Newhaven Fort


In September 18, PICKETT IMPROV were commissioned to perform at the one day experimental music and arts festival, Fort Process at Newhaven Fort.

It was a very rainy day and the performance, which was programmed outside, was performed in an intimate theatre space in the grounds. The sound filled and echoed around the room as the dancers used different aspect of the space. The audience was sat in traverse along the sides of the room.

Here is some of the performance caught on film: Performance at Newhaven Fort. Filmed by Agata Urbaniak

Afterwards, audience members fed back that it did not look improvised and the performers knew exactly what we happening.

“It was Beautiful, Clever and Inspiring” Audience Member, Sept 18



Being 3D and using our eyes.

In our second session we explored being 3 dimension objects in solo improvisation and the use of our eyes to generate movement. This resulted in a final rehearsal that combined both ideas to challenge the dancers to become 3D bodies and engaging their environment through their focus.

Understanding the concept of being a 3D object in space is key in improvisation. Because the audience sees a dancer from in all angles, the performer must focus on what their body is doing in a space rather than focus on the image that they are making. To do this the dancer must be aware of being in a space, the position of others in space and how they come across to the audience.

Using an adaptation from Deborah Hay’s work, I layered ideas through the exercise and challenged the dancers to make their movement more interesting by asking, ‘what if you could be seen from all angles?’ Afterwards, the dancers reflected that the activity helped them to increase their spatial awareness and break their movement and fall-back habits. I will use their feedback to identify how I can explore this concept in greater detail.

We also tried to use a mirror for feedback however the dancers found this hard as the 2d image of the mirror reflection caused them to lose their 3Dness and their connection with the room.

Inspired by Katie Duck’s teaching, we moved on to the use of the eyes to generate movement. The use of the eyes is important as “Focus creates interest.” Sometimes in performing improvisation dancers forget about their focus and default to ‘glaze over’ which makes it more difficult for the audience to engage. Our activity challenged the dancers to focus externally whilst keeping an internal 3D body. Initially the dancers reflected that when they focused at a long distance, they lost their immediate awareness in space. However, after exploring the different ways of using focus and the eyes, the dancers enjoyed being allowed to choose which eyes they were going to use.

The session left me with the question and the challenge; how can we both use our focus and be actively aware of ourselves within space at the same time?

Score10 – Music and Dance Improv Workshop

This Music and Dance Improvisation workshop, with will experiment and play with group improvisations, the relationship between movement and sound and creating short performance.

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We invite all movers and music makers to collaborate together to create live improvisations and explore how they can instantly react and respond to each other.

All dancers, non-dancers, musicians and non-musicians welcome!

Dates: Sunday 5 November
Time: 2-5pm
Cost: £20/£18 conc.

Workshop facilitated by Pickett ImprovHannah Pickett (dance) and Iain Paxon (music)


For more information on their work please visit:

Meet the Team

PICKETT IMPROV is formed of a collection of dancers and a musician.

The group started improvising together in 2016 and have performed pop up and informal events in Brighton.

Directed by: Hannah Pickett.

Performed by: Jessica Miller, Rosa Firbank, Iain Paxon, Hayley Ovens, Belinda Papavasileiou

Jessica Miller:

Jessica Miller is an independent dance artists and founder and member of Swallowsfeet. Jessica started working with improvisation whilst training at LABAN. It has stayed an important part of her practice and performance work including BeaT spACe bEAt by Sivan Rubinstein which has been performed at The LABAN Theatre, Transcend Festival and Embrace Arts. She has been a part of Score 10 (Pickett Improv) since October 2016.

Jessica says “what I love most about performing improvisation is the element of surprise and unpredictability that the audiences energy can create”

Rosa Firbank:

Rosa is an independent dance artist from Brighton and member of the Swallowsfeet Collective ( As an independent performer she has worked with Sivan Rubinstein (SAMBA AND TEARS) Charles Linehan, Lizzi Kew Ross, Tick Tock Bridget and visual artist Barbara Loftus. Improvisation is always key in her creative process and development as a performer; especially the physical and cognitive challenge of each spontaneous decision.

Iain Paxon

Iain Paxon has been exploring acoustic and electronic music making for over 20 years, ranging from experimental pop, musical stories to free improvisation. The interplay between sounds and images has been a focus in recent years, experimenting with music as an accompaniment to video, slide shows and live dance. For Score 10, Iain explores the textures of close mic’ed objects, their miniature worlds amplified.

Hayley Ovens

Hayley is a freelance dance artist, specialising in contemporary and community dance. She graduated with a first class honours degree in Dance Studies from the University of Roehampton and went on to complete an MA in Performance at University of Chichester. She has toured as a performer with Mapdance, CoDa and Ceyda Tanc Dance. Hayley has experience facilitating dance for all ages and abilities, leading creative projects in a range of community, health and educational settings. She is the co-founder of dance education company CTeD.

Belinda Papavasileiou

Belinda Papavasileiou is a Cypriot dance artist who lives in the UK since 2012 where she started her contemporary dance training at Trinity Laban Conservatoire. Currently she is researching and engaging in social and community dance practices, multidisciplinary and participatory work as part of her MA in Inclusive Arts Practice at the University of Brighton. Belinda’s practice unfolds through an environmental reciprocity and draws on her knowledge on dance techniques, improvisation, contact improvisation and somatic practices as well as her collaborations and exposure to diverse artistic processes.

Belinda is particularly keen on finding ways to engage and collaborate with various groups, sharing her love for movement either as a teacher, performer or artist.

Hannah Pickett

Hannah is a dance artist, improviser and teacher based in Brighton. She has taught and performed improvisation performance and contact improvisation nationally and internationally in different festivals and platforms including Brighton Dance Network’s performances, Barcelona International Dance Exchange (BIDE), Freakatoni Witchy Improvisational Weekend, Amsterdam and at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of music and dance. She has trained with improvisers such as Nancy Stark Smith, Ray Chung, Lalitaraja, Katie Duck, Kirstie Simson and Julyan Hamilton. Her choreographic work and improvisational performances have been performed in London, Brighton, Spain and Amsterdam.

In 2016, Hannah invited a group of Brighton based dancers to explore improvisation in conjunction with a live musician. The research encourages all performers to react to each other’s performance decisions to create instant actions and relationships. The work formed the start of the Score10 project and the launch of PICKETT IMPROV.


Past performers: Sara Johnson, George Miles and Eloise Fouquet

Support from: Brighton Natural Health Centre, Pet Lee, The Old Market, Brighton Dance Network

New Beginnings

PICKETT IMPROV are back in the studio. New and existing performers met each other this week through dance and music.

There is a new energy to the room as performers are introduced to the improvisation process. As a director, it brings up questions about refining where the work will go and if the piece is going to structured in the same way.

The highlight of the rehearsal was a simple score of walking. Dancers had one rule of only allowed to walk.

Try it yourself: Find a space. 5 mins score of only walking. Explore tempo, speed and directions. Share your feedback below.