Léim Live

Connecting the dots… in Düsseldorf

Author Sheila Creevey

The Léim training session in Düsseldorf (03 to 07 September 2013) was proposed as an exploration of “Leadership in an Open Context”. Our initial meeting was hosted by Bertram Müller (Tanzhaus NRW, Dusseldorf) and Francesc Casadesus (Mercat de les Flors, Barcelona), in which they outlined the skills and knowledge they consider important in a European dance house director. Connection, communication, and a keen understanding of the context of dance in Europe were proposed as core competences. Important requirements if we are to continue on our current paths.

The Léim group was presented with a unique challenge: to engage with the open context of the modul-dance conference concurrently taking place at Tanzhaus NRW, and to consider our own needs in terms of development – whether that was in connections, communication or contextual knowledge and understanding. This was an opportunity to learn about the largest EU dance project, meet the participants and partners, and to think about our own place in dance in Europe.

The format of the challenge saw our group split, each of us with our own agenda – and under intense pressure to gain as much as we could from the experience offered to us. There were some positive and negative outcomes. And there were some surprising learning outcomes from engaging in this open space:

  • Carefully choreographed structures allowed for new connections to be made.
  • Disruption and provocation led to the identification of key issues of importance in communication.
  • And moments (only moments) of sharing in the group showed how our combined skills and knowledge can create new contexts for working.

When reflecting on my time in Dusseldorf, in preparation for this update, I came across this article by Chris Bannerman in Arts Professional magazine. In it he outlines his experiences of engaging in a complex international, multi-partner dance project. He stresses the importance of relationships and trust as a key factor, and I felt this particular quotation was relevant to our Léim experiences:

“…I learned that personal relationships are vital for success and that mutual trust needed to be carefully cultivated. Interestingly, this focus on the relationship has stayed with me and I now value much more my professional relationships in the UK as well as internationally. When things go wrong, and they will go wrong at some point, it is personal trust which rescues the situation and the knowledge that your partners take your concerns seriously, as they too value the relationship.”

Finally, I would add one more core competence to the list so generously shared by our mentors: Resilience. The ability to engage and re-engage, learning from our experiences – and without losing sight of our goals.

Image taken from the modul-dance facebook page during the modul-dance conference
© Andreas Endermann

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work! Please upgrade today!