Saturday, November 9, 2013

Bozenka's Mediterranean Dance Lab

Hello there,

I've been trying on and off for the past few weeks to write up a comprehensive blog post about my experiences at Bozenka's Mediterranean Dance lab in Crete this September.

Labbers on the rocks! To be 'shopped in: Katrina, Hayat and the Mr-s

Yet.. Every time I start to write, I get overwhelmed. There are so many memories and impressions swirling around in my mind that I feel a bit lost whenever I think back. And then I start to write other blog posts instead..

Anyhow, here goes :) I've been to quite a number of events in the past, intensives as well as festivals, but this Dance Lab was still a different kind of experience for me.

Labbers on a boat!

First of all - I loved it. I was lucky enough to have studied with Bozenka before a couple of times over the years, and I decided to sign up for the intensive after hosting her here at our studio last February. In fact, my husband (the mythical Mr E! :)) was the one who suggested I should 'study more with miss B' after I told him how inspiring her workshops and talking sessions have always been to me. 

So.. we agreed to combine our holiday time with Dance Lab this year, making use of the 'non-dancer package for partners' for Mr E.

What it turned out to be can only be described as an extreme Bo-dance-cation-tensive. Dance Lab is held twice a year (September and May) in Plakiás, Crete one of the most beautiful places in Greece, as you will see in the pictures.

Our morning view @ Plakiás

We were greeted with much love (and a hot meal!) by Bozenka and Mr. W after traveling in late on the first day and got to meet the other 'Labbers' the next morning.

The program contained several dance days and two 'break days', on which we got to explore the island by land and by sea.

Beach trip!

The dance days consisted of a daily warmup (including 2 lovely guest classes - yoga by Hayat and conditioning/yoga/drills by Jennifer!) plus a mix of technique, traveling combinations with and without veil, zills, musicality, follow-along, improvisation, group excercises and choreography, but also time for personal feedback and working on our own solos. Plus - something that made this dance lab a true 'Dance Lab' to me - there was time for collaboration for group numbers, duos/trios, supporting dances and/or helping each other out with our solos. Pwew!

Miss Hayat and miss Jennifer <3

All of the work of the lab week culminated into a show on Saturday evening, showcasing the diversity of dances from the middle east and Greece.

Getting ready to rumble!

The break days were great fun, this edition they included a boat tour, a free day and a jeep safari, which gave us the opportunity to get to know the area (and each other!) better and to relax our bodies and minds a bit in between the hard (dance) work days.

Next to that there were 2 (optional) photo shoots with Mr W, a morning and an evening session, of which you can see a sneak preview here:

Cristina, Katrina, Hayat, Leona, Cheryl, Leila/Hiromi and me :)

The days were intense, diverse and quite long, as one would expect and wish from an intensive. The only thing I wish I had done differently in hindsight for myself is taking a bit more time to stretch on my own after the dance classes, as I was feeling a bit 'worn out' by the last couple of days. So, dear blog readers :) Stretch your muscles daily! It is good for you.

That being said.. still found time to plank.

Planking on the rocks with miss Hayat!

What will stay with me most (next to the sweating, laughter, happy tears, inspiration, joy, beautiful dancing, gorgeous environment and amazing food!) was the warmth, generosity and dedication of our hosts and the participants I was lucky enough to share this dance lab with.

I know it sounds like a bit much (even for me ;)) but both E and I really felt like we were leaving family by the time we headed home.

Tired but very happy dancers - Last day at Lab!
A good 2 months later I am still processing all the impressions and feeling inspired to work hard and 'dance from the heart'.

To all of you considering/thinking of attending one of Bozenka's future Dance Lab editions: DO IT! And then tell me all about it :) 

To conclude.. A big shout-out (and a hug) goes out to miss Bozenka and Mr W, much gratitude to you both for making this dance retreat such a wonderful experience, and much much love to co-labbers Hayat, 'Leiomi', Aude, Nathalie, Katrina, Cristina, Rosanna, Leona, CherylJennifer, Samarah and Paul :) I (and Mr E) still miss you all, so honored to have spent this time with you!

A Grecian Rose :)

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