The first week of our autumn classes will be led by choreographer, dancer, movement director and yoga teacher Gerrard Martin. As with all morning classes, these sessions are for experienced movers who want to dance in a relaxed, encouraging and inspiring environment.
Dancers will encounter a fusion of contemporary dance styles and will be guided by yogic principles of empowerment, openness, and connectedness. The use of imagery, in the class, will aid the forming of mental pictures, in order to stimulate memory, thereby creating strong connections to happen when sequencing phrase work.
Thursday’s class will be covered by Vanessa Abreu. The focus will be within; how does one or the movement feel, rather than an emphasis on shapes or how things look. The session with allow for a sense of arrival and check-in with one’s body/mind drawing from a somatic and yogic approach, and will then move into freer, more open and energetic explorations. Maps will be drawn with anchors points allowing space for improvisation.
Gerrard aims to produce works of emotive and socially relevant dance-theatre; to teach and facilitate creativity through movement, yoga and dance, and collaborates and engages with artists across different mediums.
He studied BA Hons in English Literature and Performing Arts at De Montfort University, continued his studies at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. He has danced for Altered Skin, Akademi, Rosie Kay Dance Company, and toured nationally with Tavaziva Dance, Union Dance Company, as well as dancing for the West End’s production of the Lion King, Ballet Black, Aletta Collins Dance Company, State of Emergency, and Phoenix Dance Company.
Gerrard has also danced for the National Theatre, the English National Opera and the Royal Opera House alongside more commercial engagements. He currently teaches on the Musical Theatre BA Hons at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, the CAT programme at Trinity Laban and has taught and mentored on the Children Youth Dance and Adult Classes & Courses programme at the Place, he is a guest Associate Lecturer at the University of Northampton, and teaches at RADA.
Gerrard has choreographed for Outbox Theatre, Longborough Opera, British Museum, Pegasus Opera, and the National Portrait gallery. The West Bengal Federation of Dance, India commissioned Gerrard’s choreography for World Dance Day. His project-based company Gerrard Martin Dance was created in 2011, presenting work in the UK and Greece. Gerrard is also the co-founder of Black Artists in Dance, (BAiD) and the associate founder of The Healthy Young Dancer Project (THYDP). He is part of the first cohort of The Kerry Nicholls Dance Mentoring Programme and is a trained Yoga teacher.
Vanessa is a Portuguese/Mozambican dance artist based in London. Formally trained in ballet and later in contemporary dance and choreography in Lisbon and London (Laban). As a mature and disabled artist, she is interested in developing safe and healthy working environments within dance. Alongside performing and teaching, she is a qualified yoga instructor and nutritional therapist. Care, physical and mental well-being appear as life ethea which ought be cultivated in the field.
Professional engagements include: Sara Wookey, Annie Hanauer, Alexis Blake, Candoco Dance Company, State of Emergency, Shobana Jeyasingh, Fleur Darkin Ensemble, Rachel Lopez & Ben Ash, Janine Harrington, Gerrard Martin Dance, Tânia Bruguera, Pablo Bronstein, Union Dance.
Vanessa currently teaches both contemporary and ballet on the Musical Theatre BA Hons at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts; and yoga at Gym Sutton and online. She is an Equity Dance Committee board member, and an associate of The Healthy Young Dancer Project (THYDP).