Having graduated from London Contemporary Dance School in 1999, Akane Abe has gone on to perform with companies in the U.K., Germany and Japan, forming her own dance company based in Nagoya. With knowledge of Sports Science, aerobics, jazz dance, mime theatre, Pilates and contemporary dance, Akane brings a lot of expertise to her classes here at The Place. Read our interview with one of the most established teachers on the recreational programme and find out more about her classes below!
You have movement experience in a number of different styles. Can you tell us a little more about your training background?
My first degree in Japan was in sports science, which incorporated the study of dance techniques. I came to London to further my knowledge and study contemporary dance, which I did as an undergraduate at LCDS and then a postgraduate master’s degree in Contemporary Dance.
Who is your biggest movement inspiration?
Growing up in Japan, Butoh allowed me to discover Lindsay Kemp who absorbed the ideas of Butoh and fused them with European mime and dance. From there I came to London to study contemporary dance and found another inspiration in the form of Pina Bausch, whose work has informed my own choreography.
What do you enjoy most about teaching and how does The Place compare to teaching elsewhere?
First of all there is nowhere like The Place; it has a unique environment which is warm and friendly and it is part of the fabric of British contemporary dance. To teach here is always a thrill for me and I have met and worked with colleagues and many talented students and lovers of dance. I also teach Pilates which I believe is excellent for building core strength and my Monday evening ninety minutes class allows the students to develop their awareness of mind and body.
What are some of your interests away from dance?
My interests are varied but I love cooking and using things grown in my garden. I love reading and going to art exhibitions and art-house cinema because they are inspiring and inform my own work. I also love taking care of my two white cats and listening to my husband play jazz on his saxophone.
Find out more about the classes that Akane is currently teaching at The Place here:
Think of shifting through the space, efficiently letting gravity aid your movement, and articulating your spine. All of Akane’s classes have a natural, organic flow, the intensity of each movement exercise building from the next; with full explanations of the more difficult exercises.
Be prepared to stretch your body’s facility and build complex movement sequences to develop your strength and agility. Working closely with live accompaniment, students will be encouraged to deepen their responses and express themselves as performers.
Refreshing and relaxing, the basis of Akane’s Pilates sessions is to strengthen and tone your core muscles. An ideal supplement to Akane’s contemporary classes and highly recommend for office-workers with stiff necks, frozen shoulders and lower back pains.