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King’s Cultural Experience Award

King’s Cultural Experience Award is one of the university’s award modules that focuses on experiential learning. The 10-week programme consists of creative workshops at different arts institutions across London. The diversity of experiences gives students an opportunity to fully engage with London’s arts and culture and reflect on their own values and practices.

Taking part in the module entails participating in the weekly sessions at some of the most exciting cultural spaces in London. Expect to be going to galleries, performing arts venues, workshops with guest artists and some outdoors exploration!

Two small assignments are required: the first one is a series of five blog posts (500 words in total) to reflect on your learnings and the second is a 1000 words reflective essay. Awards are conferred at the King’s Experience Award Ceremony. These are very relaxed and casual short assessments, ideal to take your mind off the challenging demands of the formal curriculum.

This week the KCEA took students on an exploration of contemporary dance at Rambert Dance Company. The century old contemporary dance company, one of the first ever created in the UK, sits on the Southbank right behind the National Theatre and neighbours King’s Waterloo Campus! The session began with a backstage tour of the venue, the rehearsal studios, the costume department, a quick peek at the offices and the archives. And before anyone knew it, it was time to get down to practice in the huge top-floor studio, equipped with a sprung floor, a wall of mirrors and of course barres all around. Everyone got a bit sweaty while being introduced to rhythm, counts, parallel, first, and second positions, pliés, tendus. Once the basic vocabulary had sunk in, the beginners’ introductory class took it to the next level by bringing in improvisation and teaching choreographic phrases to be interpreted with different intents. The incredibly perky dance teacher made sure spirits were up and made the experience fun and enjoyable. It was a success in all regards as, to quote her “good energy! Have you danced before or are you dancers who just haven’t danced yet?”

What appears to be the strongest achievement of the Cultural Experience Award is its commitment to allow students to understand and fully engage with arts and culture, rather than merely showing it to them. It is clear to me that tomorrow’s muscle soreness is probably the most accurate way to engage with dance! Besides, the day was not quite over yet. KCEA invited students to attend a premiere of a Rambert production a couple hours later at Sadler’s Wells, a leading dance venue dedicated to international dance. The performance was an overwhelming success, full of intensity and virtuosity (click here to read the show’s review). When meeting students outside the theatre after the show, the overall consensus was that the ways of seeing professional dancers perform is highly enhanced once the very basics of what constitutes their art is understood.

KCEA is over half way through already but runs again during Spring term. Applications will open next week on Friday November 16th. Spring Term will run from 23rd January - 27th March 2019, Wednesdays 14:30-17:00. Limited places and attendance is required.

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