This guide introduces the workshop content that is delivered by Touchdown Dance in health, education and arts settings. It is a form of documentation of the key principles and methods that are intrinsic to the experience. Touchdown Dance artists have worked together to formulate this guide, building on the foundational legacy of the founders, Steve Paxton and Anne Kilcoyne between 1986 and 1993. Since 1994 Katy Dymoke has developed the core work furthering the research and exploration in collaboration with Steve Paxton, Ray Chung, Lisa Nelson, Karen Nelson, Angus Balbernie, Julyen Hamilton, and many individuals who joined the company of dance artists, project managers and educational specialists; Janee Hall, Alan Foster, Patrick Beelaert, and Ed Higginson.
The current company includes six dancers with training in dance, theatre, somatic practice and martial arts. The visually impaired dancers collaborating on this project are; Holly Thomas, Jamus Wood, Indra Slavena, Stuart Jackson, and the sighted artists are, Robert Andersen and Katy Dymoke.
There is a strong somatic movement aspect to the work which enables an experiential, person centered and accessible methodology. The four key approaches that are integrated into the methods are Yoga, Aikido, gymnastics and Dance.
The support of the breath and yoga postures to bring inner awareness and alignment of the body as a whole. The breath supports the underlying expanding and condensing movement of the whole body and fluid transition between one movement and another. Yoga based practices provide a focus for the other movement work, a base line for the maintenance of overall health, posture and balance.
A martial art which establishes the sense of the whole body moving. Aikido establishes ease in three dimensional movement through space, including falling, lifting, rolling, engaging with others. Martial arts practice establishes a sense of self trust, of ease in moving on the floor and with others. It requires focus and discipline, bringing awareness to the centre of gravity and movement flow from and to the periphery. This is an essential aspect for all dancers to gain stability and ease in body-mind.
As a more western approach gymnastics expands on the ease of falling by introducing hand stands, elevation and suspension, jumping lifting and other aerial principles. Gymnastics expands on Yoga, further facilitating core strength, balance, inversion, and turning around a support.
Integrating all the above within a frame of creativity and imagination. Principles come from contact improvisation, contemporary dance practices, and dance theatre. Dance practice develops and enhances spatial orientation, rhythm, flow, use of weight, awareness and co-ordination, and composition.
There is cross over between these approaches such as self awareness, personal and group practice, co-operation, confidence, team working, group mind, respect for difference, and essentially, equality of opportunity and accessibility. The breadth of these approaches, when combined within the principles and methods of teaching and developing dance work, creates a huge palette of possibility and ensures an accessible framework for all abilities. Touchdown Dance welcomes visually impaired and sighted people, deaf and disabled people and endeavors to operate in accessible spaces.