Workshops in the synthesis of Voice, Movement & Emotion


This work explores how to blend voice and movement together, so that a unity is achieved. The work has a strong emotional basis and aims at enabling people to access emotional qualities in themselves, and through a series of individual and group exercises and improvisations to express those emotions in a dynamic vocal/physical way. It’s is derived from many influences and from work, study, research and collaborations I’ve undertaken over 30 years with  individuals, groups and organisations, however it is most significantly influenced by the work of the Roy Hart Theatre and my voice teacher of many years Richard Roberts (aka Krishnadhyanam). This link leads to a post on the Choreographiclab website that explains some of the auto-biographical background to the the Voic(e)motion process I use in my workshops

I don’t do much technical analysis of voice production I work more on developing instinct and self observation. The emphasis of my work is on letting the emotions “play” - that if one can be open to ones feelings and not stand in their way the voice and the body flow naturally together.  The work can be quite extreme but I stress to participants that  the process is not about “freaking out” or just releasing energy.  It is about presence and listening, about balance and rhythm, and knowing as much the value of silence and stillness as the value of volume and athleticism. Its about allowing oneself to experience the full expressive power of ones emotions passing through the voice and body in a quite unfettered way, while at the same time being able to direct and guide the energy of that expression so that it has colour, texture and form. 

A short video edit of extracts from a Voic(e)motion workshop I ran in the Choreographiclab  2006

Performers: Adam Benjamin, Hanna Gillgren, Wendy Houstoun, Pete Shenton, Gill Lyon. Cameraman: Paul Redman.

I work on the concept of outside and inside being aspects of the same thing - feeling something inside and transforming that into a vocal/physical quality on the outside, or taking a vocal/physical quality on the outside and allowing that to develop further and seep inwards, so that the emotional quality underlying it can be discovered. This involves a lot of “copying” of others to encourage people to rediscover  qualities of themselves that they may have lost through their own habitual patterns of voice/body use - qualities that may be more immediately apparent in other people. Of course this also has the paradoxical effect of heightening people’s awareness of their own particular qualities too through having them reflected back by others. I also spend time formally exploring different areas of sound/movement quality , getting  people to try and allow their voices and bodies to operate in unison within these qualities. In this way they start to get an understanding of which kind of qualities they most feel at home with and which they avoid, and at the same time the process provides them with the means to start changingtheir relationship to those qualities, developing their connectedness and expressiveness in those areas in which they are weakest while also enabling them to broaden their existing strengths.

Finally the work is about “play” and spontaneity.The improvisational element of the work  is important because the sense of delving into the unknown linked with the “pressure” of being observed creates immediate and strong emotional impulses/states that the participants can work with. The improvisations, which are “guided”  involve transforming these impulses and states into patterns and rhythms, “playing” with them and developing them into a “theatrical game”. The further developments of my work depend on the needs of whatever groups or individuals I am working with, but in the past have involved linking Voic(e)motion to work on Text, Narrative Improvisation,  Dance, Music, The Fool and Circus based skills .