Choreo lab encourages dancers to experiment

Jocelynn Roy and Anderson Langille do some improvisation work. Photo: Rachel Levitt/The Dialog

Jocelynn Roy and Anderson Langille do some improvisation work. Photo: Rachel Levitt/The Dialog

Choreo lab is a class that began in January and runs every Sunday in the George Brown Dance (GBD) studios, set up by GBD teacher Sion Irwin-Childs. 

The choreo lab currently has GBD students and alumni, but it is open to anyone outside the dance department and the college with a one time membership fee of $50.

Irwin-Childs describes the class as “a mentorship opportunity that allows people to develop their choreographic skills…and gives them an opportunity to be able to go from process, product, and presentation into performance mode, all in one day.”

The class also allows for performance opportunities such as the Eros Cabaret, which was presented on April 11. Networking is also a bonus, since dancers get into an environment where they work closely with one another to build on their choreographic skills not just as a team, but as a family.

As the only dance program at GBD that offers a composition class that allows dancers to harness their choreographic skills and create their own pieces is dance performance studies, choreo lab gives students in the other dance programs (dance performance preparation and commercial dance studies) the opportunity to acquire these skills for themselves.

Dance performance preparation student Anderson Langille said “I joined choreo lab because it’s an opportunity to have a free open space to create and experience. Since it’s choreo lab I think of it as experiments.”

“I think it’s a good time to have structured [dance improvisation],” said dance performance preparation student Jocelynn Roy. “Sion usually comes up with concepts like we take a word or something, we play with that word and we’re experimenting with different ideas that we have.”

On the basic structure of choreo lab, Irwin-Childs said, “the first hour is a warm up and exercises that I guide people through, the second hour is used for solo exploration and the third hour is used for group studies.”

I got to observe a choreo lab class and as a dancer I can tell you, it looked extremely fun. The first exercise involved the dancers being blindfolded and improvising while Irwin-Childs walked around the room at gave them additional instructions. In the following exercise each person got a partner and moved that person like a “doll”, and lastly they choreographed a short dance routine as a group.

Choreo lab is a very welcoming and open environment. Anyone interested in creating their own dance pieces should definitely give it a try.

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Choreo lab encourages dancers to experiment