Dog Kennel Hill Project is Ben Ash, Heni Hale and Rachel Lopez de la Nieta.
Since living together on London’s Dog Kennel Hill Road 20 years ago, the collective have built a shared sensibility and understanding, working across performance, dance, embodiment, choreography and lived philosophy.
Over two decades they have developed investigative, intimate compositional practices that focus on the experience and perception of social and human relations. This has happened in wide-ranging contexts, such as a project on a floating canal boat for Dance Umbrella, a commission for public performances in Teddington Library, and a live gallery exhibition at Modern Art Oxford. In 2019 they presented a major retrospective of their work at CCA Brighton.
This 3-PHASE Lab is designed to share core elements of each of the artists’ individual practices on successive days, with each day being complete in and of itself, whilst we imagine themes will overlap and intersect.
The lab will have an investigative, researchy feel and is open to people with any level of movement experience. People with and without disabilities are welcome. It will particularly suit people who have an interest in digging into their creative movement experiences, as individuals and collectively, in ways that could be playful, profound, poetic, complicated or ridiculous.
Day 1 – led by Rachel Lopez de la Nieta
Rachel invites you to enter into a playful yet contemplative space where we explore an expanded self that begins with the body but extends beyond into space and other materiality. She will share phases of activity including: guided sensory explorations, spontaneous relational composition and ritual performance scores. Participants will encounter a homemade slime substance that when handled creates suggestive forms that do not hold for very long. Underpinned by Buddhist notions of impermanence and perception formation, this day of practice plugs into and cultivates our unfolding experience.
Day 2 – led by Heni Hale
Following the wild track of our dancing
Heni will experiment with different types of attention in movement. This is an invitation-
To move whilst noticing the boney, the fleshy and fluid landscapes of our bodies.
To explore textures and terrains in the environment and the sensations they provoke.
To practice ways of seeing (such as zooming in and out, peripheral, blurring…).
These explorations aim to tune and expand our palette of attention, between personal, social, and beyond. The day will follow a laboratory process of moving together, writing, mark-making, speaking and witnessing others. We will tussle with the challenge of speaking from and with the rich sensations and images that emerge through moving. Gradually layering and intensifying, we may begin to notice our patterns emerging, and start to track where we make meanings, what we hold on to and what we let go of. The day aims to question – How do we get to the roots of what matters to us most and then share those with others?
Day 3 – led by Ben Ash
This is a drift. We will navigate a collection of shoulder high wooden tripods as transient architecture through an urban environment in the local area. Acting as frame and container, bodies and tripods form a network of connections and crossing points, portals and gateways in flux.
Embodied co-dependent relationships between the mobile architecture and each other will underpin a collective drift that momentarily reimagines and repurposes the site for an hour or so. Morning session in the studio to familiarise with the tripods and observe how they in turn inform our movement and imagination. Afternoon session outdoors come rain or shine! Please bring clothing you are comfortable to get down and messy with in the streets.
Alongside her work over the years with Dog kennel Hill project, Rachel has worked as an independent dancer, choreographer, movement director, dramaturge and mentor in theatre, film, gallery, commercials and opera. Early career studies include a five year yoga apprenticeship at West London yogashala with teachers from India and the west; Living anatomy training, and studies of Ngo Cho – southern style Shaolin Kung Fu.
Rachel has taken a lifelong interest in Eastern philosophy and studies Tibetan Buddhism with various teachers from Tibet and the UK. In 2019 Rachel completed MA Creative Practice: Dance Professional through Trinity Laban/ID. Rachel continues to enjoy teaching and sharing her embodied investigations into dancing, perception and performance practice.
Heni was Co-Director of Independent Dance between 2018 – 2023. She currently leads two modules as part of MA/MFA Creative Practice: Dance Professional, a partnership between Independent Dance, Trinity Laban and Siobhan Davies Studios.
Heni is currently a PhD researcher exploring embodied methods of inquiry in the archives of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, in partnership with Coventry University supported by Midland4Cities Doctoral Training. She is interested in the relationship between moving, thinking and the perception and valuing of time. She has been a performer, teacher, maker and producer for 30 years, performing and collaborating with choreographers including, Rosemary Lee, Angela woodhouse, Ricochet Dance Company, Yolande Snaith and visual artists including Daria Martin and Matti Braun.
Ben is a dance artist, maker and craniosacral therapist, a teacher, facilitator and mentor within dance and craniosacral therapy contexts, and is currently performing Jeanine Durning’s Last Shelter with Candoco Dance company. As an independent performer he has collaborated with Rosemary Butcher, Charles Linehan, Rosemary Lee, Richard Alston, Siobhan Davies, Charlie Morrissey, Lucy Suggate and Charlotte Spencer. Ben’s choreographic practice is largely situated within DKHP, external commissions include multigenerational work for Islington youth theatre and recently A Space for Everyone for dancers with and without disabilities in Dans Focus festival at Esplanade Singapore.
Ben is investigating presence in the relational field, within performance practice and as a therapist. Through a practice he terms Wayfaring Encounters – often manifesting through abstract object relations – he is researching how form, gesture, action and response support a felt relational exchange, and how awareness of this can become a resource for igniting creative processes.