My first week of MAP was a difficult one, I struggled a bit. As I had opened up the process to all to attend, I found that people coming and going and turning up half way through the day wasn’t conducive to exploring or establishing anything. This has not been anyone’s fault - it is simply life making demands on people. I started out exploring character but this process has been somewhat abandoned.
The second week has been far more fruitful. I now have three constantly attending people to work with Leah, Megan and Julia. They are a wonderfully supportive crew.
After a discussion with Julia, the focus of my research has changed to be one of exploring a process of performance where the performers are offered instructions via a list to create a spontaneous performance where the dancers are able to choose how and when they respond to the directives. They do not know what is on the list prior to performing.
This change in research focus has been surprising and liberating.
In the creation of the process we are loading the performers with information that they can draw on. We are working to create improvisation experiences, all of us are able to contribute to the ideas, so that it becomes more of a collective creation.
Some ideas we have explored:
In the outdoor context of daylight - this as a possible performance piece had too much space around it - my desire is to see some kind of container around it - night-time and a street light could do it.
The instructions I had given on the list were fairly singular - it would be great next time to create a personalised list for each performer and set up the possibility for greater interaction
What is interesting is the individual responses.
Run for as long as you can
Be still and hear
Mimic someone's walk………………………….Exaggerate this
Speak philosophical truths as if you know everything
Get undressed - get redressed
Lie down for pleasure
Become agitated with the sky
Cluster as a group - follow each other
Ask someone a question………… possible questions - what is freedom? Who Are You? What do you think of when you imagine time?
Engage in a conversation where you only ask questions
Lie down for pleasure……….
You are lost
You are dancing like you have never danced before
explore how your clothes can refit your body
Lab on saturday
This became more like a continuum of the process we are engaging in - and felt like a really interesting session. Four of us were involved Julia, Leah, Kristel and I was in and out of the explorations.
Julia had suggested that I consider this process to be a time of recovery - so with that I have been actively engaged in some of the exercises that have been proposed. After not dancing for around two years the experience of moving with others has been profoundly satisfying. I have found that I can explore my physicality with an open curiosity - rather than feeling dismay at my bodies new limitations.
After some initial warm up improvisations:
The most powerful to observe from these experiments were the performers changing emotional states from a place of stillness and really staying true to the emotion and investing time in this experience, we worked with two performers experiencing opposing emotions next to each other. We concluded that this could be experienced several times over and over a long period of time - it was a captivating performance.
Next we explored chairs: the chair is a great object - very representational of an array of human states - it is a durable object that can be climbed, skidded and thrown.
Again some really compelling stuff - This got me really excited to create a choreography solely around the idea of using multiple chairs.
We worked with the chairs in competition with each other, as vehicles for traversing the space and finding different ways of being burdened by their weight. My aim was to give the punters an experience of using the chairs and becoming comfortably dynamic with them - these guys rose to the challenge really quickly. A great exercise was getting each person to stockpile all the chairs in one location - this was the most important objective in their world - a really dynamic interaction ensued - all sorts of human dynamics and sneaky antics came to the fore. As an observer you become really invested in the outcome of the game……..
I really loved it…….
Thier final challenge was to create a scenario where the chairs are the performers - I gave everyone twenty minutes to complete this task. There were a couple of gems that stood out for me in this - one was Julia who was joined by her two children moving the chairs slowly forward without using her hands and the other was a stockpile onto Leah’s hands and feet of around 14 chairs.
A choir who was waiting to use the space after us - came and watched the performance.
Will revisit this stuff on Monday.
What I am really loving about this process - is that my original ideas of character and chairs are coming back to the fore in unexpected and new ways. This process has been a real meander - and what a brilliant gift that is! I’m potentially finding a format that presents the ideas in a spontaneous and engaging way.
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