OPENLAB – with Thom Wootten


7 April, 10am-1pm

Facilitator: Thom Wootten
Theme: Gender Conventions in Dance

Taking inspiration from Thom’s choreographic style this OPENLAB will move through a range of tasks that question what it is about movement that makes it gender-specific, exploring shape, dynamic and intention. Creative tasks will then be introduced to question our placement on the spectrum of gender movement and then playing with the devices explored before to expand our range of movement and discover new ways of moving by mixing masculinity and femininity.

The first half of the lab will focus on exploring what makes a movement gender-specific playing with physical gender of the participants, the shape and manipulation of movement, the dynamic producing the movement and the intention behind it. Exploring these will give us a better understanding of why a movement may have an assigned gender and the results of each task will be fed-back by the group.

The second part of the lab will begin by initially locating our natural dancing selves on the spectrum of movement gender. Starting by improvising the task will then be layered with open-ended questions to highlight and draw attention to different details of our bodies movement. This self-exploration will then be discussed and inform the next section, creating a short sequence based on the natural movement style explored. Then with this sequence we will play with adding tasks that encourage us to add opposing movement gender ideas to allow our bodies the opportunity to gain a new way of moving and how this can aid us as dancers.

OPENLAB is a model for professional self-development for performers devised by Antonio de la Fe. Its frame of work revolves around a basic question: what does to perform entail? OPENLAB’s model is fluid: always changing, always open to dialogue within the group. OPENLAB sessions are developed by constantly changing group of people. Any person can join the group at any time according to the personal needs and circumstances. Each member of the group may use these sessions the best way they suit them. Generally, the members of the group are artists interested in performance, movement, the body and in the actions the body can deploy as an artistic medium.


Sessions are open to any performers: dancers, musicians, actors and anyone interested in presence and awareness in performance.

Sessions can be facilitated by any participant of OPENLAB. If you’d like to facilitate one of these sessions in the future send an email to Antonio de la Fe:

The sessions function in a pay-what-you-can contribution basis to cover expenses and as an incentive for the facilitator of the session. We recommend a £5 contribution for the 2-hour long sessions (‘White Canvas’ sessions) and £7 contribution for the 3-hour long sessions (‘Facilitated OL’ sessions).