The Two Ensembles

The Project

The Two Ensembles Project originated as part of the 2018 edition of the Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement. It brings together dancers and musicians from Ireland, France, South Africa, USA, and Russia to create a large improvising en- semble of twelve women.

The nine dancers and three musicians create instant compositions of movement and music for a variety of contexts including theatre spaces, school and community halls, outdoor spaces, heritage and historic sites.

ARTS PROJECTS Two Ensembles 2

Echo Echo Artistic Director, Steve Batts and ensemble member Antonina Sheina had been researching, creating, teaching and performing regularly with a group of Russian dancers using the methodology that Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company has been developing over many years.

The 2018 Echo Echo Festival of Dance and Movement offered the opportunity to invite the Russian ensemble to join the Echo Echo ensemble to create a series of improvised performances in Derry. Three musician colleagues from Derry and Sligo joined the two ensembles. Lucia Walker, who is based in South Africa and is a highly respected international movement teacher, director and improviser, and long time collaborator of Steve Batts, was invited to lead the meeting of the artists and to direct them towards the series of improvisation performances.

The tour of performances that included a secondary school, special schools, a care home, and an outdoor, town centre, square as well as a theatre performance, turned out to be a highlight of the 2018 festival.

Since November 2018 a smaller scale version of the project titled “Let’s Play” has focused on performance-workshop events for very young audiences and family audiences.

Audience feedback

“Wonderful and very refreshing! The world needs more of this.

“One of the most beautiful performances I’ve ever seen.”

Utterly unique! Said more about our inner vulnerabilities than any other dance performance I’ve seen.”

“Beautiful, and uplifting, what you dance for us and for yourself. I think it will stay in my heart forever. Thank you so much. I’m thankful for moments of magic like this”.

“Thoroughly enjoyable”

Amazingly put together, great atmosphere, live musicians helped a lot and you could feel the chemistry between the dancers and musicians”

“it was great, really good and relaxed vibe. The dancers are super talented they were also really relatable”

“Refreshingly beautiful. Such an honest, special performance.”

ARTS PROJECTS Two Ensembles 3


Teacher Governor, Ardnashee School, Derry, Feb 2020

Sinead Crossan

Echo Echo are the most gifted group of performers who create magical and memorable performances in our very special school annually. The team have a sound knowledge and understanding of the range of needs of our pupils and make it their business to research and prepare so that pupils are fully engaged in their productions. The workshops are perfectly pitched and it is so wonderful to watch some of our most anxious young people take part in movement sessions. One memory from the recent production was the engagement of some very challenging young men who find accessing education tough. The calm approach and techniques used by the company made the boys feel safe and part of the team – it was beautiful to watch them go through this process. All of our experiences of working with Echo Echo are positive ones – the controlled school budgets often make it difficult to 6uy in professional arts experiences so we welcome companies that are Supported Dy funders to let pupils experience the world of dance/music/drama/movement. More please!

The Two Ensembles Project will be of interest to venue programmers with an interest in dance, theatre or music, festival organisers, county arts officers and other producers. It will also be of interest to individual schools, community centres and care homes with an interest in enriching their creative programme. The project can make one-off performances or a series of performances for different groups in different places, in a particular town or region, creating a mini-residency. Work- shops in movement and/or music are available for any kind of group —any shape, any ability, any mix.

Two Ensembles Project – Artists

Evgenia Dibovskaya is a dance-movement psychologist-consultant. She is a professional member of Russian Dance-Movement Therapy Association and a certified specialist in the field of Expressive Arts Therapy and Developmental Dance. She teaches at the Dance-Move- ment Psychotherapy Department (Institute of Practical Psychology and Psychoanalysis, Moscow]. She specializes in individual and group therapeutic work with children and adults, and also leads dance-movement classes for people with mental health issues in the Center for Social, Psychological and Information Support”.

Tatyana Fateeva graduated from the choreography department of the Higher College of Arts [Moscow] and, from 1995, danced in a va- riety of folk-dance, modern-jazz, contemporary-dance and dance-theater companies. In 2008 she graduated as a psychologist and dance-movement therapist, and in 2014 as a somatic movement coach. She teaches in the Department of Dance Movement Therapy, is a professional member and trainer of the Dance Movement Therapy Association and joint co-ordinator of the educational program, “Laban Movement Analysis and Bartenieff Fundamentals”. Her areas of expertise include somatic movement practice, creative and devel- opmental dance, contemporary dance technique, improvisation, and dance-movement therapy.

Maria Grudskaya has been dancing contact improvisation since 2005 and teaching for over 10 years in Russia, Europe, Israel, Thailand, Japan, Malaysia. She has worked with Tabula Danza Dance Theatre Company in Moscow and participated in performance projects with Steve Batts/Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company, Benno Voorham, Katja Mustonen, Angela Dony, and others. She is inspired by the ap- proach of poetic movement developed in Echo Echo, and interested in dancing with people of different ages and abilities. Maria is a cer- tified Somatic Movement educator, teacher of IBMT Somatic Movement and organizer of IBMT Institute in Russia and is co-organizer of international Contact Improvisation festivals in Russia and Thailand.

Amanda Koser is a professional instrumentalist (tuba/saxophone/flute], ethnomusicologist, and music educator with over 20 years of ex- perience teaching and performing. Originally from the USA she has lived in Derry, Northern Ireland since 2008. Her work includes, Music Bridge (a community music making project within Culturlann], Head of Curriculum Development and a trainer with Netherlands-based NGO Musicians Without Borders, and founder/director of Second Line NI – a jazz community music education charity based in Derry. She plays tuba as a member of the band ‘Basork’.

Ayesha Mailey is a freelance dance artist and the Associate Artistic Director of Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company. She is a performer, choreographer, improvised and teacher working in the North West of Ireland. Her work has taken her to research, teach and perform in England, New York, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Russia, Italy, Hong Kong and throughout Ireland. Ayesha works, in professional and partici- patory arts projects, with people of all ages and abilities, exploring and composing Poetic Movement.

Joleen McLaughlin is from Donegal, Ireland. She is a member of the Henry Girls alongside her sisters Karen and Lorna. They perform in- ternationally including Germany, Austria, and USA. They have written music for theatre shows including “Tracks in the Snow”, commis- sioned by The Ark, Dublin. They have 7 albums to date. Joleen has played on various recordings including Christy Moore “Magic Nights” and performs with ensembles such as Echo Echo Dance Theatre and Inishowen Gospel Choir. Joleen has a Diploma in Piano Performance (ALCM] and teaches piano and harp locally, receiving teacher training in harp from Janet Harbison.

Stephanie Pawula is a French percussionist. Her music style varies through Folk, Indie, Brazilian, African and Cuban. She is a session musi- cian and has recorded with several bands. Her current band The Hunter, are working on their second album and are featured in the short film “Ebb and Flow” by the Wild Atlantic Women Collective. She has worked on an education programme with the Dylan Quinn Dance Company, is a tutor with Music Generation Sligo and has completed the Training of Trainers session with Musicians without Borders. Stephanie is also a producer for the Cairde Sligo Arts Festival and the Sligo Jazz Festival & Summer School.

Kelly Quigley has a first class degree in Dance from the University of Ulster. She became an ensemble member of Echo Echo Dance The- atre Company in 2009 and has been involved as a teacher, performer, writer and director since then. Kelly is particularly interested in im- provisational aspects of performance and physical theatre. She regularly teaches poetic movement to people of all ages and abilities both nationally and internationally and plays a leading role in Echo Echo’s programme

Zoe Ramsey graduated from Falmouth University with a BA Hons in Dance Performance. She has been performing, directing and revis- ing professionally, in a wide range of projects, since 2010. Her practice has included Contact Improvisation, clowning, corporeal mime, masked theatre, martial arts and rock climbing. She is an ensemble member of Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company, and a regular member of the Luxe processional theatre troupe. She teaches regularly, working with adults and children of all ages.

Anastasia Saevitch studied Dance Movement Therapy in Moscow, and then Somatic Therapy at the Institute for Integrative Bodywork and Movement Therapy. She works as a somatic therapist in St. Petersburg. Since 2007 she has been studying improvisational perfor- mance and contact improvisation and has been involved in numerous performance and video projects as creator, Collaborator and dancer.

Antonina Sheina studied acting in Moscow at the Russian University of Theatre Arts (GITIS] and worked in the Moscow Malaya Bronnaya Theatre repertory company for four years. Since 2008 Antonina has developed an interest in Contact Improvisation and dance perfor- mance. She has participated and taught in various international projects and festivals. She joined Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company in 2011, where she performs, teaches and directs.

Lucia Walker is a highly respected director, teacher and performer and works internationally while being based between South Africa and England. Improvised performance and artistic collaboration are central to her work. She has been learning, teaching and practising Contact Improvisation since 198a and in 1987 qualified as a teacher of Alexander Technique. She enjoys how the principles of CI and AT support and clarify each other to encourage depth and wholeness in our moving selves. Recent performance work includes projects at Ebhudelweni rural arts centre, with Flatfoot Dance Company, Durban, at Echo Echo Dance Company and the solo work ‘the planet is my partner’.