Another great opportunity we had during the exchange, was that we had a professional dance teacher, Mrs. Arlene Talmarkes Petersen, to assist us with the choreographies and dances in our play.
In the morning, our rehearsals would start off with a warm up consisting of exercises to wake us up and get us going after a long foregoing evening and few hours of sleep. This was taken care of by Mrs. Talmarkes Petersen who would first let us walk through the room, employing different movement patterns, followed by a choreography that she would build up and that we would do repeatedly. It not only warmed us up but also contained elements for stretching and thus never failed to wake us up and get us going.
The bigger part of her work, however, was during the rehearsals. In our piece there were a lot of scenes with dancing, such as the one when an asylum seeker wants a residence permit, and it was a big help that we had a dance teacher with us who helped us. Not only during the rehearsals, but also afterwards when somebody, or I, had troubles doing the dancing moves she helped and advised us. Seeing that a lot of our South African partners had danced before, it was impressive how much we were taught in such a short amount of time. When not working on the dances, we also had the advantage of having another person with ideas on the play, such as the positioning of the people on stage.
It was truly special for all of us to not only have a theater teacher but also a dance teacher with us. It was not only beneficial to the piece, but also a great experience for us. We all learned new skills and had fun whilst doing so. The high quality of our dances truly helped improve the entire piece and wouldn’t have been possible without Arlene Talmarkes Petersen.
Written by Tim Schneider