Teaching in the jungle

26 March 2020

Our Co-Artistic Director, Kevin, has recently returned from teaching in the jungle at Goa Dance Residency in India.  By invitation, Kevin taught over 30 students from around 20 different countries as part of a programme, which supported the next generation of Indian dancers and makers. Here, Kevin tells us about the experience.

1 | Where did you go in India?

I went to a beautiful place in the jungle not far from the coast called Arambol in Goa. The place where I taught was called Jungle Dance, a residency complex with studios, an outdoor theatre, swimming pool, restaurant, meeting place and accommodation pods. Many arts, yoga, dance, martial arts, aerial and fire dance classes, courses and retreats happen there. It is an amazingly beautiful place in the jungle, the studios are in the actual jungle! 15 minutes by scooter to the beach.

2 | Tell us about the residency.

The residency lasted three months from January to March and welcomed international teachers and artists from around the world to teach and lead workshops, classes and choreography on the students.

I was there for two weeks. Some dancers were there for the whole period, other dancers came in and out at different times. At any one time, there were around 30 dancers taking part.

This was an exclusive residency in the sense it was for artists who really want to develop themselves.  To be involved dancers had to apply and submit an application. This made the quality of the dancers exceptional and contributed to the hot bed of activity and art that was being made by students in their down time.

Navala “Niku” Chaudhari who I collaborated with on Amaranthine was one of the Co-Directors of the residency and the other, Nathaniel Parchment, was an old colleague who I know from when we danced together  at the National Youth Dance Company. Both of them know my work well and thought I would be a great addition to the residency teaching team.


3 | What did your role involve?

I worked with over 30 students from around 20 different countries, all exceptionally talented with their own unique style and approach towards dancing. I taught a technique class every morning and then worked throughout the rest of the day on developing a choreographic piece with the dancers.

It was a full programme starting at 7am finishing at 6pm with a one-hour break in the morning and 2-hour break for lunch. It was full on but to see the development of the dancers as I worked with them was something really special.

What was also great about the residency was its ethos around supporting Indian artists. Ten of the students were Indian dance artists on scholarships who were amazing and really got alot out of working with global artists. I loved that it was about supporting the next generation of Indian dancers and makers.

4 | What learning did you take away?

I took many things from the visit. One of them was to ease up a little, I think that sometimes I work very hard and very fast and sometimes more can be achieved with a little softness and grace. Both are useful depending on the time, context or person. I also had the opportunity to try-out some new devising ideas which was great and I learned something from trying those new ideas. It was wonderful to be in such a beautiful place, with great students and both they and I were learning from the process.

5 | What was the biggest highlight for you on the trip?

So many highlights! The people I met there were wonderfully inspiring and to be part of and surrounded by such creativity, artistry and generosity was brilliant. I think the main highlight was watching the development of the dancers as I took them through a process – seeing them grow was just the best.

Kevin will return to Goa Dance Residency next year. Before you go, take a look at the little vid below from the residency this year. Find out more about the Goa Dance Residency here.


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