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Tuesday 23 July: Exploring improvisation

Led by Vanessa Grasse

This one-day course is designed for any dancer – whether or not you have prior experience of improvisation. You will explore how improvisation enables us to tune to ourselves, read, relate and respond to others and an environment as a means of developing  movement content  that can form the basis for creative movement explorations, choreography, widening movement vocabulary and empowering participants.

It will enable you to tune in to your body and the world around us and feed your personal passion for dance.

The course will:

  • provide you with techniques for tuning in to your body's needs, the environment around you and other people
  • Techniques  to develop open-ended movement explorations
  • Increase confidence in finding ways to generate movement content with your participants
  • provide a basis for person-centred movement development with dance in any community context.

    Participation requirements:

    Participants on this course must be willing to share, explore and contribute.


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  • Vanessa Grasse biography

    Vanessa Grasse is a choreographer, dancer and teacher from Sicily based in Leeds. Her work explores the crossover between choreography, walking-art and installation through site-specific, improvisation, participatory and cross-disciplinary practice. Her practice is grounded in somatic movement studies, improvisation and Contact Improvisation, and influenced by collaborating with music, visual arts, sciences and humanities. Her current touring work MESH is a participatory improvisational choreography for public spaces in response to a divisive global political climate.

    She teaches release based technique, improvisation, Contact Improvisation and creative movement for universities, professionals and wider communities across Europe.

    Her teaching is grounded in her study of somatic and improvisational practices with pioneer like Anna Halprin, Lisa Nelson, Julyen Hamilton, Daniel Lepkoff and Kirstie Simson amongst many others. She is curious about how the body transforms as a result of imagination, active shifts of perception, attentional dynamics and a clear relational engagement with others and the environment, whilst finding clarity and playfulness in our awareness of the physiology and physics in motion. She is passionate about working with people of all abilities, ages and backgrounds. She worked in primary schools, with older adults and she currently teaches on Leaps & Bounds, a programme for adults with learning disabilities at Yorkshire Dance.

    She holds an MA in Creative Practice from Trinity Laban and is a regular visiting lecturer at Leeds Beckett University, Northern School of Contemporary Dance and Trinity Laban. She teaches and runs Leeds Contact Improvisation with monthly open workshops at NSCD.

    Please see below to download the Exploring improvisation timetable: