Laban Summer School

Danced – Laban, Contemporary, Flamenco, Salsa, Sean Nos…

We are all dancers. We have movement, locomotion from the smallest movement of a finger to jumping high, using muscles, joints and bones. Somehow most of us have got into our heads – dancing is only for dancers. Describe a dancer. Name World dance styles, then describe with a word those world dance styles. Most of us have missed out on dance and restricted it to the disco, dancing mainly solo or none at all because of preconceived notions of what dancers are and who can do it. This is not fulfilling us. We are all missing out. We are all dancers and need to dance. I do.

Dance was my first love. Since year dot. Dance was the dream, but as most dreams it remained a dream mostly, danced out in the kitchen. Over the years I have filled in some of the missing pieces of that dream. Dance seemed to be only for the rare few that had done ballet since 3 years old, were blond, skinny and super fit or lived in New York. That was / is the impression that sticks to most of us for life, unfortunately, unless you get over it. I found the solution with Laban many years later.

1970’s – In Junior school a lovely small lady use to come in with a record player and taught us ballet and some Irish dancing. I attempted to go to an outside class also, but only went for one evening.

1980-1983 – it was dancing at the disco, twice a week at times. 50p in. There were no ‘fame’ schools in our reality, that was in New York or London somewhere, not in suburban Dublin. It just didn’t figure / feature.

I did manage to go to a few Jazz dance classes on the corner of Wicklow / George’s Street, Dublin when I was about 20, but was mortified when I went the wrong direction after the 1 2 3…

1990 – In Dublin I joined a Yoga class – John Rogers on Pearse Street. A wonderful teacher. Also a spot of Aikido.

1993 – In Galway, workshopped a Play / Dance Performance Once and Again with others. I would facilitate the Yoga to lumber us up. We took no video of this Show unfortunately. I remember one swing and lift, where I was somehow catapulted up into a high pose…  Also a performance in the Setanta in Salthill – a benefit for something – 4 of us performed a contemporary piece.

1997-1998 – Some dance and movement included in the Fetac Drama Course in Ringsend, Dublin.

Late 1990’s – Five rhythms classes with Caitríona Nic Ghiollaphádraig.

1999 – only the once, I went to Swing / Jive class / weekly evening on the outskirts of in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Got the socks danced off me being partnered with strong dancers who knew how to lead.

2000 – I found Anne Margaret O’Malley / Ana’s Flamenco class in the Dublin City Arts Centre. A wonderful teacher. Performance included Utilitarian Church; Stillorgan Library; Whelan’s, Camden Street, Dublin 2002. I also took a two week class in Granada, Spain, 2004. I taught Flamenco in the community hall in Kildangan, Co. Kildare 2005 and in 2006 Ballinamore for a short while (plus Laban).

2002-2005 – Finally in my mid thirties I joined the Laban (contemporary dance) training for Community Dance in Newbridge, Co. Kildare, and later I finished the course in Kinnegad, Co. Westmeath. Before I signed up someone commented on my intention to do the course  ‘you are too old to dance’. It hurt, but I went ahead and did the training. With Laban, it gives back the chance to dance to everyone, all ages, abilities / non-ability. I attended two of the Laban summer schools, Maynooth (which are generally held every two years), and a 3 day workshop with Anna Carlisle in Belfast. I taught a series of classes in Carrigallen for pre-teens (Foroige), and a brief class that bellied up in Ballinamore… I guess people didn’t get it, what it was and I was not practised enough to teach it with ease, that would have needed me to teach it 24/7 to get that level…and I didn’t have the energy to carry it / promote it.

2008 – Salsa class and evening @ the Moo wine bar, Ballinamore. A total Godsend of a class in 2008, every Friday night.  Andre, he was a great teacher. Not only did he teach a proper class, but continued the whole evening with salsa music and dancing. The Moo Wine bar closed that Autumn and so ended the fun Salsa Nights there.

2009 – Set dancing – went to the week long class at the Joe Mooney summer school.

2009-2011 – Sean nos and set dancing performance for the Traditional Irish Music course, Drumshanbo. Sean Nos also learnt at the Keadue festival and some other Sean Nos classes in Carrick on Shannon and Ballinamore.

Contemporary dance classes @ The Dock, Carrick On Shannon. Over a number of years, one day dance classes were organised by Kate McCarthy when she was the Arts Officer there. These classes happened every 6 weeks or so for a while. Each class was facilitated by a different tutor, eg. John Scott, Ursula Laeubli, Dylan Quinn, Kate Wilson, and many more.

2014 – Reconnected with the Laban Guild. Went to a weekend of Dance in Newbridge, Co, Kildare recently.

2015 – Took the Level 2 in Laban training in Newbridge, Co. Kildare, Spring 2015 with Anna Carlisle. Could not complete due to family circumstances.

That all said and done – I continue to walk until the next time to dance comes by.

2018 – Ballet for adults. Yay! About time too. Victoria Walker Dance School

2019 – Same, plus Tap @ Victoria Walker Dance School.


Joan Walsh 2014