 KINJAZ workshops. This has definitely been one of my best experiences ever.” – Kylie Lee
If you’re heading to a workshop, chances are you’re in the mindset of challenging yourself. The skill level is more than likely demanding, and you’re willing to learn more than perfect. This is already a catalyst for exponential growth.
Allowing your body to be vulnerable in a different environment takes courage and fortitude, and like Kylie said above, you learn so much about yourself; how to improve, what to improve, and not only that, but your strengths and qualities that make you who you are as a dancer.
You leave inspired and ready to push on. Regardless of dance being your hobby, passion, or work, workshops give you freedom to truly understand and digest your leaning process.
Our four-day residency work at City of Oxford College speaks for itself in terms of outcome: “They thoroughly enjoyed the residency. Becoming more aware of where they initiate movement from, creating interesting and original movement and learning to let go of their inhibitions were among some of the many comments made by the students when discussing the project.” – Olivia Ward, Course Director
- Class Hybrid
Lo’ and behold, workshops can have identical cons to dance classes. It’s inevitable. And the oddest occurrence is when workshops somehow transform into a class format. You learn a choreo, bang it out a few times, get select groups, and head off into the night.
This makes it no longer about the learning process but about the content of the workshop (choreography) and its outcome.
And as workshops tend to be mixed levels, (with different levels of mental steeliness and drive) it can be detrimental. Many could see the select groups as undermining what they learnt as it isn’t to the level of what those selected are displaying. And inadequacy is the antithesis of the purpose of a workshop –personal development in an inclusive environment.
With workshops being mostly one-off events, teachers and choreographers tend to be big names in the industry; with a wealth of knowledge and experience.
With that comes the fame. And with that those who (innocently) idolise.
It becomes a question of conflicting needs for dancers. There will be those there to train, and others there purely for the experience of meeting the teacher or choreographer. There’s nothing wrong with either need, but both being present in the same space can be, and often, is detrimental. It’s a question of mentality. How do we navigate such a delicate situation? It will inevitably impact the approach to the workshop and inevitably affect how much dancers take away from the experience.
It ends! Unlike dance classes, they’re never regular. And if/when they are, you could be waiting months for the next (it took us two years to bring Kinjaz back to the UK!).
Also, although you can apply what you learnt when you train for/by yourself, it is never the same. Your focus, your approach, and your energy are different because the environment is different. Especially when it comes to a technique you learnt and want to master.
That’s the bittersweet consequence. It makes a lasting, unique and inimitable impression.