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Olga teaching

The Instrumental Body

TL Summer School teacher Olga Masleinnikova authors chapter in newly published Body and Awareness book.

Edited by Sandra Reeve, Body and Awareness (Triarchy Press) is the third volume in the Ways of Being a Body series, designed as a guide for teachers, students, practitioners and researchers. It includes several contemporary approaches to the study and experience of embodied awareness, which is a transdisciplinary field of contemporary research and practice.

According to the new publication, embodied awareness is central to understanding everything from the creative arts to the psychology of health, from meditation to the psycho-ecology of climate change.

While the research-led chapters reveal a wide variety of interests, they share the common notion of ‘body as flux’ and support the being-becoming-being of each of us as a skilful creative entity.

Interdisciplinary creative, movement director, choreologist, creativity coach and lecturer Olga Masleinnikova is one of 20 contributing experts sharing their perspectives on Body and Awareness.

Using a practical session with actors as a case study, her chapter ‘The Instrumental Body’ explores the possibilities offered by choreology to initiate and expand sensorial awareness.

Olga explains –

“In my chapter, I present a process where an intentional shift into the attitude of Instrumental Body allows movement tools to become an awareness map for the transformation of patterns, for the experience of new inner landscapes and for creative expansion.

“I also introduce the concept of choreological order, which I find very useful for performance and devising work. I particularly resonate with the work and the explanation of Trinity Laban Senior Lecturer in Choreology, Rosemary Brandt. She says ‘the choreological order is what holds our movement together, we don’t have to think about it, we haven’t been taught how to do it, we do it because it feels natural and comfortable’.

“I demonstrate a step-by-step process on how to break the choreological order to shift from naturalistic, to stylised movement, to dance. I find it such a useful tool and I can’t wait to share it with How Movement Work participants in July.”

Olga has previously delivered on Trinity Laban’s Specialist Diploma in Choreological Studies and is the lead tutor for the conservatoire’s How Movement Works summer school, a week-long choreology course for adult practitioners from different backgrounds and disciplines who are interested in exploring movement.

This year, Trinity Laban is running How Movement Works as a five-day digital intensive from 5 to 9 July 2021.

To find out more and apply, visit our Take Part pages.

Image credit: James Keates

John Chambers holding percussion instrument (left); John Darvell in action choreographing (right)

Alumni commissioned to create interactive digital work

John Darvell and John Chambers are part of creative team for The RIDDLE

Under the Artistic Direction of Trinity Laban alum John Darvell, NOCTURN collaborates with artists across genres to develop a unique blend of dance, accessible technology and interactive events.

Their latest creation, The RIDDLE, is a fun, interactive outdoor experience,  produced by Spin Arts, that focuses on society’s consumption of digital technology.

The experience is a commission for Greenwich Dance’s ArtsUnboxed programme, which is a new way to safely create, produce and tour work in 2021 funded by the Culture Recovery Fund.

Unlike a traditional production, there is no live event. Instead, audiences can download The RIDDLE for free and engage in the adventure at their own pace.

Participants help the central character Pæn re-engage with the wonders of the outdoors by hunting down QR codes, solving riddles and making and sharing their own dance moves. Audiences can even use NOCTURN’s Spotify playlist to add to the mood as they explore.

“Your mobile phone is part of the problem – and the solution!”, explains Darvell, who is the show’s Director and Choreographer.

He continues –

“This is our first outdoor work and a new exciting development for the company. It is also a work which responds to the restrictions and impact of COVID-19 and can be engaged with during these difficult times.”

Darvell’s professional journey into dance began at 37 when he decided to retrain in contemporary dance at Trinity Laban, leaving the security of day-to-day office work. He completed his Postgraduate Certificate in Community Dance in 2007 and has spent the last decade forging a remarkable approach to creating and choreographing work, placing community interaction and inclusion at the heart of his creative process.

The creative team behind The RIDDLE also includes fellow alum John Chambers, who wrote the music for the digital experience. The freelance composer, sound designer and lyricist graduated from Trinity Laban in 2008 with BMus (Hons) in composition. During his studies, he won the Daryl Runswick Prize, the John Halford Prize, and the Chappell Prize.

Chambers and Darvell first worked together while both studying at Trinity Laban, collaborating on Darvell’s final choreographic project ‘No More’. They have been collaborating ever since and Darvell describes Chambers as “the musical backbone” for many of NOCTURN’s pieces.

“He’s very talented in understanding the needs of a piece and creating a musical landscape which helps drive the narrative forward. He’s brilliant at marrying two opposing creative needs together which is no easy task.”

Chambers says –

“Over the years we’ve developed a good creative understanding of each other’s style, which means I was able to quickly compose the music for The RIDDLE – speed is crucial for a tightly scheduled project where the score has to happen in pre rather than postproduction.

“It’s been great seeing dance artist Tom Davis Dunn embody and respond to my score, and I look forward to members of the public being able to experience the work for themselves.”

The team received the commission at the end of 2020 and started work on the project in January.

On receiving the commission at the end of 2020 Darvell comments –

“It was amazing news for us especially as when everything else had gone back into lockdown. A bit of a lifesaving project to be involved in.”

The RIDDLE launches as part of ArtsUnboxed in May 2021.

Discover more about studying at Trinity Laban.

Image L-R: John Chambers (credit Pauline Chambers); John Darvell (credit Savannah Photographic)

Summer Season collage events banner

Summer Season Highlights 2021

Blending virtual and live events, our latest season offers audiences the chance to encounter dance, music and musical theatre in innovative ways.

This summer we are continuing to create performance opportunities for students from across our faculties through a diverse mix of digital and in-person events that showcase the talent of our community.

The season includes fully-staged productions, the return of our annual keyboard festival, exciting collaborations with international choreographers, and multiple digital premieres on our YouTube channel and across social media platforms.


The Laban Theatre will play host to several performances this summer, showcasing our contemporary dance students from across our undergraduate and postgraduate cohorts.

Our flagship postgraduate dance company Transitions embarks on its annual UK tour with a programme of 3 New Works choreographed by Dog Kennel Hill Project, Didy Veldman and Rahel Vonmoos. The company will present homecoming performances (3 – 5 June, Laban Theatre) and are set to release a film premiere of the triple bill in July.

The Repertory Project sees second year undergraduate students recreate contemporary dance works by Tony Thatcher, Daniel Squire, Ali Curtis Jones and Sara Wookey across four evenings (15 – 18 June, Laban Theatre).

Final year undergraduate students will work with Matthew Harding, Artistic Director of Urban Interface Dance UK, and South Asian dance practitioner Divya Kasturi, as well as TL’s own Charles Linehan and Stephanie Schober, for Commissioned Works (6 – 9 July, Laban Theatre).

Later in the season, our annual Graduate Showcase returns to Laban Theatre and Laurie Grove, and our BA1 Performance Project, Dance Diploma students and CAT Programme take to the stage. More details to follow.


In May, our final-year Musical Theatre students present two shows at The Albany in Deptford.

Based on Louisa May Alcott’s much-loved classic novel, Little Women (18 & 21 May) focuses on the four March sisters and their beloved Marmee. Intercut with a series of vignettes in which their Massachusetts lives unfold are several recreations of the melodramatic short stories aspiring writer Jo pens in her attic studio.

Tony Award-nominated, The Addams Family (26, 27 & 29 May) is a musical comedy with music and lyrcis by Andrew Lippa based on the infamously ghoulish American family created by cartoonist Charles Addams. The show depicts the machinations of an eclectic cast of gothic characters as they deal with their relationships, old and new.

Both shows will have socially distanced live audiences and be livestreamed. Further information on tickets is available on The Albany website.

In June, our second-year Musical Theatre students present Half A Sixpence at Blackheath Halls (14 – 19 June). The show follows Arthur Kipps, an orphan who unexpectedly inherits a fortune, and climbs the social ladder before losing everything and realizing that you just can’t buy happiness.


Curated by Douglas Finch, the New Lights Piano Festival has earned a reputation for showcasing a diverse range of composed and improvised contemporary music for keyboard, electronic and avant-garde instruments. This year, audiences can enjoy a mix of pre-recorded events from across the globe and live evening concerts streamed from the Peacock Room, all available for free on TL YouTube (17 – 18 June).

Highlights include a live performance by the Helix Trio, Christos Fountos’s digital premiere of commissioned work by Canadian composer Rodney Sharman and the return of Yuka Takechi’s Winter Light / Ephemera for Piano performed by Yukiko Shinohara.

Catch Trinity Laban Brass Ensemble at Deal Festival 2021 (1 – 17 July), where they will premiere their pre-recorded digital performances of J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor (arr P.White) and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition (arr Howarth) conducted by Phil White.

Our postgraduate vocal students will be delighting live audiences with Rosina’s Lovers (30 June – 1 July), two outdoor concerts of operatic excerpts from John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versaille, Massenet’s Chérubin, Milhaud’s La mère coupable, Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro performed in an around King Charles Court.

Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra returns to Blackheath Halls (24 June) for Brahms Symphony No. 2, under the baton of Austrian conductor and Music Director Designate of the Oregon Symphony, David Danzmayr.

The summer seasons also sees music students compete in two of TL’s most prestigious competitions. Following the success of last year’s digital iteration, the Daryl Runswick Competition returns to YouTube for 2021 with a film featuring the finalist’s works and adjudication (21 May).

Instrumentalists will compete at Blackheath Halls in May to win the coveted Soloists’ Competition, a prize that sees them play a concerto with the TLSO.

Other upcoming digital releases include performances by Trinity Laban Jazz Orchestra and Trinity Laban Chamber Choir. Catch The Old Royal Naval College Trinity Laban Chapel Choir’s live broadcast on BBC Radio 3 (5 May).

Alongside our one-off events and digital release, we hope to resume our programme of weekly lunchtime concerts at the ORNC Chapel from 18 May and St Alfege, Greenwich from 20 May, and as well as a programme of lunchtime livestreams. More details coming soon, including the end of year performance from our Junior Trinity students in July.

Information regarding our events may change, subject to future social distancing measures and government guidelines.

We’ll be adding more to What’s On as details are confirmed. To keep up to date, please check our What’s On pages and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Male dancer jumping in profile with legs curled arms stretched back

Transitions Dancer Wins Professional Contract

S. Arthur Sicilia has been offered a full-time contract with Austrian company TANZLIN.Z.

From August 2021, American dancer and current Transitions Dance Company member S. Arthur Sicilia will join TANZLIN.Z and work with celebrated Taiwanese choreographer and Dance Director Lin Mei-hong.

As a dancer with the company, he will feature in TANZLIN.Z’s upcoming productions at Landestheater Linz, including the premieres of Cinderella in October and Love Letters in February 2022.

Arthur graduated with a BFA in Contemporary Dance from the Boston Conservatory, before coming to Trinity Laban to study his MA/MFA Dance Performance.

He has worked with artists such as Roderick George, The Merce Cunningham Trust and Stephanie Martinez and has danced professionally with NeoDance Company, Germany. Arthur has also premiered his own work with DanceEmotion.

On joining TANZLIN.Z, Arthur comments –

“I am so elated to be joining the incredible talent of TANZLIN.Z for next season, following what has already been such a fruitful year in Transitions Dance Company where I have been so nurtured and encouraged. I can already see the changes and developments I’ve made as an artist since coming to Trinity Laban. My time here has allowed me to reflect on my past experiences, expand my capabilities and prepare for future opportunities, while being present in such engaging work.”

Catch Arthur in Transitions Dance Company’s 3 New Works, a triple bill of specially commissioned pieces by choreographers Dog Kennel Hill Project, Didy Veldman and Rahel Vonmoos premiering this summer.

For more info on the performances, visit our What’s On page.

Image credit: Chris Nash

Trinity Laban and BAiD logos

TL announces parternship with Black Artists in Dance

Trinity Laban and Black Artists in Dance (BAiD) will work together to address issues of diversity and inclusion for people of African and Caribbean heritages at the conservatoire and within the wider dance industry.

The new partnership with BAiD – an organisation who aim to bring greater awareness to the Black dance sector and showcase the contribution that Black dancers, artists and academics make to the development of dance – builds on the proactive steps Trinity Laban has made over the past year to address inequalities faced by its Black students and staff.

In close consultation with its community, London’s creative conservatoire has established a Black Lives Matter Working Group, held listening sessions with students, alumni and staff, created a mechanism for the anonymous reporting of micro-aggressions and more.

Within the Faculty of Dance, Trinity Laban has expanded the practical technique module on its BSc Dance Science programme to include Hip Hop. This is to enable students across the programme’s three years to engage practically and academically with a wide range of dance styles and genres and broaden the scope of dance science research.

The institution will work in consultation with BAiD to continue to work towards tangible culture change and meaningfully celebrate, encourage and ensure equity and diversity in its art forms.

As part of the partnership, Trinity Laban commits to:

  • an audit and review of the conservatoire’s Dance curriculum.
  • an audit and review of our public performance programming.
  • further expanding our delivery of dance genres and styles originating from the Global South across our programmes.
  • the establishment of bespoke and ongoing anti-racism training for all staff and students.
  • a review of staff recruitment and development practices.
  • the establishment of student and alumni engagement initiatives to address inequalities.
  • building our networks with Black artists within the industry.

Trinity Laban’s Director of Dance Sara Matthews comments –

“We are proud and excited to be partnering with BAiD to uphold our core belief in equity and offer a committed route to real change. We will continue to examine our institutional structure and work towards sustainable action. We look forward to working collaboratively and collectively with partners in the industry as part of this partnership.”

BAiD Directors Joyce Gyimah and Gerrard Martin comment –

“BAID is pleased to be working in partnership with Trinity Laban, in the drive towards diversity and inclusion. We acknowledge that real strategic and sustainable change takes action. The dance sector for many years has operated in an inequitable structure that has allowed generations of diverse communities to feel excluded, marginalised and underrepresented. Our partnership with Trinity Laban aims to re-address the balance by developing a programme of work, which allows for change, equality and accountability.”

The announcement follows Trinity Laban’s partnership with the newly launched Black Lives in Music, which will see the conservatoire work to achieve meaningful change that supports the creation of a truly inclusive, diverse and representative music industry.

About Black Artists in Dance

Founded in 2014 by Joyce Gyimah and Gerrard Martin, collectively BAiD represents 25 years of experience in dance management, producing, mentoring, educating, choreographing and performing. The BAiD vision is to build a sustainable and inclusive global dance environment where Black artists create, develop and thrive. BAiD aims to support individuals and organisations, empowering them to question dominant societal ideologies and perceptions of the dancing body, aesthetic and language.

About Joyce Gyimah 

Joyce is a freelance educator, choreographer, manager and consultant. She has worked with a range of dance institutions and organisations including Trinity Laban, Greenwich Dance Agency, Greenwich Musical Theatre, Union Dance, UK Foundation for Dance, Tavaziva Dance, National Portrait Galley and most recently The Arts Council. She began her training at Lewisham College before undertaking a BA (Hons) at The Laban Centre for Movement and Dance. Joyce is the founder of Dance Physics and Jazz Inc.

About Gerrard Martin

Dance artist, choreographer, movement director, dance educator and yoga teacher Gerrard trained at De Montfort University, gaining a BA (Hons) in English Literature and Performing Arts, before undertaking further studies at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance. Gerrard has performed in companies, such as Phoenix Dance, Ballet Black, Tavaziva Dance, Union Dance and for the West Ends’ Lion king. Gerrard is a guest teacher at the Place, RADA and Guest Associate lecture at the University of Northampton, he created his company Gerrard Martin Dance in 2011.

Collage image featuring a group of dancers of varying ages in colour tops and black trousers with their arms raised (left) a mixed gender group of dancers in a studio facing forward and jumping with legs apart and pointed toes (right)

TL revamps postgrad dance programmes

London’s creative conservatoire Trinity Laban announces two enhanced postgraduate programmes for 2021/22: the MA/MFA Dance Leadership and Community Practice and the brand-new Graduate Certificate in Dance.

Led by Programme Leader and TL alum Melanie Clarke, the relaunched programmes are a new phase in the advancement of Trinity Laban’s postgraduate dance options. With a strong vocational focus, they offer learners the opportunity to explore their creative identity while developing practical entrepreneurial skills to become knowledgeable and supportive dance leaders of the future.

Sara Matthews, Trinity Laban’s Director of Dance, comments –

“Responding to the changing dance industry, these enhanced programmes enable Trinity Laban to integrate expertise from across our departments and beyond into our innovative training, ensuring we continue to nurture future creative leaders from all backgrounds.”

The newly validated MA/MFA in Dance Leadership and Community Practice is an evolution of Trinity Laban’s Postgraduate Diploma in Community Dance. Building on the diploma, the degree is designed to equip learners with the abilities and knowledge to discover what drives them as artists and understand how to establish sustainable careers as skilled practitioners and facilitators in community and participatory settings.

Students on the MA/MFA will develop an understanding of dance as a socially relevant, creative, applied, and inclusive practice and benefit from hands-on work experience with our Learning and Participation Department. Experienced tutors and professionals support students understanding of how to generate and lead quality dance experiences for the benefit of others. They will also be empowered to enhance their critical abilities and pursue independent research into their individual dance practice, enabling them to promote community dance practice in a wider field.

Melanie Clarke comments –

“There has been a lot of recent media coverage of how dance can enable and support people and there are a huge number of possibilities within this growing field. This is a prime moment for people to delve into community practice, to do research, and to start to produce evidence of how dance can really enable and support different populations. We’re really excited to be able to take that forward as part of Trinity Laban.”

Trinity Laban’s brand-new Graduate Certificate in Dance is an intensive dance programme aimed at learners with unconventional routes into dance, or who have come from alternative dance practices, and want to enhance their technical and creative practice within a conservatoire environment.

Unique in the sector, the full-time six-month course offers a clearly defined route of progressive learning that allows students to push skills forward and gain a level 6 qualification. With a blend of technical and creative modules, the programme provides a stimulating learning environment in which to develop as a dance artist. From taught dance classes and creative workshops to lecture-seminar dialogue, independent and collaborative projects, the programme offers a high level of contact time and interactive learning with expert tutors. The programme aims to foster students’ development as autonomous and committed learners who can support their own professional development.

Delivered in six months, the programme is open to EU and international students under a six-month study visa.

Melanie Clarke continues –

“The Graduate Certificate in Dance is designed to bring together a rich and diverse community of artists from a wide variety of backgrounds who are united in a desire to explore and interrogate their creative potential.”

To find out more about Trinity Laban’s Postgraduate Dance courses, join our Virtual Open Day on 29 April 2021.

Image credit L-R: Belinda Lawley; James Keates