Cai Tomos is an independent movement artist and choreographer who has toured extensively and presented works in Spain, South America and mainland Europe. His work is influenced by his engrossment with psychological and psychosocial aspects of dance and dancing. His interest lies in a fluidity of working with both professionals and non-professionals, offering the stage to bodies that don’t often get seen in dance and theatre, challenging the aesthetics of dance and discovering original movement styles
Improvisational dance practices are also central to his creative process. The masterclass he will be leading at The Place as part of Easter Dance Courses will encourage and enliven the participants’ curiosity through play and investigation, highlighting the importance of the senses, intuition, and spontaneity to find fullness of expression whilst dancing.
• How did you find growing up in Wales as someone interested in movement?
I was really lucky to be able to play outside when I was growing up. I think moving and dancing in relationship to a living landscape had a big effect on how I learnt about my body. There was a lot of freedom and I think in essence most of my dancing is about trying to go back to that spaciousness and simplicity of the body through play. I was very lucky as my first experience of dance was site specific and based on improvisation. I think that laid down the path of interest that I seem to have followed over the years.
• How does London and The Place compare to everywhere else you teach?
I think each venue has its particular energy. There’s a certain vibrancy at The Place as it is specifically geared for dance so it feels quite eclectic as you walk around. You get a sense of all the different ways into creativity and the body.
• Your work is deeply rooted in improvisation. What brought you to this decision over going down a more technical or repertory route?
I think it’s probably where I feel most at home. I think the skills that come from being an improviser are really applicable to life outside the studio. There is in improvisation an opportunity to keep learning. There is something about the quality of mind that comes in improvisation which I find really odd, in a good way. It’s a particular focus that is really exciting because you don’t really know anything. Improvisation seems to keep the mystery of the body and having a body alive.
• What are your current interests away from dance?
I really enjoy seeing new places and mostly when I can I spend time out of the city. I like engaging with other art forms too as it’s a way to think and connect through different ways to dance. Having said this, it’s kind of hard to move away from dance. I don’t think I ever can. I’ve tried but it’s like a lasso that keeps drawing you back if you wander too far off.
• Can you tell us a little bit more about the basis of your workshops?
The basis of the workshops is always about how we engage the imagination and sensation, and the feeling of moving in our own way. The workshops’ essence is really about how we listen to our body. So we might think of what helps us to listen more and how we can build a broader range of expression, whatever our dance history, body shape, ability, disability, or age. I don’t teach steps, or tell people what to do as such, but what I hope is to dig a bit deeper into your own listening and expression and realise how they can co-exist. You then start to find things that are of great interest to you and others. It’s somehow about being able to find this place where you’re ‘danced’, rather than dancing. The body is full of riddles and feelings and I guess the workshops are about trying to make as much space as possible to listen.