The Swedish dancer Nathalie Wahlberg, selected by The Cullberg Baletten, Norsborg (SE) out of numerous applications, was offered the opportunity to join in a workshop with internationally acclaimed dancer and
teacher Laura Arís Alvarez. The emphasis of the workshop was placed on the use of the body centre. The class was built progressively from stretching and technical parts to very physical and dynamic phrases.
The workshop was mainly based on the acquisition of technical dance skills. Built up progressively over five days, participants explored body mechanisms that allow them to reach physical extremes while protecting the
body at the same time. During the five hours session, the participants learned to use the skeleton structure and muscular chains and to find fluidity and freedom in their own movement, applying the technique of recycling energy. Slowly some theatrical inputs gave meaning to the movements and stimulated the
participants to perform the phrases instead of just reproducing them. Movement was approached through energy and clear images, and not just as a merely technical matter.
feedback report by Nathalie Wahlberg (SE)
Stockholm 2010-09-14 Evaluation Wild Card 2010
Participation in the workshop of Laura Arís Alvarez 12th-16th of July.
I would like to start my evaluation with a thank you for giving me the opportunity to participate in the Ultima Vez workshop given by Laura Aris Alvarez within the program of Wild Cards 2010. I think it is a great opportunity for professional dancers to get to know more about the work of the company and to experience it in a physical way. It is a big advantage and very convenient to get a slot in the workshop and all the things very well arranged as travel, accommodation and per-diem.
I applied through the Cullberg Ballet in Stockholm and was first selected for the workshop with Eduardo Torroja in May 24th-28th. Since I already had singed up for the workshop with Eduardo Torroja that was given in April I got the opportunity to choose another workshop of the ones that were coming up.
Regarding the arrangements, I got reimbursed for my flight tickets that I booked myself. There was only a little problem with the per-diem and accommodation since the information that was stated on the website ofCullberg Ballet didn’t correspond with the information from Ultima Vez. I was informed that per-diem was going to be paid for 6 days, €35 a day (€210). I was also given the information that I had accommodation paid for 6 nights. But through the organizers (Ultima Vez) I was asked to move out of the accommodation after 5 nights and if I wanted to stay another night I had to pay it myself. Regarding the per-diem I received just €180 in per-diem, referring to a mistake in the information on the website of Cullberg Ballet. Of course these are very small misunderstandings which made no big harms for my stay in Brussels and participation in the workshop. But I just want to point it out for coming up Wild Cards 2011, so that all applicants will be given the same information. It’s not so nice to be distrusted in the matter of money. Except from these things everything was a big pleasure for me.
During the last years I have been participating in several workshops with coaches from Ultima Vez. Therefore I have quite an idea about the work of Ultima Vez, Wim Vandekeybus, and have actively searched for the opportunities to gain more experience and to improve within the vocabulary and technique. Each time I discover new things and get inspired by the approach and tools that the different coaches presents in their workshops. I am very much impressed by the big generosity and engagement in which one the coaches share their valuable knowledge with the participants. This was something that I really appreciate in the workshop with Laura Aris Alvarez. She integrates strong technique training with different
concepts that supports the vocabulary and that clearly demonstrates the importance of the technique in the movement material. The work of understanding the structure of the body, alignment and how to profit from the force of momentum, using less muscular work, is very much useful for all contemporary dancers. Just as the understanding and analyse of different concepts and tools which one are a big help to be able to move with precision and fluidity in and out of the floor. I find it very interesting to integrate the technique with different concepts and images of the action and reaction in the body using the ideas of risk, trust, weakness, strength, speed, presence and so on. The work challenges me as a dancer to push the limits and se how far I can go with my body within the physicality of moving in space. The understanding of risk and working with “fear” pushing the body to the boarder of physicality is something that I find big pleasure in. Nowadays, especially in Sweden, a lot of “conceptual works” gives less importance to the physicality and virtuosity of the performers, which can be a very frustrating situation for many young dancers. I can only speak for my own actions, but this is why I cross the boarders of my country to get what I want. The work with Laura Aris Alvarez also brought up the thought of human nature. How we move and act within different patterns and how we can use it, and work against the instincts more efficient. The tools for partnering work are also very useful and interesting for me as a contemporary dancer. To work in relation to another body makes me also understand and analyse the strengths and weakness in my own body structure. Laura has great energy and she is very clear in her way of teaching. She leads the workshop very professional and gives a lot of time and space for the dancers to practice the tools within different movement material. She gives the vocabulary a fluidity and softness which one is both challenging and a big pleasure to move and experience in the space.
I find the work of Ultima Vez very much accessible and applicable in the dance scene today. I think it is great that such a famous company takes the responsibility to spread their knowledge to dancers in such a generous way. The amount of workshops given a year and the intensive training with high quality is a benefit for dancers who wants to get to know the company.
I will bring the inspiration and energy I got from this work in to my daily practice and put the useful tools in my pockets, hoping for the future to bring me more great experiences like this one.
All the best,
Nathalie Walhberg studied at the Contemporary Dance department of the Royal Swedish Ballet School in Stockholm (SE). She travelled all over Europe to follow workshops of different renowned contemporary dance teachers. Currently she works on freelance base as a contemporary dancer and teaches preparation classes for professional dance education in contemporary technique and classical ballet. Recently she started to organise dance workshops in Stockholm with the support of the Swedish Art Grants Committee and the Carina Ari foundations.