Triumph, Trials and Turn Out – My New Life at Laban

Hello again, avid readers of the Serendipity Blog!

It feels great to be back on this platform after having started it in January and then leaving it to rest post BA degree.

Looking over all of this work, which I did at De Montfort University, gives me a warming sense of self-appreciation; the course leaders at DMU cut Dance Marketing from the course and thus I did what any stubborn person would and didn’t take no for an answer, creating my own module of study.

Subsequently, I managed to successfully create a dance-related blog that initiated global conversations and engage with internet surfers all over the world.

It was another example of that old “you-can-do-anything-if-you-put-your-mind-to-it” chestnut.

But since then I have graduated and am now attending the Trinity Laban Conservatoire for Music and Dance for my Masters Degree, and I can appreciate that that chestnut is in fact a life-long endeavour.

For the course I am part of Laban’s Transitions Company and am having Advanced Technical Training in Cunningham, Limon and Release technique, as well as working with three choreographers across the year. The works created with these artists will then be toured internationally, and will give me prime insight into working within a company setting.

jessica walker dancer laban


Now, I am going to be very candid when I say that I struggled in my first three weeks. The level of technical training in a Conservatoire to a University doesn’t compare, and despite doing external dance classes alongside my BA I was still behind my new peers. So, in our first week when we had Classical Ballet every morning I stood somewhat clunky and misaligned amongst my leggy and perfectly poised colleagues whilst forcing a turn out that just wasn’t there.

*Sigh*, the struggle was real. And thus came my break down on the kitchen floor on Wednesday evening.

Don’t get me wrong, I was a strong dancer with great performance presence, but I learned very quickly that at Laban it is more about “dancing” and less about “moving”, more about codified technique and less about “what feels right”.

A phone call home and a tissue box later, I was prepared for the fight of my life.

I attended additional ballet classes as well as Pilates three times a week in order to re-align and re-learn my body. Now, after my seventh week, I am currently on half term (whoop!), and I can feel that my body is strong; muscles have popped up in places that I didn’t know existed and my turn out is evermore increasing and making me feel that I have “legs-for-days”.

Despite my development over these past seven weeks I remember that I have a dissertation to write and a career to continue after the year-long course and lifetime of debts to repay (thank you, Student Finance England).

Subsequently, I am still successfully managing my “squeeze-it-all-in” lifestyle by managing two freelance jobs and connecting with artists across London to ensure that my opportunities bank is never barren.

For example, I have since connected with a fantastic musician, Nathan Durasamy, who like me is also of Mixed heritage and doing his MA at Laban. We hit it off like eggs and bacon, and now we are collaborating on a dance piece for next year’s Let’s Dance International Frontiers 2017 Autograph event. The piece, which is still in development, will be an adaptation of my work Tick the Box (Mixed/Other) exploring more grown up ideas but with childish curiosity and play.

Whilst I am currently nurturing my technical performance abilities at Trinity Laban, I am still working tirelessly as a choreographer and intend to continue making dance works that act as a social commentary to our New Millennial age. Socio-political location (or rather, dislocation) seems to be a common thematic area for me, but we shall see how that develops over the year!

I look forward to returning to the Serendipity family in May 2017 for my performance, but I am thrilled to know that my writing is still welcome on this blog which is currently being managed by the fantastic Funmi Adewole.

If you would like to hear more about my journey and would enjoy any dance-related posts by me from Greenwich, please do leave a comment below!

Until then, it’s ciao for now!