Archives for posts with tag: Jason Keenan Smith


The drugs are working: a breakfast of Asacol, Prednisolone and Co-Codamol. Consequently I’m here, on the big stage of Brighton’s Dome Concert Hall, built by the Prince Regent in 1805: otherwise I’d be languishing in bed feeling miserable. Overhead are the huge scalloped cut-outs of the circular layered ceiling – the place is gorgeous but not fancy Art Deco – with modern lighting gantries hanging (though unlit now). Facing me are 1700 empty seats, but we won’t be performing here – we’ll be in the black-box Studio theatre next door. Jason, our rehearsals director, and now – at last! – our choreographer, is working up a new dance piece – contemporary dance, dance-theatre, ‘modern’ dance, some calls it. The women rule this one. We men (5 of us) scuttle around, hiding behind the 13 female bodies, till we’re revealed, snaking geometrically round the stage, heads down. We don’t know where this is going, yet…

What I do know is that I have to rush around onstage, trying to get attention, becoming increasingly desperate, until, humiliated, I strip down and stand alone in my underpants…



If it’s Monday, 3Score Dance Company at the Pavilion Theatre, 10 – 1pm. Jason, dancer, choreographer and our rehearsal director, has enormous patience with us, clarity, and a good sense of humour. An hour’s warm-up and technique, then the more creative part, building on ideas, associations, memories. We’re working with a Maya Angelou poem, ‘Still I Rise’, and each of us has to interpret the words and meaning into movement. I incorporate facial expression, twists, bends… Then we partner another dancer. And we have to teach each other our moves, then partner another couple, and learn their sequences… Surprisingly, at my age, it’s not so much the body that has the problems, as the memory. It’s only too tempting to watch Jason’s fluid moves and copy them each time round, but that’s not how to do it. You have to internalise the moves, get them in your muscles.

Tuesday evening: Brighton Jazz Co-op, upstairs in the Open House. The great Mark Bassey is working us through the classic minor II-V-1 chord progression. Mark is a top jazz trombonist, but he’s passionate about teaching, too. He’s one of the best teachers I’ve come across: clear, patient, sympathetic and encouraging to the strugglers (me). I’m really ashamed to admit my lack of musical knowledge, even of my instrument, but he spends time with me in the break, filling in the blanks, with great good humour, when he could be at the bar with the others. Once again, the trick is to get this theory into your fingers – to access the flat 5th and the tri-tone substitution – without using your mind.

Two great teachers. But, as the joke says, you gotta practice.