The People

Bryony Williams (FHEA)

Founder/Director

Bryony WilliamsBryony trained in the 1970s with Ernest Berk in the European Expressionist style of dance and has also studied Contemporary dance, Jazz dance, American Tap, Argentinian Tango, Baroque Dance and Gurdjieff Movements.

In the 1980s-1990s she trained in Seishin Kitaido, a ki martial art, with Ken Waight becoming an Instructor. At this time she also studied Bokuto, Bohjitsu, Meditation and Shiatsu massage.

She has wide experience as a teacher, choreographer and dancer in the UK, France, Belgium, Italy and Israel. She is currently working at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama teaching dance/movement to classical singing and music therapy students. She also works at London College of Music, University of West London, teaching Music Theatre and Acting students.

She has been involved in a number of projects and both colleges, and recently choreographed Sweet Charity for the Questors Theatre.

She continues to develop, research and explore aspects of dance through the work of SpiralArts.

She has a creative and eclectic approach to her work and loves to inspire people from all walks of life to dance and move, and enjoys arts fusion.

Elizabeth Blake (DTLLS, Cert HE Dance Teaching)

Founder/Director

Elizabeth trained at London Contemporary Dance School and Guildford School of Acting. She has many years experience as a dancer, choreographer, actor and teacher and has choreographed shows across the UK and Off Broadway. Formerly BTEC Performing Arts Course Leader at Reading College she is currently an associate artist at The Phoenix Theatre and Arts Centre (Hampshire) and The Phoenix’s Dance Officer, working with children, adults, people with disabilities and people living with dementia.

She recently wrote, choreographed and performed ‘Isadora the Barefoot Dancer’, a production about legendary dance pioneer Isadora Duncan, which she took on a small tour following a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe.

David Home, FHEA

Secretary

David Home

David has always had a strong interest in movement and dance and trained for many years in ki martial arts such as Seishin Kitaido, Boh Jitsu and Bokutoh, in the 80s and 90s, as well as Tai Chi, Chi Gung and Zen meditation.  He currently teaches on the Creative Expressive Arts, Health and Wellbeing programme at the University of Derby, where he works with mindful movement, body awareness and workshop facilitation among other things.  In addition, he is a trained shiatsu practitioner and acupuncturist and is exploring the development of mindfulness through touch and the use of breath with movement gaining an MA in Ed researching the benefits of using touch to those working in the NHS, and he has worked with SpiralArts for over twenty-five years.

Cressida Lindsay

Director & Musical Director

Cressida graduated as a music therapist from GSMD in 2006 having studied French and Italian as an undergraduate at UCL. She went on to work in NHS secure and acute adult mental health wards for 8 years as well as in the children’s charity Kids Company, working in schools in East London. She complete an MA in Psychoanalytical Observation Studies at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust in 2013 and has been working at GSMD as a Lecturer, Module Lead and Vocal Tutor on the Music Therapy MA course since 2015. Cressida is also currently Music Therapist at Treloar’s School and College for young people with complex neuro diversity and physical support needs. She is trustee for the charity Sustaining Harmony, that provides community singing experiences for people affected by mental ill-health. She plays the violin and piano and sings in an eclectic range of styles, collaborating with dancers as well as many different genres of musicians, often incorporating improvisation into her practice.

James Lindsay

Musical Director

James is a composer, performer and teacher who works in a diverse range of styles. He studied composition at York with Roger Marsh, Nicola Lefanu and Thoma Simaku where he won the undergraduate composers’ prize and had numerous commissions. Since his MA, he has been active as a composer, performer and arranger working with a wide range of artists including Juice, DOLLYman and a diverse range of bands.  His work has been performed at the Purcell Rooms (Park Lane Group Concert Series), Cargo ( SPNM Sound Source), Tempere Vocal Music Festival (Finland) The Spitz (SPNM Gobsmack), Seillans Music Festival (France) and York Late Music Festival. He has released two albums of electronic music under the pseudonym Jimmy Rosso, and had his tracks performed on Radio 6 by Tom Ravenscroft, Stuart Maconie and Tom Robinson. Since 2006 he has been Head of Music at secondary schools in East London and Wimbledon and he is now Head of Arts, Culture and Communication at Undershaw School, in Hindhead.

Celia Mendizabal

Director

Celia headshot

Celia Mendizabal has more than thirty years of experience as a performer. She is the founder and artistic director of the acrobatic theatre company Circle of Two, which
has been touring internationally for twenty years.

Celia graduated in 2001 by the Central School of Speech and Drama and The Circus Space in London with a BA (Hons.) in Theatre Practice (Circus). She completed a MA in Theatre Studies in 2013 at the University of Surrey, where she investigated the impact of puppetry and masks in the theatrical event from a phenomenological
perspective.

Since 2012, Celia has been practicing several forms of Tai Chi and Qigong.
She was one of the first students in the UK to become an accredited instructor of the Biospirali Method of Qigong, developed by Master Franco Mescola (founder of the Centro Ricerche Tai Chi in Italy and the Biospirali Method of Qigong).

She is now a founding member of Biospirals Qigong UK. This system uses the figure of the spiral as a referent for its practice, as it understands that the spiral is the form in which Qi energy naturally flows. The practice of Qigong allows a somatic approach to movement, harmonising the visible and invisible systems and structures of the body.

Celia has been researching different embodiment practices, Butoh dance in particular, and she is currently working on the development of a methodology in which the practice of Qigong, and the Biospirals Method in particular, can be used as an expressive tool and as a way of transcending the human self in performance, where performer and audience can connect a deeper and more subtle level.

Marc Verter

Director

Marc is a collaborative pianist, vocal coach and repetiteur. Marc was the artistic
director for over five years at the Chelsea Schubert Festival. Previous opera engagements
have included Aix en Provence festival, Opera pa Skeret programme in Sweden and
Dartington festival in the UK. He has performed at music festivals in Israel, North America
and Europe and has played for such internationally renowned singers as Yvonne Kenny,
Jonathan Lemalu, Nelly Miricioiu, Kate Royal, Sarah Walker, Mark Glanville and and
Israeli star soprano Chen Reiss. He is on the staff of the vocal department at the Guildhall
School of Music and is very much in demand as a vocal coach both in the UK and in vocal
programmes abroad. Marc has founded Le Salon Musical – a company of actors and
musicians who recreate the soirees of the 19th and 20th centuries.
www.marcverter.com
www.lesalonmusical.co.uk

Previous Collaborators

Morris Nitsun

internationally known artist, psychologist and psychotherapist (see separate page)

Tim Taylor

Associate

Tim’s work includes performance, education and choreography. Performance spans West End, national and international touring. Within the independent dance sector, work includes multiple performance and research projects for the Dance Research Studio and Spiral Dance and Turning Worlds. Settings for choreography span opera, musicals and fashion.  In education, practice includes adult and community sector teaching and management.

Tracy Burgess

Associate

Tracy Burgess

Artist, Teacher, Explorer of Spontaneous Qigong, Breathwork, Movement and Dance. BA Hons Fine Art. PGCE in Further and Higher education.

Tracy Burgess studied Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University where she specialised in Sound Installation and Time Based Media. During the 90’s she worked as an Art College Tutor in Cheshire. Since 2000 ill health separated her from her creativity for a decade during which time she explored holistic approaches for the treatment of chronic pain and restricted mobility, becoming acquainted with Taoism and Eastern practices for well being and also trained in Reiki.

Now very much reconnected with her creativity again, Tracy combines her internal energy work which she practices daily, with her creativity. It is integral to her creative process and spontaneously and intuitively informs her expression through painting, mixed media drawing, photography and dance.

Tracy has a passion for Contemporary experimental Dance and Music, very much enjoying being around the energy of Dancers, Choreographers, Musicians and Singers and exploring the interplay between Artforms. Her approach to creativity is organic, intuitive, exploratory and spontaneous. Her focus is on allowing a creative freedom of expression to flow and evolve within a creative space, from the individual and between individuals, to enable the work to breathe into life in unexpected and exciting ways.

www.tracyburgess.com

Rob Falconer

Photography

Dance, theatre, events, red carpet events, PR launches, dinners, conferences, parties and more.

Battersea Power Station, the City’s historic Dutch Hall, V & A, Royal Courts….

www.robfalconerphotography.co.uk

Michael Ormiston

Musician/composer/Khoomii singer

Michael Ormiston has been composing, performing and writing about music over the past 15 years. He is a multi-instrumentalist and is currently involved in a number of activities. These are as composer, solo performer, theatre musician, session musician, member of Mysterious Tremendum, Praying For The rain, Hyperyak music groups, strata performance group, radio programme researcher, writer and presenter, traditional music reviewer, workshop leader, teacher and researcher in Mongolian music. Michael also specialises in Mongolian Khöömii (overtone) singing, being one of the only non-Mongolians able to sing Khöömii. recently, Michael was commissioned to co-compose with Keith Waithe the theme tune and incidental music for Benedict Allen’s BBC2 series “The Last of the Medicine Men.”

www.soundtransformations.co.uk

Ernest Berk

Ernest Berk is the inspiration and root behind much of SpiralArts work. He was a dancer, teacher and choreographer who trained in Germany with Mary Wigman in the 1930s in the German Expressionist style of dance.  He also pioneered and composed a great deal of electronic music during the 1960s-1980s, and his music has recently been rediscovered both here and in Germany.


THE ROOTS AND INFLUENCES BEHIND SPIRALARTS 

“The inspiration for a dance always arises from a heightened experience of life”

Wigman in Sorell ed. (1975) 

“The spectator is invited to share the artist’s heightened experience.

I realise the seeds for the development of SpiralArts were sown during my dance training with Ernest Berk in the 1970s. He was a pioneer in ‘Expressionistic Movement’ a form of dance that took hold in Central Europe and Germany at the beginning of the 20th Century, as a rebellion against stylised/orthodox systems. It believed in individual expression and the rediscovery of spontaneous feeling. Two of the original pioneers of this kind of dance were Isadora Duncan and Mary Wigman, and Ernest, who trained in the Wigman School, came to England in the mid 1930s and introduced it in this country.

UNITY-WITHIN-DIVERSITY  

The underlying principle  

‘the impulse of pure creativity being the common denominator.’

He aimed to create dance/art that communicated emotions and feelings directly, and establish dance as an art in itself.

His method of teaching was not a logical, linear process, rather an all round study of diverse segments that ultimately form a whole.

He aimed to develop individual dancers and not mechanical replicas, and believed that a teacher should impart skills and open the paths to access creativity.

He encouraged the interlocking of all arts and the interaction between them, creating spaces where artists of all disciplines could share ideas, learn and take inspiration from each other.

He instilled a sense of creative adventure, searching for spontaneity and vitality in art.

The physical training was tough aiming to create ‘a highly dextrous and controlled body’ through exercises for strength, physical and mental endurance, co-ordination, flexibility… in order to use the entire body as an instrument of expression.

There was emphasis on spacial orientation, improvisation and composition

Rhythm was used as the main unifying force.

Mime was also part of the study, as well as musical understanding.

He balanced practice in improvisation with training in finely structured choreography, both of which were often performed with live music or his electronic music compositions (he was a pioneer in early electronic music).

He drew on a wide variety of sources and influences which were incorporated into his work.

Every student’s individual needs and talents were recognised and nurtured, while maintaining the cohesion of the whole group.

He used technology as an integral part of the creative process, including film, photography and lighting.

SPIRALARTS  

a movement based, intergenerational and cross-art group.

All of the above apply to and have influenced our work with SpiralArts. 

We use movement, voice, rhythm and words as our common denominators alongside inspiration from the natural world and a focus on the basic elements Earth, Air, Fire and Water.

We also use spiral movement to develop accessible, natural movement forms and as a tool for improvisation.

We balanced improvisation for freedom and creative exploration with composition, and structured choreography.

We take inspiration from diverse influences and cultures from Eastern and Western disciplines, often introduced by members of the group.

Currently we are seeking funding to make a film of our work and find ways to integrate film footage with live performance.

Cry the body the sorrow of life

Scream the body the pain of life

Leap the body the joy of life

Dance the body the love of life.

Bryony Williams 21.12.23

www.spiralarts.org.uk