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Brianna Lombardo is a tiny but powerful force. The studio was large and filled with about thirty University of Calgary students and the five of us professionals. Quite a mix of personalities and backgrounds, yet she left no one behind.

One theme of Brianna’s workshop was ‘hooking in’, an image of being connected at all times with other people in the room. The start of this exploration was done with a partner, improvising across the room while staying engaged to your partner’s impulses and focusing on being together: stopping together, accelerating together and remaining ‘hooked in’ to each other.

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We expanded this concept to engage with the whole room, first simply walking on a grid pattern and stopping when we felt the room stop, starting when we felt the room start. This exercise requires an incredible amount of focus and is a difficult task in such a large group. As we began to ‘hook into’ each other, we expanded this idea again to encompass movement, curved pathways, spatial relationships and movement concepts. I felt the more I tried to ‘hook’ into people from my centre, the more instinctual and adrenaline-based I became with my choices and the easier it was to connect with the group.

Brianna closed the class with some repertoire from Junkyard/Paradise, a huge hit with all of us in the room. Definitely a force to be reckoned with, I find myself ‘hooked’ into Brianna’s fierce performance and engaging personality.

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Ainsley Hillyard is an Edmonton based performer, choreographer, and educator who works in contemporary dance and theatre. She is a collective artist with the Good Women Dance Collective.