International Conference: Rhythm and Resonance in Acting Practice

International Conference: Rhythm and Resonance in Acting Practice

                           8-10 March – CISPA Copenhagen, Denmark


Organized by Dr. Kiki Selioni Post-doc Researcher Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (as part of her research Biophysical Acting), CISPA (Copenhagen International School of Performing Arts), Labanarium, and MCF (Michael Cacoyannis Foundation) and hosted by CISPA.

Conference Venue: CISPA - Copenhagen International School of Performing Arts, Glentevej 61, 2400 Copenhagen NV, Denmark

Following the successful conference entitled ’Laban’s Philosophy and Theatre Practice’ held July 2018 in Athens, Post-doctoral Researcher Dr Kiki Selioni, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, CISPA, Labanarium and MCF have taken the initiative to organize a second event in Copenhagen. The aim is to create a series of international events to meet colleagues, practitioners, and researchers, to share experiences, knowledge and current research practices in the field of actor-training and performance practices. The final goal is to create an international network to exchange dialogues of the arising challenges of the 21st-century academies, institutions, as well as the arts industry.


Keynote Speakers:

Dr. Eilon Morris – Rhythm in Acting and Performance [Bloomsbury])

Dr. Kiki Selioni, Affiliate Research Fellow Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London.


Rhythm and Resonance in Acting Practice

In this conference, we intend to investigate the two illusive concepts of Rhythm and Resonance, and their possible correlation, from a variety of angles. The go-to definitions of rhythm are defined as a patterned recurrence of a beat, pulse or accent, and resonance as vibration, reverberation, amplification of the range of audibility, and distribution of amplitudes among interrelated bodily cavities ( These two concepts are embodied by the actor, immediately relevant, even essential, and are interplay in actors’ training and practices is worth exploring further.

In the essay Towards an Organic Approach to Actor Training: A Criticism of the Stanislavski Scheme, Duncan Ross proposes that:

... the organism as a structure of activity organizing its unitary totality in a continuous flow of configurations of its energy, maintaining in an ever-changing immediate situation the soul of its nature manifested in the cyclic duration of its life process, exhibits an entity for which the only comprehensive description is Rhythm...In such an entity every occurrence, percept, image, movement or any other function is a modification of the rhythmic whole, the "vibratory ebb, and flow." In such a model, reading words on a page is a bodily activity which as it progresses becomes in Richards' words, "a vast cyclic
agitation spreading all over the body(Ross, 1968: 265).

In what way do acting methods train the actor to understand, embody and enrich their rhythmical configurations?

How is the rhythm experienced by actors in the rehearsal process/performance?

In what way do actors’ rhythms function as a means of communication to the audience?

Call for papers

We welcome submissions from theatre practitioners, actors, directors, training practitioners, theatre researchers, practice researchers within varying aspects of practice across disciplines including movement, voice, acting, music, and dance.

Please send your abstract of 200 words for your oral presentation (20 min) in a Word doc form, including title, institutional affiliation, your brief CV and email address.

Please send to: Αυτή η διεύθυνση ηλεκτρονικού ταχυδρομείου προστατεύεται από τους αυτοματισμούς αποστολέων ανεπιθύμητων μηνυμάτων. Χρειάζεται να ενεργοποιήσετε τη JavaScript για να μπορέσετε να τη δείτε.


The themes are, but not limited to:

- How do rhythm and resonance manifest themselves in performance/in the performer/the ensemble
- the experience of collective rhythm and resonance in acting practice
- Antiphony (Call & Response) - - somatic collective experience in acting/performance practice
- Brain Rhythms and neural syntax
- Rhythm and resonance in metrical drama
- Philosophies of Immanence/Performance Philosophy
- Metaphysics and/or Immanence in relation to methodology
- Performative and existential connectedness
- Comparative discussion on rhythm in voice and rhythm in actions as a dramaturgical concept.

Proposal Submission Due: 25th November

Acceptance Notification: 15th December

Conference Dates: 8, 9, 10 March 2019

The Presentation of accepted papers will be held on 8 March

Registration fees for presentations: 150€

Attendant fees: 50€

Student & unwaged fees: 25€

Workshops will be held on 9th and 10th March

Saturday 9th March:

12.00:15.00 Juliet Chambers-Coe (GSA, University of Surrey)

16.00-19.00 Dr. Katia Savrami, Choreologist, Assistant professor, Department of Theatre Studies, University of Patra-Greece.

Sunday 10th March:

12.00-15.00 Liana Nyquist (Drama Centre London, University of the Arts, London)

16.00-19.00 Michael Wighton (CISPA)

Registration fees for Participants: 200 € (Student & unwaged fees: 100€)

Attendance fees: 100 € (Student & unwaged fees: 50€)

Please send to Αυτή η διεύθυνση ηλεκτρονικού ταχυδρομείου προστατεύεται από τους αυτοματισμούς αποστολέων ανεπιθύμητων μηνυμάτων. Χρειάζεται να ενεργοποιήσετε τη JavaScript για να μπορέσετε να τη δείτε.


  • Juliet Chambers-Coe

Director of Labanarium, Laban tutor Drama Studio London; Ph.D. researcher University of Surrey

Workshop: Cosmic Rhythmicity – the bodily practice of Rosicrucian principles of correspondence, rhythm, vibration, cycles and polarity.

Laban’s interest in the occult practices of the Rosicrucians has been widely acknowledged (Moore 1999; Preston-Dunlop 2008), but there has not been a comprehensive approach to investigating how this spiritual philosophy is manifest in Laban’s theories and their practical embodiment. This workshop aims to explore how we might come to understand LMA as a mystical practice, fore-fronting experiences in the physical and subtle bodies of the mover through the practice of LMA and Rosicrucian doctrine.
I will argue that a theory-based reading of Laban’s Rosicrucianism (Moore 1999; Kant 2002) is inappropriate and insufficient because of the nature of the philosophy itself. Movement-Harmony, understood within its spiritual context, can only be fully explored and revealed in practice and according to Laban, even his written texts are a “an incentive to personal mobility” (Laban, 1980; vi). In The Mastery of Movement (1980), Laban hoped that “the perusal of the text itself will indicate how to accomplish what is really a kind of mobile reading. Those who prefer to remain comfortable in their chairs while they read will have to skip certain sections of the book” (ibid). Interestingly, however, Laban goes on to explain that even in sitting the reader is able to accomplish a sense of movement by “thinking in terms of movement” which isn’t merely “cavorting in the world of ideas” (ibid) but is the embodiment of movement-through-thought via the interplay of inner movements of emotions and thoughts and the sensation of their outward bodily expression. Thus, the ‘reading of’ alongside or integrated into the ‘moving of’ movement harmony, as in mobile reading, is necessary to fully embody the seemingly ineffable aspects of the harmonic principles of human movement.
An understanding of Rosicrucianism relies upon the everyday practice of its principles as key 20th Century writer on Rosicrucianism, Rudolf Steiner suggests. He says that the Rosicrucian must not withdraw from the physical world in order to obtain spiritual knowledge, but rather must fully embrace the physical world of action where such knowledge are manifest. The Rosicrucian must “rise to the highest regions of spiritual life and with the knowledge there obtained labour actively in the physical world” because “Rosicrucian wisdom must not stream only into the head, not only into the heart, but also into the hand, into our manual skills, into our daily actions” (Steiner, 2000; 8) and Laban, when speaking of the soul and spirit in human movement, says “the desire to know purely intellectually is the expression of an impotent not possessing” (Laban, L/E/53/44, RL archives NRCD; undated).
This workshop aims to reassert Laban Movement Analysis as a spiritual movement-philosophy which doesn’t separate theory and practice - “the new dance technique [LMA] endeavors to integrate intellectual knowledge with the creative ability” (Laban, 1975; 13). Through this understanding of LMA, this workshop also aims to override other existing dyads within the field of movement, dance, theatre and training such as those of technique and research; body and mind; matter and spirit and investigates the endless streaming of and permeation of rhythm through the body and its reciprocal impact on the cosmos.


  • Katia Savrami, Assistant professor, Department of Theatre Studies, University of Patras (GR).,

Workshop: Rhythm in action: the paradigm of Greek Chorus

The Chorus is a fundamental element of Greek tragedy and an important interpretative key for every play. Language in Greek drama is a form of lyric poetry, in dense and heightened style, a variation of Doric dialect and meter apparent in Anapaestic variations and various types (ie the parodos is often written in "marching anapaest" – a rhythm that suited best the solemn entry of the chorus into the orchestra). Trochaic Rhythm is rarely apparent. For the conversation of the leader with the characters, the Iambic rhythm is used. Thus the core of Greek Chorus is the three elements of speech, music and movement which are harmoniously combined and they form the main expressive power of the Chorus in ancient drama. From the bibliographical sources, we have only fragments of how the Chorus was performed and not the entire flow of the whole dance. In this workshop, Laban’s concept of Movement expression written in his book The Mastery of Movement on Stage (1960) is used as a source to create Greek Dramatic Choruses (both tragic and comic) with particular emphasis on Action and Effort rhythm in an attempt to re-enact Choral odes.


  • Liana Nyquist Movement coach, director, and tutor at Drama Centre London (UAL)

Workshop: “Me and the other”

Rhythm is at the core of human existence. There is no real division between the brainwaves of our mind moving through the functions of our being into the expressions of the space we inhabit, where it encounters and braids with those of “the other”.

This workshop is an exploration of the rhythmic and resonant space in between me and what/whom I encounter. A reciprocal relationship, which is ongoing in the infinite figure of 8.

We humans will intuitively understand the "dance" of any encounter. We will know the movement, "the dance" of any object, any building, any name, any tool, and any human sensation. We know! This knowledge is shared in human interaction and in this case, the practitioners of our workshop. The workshop will analyze, and then physically explore this embodied knowledge. We will find the "triggers" which propose to you, the actor, who am I? in this “dance”.

We will look at the body and how the body's structure is reflected in everything we know, any inanimate object, architecture, our sciences, and our belief systems. As long as an encounter with "the other" has a volume and a density it will manifest itself in a rhythmic and resonant "dance".

The actor whose only concern is that of "character" will need tools to recognize the movements within this reciprocal relationship, hence to "catch" necessary patterns of rhythm and resonance in the encounter for the development of the character. The workshop will introduce a method of the body's geometric forms to awaken complex mental patterns and how these are physically expressed and responded to.


  • Michael Wighton, Tutor and director at CISPA (Copenhagen International School of Performing Arts)

Workshop: Rhythm and Resonance in the Suzuki System

Tadashi Suzuki’s system of actor training posits that an actor’s presence arises from their contact with the stage, indeed from the very floor itself. Based upon the traditional movements of Japanese theatre, Suzuki strives to reintroduce the modern actor to their body’s weight and form, reestablishing a united psychophysical body that can both feel and react to the environment which it simultaneously inhabits and defines. This ground-up approach inverts the 20th-century influence of American theatre which swept Suzuki’s nation after World War II, threatening to erase nearly a millennium worth of theatrical practice and wisdom.

As in ancient times, it is the floor which is the great teacher in Suzuki’s system, grounding the actor in their body through powerful contact. In one direction, the performer acts upon the stage, literally, propelling their lower body towards the stage boards in varying shape and rhythm of stomps such that their consciousness drops down within the flesh of their body. In response, the boards themselves resonate back upwards through the foot of the actor and into their bones, teaching them the truth of their presence one beat at a time. Whereas a false action from the actor is echoed instantly by physical discomfort, the reality of an honest moment can resonate holistically within the whole body and spirit of the actor, filling them with the extra-corporeal material to inspire a moment of transcendence.

Stepping beyond quotidian existence, Suzuki charges both the actor and the act of theatre itself to draw their spirit from the percussive power of flesh on wood. Focusing on the basic rhythms, physical structures and internal dynamics of Suzuki’s system, this three-hour workshop will point the way towards an embodied state of heightened consciousness for the performer.