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Retina presents Open Dance Workshops For All

Open dance workshops for all


Retina Dance Company is offering outdoor dance workshops for anyone and everyone to come and join the company, learn some new moves and have some fun. In an easy and creative environment, Retina’s Artistic Director Filip Van Huffel will take you through the steps to learn a little dance for you to enjoy. There are 4 chances to come and participate, registration not required:


Park 1

April 30
Park Spoor Noord, Antwerp – 10-12h
Villegas Park, Berchem – 14-16h

May 14
Museumplein, Antwerp – 10-12h
Te Boelaar Park, Berchem – 14-16h


Park 2

Community dancers workshop


Retina Dance Company is offering a unique opportunity for people to come and perform alongside them in the premiere of their new production Layers of Skin. If you are aged between 12 and 112, and are interested in exploring your creativity in movement, then come along and join us for a workshop on Saturday 28 May at Cultuurcentrum Berchem from 10 to 13h. In the workshop you will find out more about the project and get a taste of the movement content. You will be required for rehearsals each evening from June 13 to 17 and for the technical rehearsals and performances on June 22, 23, 24, 25. Twelve dancers will be selected from this workshop to take part in the performance. No previous experience required and Retina is interested in forming a group mixed in age, experience, culture and gender.

May 28
Cultuurcentrum Berchem, Driekoningenstraat 126, Berchem – 10-13h

More info: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Retina Dance Company respond to Arts Council England NPO Announcement

On Wednesday 30th March Arts Council England (ACE) made their announcement of the successful National Portfolio Organisations (NPO's). Retina Dance Company was pleased to learn they were successfully added to the NPO list and will recieve a 25% increase between 2012-2015. Here is what our Artistic Director, Filip Van Huffel, had to say about this fantastic result.

From a personal and company perspective I want to express my gratitude to ACE for their ongoing support and the positive outcome of our National Portfolio application.

This positive signal gives us the opportunity to look to the future of Retina both artistically and organizationally with a tremendous amount of excitement. We have a huge amount of plans, which include the creation of new productions, professional development initiatives and educational projects, regionally, nationally and internationally. This support will enable Retina to strategically plan our future and to keep pushing our artistic boundaries to further develop a ‘Retina approach’.

I understand that these are difficult financial times and that a significant amount of organizations have had negative decisions, which makes me even more thankful for the opportunities that this funding will allow us to pursue. As we are currently in the midst of an Organizational Development process we are striving to develop Retina’s long-term sustainability with a perfect balance between optimizing the business and our artistic endeavours and now have an optimistic view of the future.

I look forward to seeing you again very soon and to discussing our future plans so that we can work together as one of the exciting and dynamic contemporary dance voices in the East Midlands and beyond.

With best wishes,
Filip Van Huffel, Artistic Director, Retina Dance Company

Inside the Studio : Week Three Layers of Skin

Where do I start with such an eventful week that led up to our Easter break. This week our determination was put to the test, with more challenging work being created by Filip and more complexity needed to be created by us, the dancers.

We kicked off this week’s rehearsals with a new phrase taught by Filip, which was to illustrate a body without organs (or Filip’s title B.W.O.) which is personally my favourite section so far. This is conveyed by falling to the ground, leaping back up, twisting, sliding and flipping across the dance floor, then our skin meets other skins and our tangle causes a reaction. One of the movements in this phrase is called the ‘Flying Squirrel’, (named after seeing David imitating one in a picture!) which is literally to fly face down to the floor with arms and legs spread to the side. We had different versions coming out of the Flying Squirrel. My technique was to fall on the front of the right foot, then fold into the right knee. Luisa our fabulous apprentice found another technique that worked really well. But with her burst of great energy and enthusiasm in the demonstration of her version, she jumped really high, so high in fact, that on the way down she hit her face and cracked her tooth. Yes sounds crazy, but Luisa the fighter showed that her passion conquers all, and got it fixed that night. She was ready to go again the next day as she was marvellously covering Erin’s role for a few days.

A very rigorous quartet was created by Pauline, Matt, David and myself. Then Filip tore our creation apart and made it more daring, by the use of contact and lifts and by adding intention. Risks were taken resulting in David the brave’s head hitting the ground whilst being between my legs, and Matt falling to the ground out of Pauline arms. But no harm done, the bruises remind us to NEVER do that again.

Layers of Skin week 3 from Retina Dance Company on Vimeo.

A new section was created with the idea to incorporate the 6 additional professional dancers along with the community dancers. We had another counting challenge like last week’s 5’s, this time it’s in 9’s or 6’s or 3’s, or Joris Vanvinkenroye (our composer) says the music is in 18’s!

At the end of this first 3 week rehearsal period we all have 2 weeks off for an Easter break, to rest up and to let the choreography settle in our bodies. Phew!

Friendships have definitely bonded. My favourite moment was doing Filip’s great class to Beyonce’s ‘all the single ladies’ and boogying it out with Filip, the company and class guests.

I am looking forward to coming back and focusing on the next period of rehearsals leading up to our premiere in Berchem cultural centre, it is going to be amazing!!!!

Written by Kristina Alleyne, Retina Dance Company

Inside the Studio : Week Two Layers of Skin

What an incredible week this has been. We are back in ccBe and the creativity is flowing. We kicked off after class with the continuation of the trio which we started last week. Now, this is not just an ordinary trio, this is full on, potential death situation type trio with some incredible lifts executed by the wonderful Kristina and Dave. We had a few hairy situations where I was literally doing a back flip onto my head, but I was lucky enough to have two excellent partners throwing their bodies down to the floor to cushion the blow that my skull was about to receive. All in all, pretty exciting stuff and I LOVE it, I feel like I am flying on numerous occasions!

We started to structure a section by deconstructing a phrase and setting all the movements to the music. Sounds simple right? Wrong, the music is in bars of 5 so this was quite a challenge. Not that I can’t count to 5, but knowing exactly which movement goes on which count when each movement is very similar yet very specific, combined with tricky music, is akin to advanced level brain training. We then gave each bar of 5 a number, there are 16 bars and each of us have our own number journey which dictates the sequence of the 16 bars. This is mine: 1,2,3,4,5,7,14,15,16,6,7,8,9,10,13,16…phew! Filip, cleverly, worked out a table so that some or all of us are in unison at various times. For example, on 14 I am with Matt so we keep a cheeky eye out for each other there, 15 with Kristina and then 16 back with Matt, 6 and 7 Pauline and I rock it out and then the last two we all do together. Frequently this week there would come a time when at least one of us would be lost in space at around the 14th bar but we can quickly pick up the 15th and 16th with everyone and no one notices you have gone wrong….I hope! Clever stuff eh?! I am sitting on the train back to Amsterdam as I write this, resisting the urge to mark out this phrase. It is one of those phrases which is purely accumulation, in fact we even call it the accumulation phrase and so I need to think it through quite often to make sure that I don’t blank at the crucial moment. So now we have a whole section of nearly 5 minutes and It is AWESOME to do and I feel hungry for it every time but it is an absolute killer stamina-wise.

Layers of Skin week 2 from Retina Dance Company on Vimeo.

Wednesday was Fajita Fajita ay ay ay night and that was great, lots of laughter in the kitchen, Filip and Steven doing some funky moves to Michael Jackson and you tube clips of a questionable nature. Steven, Luisa and Dave pulled together a wonderful meal, coupled with some wine, good conversation and excellent company, all in all an awesome night!

An exciting end to a great second week, Chris Nash came in to take some pictures, we felt like we were in a 70’s New York photo studio, with some mood music (care of Steven) and arty vibe (care of Filip and Chris), Chris got some incredible shots. I can’t WAIT to see what next week brings!!!

Written by Erin Harty, Retina Dance Company

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