One Body One Career

Some of you may have seen Anouk van Dijk‘s Stau during APAP. It was really intense. She’s a wild Dutch choreographer. If you are interested in studying with her, we just got this email:

10 – 15 July 2006
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

In collaboration with the Henny Jurriëns Foundation, anoukvandijk dc will organize the Summer Intensive: One Body, One Career. The main focus of this Summer Intensive will be how training, rehearsal and performance in dance can be related to one another in a constructive manner. You will study with a unique group of experienced teachers who are specialized in different methods to work with the body in dance and movement, but who have a common view on the specific mindset and physical awareness they see as crucial to building a career in dance.

more info after the jump…

You will be able to study Countertechnique, repertory and composition with Anouk van Dijk, improvisation and instant composition with Michael Schumacher, partnering work with Jack Gallagher and Nina Wollny, Alexander Technique with Tom Koch, ballet with Vitor Garcia and yoga with Anat Geiger.

All teachers share a particular understanding of what it takes to be a dancer, how without humor and dignity a career can become harsh and tedious. They all believe you can push your limits as long as you do not lose your self-esteem. The love for detail marks their teaching: subtle nuances can make exactly the difference between hating and loving what you are doing. Just copying an exercise will not give you an effective tool to work with, it’s only when you understand the functionality of what you’re doing that you’re able to gain something. During their careers as dancers they all experienced first hand how information taught in classes can be contrary to the demands of rehearsal and performance, thereby causing confusion and frustration. This Summer Intensive offers the possibility to experience how the three different ingredients of a dancer’s daily life – class, creation and performance – can be intertwined with one another and add up to a sensible and harmonious unity.

The use of space, both internally and externally, the direction of energy in movement and the ways to stay present and connected with oneself, are key elements of all methods taught in this Summer Intensive. All approaches together form a complementary body of knowledge and experience that addresses a wide variety of aspects of the dancer’s professional life and defines the outlines of a creative, intelligent and healthy dancing career.


The Countertechnique is the movement system Anouk van Dijk developed during her 20-year career as a dancer, choreographer and teacher. The Countertechnique discards with all traditional methods that seek to control movement from the pelvis or ‘the core centre’. Replacing the static balance of these core centre approaches, the Countertechnique uses three-dimensional counterdirections inside and outside the body to create a highly dynamic balance, enabling the dancer to execute extreme movements and to find more versatile ways of changing direction whilst moving. Though originally developed for facilitating the particular movement style of Van Dijk’s work, in practice the principles of the Countertechnique system are applicable to most forms of dance, be it modern, contemporary or classical.

On first coming into contact with the Countertechnique, most dancers find it a nerve-racking experience. Because the Countertechnique does not use the pelvis as the center of movement, they lose control over the area that they were accustomed to using for ‘holding on’. To counter this physical challenge, the classes do not focus solely on the physical implications of the system, but also actively work on increasing the mental awareness of the dancers. A conscious, optimistic presence is indeed needed to be able to apply the counterdirections in the Countertechnique. Who and where are you when you are dancing? Can you observe what you are doing instead of judging it? Can you be aware of what happens internally and externally at the same time? Can you work on technical precision and at the same time not worry about the end result? On accomplishing the state of mind to engage in these physical and mental challenges, dancers in general feel much freer in their body, start to work with more awareness and prove to be able to occupy and devour space. This new spatial awareness results in an ability to make movements explode or melt, making the dancer visible in a sharply-defined way. During this Summer Intensive the Countertechnique can be studied in various forms: a theory/fundamentals and technique class, a repertory and composition workshop and a repertory-based partnering workshop.

ANOUK VAN DIJK graduated from the Rotterdam Dance Academy in 1985. For almost a decade she was a lead soloist with amongst others the Rotterdam Dance Group and Amanda Miller’s Pretty Ugly Dance Company. Having started to make choreographies already as early as 1989, since 1996 Anouk van Dijk dedicated herself exclusively to the creation and performance of her own work. She has been running her own dance company since 1998 and has by now created fifteen full evening works and more than twenty shorter choreographies, receiving critical acclaim from international press and audiences.

WORKSHOP COUNTERTECHNIQUE: theory, fundamentals and practice

In these 6 technique classes Anouk van Dijk will work on building a dynamic class from standing exercises to traveling combinations into flying jumps. You will be introduced to some of the essential themes of the Countertechnique: remaining a conscious presence while working on technical elements in the class; focusing on the use of the hamstrings and the co-ordination in the upper body; introducing a few sets of essential counterdirections to help the previous mentioned. Theory, fundamentals and practice will be addressed in all classes.


Anouk van Dijk will teach choreographic material from recent work. Through assignments the material will be modified, personalized and intensified. Working in small groups compositions will gradually be developed. In the process will be referred back to the Countertechnique classes, both in how to execute the movements and in how to perform together.


Michael Schumacher will conduct two blocks of improvisation/instant composition. The aim for both blocks is to develop conscious presence while improvising in various situations. Each session begins with exercises that explore relationships between thought, movement and presence in the immediate environment. By promoting a greater awareness of sensory input, the performer is better equipped to realize each moment’s potential for composition. The session continues with examples of structured and non-structured improvisation that include such elements as dance, music, text, and light. Through practice and theory, participants will explore a process by which they collectively experience spontaneously created compositions.

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER is a dancer, choreographer and collaborative artist. He received a B.F.A. in Dance from the Juilliard School and has been a member of Ballet Frankfurt, Twyla Tharp Dance, the Feld Ballet and the Pretty Ugly Dance Company. As a guest artist, Schumacher has been featured in productions of amongst others Peter Sellars, Paul Selwyn Norton, Mark Haim, Dana Caspersen and anoukvandijk dc. As a choreographer Schumacher has twice collaborated with the dancers of Ballet Frankfurt, conceived and directed The Moment (2001) for the Netherlands Dance Theater III and created the solo Michael Schumacher (2003) for the Holland Dance Festival. In collaboration with Daniela Graça, Marcelo Evelin, and Anat Geiger, he created ANDAMAMI (2000) and Glashuis (2001). Michael Schumacher now appears on stage most frequently in improvisational music and dance settings created by or related to the Magpie Music Dance Company, an Amsterdam-based collective of improvisation artists, comprising dancers, musicians, a visual artist, a lighting designer, and video artists. Michael Schumacher also conducts workshops in movement analysis and improvisation techniques worldwide.


To be a great dancer is one thing, to be a great partner is still quite something else. Partnering work requires technical and mental skills, which are quite different from solo work. In this workshop you’ll study the tools you can use to become a good partner. You’ll work on the importance of distance, the distribution of weight and physical communication while relating to the space around you. The classes will use the principles of the Countertechnique in combining the two centers of gravity of two bodies into one shared center of gravity that exists between two bodies. The existing movement material used will mainly come from Anouk van Dijk’s choreographies Amour Fou, Am i Out? and Suna no Onna in which teachers Jack Gallagher and Nina Wollny featured in very challenging partnering situations.

JACK GALLAGHER is a choreographer and dancer. He danced for among others ISO Dance, Alwin Nikolais, Tere O’Connor, Rotterdamse Dansgroep, Krisztina de Châtel, Pretty Ugly Dance Company and anoukvandijk dc. Jack Gallagher has focused in recent years on creating his own work for his company Bodies Anonymous. Since 2004 he’s also been teaching Anouk van Dijk’s Countertechnique internationally and appearing as a rehearsal director for Van Dijk’s company.
NINA WOLLNY has been a lead soloist Anouk van Dijk’s last eight choreographies, and in recent years has also been working as a rehearsal director for the company’s international projects. She studied Anouk van Dijk’s Countertechnique intensively for the last five years, and in 2005 also started teaching the movement system frequently at amongst others the American Dance Festival, TSEH Summer School Moscow, and in Amsterdam at both the HJS and the Amsterdam Dance Academy.


Vítor Garcia teaches a classical dance technique class with emphasis on freedom of movement, musicality and spatial awareness. The classical vocabulary is redefined by the introduction of principles from both alternative techniques such as Alexander Technic, Gyrotonics, Yoga, Laban, as well as modern and contemporary dance techniques such as Limon, Cunningham, Taylor and contact improvisation. This approach provides tools for a better understanding of the classical dance technique, use of the body, technical improvement and enjoyment of the act of dancing.

VITOR GARCIA has been a professional dancer since 1984 in companies directed by Rui Horta, Mark Haim, Paulo Ribeiro, Joachim Shlomer, Amanda Miller, Paul Selwyn Norton and Katie Duck. As a ballet master, he has worked with Lisbon Dance Company, Pretty Ugly Dance Company and Gulbenkian Ballet. As a guest teacher and ballet master he has also worked with companies and individual artists such as Charleroi-Danses, Ultima Vez, Batsheva Dance Company, Nurenberg Ballet, Komisher Oper Berlin, Frankfurt Ballet and Geneva Ballet. Vítor Garcia is currently resident teacher with the dance department of the Lisbon University and the Lisbon Contemporary Ballet.


Tom Koch will conduct three plenary morning sessions to introduce the principles of the groundbreaking Alexander Technique. The Alexander Technique is a method for applying your rational mind to solve body problems. It makes movements feel lighter and easier, helps alleviate pain and stiffness, and helps you maintain a clear and balanced state of mind. On alternate mornings during the week Tom Koch will lead the group through simple experiments designed to foster a watchful awareness of movement, or “thinking in activity”. The basic principles of the Alexander Technique will be discussed and demonstrated as needed so no prior experience is required. Each day will focus on different concepts: Where and When, Starting and Stopping, Doing and Directing.

TOM KOCH has been a pioneer in integrating the Alexander Technique with dance movement. Since being certified to teach in 1987 by the American Center for the Alexander Technique in New York, he has taught group and private lessons in the Technique to members of Ballet Frankfurt, Nederlands Dans Theater, the Dutch National Ballet, Charleroi Danses, anoukvandijk dc, Tanztheater Wuppertal and many others. He has also taught classes and workshops in combining Alexander Technique with various dance techniques, together with Daniela Graça (ballet), Michael Schumacher and Vitor Garcia (improvisation) and Paul Estabrook (modern). Among his students are some of the foremost performers and creators of European dance, theater and music, such as Michael Schumacher, Dana Caspersen, William Forsythe, Amanda Miller, Anouk van Dijk, Vitor Garcia, Daniela Graça, Nina Wollny, Katie Duck, Thom Willems, Han Bennink, Hans-Peter Blochwitz, and many others.


Yoga can be a powerful tool for dancers and performers: it helps the body to develop strength and suppleness in the deeper muscle layers, aligning the spine and freeing unnecessary tensions. Because it is less externally and goal oriented than dance training, yoga allows the practitioner the time and space needed to work on more difficult areas, reducing the risk of injury and helping overcome existing ones. The mind becomes more focused and relaxed, able of better absorbing and retaining information, and finally yoga teaches us to work with energy in a way that allows free interaction with the surroundings without loosing the connection from within. During these classes the focus will not be in learning one more technique, but to use yoga to improve self-awareness so that the body/mind can become a clearer and better means of expression.

ANAT GEIGER studied dance and theatre from a very early age in her native Brazil. She worked with well-established theater companies and co-founded her own movement theater company, Ko Productions. After moving to Holland in 1991 she worked as a dancer in works from amongst other Michael Schumacher, Daniela Graca, Marcelo Evelin, Desiree Delauney and Mischa van Dullemen. She completed a 3-year Yoga Teacher’s Training Course with Teresa Caldas in Amsterdam and was also granted a teacher’s diploma by internationally renowned yoga master Dona Holleman. Anat Geiger now teaches open classes and workshops both in Holland and Brazil. She also regularly teaches with Dutch dance companies such as anoukvandijk dc, Dansgroep Krisztina de Chatel and Paul Selwyn Norton’s No Apology.


9:30 – 11:00 plenary sessions of Alexander Technique (mo, wed, fri) or Yoga (tue, thu, sat)

11:15 – 13:15 Countertechnique
11:15 – 13:15 Ballet

13:15 – 14:15 LUNCHBREAK

14:15 – 16:15 Improvisation I
14:15 – 16:15 Repertory/composition

16:30 – 18:30 improvisation II
16:30 – 18:30 partnering work

Special on Saturday night!
18:30 – 23:00 Plenary closing session with keynote speaker, discussions, food, showings, dancing!

With exception of the plenary sessions in Yoga and Alexander Technique, two classes will be offered at the same time. With the definite registration you will choose your own trajectory. The classes you have selected you will attend the entire week. To ensure each class can build during the week, you cannot switch classes once the course has started. Register in time because once a class is full, you can no longer register for that particular class. You are officially registered after the payment has been received.


This Summer Intensive is open to professional dancers and advanced
students. Please send your curriculum, upon which a selection will be made, to: Costs for the workshop are 350,- euro.

Pre-register with resume as soon as possible, deadline is May 7! After selection, definite registration starts middle May!

HJS can suggest to participants from abroad housing possibilities in Amsterdam.

Participants should also consider combining the Summer Intensive with visiting the Julidans Festival from June 23 to July 8 – see!

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