Building Mind-Body Connections Through Movement: School Workshop with 'This entry' at MIF23

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Therme Art, in partnership with Factory International, participated for the second time in the Manchester International Festival. For the 2023 edition, they co-commissioned the work by Tino Sehgal titled This entry, the inaugural piece of The Trequartista – Art and Football United series, an initiative curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist in collaboration with football icon Juan Mata. Therme Art extended the impact of the initiative within the local community through a primary school workshop.

Debuted at the National Football Museum and the Whitworth and conceptualised by writer and director Josh Willdigg, This entry brings together individuals from diverse disciplines—including a footballer, violinist, cyclist, and singer/dancer—to create a choreographic quartet that encourages visitors to interact meaningfully with the artwork.

“You’ll find school groups in museums and not necessarily in cinemas for example. They learn about the importance of objects, but we have a sustainability issue. Why are we telling our kids how meaningful and important objects are? We should also be telling them what they can do with themselves.”

Tino Sehgal, This entry Artist

The workshop highlighted the work’s central elements of movement and holistic wellbeing, and aimed to showcase the influence immersive art experiences can have on creating greater awareness of self and creativity. Led by This entry’s dancer Lizzie Sells and artistic footballer Heaven Reitdijk, the workshop took place at the local Holy Trinity Primary School, and students were exposed to an experimental way of teaching and learning sports. By exploring physical activities inspired by football, cycling, singing, dancing, and instrument playing, participants were introduced to the rewarding properties of physical expression, somatic movement, and mind-body-connected action. 

“The elements of This entry lend themselves really well to creative workshops for any age, but for children, they were really excited about it. I brought in the aspect of relating to each other, to teamwork, to listening to your partner, as we listen to the other participants of the work. They used their skills that are innate – their creativity as children, and their joy of moving but with this focus of control, thinking about how you’re going to create and remember sequences.”

Lizzie Sells, This entry Dancer

The workshop aimed to establish a conscious mind-to-body connection through movement in the everyday lives, creative practices, and wellbeing of participants. Lizzie Sells led the workshop and formulated an age-appropriate, dynamic experience that connects with key curriculum points. The workshop aligned with KS2 physical education curriculum goals and encouraged younger generations to embrace holistic wellness. The practices taught in the workshop were designed to be accessible to all, with a focus on highlighting the importance of musical, athletic, and creative practices for the body. 

Therme Art's engagement with the younger members of the community sets the stage for the forthcoming opening of Therme Manchester, which will feature digital art installations, nature and innovative technologies. By conducting workshops and implementing public art interventions like This entry, Therme Art aims to build inclusive experiences that enrich local communities and create environments that promote overall health. 

Therme Manchester will also include our commission of Jeppe Hein’s Today I Feel Like…, unveiled at Manchester International Festival 2021. This project involved close collaboration with schools in the Manchester area, leaving a lasting and positive legacy that will become an integral part of the fabric of Therme Manchester.

Therme Group believes in holistic wellbeing and, through its activities, is committed to making diverse and unique wellbeing experiences accessible. This entry, is a brilliant example of how immersive art experiences can support holistic wellbeing through encouraging greater awareness of self, exercise and creativity. 

Therme Art’s work in Manchester is part of Therme’s wider goal of becoming an active and engaged member of the Greater Manchester community. As Therme Manchester prepares to open its doors, it promises to offer a unique and enriching experience for both locals and visitors alike, with dedicated art and cultural programming that reflects diverse perspectives and enriches the cultural fabric of Manchester. With this holistic approach to wellbeing and community engagement, Therme Group is set to become an integral and cherished part of the city's vibrant landscape.

This entry was commissioned by Factory International, Summer Academy Zollverein, Essen, and Therme Art, with the support of Therme Group. 

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