In 2014-2015, with a space grant from Dancehouse in Melbourne, I developed Poohead Dance Academy. I sometimes ran the classes here and there in Australia and overseas. These dance classes were barely classes, it was designed to be a loose exploration of dancing that was almost impossible to do "badly", with some basic moves shown at the beginning and with others free to share their moves in this category and a free dance at the end, using some of the moves we found in the session.
The focus was on having fun, and not being too serious and getting creative with the freedom where you didn't need to be technically "good" because at Poohead, being a "bad" dancer was great.
My favourite class was the possession class. It involved dancing to segments from horror films. Sometimes, dancing along to things on the screen or projection happened. With the possession class, twice I supplied fake vomit for everyone, which I mopped up afterwards. Some of the classes are listed below from a collage of screenshots from the previous Poohead Dance Academy site.
I love some of the dance moves people come up with. For the goth class "punched in the guts" dance from Melbourne people, "evil cancan" and "comfortable with my arm being a snake for a bit" were moves that we shared. I am a former Perth Goth. I used to frequent the one and a half goth clubs of Perth back in the day. The strange moves of the Perth goth scene were a sacred sight, revisiting these dorky goth dances brings nostalgic tears of joy.
Dancing along to cartoons that are near impossible to dance to, where you head comes off and you have to climb inside your bellybutton somehow were creative feats for everyone. Dancing to things that you can't really dance to, seemed to be some of my most favourite elements and returned us to a childlike play where a sense of what is physically possible or impossible merges, with a greater freedom to attempt the impossible though play.
In 2016 - 2019 a number of residencies collaborating, workshopping, experimenting with dancers and other performers in Zurich, Brussels, Northern France, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Denmark, Italy, Liverpool, Prague and Seychelles. Some of the dancers I have lived and collaborated with, I have later seen them performing in the 2017 German pavilion at the Venice Biennale and many of them have also been in Tino Sehgal's work, a couple were lady gaga back up dancers, professional ballerinas and more. I have learned a lot working with these dancers in the past half-decade mostly overseas and although I don't classify myself officially as a dancer or choreographer, in performance, focus on movement is always an important element.
At one point I was seeing a dance therapist for research in developing the Poohead Dance Academy and in trying to understand more about the sensitivity, limitations and care needed to run a dance class. The dance therapist would ask me questions and get me to ask my body questions, and then I would move with my eyes closed the answer to those questions rather than speak them. She would repeat to me "The body knows! the body knows" and it did. My questions were answered in ways I couldn't articulate and I was shocked how brutally raw and honest my body spoke when I let it speak more. I found it easier to make some tough decisions after learning to ask the body more.
in Seychelles, I lived with my extended family and have tried to learn the language of my little cousin. She preferred speaking her own language and didn't like English or French as much as her parents tried. Her language contained many weird dinosaur sounds, invented words and movements to represent things and the language changed depending on her mood too. The word she wanted to use today to mean "table" would sound a bit Taiwanese but tomorrow that Taiwanese sounding invented word for table might be a sound with her nostrils or the next day it might be an arm movement. The word for something would vary depending on her mood. I adopted her style of communication and it was fun, weird, funny and extremely difficult highly experimental methods. It took a long while to get the hang of it, even though it was a seemingly free way of speaking, she still had her own weird rules in her made up languages, which I tried to follow, somehow.
I also set up an experimental art group in the back of my Grandpa's house with a group of emerging Seychellois artists and worked with them in movement and other performance too.