Strength, dance science, research, dance, circus
Hello, and welcome to this new blog of my ponderings and research in dance science and the wonderful worlds of dance and circus. But first, let me introduce myself and a bit about my journey so far. My name is Claire and I am a strength and conditioning coach, a lecturer in dance science, a researcher, a reiki practitioner and sound healer in training.
I have been dancing since I was 5 years old in our village church hall, taking ballet, modern and jazz. My love of dance continued all the way to university (apart from a slight gap at 13 - 15 years old). I studied dance and drama, theatre and performance at Roehampton University and after another gap in my dance journey I went to Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance to study the MSc Dance Science.
I was very lucky (and crazy) during my part time studies to secure the role of maternity cover for Helen Laws as Manager of the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science which gave me a wonderful insight into dance science out in the real world, not just in the confines of my study. I was working and studying 7 days a week but I loved it. I began contacting university dance courses, telling them about my skills and what I could offer them and began delivering guest lectures at Bath Spa University and eventually took on maternity cover for the dance science lectures back at my old university, Roehampton.
During my studies I also became very interested in strength in dance, particularly in relation to the upper body, which I felt was rather neglected in the research, but utilised a lot more than was recognised in dance at the time. Wanting to research this further but be able to apply my research back into dance training, I decided to train as a strength and conditioning coach. In itself, this training was very insightful as I realised I had all my own training back to front.
Alongside this I had also become engaged in dance for health work with the learning and participation department at Trinity Laban, working on local projects with young people aged 11+, and also on the paediatric wards at the Royal London Hospital. Bringing dance to hospitals was an absolute joy and my favourite day of the week. Eventually this work led me to a role at Akademi South Asian Dance UK, running the Dance Well project for older adults and people living with dementia. During my time here we took South Asian dance to older adults and children across London, in schools, care homes, community centres and hospitals.
In 2019 I was lucky enough to join the dance department part time at Middlesex University as Lecturer in Dance science where I teach across all three year groups and also delivering conditioning for the students. I still teach at Roehampton University and have enough space in my weekly schedule to also work on projects with other dance companies and schools as opportunities arise. I have dabbled in circus arts including aerial hoop, cyr wheel, harness based dance and poi and am keen to learn more about the physical demands of these disciplines, working in collaboration with amazing experts in this field. I regularly teach on the Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) programme at Dance East, Ipswich and am currently working on an exciting project with Encore East Dance Company and Russell Maliphant Dance Company, as well as developing my PhD research into upper body strength in dance.
In dance we often hear talk about portfolio careers and it is something that I find to be an absolute joy when managed correctly. This variety of work allows me to dip into all my passions and to keep my interest in each of these topics fresh.
In this blog I will endeavour to share some of these passions and topics that I feel are important in dance and circus. But if there is a topic that particularly interests you that is within my expertise and you would like to hear more about it please do let me know. As a performing arts community we thrive together by sharing our knowledge and our passion.