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Dance

Celebrating the success of CoLab 2024

Each year, CoLab marks the perfect opportunity for our Dance, Music, and Musical Theatre students to unite in celebration of creativity and innovation in all its many art forms, culminating in two magnificent showcases. 900 students from our faculties come together with staff and visiting artists from around the world to create works rooted in imagination and innovation. 79 projects took place over two weeks in February, including 35 student-proposed projects, four international co-creative projects, and three visiting companies.

This year’s theme ‘Journey to the Heart’ prompted experimentation, risk-taking, and creativity, emphasising that collaboration in the arts is more important than ever. The fortnight-long festival saw students, colleagues, and guests explore and play outside of their comfort zone to reach new artistic heights.

International highlights included students working with musicians from Slovakia for the project Variations in Roma and Slovak Traditional Music, led by TL alum Zoltan Gayas, creating arrangements through improvisation and exploration. Singapore’s contemporary dance group, The Presence Project, led by TL alumnus and Honorary Fellow Peter Gn (PhD), collaborated with TL students to create the project No Detour at the Intersections. This multidisciplinary movement experience guided dancers and non-dancers through fun, in-the-moment contemporary dance routines and improvisations. TL also worked closely with the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, based in Los Angeles, to bring together four separate projects inspired by the year’s theme – a true testament to the creative strength of our community.

Trinity Laban students also thrived working with UK-based companies, including Clod Ensemble, an internationally renowned performance company delivering an award-winning artistic programme with public engagement at its heart. Artistic Directors Suzy Wilson and Paul Clark joined forces with students on a project exploring the ensemble’s unique approach to interdisciplinary collaboration. During the festival, they journeyed into the heart of 27-years of performance making, delving into archive materials to foster connections and creating opportunities to find a shared language.

Showcases of the students’ work took place at Laban Building and Blackheath Halls – each a resounding success and reminder of the beauty of artistic collaboration.

Kirsty Purnell joins Moving Stories as Dance Artist

2020 Community Dance alum Kirsty Purnell will be one of four Dance Artists working with us for Moving Stories: embedding dance and drama in SEND teacher practice.

Recent alum Kirsty Purnell has joined Moving Stories, a two-year Paul Hamlyn Teacher Development Fund project, as a Dance Artist. Trinity Laban and its partners were successful in a bid of support from the PHF Teacher Development Fund – Moving Stories was one of eight UK-wide projects chosen for support.

Kirsty will be working with two of the six Lewisham-based schools involved in the project: Watergate and the Resource Base at Athelney Primary. In her role as a Dance Artist, she will collaborate with Drama Practitioners from Peoplescape Theatre, and School Teachers to develop and embed drama and dance in their setting, with the goal to improve the communication skills of young people facing high levels of disadvantage. Communication skills are the key to unlocking young peoples’ ability to thrive as active, engaged and connected members of their communities. Teachers and Artists will learn from each other, developing new pedagogical approaches, and spread good practice to colleagues, ensuring disabled young people have access to a rich and exciting arts curriculum which supports their life skills.

On being appointed the role of Dance Artist, Kirsty Purnell comments: “I am really excited to be one of the Dance Artists on the Moving Stories project in collaboration with Trinity Laban and Peoplescape Theatre. It feels particularly special to be on a project that is two years long and will allow time and space to build relationships and see the longer term impact of creative practices in SEND settings. I’m really looking forward to working on a project that’s so collaborative in nature and excited to see how working closely with drama practitioners and SEND teachers impacts and expands my own community dance practice. The learning and connections I made during my time at Trinity Laban on the Community Dance Postgrad have been invaluable in shaping my work in different dancing communities and Moving Stories is a wonderful example of this!”

More about Kirsty

An experienced facilitator, Kirsty works in a variety of settings including primary, secondary, SEN schools and community centres. She is particularly interested in how movement can be used to create, communicate and collaborate in the spirit of collective joy.

​She regularly leads projects for Rambert, The Royal Academy of Dance, Trinity Laban and Sadler’s Wells Learning and Engagement Programme with sharings at Sadler’s Wells Theatre and The Yard Theatre, Hackney Wick. She has also worked for SLiDE, Hackney Children’s Theatre, Trinity Laban and run workshops for F.A.T Studio and London College of Communication.

​Initially studying English Literature and Philosophy at Glasgow University and then completing her PGCE, she went on to receive a scholarship to study Community Dance at Trinity Laban. Kirsty is a professional member of People Dancing and an accredited teacher of Rambert Grades Creative Dance for Early Years and Grade 1-4 contemporary technique.

Resolution 2024

This year, Resolution 2024 returns to The Place between 17 January and 9 February. Across 18 nights, 54 artists and companies from London and beyond perform bold new contemporary dance work. We are incredibly proud to have many alumni and students taking part in Resolution 2024.

Several Desperate Attempts explores the concept of fame, questioning the lengths that people are willing to go to for the rich and successful life. This contemporary dance-theatre has been inspired by pop culture controversiality and phenomena, such as Lady Gaga’s meat dress and Britney Spears shaving her head, to name a few. Several Desperate Attempts was choreographed by Jack Trotter and features TL Alum Ben Yorke-Griffiths. (Thu 18 Jan)

Sylvie Holder’s Sweet England delves into the undocumented realities of peasantry within Western Europe in the Middle Ages. It explores the untold history of the people of serfdom and unfolds on stage as an organic anthology of happenings, a series of proposed experiences and features TL Alumni Ben Yorke-Griffiths and Lucy Rutter. (Fri 19 Jan)

Trinity Laban Alum Francesca Matthys performs a new solo work, Stap (St-AH-p), which is informed by her South African lineage, spiritual and artistic practice. Known as the ‘Stepping in Situ’ practice, Francesca is in conversation with original adaptations of the Nama Stap Rite of Passage Dance. This practice acknowledges the pelvis as a site of wisdom, intuition and identity of ancestral significance. (Wed 24 Jan)

Choreographed by Trinity Laban alum and Innovation Award Winner Chiara Halter, 33 RPM combines set design, contemporary movement language and opera, as a response to the ongoing growth in socio-economic segregation. Chiara and fellow alum Alessia Tomassi Marinangeli, work to embrace the evolution of cultural heritage, and serve the reminder that we are nothing but the product of our environment. Chiara and Alessia will be joined by singer Paula Günther. (Thu 25 Jan)

On The Other Side, choreographed by TL Alum Yee Kei Yuki Chung, has been through 5 stages of research and development. It explores the emotional impact on people who have experienced the death of others, imaginary death, and the imaginary contact between the dead and the living. This project features TL Alumni Mac Daniel Villanueva Palima and composer Mikey Parsons. This project is generously supported by the Thea Barnes Legacy. (Tue 30 Jan)

Choreographed by Trinity Alum Innovation Award winner Aimee Ruhinda, A Good Scare is a Wonderful Aphrodisiac explores the witch archetype as a reborn feminist symbol. This piece explores the Butoh ideology, saturating the raw real to become surreal. ‘The coven’ portrays your deepest fears as a method to better understand them, reclaiming your true self. It will be performed by six Trinity Laban alumni dancers Alessia Tomassi Marinangeli, Ana Noakes, Chiara Halter, Ellie Broom, Kiera O’Reilly and Zuzanna Wasiak. (Wed 31 Jan)

TL Alum Emma Skyum has choreographed LEUCA, a dance dedicated to the passing of time, self-realisation and acceptance. Stimulated by the nature of personal growth this work evolves cohesively with the dancer as she develops her own movement language. LEUCA is an abstract portrayal of ‘relive, retrieve, recover’ from lived experiences of the self in which the stimulus is solely one’s own truth. (Wed 31 Jan)

Resurrection is a dance that explores how one might rebuild their sense of self and purpose when a major part of their life falls apart. Themes of internalised relationships are explored and contrasted with colourful, psychedelic visuals and set to an eclectic soundtrack. Trinity Alum Antonia Latz is one of four dancers in this piece by Samantha Harding. (Thur 1 Feb)

In his solo performance Souvenir, dance artist Fabio Pronesti reconsiders what we kept close. A body seeks procedures of pouring memories in the space whilst getting confused by what is familiar: the smell of a smoke, a way of capturing each other’s hands, some desires rooted out yesterday. Within the landscape crafted in collaboration with sound engineer Beatrice Balagna, Fabio brings to light lived spaces, currents in which he immersed himself and some precious relics: other beliefs that were real. (Sat 3 Feb)

There are few bodies as impressive in its range of movement and ability to navigate space than the octopus. In fact, in the nineteenth century the octopus was the most demonised creature for this very reason and was coined the ‘devil fish’. Devil Fish, by Silver-Tongue Studios, questions what it means to be called ‘a monster’ and features TL Alum Antonia Latz. (Wed 7 Feb)

I Am. Am I is a human story that questions labelling theory and raises awareness of social inequality using a multitude of different means. This is a work in progress and TL Alum Louiseanne Pui Chi Wong investigates their struggle with social norms, displacement, and unlearning how they were ‘conditioned’ in Hong Kong. (Thur 8 Feb)

Magnetoreception is a dance of passion and pain, narrated by the mesmerising choreography of magnets in motion. TL Alum Sarah Hirsch and her colleague Phillip McDermott established Odyl Creations in 2023, which recently culminated in a forty-minute production at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. (Fri 9 Feb)

Image Credit: Production image from A Good Scare is a Wonderful Aphrodisiac by Aimee Ruhinda / The Place

Welcoming TL’s newest Honorary Fellows

During our graduation ceremonies last week, we were delighted to award a number of Honorary Fellowships to outstanding industry professionals and members of the TL community: celebrated Artistic Director Shobana Jeyasingh CBE, TCM alum and President of EMI Records, Rebecca Allen, and Julian Joseph OBE, one of the finest musicians in contemporary British Jazz. TL’s Vice Chair, Dr Geoffrey Copland CBE, was awarded an Honorary Companionship, and a moving posthumous award was made to our former Director of Dance, Mirella Bartrip OBE, received by her husband.

The Honorary Fellows were nominated for outstanding achievements and contributions to the arts throughout their careers. Shobana Jeyasingh CBE founded her dance company in 1989 and has created over 60 critically acclaimed works for stage, screen, and outside and indoor sites, ranging from Palladian monasteries in Venice to contemporary fountains in London. Her works are noted for both their intellectual rigour and visceral physicality, remaining rooted in her experience as a female postcolonial citizen of the world. Many of them form part of the National Curriculum for Dance in the UK. A multi-award winning creative, Shobana was named Asian Woman of Achievement in Art and Culture in 2008 and was awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the WOW Women in Creative Industries Awards in 2017. Serving on panels such as Arts Council England and the Royal Opera House, she is also patron of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. Her distinguished artistic career extends to working as a researcher and scriptwriter for two pioneering programmes on British Asian Arts for Channel Four. A founding member and research fellow of ResCen at Middlesex University, she was invited to take on the role of Knowledge Producer by the Cultural Institute at Kings College London in 2014 which led to Translocations, a series of films where choreographic narratives met a range of academic disciplines. More recently, Shobana was a judge for BBC Young Dancer in both 2017 and 2019.

Rebecca Allen is one of the most powerful and influential executives in the British music industry today. As President of EMI Records, Rebecca oversees a roster of artists that comprises home-grown talent signed directly to the label, and international superstars who have chosen to make EMI their UK home, ranging from Taylor Swift to Paul McCartney and Metallica. A former student at Trinity College of Music, Rebecca began her career with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and then the BBC Proms. Her tenacity, warmth and eye for a great story quickly saw her get snapped up by Universal Music Group, where she enjoyed a meteoric rise through the legendary Decca label. She started as a press assistant in the Classics and Jazz Division, then as Director of Media, rising to General Manager, then Managing Director, before becoming President of Decca in 2017: the youngest person – and the first woman in its long and distinguished 90-year history – ever to hold this role. Rebecca put UK country music in the spotlight, helped bring jazz to a much wider audience, championed young classical stars, and collaborated with artists including Nicola Benedetti and Rod Stewart. A multi-award winning executive, she was recognised as Businesswoman of the Year at Music Week’s Women in Music Awards in 2017 in addition to being named as one of US Publication Billboard’s Women in Music Awards Power Players. In the same year, she became a board member at Trinity Laban. As Co-Chair of the Classic BRIT Awards, she led the award show to be nominated for a BAFTA for the first time in its history in 2021.

Reflecting on her time at Trinity Laban, Rebecca stated: “I look back at the years I spent studying at Trinity as some of the most important and formative years of my life. It was an incredibly fulfilling experience and helped me discover the characteristics about myself that I could then utilise to start a career within music. Being a professional musician wasn’t something I ever wanted to do but fortunately Trinity understood the bigger picture and helped me focus on other incredibly important areas with music and arts management. Their ethos was so refreshing!”.

Acclaimed as one of today’s finest jazz musicians, Julian Joseph OBE has dedicated his career to championing jazz across the UK and worldwide. He has forged a reputation beyond his formidable skills as a composer and performer, and is universally recognised as a highly knowledgeable and engaging broadcaster, musical ambassador, educator, and cultural advocate. Over the past 35 years, Julian has made ground-breaking advances for jazz in the UK. He was the first Black British jazz musician to host a series at London’s Wigmore Hall, and the first to headline a late-night concert at the BBC Proms with his All Star Big Band. As a composer, Julian has written original works for symphony orchestra, big band and chamber ensemble, and received major commissions from the BBC, the Hackney Music Development Trust, the City of London Festival and the London Jazz Festival. His operas and dance works – Bridgetower, Shadowball, The Brown Bomber, Othello21  – have not only brought key moments in Black history into sharp focus, but given children a rare opportunity to perform in and discover both classical and jazz music. Founding his own Jazz Academy in 2013, it stands as the single most important player for TL’s jazz practice and vision, alongside Tomorrow’s Warriors. Joseph has six albums, one single, and one soundtrack to his credit, and his work has been recognised by multiple major cultural organisations. He published his debut jazz book, Music of Initiative, in 2018.

TL’s Vice Chair, Dr Geoffrey Copland CBE, served as Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of Westminster until 2007, following a series of university posts engaged in research, lecturing in physics, and as a senior manager. He has held several positions in prestigious higher education organisations, including Vice-President of Universities UK and Chair of its England and Northern Ireland Council, as well as Chair of the Universities and Colleges Employers Association. Geoffrey has been a TL governor since 2008, becoming Vice-Chair in 2013, and Chair since September 2019. He has also been a trustee of Trinity College London since 2012, vice-chair from 2016 and chair in 2019-2020. Other notable positions include chairman of Thomas Wall Trust, president of ASET (the Work Based and Placement Learning Association) and a trustee of the Quintin Hogg Trust and Quintin Hogg Memorial Fund. He has a strong interest in helping young people to achieve to their full potential, by overcoming barriers to progression wherever possible. Since retirement, he has undertaken a number of consultancy projects for higher education including some on university governance.

Mirella Bartrip OBE started her distinguished career at Trinity Laban as a lecturer, teaching classical ballet, dance technique theory, and teaching studies. In 1984, she became Programme Leader for the undergraduate dance programme. Over a period of 20 years, she led a series of reviews that refined and shaped the programme into what is recognised internationally as one of the world’s most prestigious dance degrees. As the first Vice Principal (Academic) and then Deputy Director & Dean of Studies, she oversaw the creation and development of a series of flagship Masters programmes, including the UK’s first Masters programme in Dance Science. She was also an important figure in the merger with Trinity College of Music, leading to the formation of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. In 2010, Mirella became Director of Dance at Trinity Laban. Her numerous achievements have included being part of the team that saw Trinity Laban gain its own Taught Degree Awarding Powers, and successfully enter the Research Excellence Framework for the first time. Mirella gained an international reputation as a dance educator, and was regularly invited to judge competitions and assess dance work across the globe. Having passed away in 2021, she leaves a magnificent creative legacy behind her and her posthumous award in honour of her exceptional service to Trinity Laban was received by her husband.

Leo Geyer restores music composed at Auschwitz

Fragments of music scores found at Auschwitz were played for the first time two weeks ago after being restored by Junior Trinity alum, conductor, and tutor Leo Geyer.

On 27 November, Leo Geyer’s organisation Constella Music celebrated its tenth anniversary and relaunch with a special concert at Sadler’s Wells, featuring several new premieres and an exceptional team of performers. The concert included four restored pieces from Geyer’s new opera-ballet, The Orchestras of Auschwitz – a project that pays tribute to musicians murdered in Auschwitz and highlights the music written in concentration camps.

Back in 2015, Leo was commissioned to compose a musical score in memory of British historian and holocaust expert Martin Gilbert, who had died earlier that year. To deepen his understanding of the historian’s work, Leo visited Auschwitz and met with an archivist at the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial and museum. It was here that he discovered remnants of musical scores arranged and played by orchestras at the camp: 210 pieces of varying completion – original compositions, arrangements, printed music.

“The music had been mostly destroyed so what remains is almost like a broken jigsaw puzzle, except there are several and they are all mixed in together,” said Leo when discussing the subject with CNN. Returning multiple times to Auschwitz, Leo Geyer also carried out extensive research into testimonies from the camp and its history of music. “There were, at one point, as many as six orchestras at Auschwitz and they were all very much sanctioned by the SS and in some cases commissioned by the SS,” Leo explained – often the instrument combinations were small and unconventional. For years, the women’s orchestra of Birkenau had no cellist until Anita Lasker-Wallfisch arrived – a survivor of the holocaust who still lives in Britain today. Her grandson, Simon Wallfisch, a baritone, took part in Constella’s performance.

In an online interview with the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, Lasker-Wallfisch recalled: “That I survived nearly one year in Auschwitz is without any doubt due to the fact that I became a member of the camp orchestra. As long as the Germans wanted an orchestra, it would have been counter-productive to kill us. Our task consisted of playing every morning and every evening at the gate of the camp so that the outgoing and incoming work commandos would march neatly in step to the marches we played. We also had to be available at all times to play to individual SS staff who would come into our block and wanted to hear some music after sending thousands of people to their death.”

The orchestras sometimes played in private or for prisoners in secret, and rebelled in musical cryptograms, sending messages through music. Leo cites the weaving of the Polish national anthem into marching music as a good example of this. Having gone unnoticed for 80 years, the scores are now being brought back by Leo’s historic project – an important homage to the victims of Auschwitz.

The Orchestras of Auschwitz Research & Development week is taking place at the Laban Studio from Monday 11 – Friday 15 December, and will involve nine students from the TL Music faculty and four from the TL Dance faculty. Reflecting on his time at Trinity Laban, Leo says: “I attended Junior Trinity as a student many moons again, and this was when I first collaborated with dance. It was a lifechanging experience and in addition to teaching [composition and musicianship] at Junior Trinity, I have continued to work in dance ever since, securing my first job as a conductor with The Royal Ballet. It is therefore most fitting to be developing my most significant dance work with Trinity Laban.”

A composer, conductor, presenter, founder and artistic director, Leo Geyer holds a diverse career spanning across opera, dance, film, and concert music. He has established a reputation for his reimaginings, which creatively engage with music of the past, and is currently studying for a doctorate in opera-ballet composition as the Senior Music Scholar at St Catherine’s College, Oxford. His music has been described by The Times as “imaginative and beautifully shaped”, and has received performances by ensembles including the English Chamber Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Rambert Dance Company and Opera North.

The choreographers and LPO composers photographed together as a group.

TL choreographers collaborate with LPO Composers for Debut Sounds 2024

We are thrilled to announce our collaboration with the London Philharmonic Orchestra for Debut Sounds 2024. Nine Trinity Laban choreographers will work closely with the LPO Young Composers this season, mentored by LPO composer-in-residence Tania León. They will create choreography for five brand new pieces by the Young Composers, to be performed at the LPO’s Debut Sounds concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre in June 2024.

On 26 October, TL choreographers joined forces with Tania León and the LPO Young Composers for the first time, launching the start of their creative discussions. One of the five LPO Young Composers is our alum Eliana Echeverry, one of the most versatile composers and arrangers in Colombia, who previously completed an MMus in Composition at Trinity Laban!

Tania set the session in motion by introducing the brief and discussing the collaboration in more detail. Each composer and choreographer split into their teams to discuss and develop their artistic ideas, with different directions being explored: in-depth discussion, online research and drawing to unlock creativity. The groups then reunited – the perfect opportunity to get to know each other better and come together as part of a creative community. The composers and choreographers will continue to meet throughout the season, before their works are performed in June by Trinity Laban dancers, members of the LPO, and musicians from the LPO’s Foyle Future Firsts scheme. Read on to learn more about the brilliant TL choreographers who are taking part in the project…

Dr Irene Fiordilino is a London-based choreographer and researcher. She is the director of the emerging Scirocco Dance Theatre Company and Associate Director of the London International Screen Dance Festival. Irene’s original artistic methodology – Transitory Architecture – sits in the space between choreography and architecture: the intention is to bring the relation between bodies and space to the fore, questioning the aesthetics and the politics of cohabitation. Irene completed her PhD in Creative Practice at Trinity Laban where she occasionally works as a lecturer. Both her papers and choreographic work have been presented at international conferences and festivals in Europe, India, the UAE and the United States.

Sarah do Carmo Santos is Brazilian and relocated to England to pursue her MA in Choreography at Trinity Laban. She graduated with a BA in Dance from the University of Campinas in Brazil, where she trained in ballet, contemporary dance, and Brazilian dances. She is a dancer/choreographer interested in exploring movement through touch and text, combined with practices of mindfulness and body awareness.

Nina Murphy is a creative artist who works in the mediums of movement/dance, choreography, and film. She is currently living and working in London. Preceding her time in London, Nina resided in Helena, Montana as a dance instructor/choreographer at two established dance studios. She holds a BFA in Dance Performance from the University of Wyoming as well as an MFA in Creative Practice from Trinity Laban. Nina has had the honour of working with artists such as Daniel Charon, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Charmaine Hunter, André Megerdichian, and Jesse Obremski. She also had the opportunity to perform as a soloist and ensemble in works choreographed by José Limón and Colin Connor. She has training in ballet, modern (Limón and Graham technique experience), jazz, tap, and vertical dance. Nina’s choreographic experience spans from small black box works and dance films to site-specific and studio recitals. During her time in London, Nina has had the pleasure to dance in several dance films by artists around the world as well as take part in the historic event of The Platinum Jubilee Pageant for the late Queen of England. She also had the honour of presenting her dance film Unapologetically Herself in an art exhibition where she explored the use of the female figure as art.

Yun Cheng is a choreographer based in London. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Yun began her dance journey in creative dance lessons, and trained in ballet, contemporary and Chinese dance. She studied at Taipei University of the Arts and London Contemporary Dance School with a focus on choreography. Yun explores the delicate connection between human beings and introspection in her choreographic works in collaboration with dancers, musicians, new media artists, and filmmakers. She is currently conducting her PhD research – Nurturing the process: a Feldenkrais-informed choreographic practice at Trinity Laban. Her previous choreographic works include Closer: Five Portraits of Dancers (Dance film) (London, 2020) and The Quake Within (The Place London, 2020), among several others.

Franziska Boehm is a multidisciplinary artist, performer, and lecturer whose work is grounded in embodied awareness and phenomenological research. She believes in artistic expression as a transformational tool for finding language on seemingly inexplicable topics such as grief, loss and love. She holds two degrees (BA, MA) in Music (Flute, Voice, Music Education) from the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich, and an MFA in Creative Practice: Dance Professional from Trinity Laban. Currently in her last year of a practice-based PhD at Trinity Laban, she continues to explore the lived experience of the “vocalic self” in performance and practice. As a lecturer, she worked in the field of music and dance at different conservatoires in Germany and the UK, taught as a course presenter in China, and has been involved in artist-in-school programs, developing choreography with children and youth. Performances, exhibitions and workshops include: feel soft at ASC Croydon (collaborative exhibition with Mira Hirtz, London 2023), a revealed study at Resolutions Contemporary Dance Festival (London 2022), and for expressions sake (a performative installation at Laban Theatre, 2022), among several others. As a performer, she works with creatives such as Lizzy Le Quesne, Mira Hirtz, Kate Wilson, and Joachim Hamou. She also has a creative long-term partnership with artist S. Ruth, making work together since 2021.

Sofia Pomeroy is a dancer and choreographer who was born and raised in Madrid, but is half English. After finishing her studies in Psychology, she went on a gap year to New York and this ignited her desire to start a career in dance. Encouraged by her peers, she went to Germany and studied Dance and Pedagogy at Iwanson International School of Contemporary Dance in Munich. During her studies, she focused on Contemporary Dance and developed a strong passion for choreography, taking every opportunity to make a new creation. In her final year at Iwanson, she took part in the festival Hier=Jetzt with her choreography Stuck/unstuck. Immediately after her graduation, Sofia received state funding to create a dance performance of her own and in the following month, she premiered a two-day performance called Suit-cased at PLATFORM gallery in Munich. The day after the performance, she flew to London and started an MA in Choreography at Trinity Laban.

Carolyn Bolton is pictured in black and white. She is wearing a black turtleneck, the neck of which she is pulling up to her chin.

Carolyn Bolton appointed Creative Director of ENBYouthCo

Second year MFA in Dance Leadership and Community Practice student, Carolyn Bolton, has been appointed Creative Director of ENBYouthCo.

Born in Columbia, South Carolina, Carolyn Bolton began her pre-professional training at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities before completing her Bachelor of Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography at the University of South Carolina. She received a full scholarship to the Martha Graham School for Contemporary Dance in New York and trained with Béjart Ballet Lausanne before joining Ballet Rambert in 2013. She has since had the pleasure of working with Julie Cunningham and Company and L’Opera National du Rhin and has been featured in film and television work with Marvel Studios, Apple TV, and HBO Max.

Carolyn has presented two site-specific solo works for the Operaestate Festival in Bassano Del Grappa, Italy and has been an Artist-in-Residence for both the Operaestate Festival and for The Place’s Choreodrome in London. Her choreography has been performed nationally and internationally, most notably at Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, National Theatre’s River Stage, Rich Mix, Rambert’s In The Making, The Place’s Resolution, The Lowry, South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities and Youth America Grand Prix.

Carolyn has worked with the Centre for Advanced Training at Trinity Laban since 2019. In 2022, she was nominated for a Black British Theatre Award in the Achievement Category for Best Teacher. Carolyn has been invited as an academic tutor, guest instructor and lecturer in both ballet and contemporary styles for numerous schools including London Contemporary Dance School, Trinity Laban, Tring Park School for the Performing Arts, Mountview, Shockout Arts, The Dang and Bird College.

In 2023, Carolyn was one of nine artists/companies selected by The Place for their commissioned community projects. The proposed intergenerational work Seeking the Unseen explored the body as an archive and received excellent reception from those involved in the process. She is proud to be working with the Royal Opera House on both the Chance to Dance and Create and Dance programmes.

More about ENBYouthCo

Launched in 2012, English National ballet’s youth dance company ENBYouthCo promotes personal creativity, commitment and innovation and offers young talented artists aged 14 – 19 an opportunity to fulfil their potential and progress their dance journey.

ENBYouthCo focuses on both ballet and contemporary dance technique, reflecting the varied and diverse styles seen in English National Ballet’s repertoire. The programme offers high profile performance and creative development opportunities, including a main stage performance in London during the Company’s season, and access to a wide range of professional artists, international choreographers and creatives.

Edel Quinn presenting Sonia Rafferty with her IADMS Dance Educator award. Both are standing together against a white background, Both are smiling at the camera holding the award cupped in their hands.

TL Dance Science Programme Leader wins IADMS Dance Educator Award 2022

Congratulations to Sonia Rafferty, Programme Leader, BSc Dance Science, who recently received the IADMS Dance Educator Award 2022 at this year’s annual International Association for Dance Medicine and Science Conference in Limerick, Ireland. IADMS is a global network of medical professionals, educators, dancers, and researchers, committed to dancers’ health and improving health through dance.

Sonia was presented with her award by last year’s winner, Edel Quin. Edel is a Trinity Laban alum and former MSc Dance Science Programme Leader. She is now the Programme Leader for BSc Dance Science at Chichester University.

On receiving her award, Sonia said:

“I’m really honoured to be recognised with this award by my amazing colleagues in the IADMS international community and fellow practitioners in both dance science and education. Very proud of the work we’ve all done!”

Trinity Laban is known internationally as a leader in Dance Science. We offer dance science education, research and clinical services for the dance profession. We further benefit from strong industry links and professional networks.

We’re proud that our teaching staff have been recognised for their expertise and contributions.

Interested in studying Dance Science? Then join us for our forthcoming Dance Science Open Day on 15 December 2022.

Image credit: Matthew Tomkinson

Mass Dance comes to Lewisham. Group of dancers in seven rows across a large open stage dancing with one leg raised to the knee and their hands above their head. They are wearing brightly coloured trousers and tops.

Mass Dance Comes To Lewisham

Did you catch Close To Home: The Mass Dance Event a few weeks ago?

On 22 and 23 October, hundreds of dancers, of all ages, came together for an inspiring performance. Close to Home: The Mass Dance Event weaved together real-life stories of migration, community, activism and history through movement and music.

It was a privilege to have 70 undergraduate dance students participate in the core group of performers.  A small group of performers from our local older adults groups, Boundless and Voices in Motion participated too.

Mass Dance built upon the success Hope 4 Justice in the summer, the culmination of over a year-long engagement by TL’s Children and Young People and Public Engagement programmes which involved over 700 young people from 26 local schools in a music, dance and spoken word performance calling for action on the climate emergency.

Mass Dance was directed by Alleyne Dance, presented by We Are Lewisham in partnership with Albany Deptford and IRIE! dance theatre in association with Dance Umbrella and Trinity Laban, as part of the London Borough of Culture 2022 programme. We are proud have been part of We Are Lewisham and look forward to developing further collaborations with leading artists and local young people in Lewisham.

Check out Alleyne Dance’s fantastic Instagram Stories, showcasing the build-up to the event and exciting performances over that weekend.

Announcing our TL Innovation Award Winners 2022

The award provides final-year students with a platform to grow as creators, offering significant support in the form of professional development and seed funding so awardees can realise their artistic and business ideas.

Now in its fourth year, the Trinity Laban Innovation Award forms part of the conservatoire’s strategy to help emerging artists develop their voice and innovate in the cultural industries.

We’re pleased to announce that the 2022 winners are:

  • Phoebe Noble, Natasha Spencer Levy, Ellie Drayton and Holly McConville (Musical Theatre) for 13 Months Theatre
  • Shaye Poulton Richards (Music) for Upon A Mother’s Death
  • Iolla Grace (Music) for InsideSound
  • The Grounding Project: Ruby De Ville Morel, Mila Fernandez and Melissa Heywood (Dance) for The Water Series
  • Ashley Lim and Isabelle Long (Dance) for Transcendance
  • Ebony Robinson (Dance) for Diversity in space and styles

The awardees impressed expert panellists Chief Executive of Black Lives in Music Charisse Beaumont, Creative Dance Consultant Theresa Beattie OBE, and Trinity Laban Principal Anthony Bowne with diverse and innovative proposals that span cultural history, boundary-pushing genre development, and the power of the arts for positive change in the community.

Anthony Bowne comments –

“The panel and I were incredibly impressed by the creativity, ambition and scope shown by applicants across dance, music and musical theatre. The Trinity Laban Innovation Award is one of the many ways in which Trinity Laban is nurturing entrepreneurial and project management skills in early career artists and strengthening our connections with the wider industry.”

Charisse Beaumont comments –

“I was impressed by the calibre of the applicants this year. Each demonstrated not just creativity and innovation but the willingness to use their project to impact society. I am deeply inspired and encouraged by the fact that this is just the beginning of their career as future leaders.”

Theresa Beattie comments –

“I was impressed by the entrepreneurial ideas of the students and how each finalist made the case through their presentation as to how they could make a positive civic impact with Innovation Award investment.”

Funded by our Higher Education Innovation Fund allocation, each winning project receives an award of £3,000 to use on development. They will also benefit from a specially tailored 10-month mentorship programme delivered by acclaimed Trinity Laban alumni, who will share their expertise, including:

  • Flautist and music educator Nicola Tagoe 
  • Artistic Director of Studio Will Dutta and Co-Head of Artist Development at Sound and Music Will Dutta (BMus Piano 2008) 
  • Presenter, workshop leader and narrator Lucy Drever, who is Associate Artist with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Head of Musicianship at the Benedetti Foundation, and an Ambassador for the Britten Pears Arts Community team. (BMus Voice (mezzo soprano) 2013) 
  • Dance and movements specialist Yukiko Masui who has worked with international contemporary dance companies such as Art of Spectra, Cathy Waller Company, Christopher Marney and Vuyani Dance Theatre. (DDS 2009; MA Dance Performance 2011) 
  • Matthew Harding, artistic director for Urban Interface Dance UK and the founder and director for Wolfpack Dance Collective UK. (MFA Choreography 2019) 

Since its inception in 2019, the Trinity Laban Innovation Award has already supported 18 forward-thinking and socially engaged projects conceived by winners who have achieved remarkable things, contributing to the UK’s rich cultural landscape. These include:

  • Composer, musician and artist James Layton who founded Into the Ocean, a London-based recording and concert series showcasing experimental new music including an album of works for solo viola in collaboration with Stephen Upshaw.
  • Multicultural all-female dance collective Mass Hysteria who has created work for Tate Modern, The Place’s Resolution Festival 2020 and V&A’s Friday Late series.
  • Producing Artistic Director Hayley Huggett, who set up Tilley Peacock Productions, creating shows and workshops for children with Special Educational Needs and Disability.

Trinity Laban Innovation Award Co-founder, Joe Townsend comments –

“Now is the time for finding fresh ways of working together. In these uncertain times, the arts are more important than ever. Fuelled by energy and imagination, combined with Trinity Laban’s excellent creative approach to training, we are proud to support these fabulous artists as they launch their careers in music, dance and musical theatre. There are more collective projects than in previous years, which is a testament to our belief in collaborative working.”

The award gives graduates more than just money to realise a project, the mentoring is a two-way learning relationship that provides a safe space for mentors and graduates to bring ideas into action and to help shape the bigger picture of music and dance.

Dance artists Emma Greene and Sunniva Moen Rorvik used their 2021 award to support their project exploring experiences of dance of the African Diaspora in the London Borough of Lewisham. They comment –

“The Trinity Laban Innovation Award gave us the opportunity to make important connections within the local community. The support from our mentor, really helped us to take on this new challenge with confidence and we are forever grateful for the opportunities that we have had since receiving the award.”

To find out more, visit our Innovation Award webpage.

If you’re interested in studying at Trinity Laban visit our study pages.

Image credit: Juno Snowdon

Dancer performing in TL studio with neon lights

TL’s research deemed world-leading by REF 2021

The results of the Research Excellence Framework 2021 have been published 

Overall 68% of Trinity Laban’s research was assessed to be world-leading and internationally excellent, a significant improvement from the last REF (2014) furthering TL’s position as one of the UK’s leading conservatoires and its standing in a comparative group of UK conservatoires. 

100% of our research impacts were ranked at the two top grades 4* (world-leading in originality, significance and rigour), and 3* (internationally excellent). This reflects the real world benefits Trinity Laban’s research has delivered. 

At sector level, we are in the top three UK conservatoires offering musical training. 

Undertaken every seven years, the Research Excellence Framework (REF) is a peer review process set up to assess the quality of research across UK universities. It aims to provide accountability for public investment in research and to support benchmarking within the HE sector and beyond. The outcomes are also used to calculate the distribution of public funding for university research. 

Find out more about research at Trinity Laban.