Liza Penkova is a choreographer/pedagogue based in Gothenburg. During her long international career as a
dancer she has worked with the Gothenburg Opera Ballet (SE), Rosas dance company (BE), Compagnie Michele
Noiret (BE) and with among others. chor. Helena Franzén (SE), Georgia Vardarou (GR) and Veli Lehtovaara (FI).
Her own choreographic activities began in collective work with The house of Bertha collective (BE / SE), People
coming from nowhere / Phd in one night (BE) and The silent song (BE / SE). Since 2019, Liza has focused on
articulating her own choreographic and pedagogical practice @ M.A.D.E Stockholm University of the ARts. Her
recent work consists of the trilogy 2019-2024 18 steps through (dance) history PART I, PART II and PART III.
For more info, please visit penkova.cc.
Warming up the researcher in you
Movement research is a wide concept in the dance field and gets interpreted in a million ways. In my opinion,
before one can research, one needs to search and that little nuance is exactly where I lay the focus in both my
choreographic practice and in my pedagogical method. How does this translate in class?
From experience, the body and mind is ready to search when we are just enough physically tired and just
enough mentally stimulated. That is the state I would like to provide through my class. How to achieve that?
We will start the class with a fifteen-minute high intensity interval training (bring your sneakers). Immediately
after, we will slow down by bringing our attention to a set of exercises from the somatic movement tradition.
Gradually I will guide you towards a more structured set of exercises that have its roots in modern,
post-modern and contemporary dance techniques. This will be followed by a short phrase material that we will
work on and develop throughout the whole period of the course. By bringing attention to a specific body part,
skeletal function or spatial indication, we will enter a search for different ways to execute the phrase material.
By the end of the class, my goal, as a pedagogue, is to bring your body and mind into a state of vigilance and
interest in detailed inquiry. A state necessary for a successful movement research.
Movement re-search through (dance) history
Sometimes, even the more experienced dancers are unaware of the legacies their bodies carry. Past teachers;
techniques acquired; choreographies danced; performances seen; idols and ideals informed by cultural,
political and/or religious values; the languages we speak etc. all that influences our movement patterns and
preferences in technique or style of work we value, would like to create or be part of.
The purpose of the workshop is to allow each student to reflect on the dancer they are today and try to place
themselves in relation to the history of dance and of themselves. By proposing a set of questions about their
past and current training, their first encounter with dance, a movement research can start. Simply by asking,
where does my movement come from? Can I trace the origin of it?
Sometimes we will start the workshop with writing, other days with free dancing or by looking at and analyzing
a choreographers work on video. All these approaches make the student to get closer to a reflective state. Why
do I like/dislike a specific technique, choreography? Is it the movement? The narrative or the
music/soundtrack? Encouraging to articulate their reflections will hopefully create curiosity and inspire them to
research further how the different branches in history of dance are connected through times, how they have
influenced different parts of the world and finally themselves as dancers.
Through this workshop I emphasize the importance of a dancer’s self-investigation and awareness as this can
be a helpful tool in their choice of career path. This workshop makes part of my current Master theses at
M.A.D.E @ Stockholm University of the Arts.