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Dance by former US marine explores impact of military training

Conflict and dance: Trinity Laban and King’s War Studies explore impact of military training

Dance by former US marine explores impact of military training

On Wednesday 21 November over 60 students, scholars, dancers, artists and guests participated in an immersive dance performance, as part of the  Reconciliations Exhibition in the Exchange, Bush House.

The piece, choreographed by Roman Baca,  director of  Exit12 Dance Co, former US Marine and current  Fullbright Scholar at  Trinity Laban Music & Dance Conservatoire, explored how training for war impacts the mind, body and psyche of an individual.  

The space was transformed into a partially lit zone of exploration with the dancers weaving through the audience, and the artwork.  Members of the audience were invited to participate, donning arm bands, flash lights and responding to written instructions giving them a personal experience of the power of ritual, sacrifice, and military training.

Roman’s work demonstrates his own process of reconciliation as a trained dancer, then US Marine, and now as a choreographer working with material that explores the possibility of reconciliation for veterans, as they transition back into civilian life.

After the performance a panel with Roman,  Stefan Schilling (School of Security Studies) and Melissa Abecassis (former co-director EcoME Centre for Peace and Sustainability in the West bank) discussed how dance can add to research, study and dialogues around reconciliation.

The Department of War Studies has pioneered collaborations with leading dance companies since 2015 and continues to develop links with word class institutions, like Trinity Laban.


The event is part of an exhibition, Reconciliations, running in parallel at the Exchange, Bush House, King’s College London from 1 November-14 December 2018, and at the Knapp Gallery, Regent’s University London, from 1 November 2018-19 January 2019.


"This was an excellent forum for bringing together artists and academics, for developing a new kind of participatory knowledge, for understanding the long-term aftereffects of PTSD and how dance, theatre and audience participation can ameliorate some of the legacies of  trauma and conflict."– Dr Lola Frost, Visiting Research Fellow, Department of War Studies
“the need for more integration of our research with art … is something we desperately need to do more of, because it not only allows to reach a population we don’t normally reach from the ivory tower, but also the communicative means to allow for true exchange with those from other backgrounds, transcending the boundaries of our identities."– Stefan Schilling , PhD candidate, School of Security Studies

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