The Energy of Performance Practice : Ways of Moving and Being from the East

12 March, 2015

Whether you call it qi, prana or presence - energy is the fuel that turns ideas into actions.  Everything is made up of and directed by energy whether it is the energy that constitutes and moves the stars, planets and moons or the energy used in lifting your hand to push open a door. 

'The Energy of Performance Practice : Ways of Moving and Being from the East'

22 - 26 June 2015   *** 10am - 3pm each day ***  Early Bird discounts available or just turn up.

Eastbourne House Arts Centre, Bullards Place, Bethnal Green, London. E2 0PT

Developments in performance practices through the 20th century have been inspired by insights into alignment and breathing from traditional energy systems located in various parts of the world (in particular: Africa, Asia, Asian subcontinent). As yet, there has been no considered translation of an integrated performance training specifically in the practice of energy cultivation and expression.

This is partly because these energy systems have been created for lived behaviour, for intense and ongoing attention to the complexity of our being, place and surroundings. Yet they have been transferred into traditions such as Noh theatre, Kalakshetra, Mongolian throat-singing, and other performance modes.

20th century performance training has clearly been inspired by the potential these traditions provide, and this series of experiment workshops are simply following the work with alignment and breath to its logical next step with qi, or energy-work. We know this enhances performance whether it be in dance, art, music, sport or in the everyday expression of being yourself and becoming more.

Participants may have had some training in breathing and alignment techniques there will be some work on each day with the specific methods used by Lishi (see below), and additional training in proprioceptive expansion, and in energy-work. 

22 - 26 June 2015   *** 10am - 3pm each day ***  Early Bird discounts available or just turn up.

Eastbourne House Arts Centre, Bullards Place, Bethnal Green, London. E2 0PT


'Lishi in Performance' - Dr Alexander Boyd

The Weihai Lishi Quanfa is a whole-body practice that trains in movement meditation and qi work. It dates back over 3000 years, and is Daoist and includes many Daoist arts practices. One of the few complete family traditions, it unexpectedly came to public knowledge in Europe in the early twentieth century, and is unique in its breadth of practice.  Dr Alexander Boyd will be leading the 'Lishi in Performance' workshops during the week.

Scott Philips - California / Colorado, USA

During the week Scott Philips will lead 3 workshops as follows:

  • Tuesday 23rd June 1-3 pm - 'Internal Dynamics of Tai Chi'

This workshop is designed to help people see clearly what Tai Chi does and how it develops over a period of many years. You don’t have to know any Tai Chi to take this class but advanced students will benefit from it. All forms and styles of Tai Chi are welcome. We will present simple games and experiments that explore basic counter intuitive principles of Tai Chi which are normally invisible to students. The core idea of Tai Chi is to create completely uninhibited movement by freeing the way the mind and body interact. 

  • Wednesday 24th June 10-noon 'Partnering Non-Agression'

Simple two person forms offer a way to play with the elements of timing, positioning, power and structure in an effortless flowing way.  Like goats establishing dominance, people naturally fall into force against force patterns of resistance and self-assertion which reduce their power and speed.  The purpose of this class is to create a space to explore two person forms as a tool for unlearning this social habit, unleashing spontaneous joy and martial prowess. 

  • Thursday 25th June 1-3pm 'Reverse Engineering the Golden Elixir'

Based on the innovations of Master Geoge Xu (Xu Guoming), the purpose of this workshop is to completely integrate key concepts from Daoist ritual-meditation and “pure” internal martial arts.  The strategies we use are empty and effortless, relying on whole-body liquid mass integration and momentum to create maximum gravity and unstoppable power. Using slight-of-hand (ling) and misdirection (xu) we seek to transform the relationship between spatial perception and action. 


On Wednesday 24th June 2-3pm Gwyneth Curtis from the Vajrasati school of Yoga will be delivering a one-hour yoga workshop.  There is no one influence to Gwyneth’s approach that enables individuals to take on board what works with them. “The focus is always on giving the student autonomy and allowing prana [energy] to flow. It is meditative but also challenging, in terms of breaking down habits, samskaras,  the imprints or impressions left on the body by habitual patterns, injury of the mind and emotional responses.”


Scott P. Phillips began training in 1977, under Bing Gong - a senior student of Kuo Lien-Ying, one of the first Chinese internal martial artists to teach in the United States. From Bing he learned Northern Shaolin, as well as yiquan and Yang style taijiiquan . Scott is also a long-time student of George Xu (Xu Guoming), with whom he studied Chen style taijiquan, liuhe xinyiquan, lanshouquan, and baguazhang. Scott was a member of Orthodox Daoism in America (ODA) where he studied religious Daoism for nine years with Liu Ming. He has also studied and performed in several world dance traditions, including the Congolese traditions taught by Malonga Casquelourd and the Kathak (Indian Classical) tradition of Chitresh Das. Scott has been teaching children and adults for twenty years, including five years at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (ACTCM) and ten years with the San Francisco-based Performing Arts Workshop. 

Dr Alexander Boyd's international work with 'Lishi in Performance' develops Asian methods for working with energy, breath and alignment with people working professionally in theatre, sport and other western embodied practices. Alex completed his PhD in Performance Studies and Critical Education at UC Davis, California in June 2014. He has been pivotal in establishing various international not-for-profit organisations that allow his research in embodied learning, to be applied and developed to benefit various communities. This includes organizing and delivering traditional community based classes and courses in a Daoist whole-body breathing system for the UK charity Lishi International, to which he is a Trustee. Alex currently lives in the Netherlands and commutes to teach weekly Lishi workshops between Amsterdam and London. As a Senior Visiting Lecturer to Leeds Trinity University in the UK, Alex co-coordinates and teaches on a foundation level degree program that he co-developed. Alex travels extensively in Europe, the USA and Asia.

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