Friday, December 28, 2012

Watch how all four of these guys have perfect, perfect command of their CENTERs, such a key component of CI technique too.  Always perfectly above whatever support (elbow, shoulder, knee, head) they have on the floor, you can practically see the vertical line.  They've also got the important connection of using spiral to control fall: in a couple of the spins their center is NOT on the vertical above the support, but because they are spinning/spiraling they are able to neatly replace their supports constantly so that the fall can just continue and continue and continue, never hitting the ground.

Love you all,


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Weeks 1 and 2 of Ensemble Exploration, part 2. PS - this session needs a sexier name

Not a linear thinker/writer, but I will make an attempt. 

On November 12, we began a new 6 week session continuing focus on ensemble and ensemble awareness, building on inquiries and curiosities that emerged in the previous ensemble-based session. 

As facilitator for the first two meetings of this session, I decided to focus on the challenge of doing less as an individual... doing less, allowing for easier to find and maintain group cohesion. 
To begin:
small dance, standing, sitting or lying down. patience and breath. let one "truth" emerge in movement form. it is small. stick to it. repeat. repeat. intense repetition. movement size and locomotion increase, contact happens, but stick to intense repetition of your own movement. I called this "unambitious grazing". 
In hindsight, this warm-up probably happened much too quickly and the straight-jacket repetition did not seem to feel that great to anyone. oops. However, the idea behind it was to quiet our reactive tendencies. For example: I feel a touch from another dancer and very quickly abandon my own dance for a new dance. Being eager to say yes to my partner(s) has caused me to, in a way, compromise my individual intention. Can we find a stronger partner connection through NOT letting go of our one idea? Through the tiresome repetition, we find ways to live in our movement/be busy with our movement and somehow still be part of a partnership or larger group. 

Transition to:
Numbers score - 2:3
5 folks danced at a time. We worked and muddled our way through the 2:3 score using
  • facing - front vs. back
  • stillness vs. movement
  • level  - high vs. low
  • contact vs. non-contact
The idea behind this score is that there are no mistakes! Simply know that by making a choice/change, you are forcing/trusting someone else in the ensemble to re-establish the 2:3 balance. 

  • Facings led to quick changes, lack of continuity and overall frustration. I wondered if the movement vocabulary had been limited in the beginning to simply standing, facing front or back, if people would have been able to see/feel the group facings better as movement became more complex. We jumped right into tricky turning, flipping and ambiguous side-ways facings that made it hard to read, as a do-er and observer
  • I think it was Michal who mentioned feelings of working to fulfill the rules and trying to "survive" the score. 
  • Seeing far too many ideas and clutter, making it hard to join
  • Shelia said she tried to broaden her vision as a way to stay in the score. To me it sounds like she was reminding herself to take in the space of the dance, the architecture of the room, the sensation of touch.... telelscoping out to make a dance rather than zooming in and feeling trapped by the score
  • Louis came at the exercise with a "perspective of generosity"... I loved hearing him say "generous with stillness", "generosity of showing choices" i.e. being clear and obvious. I also remember something about a feeling of being generous to himself to be able to say, fuck this score, I don't know what the group is doing. Made me think of the gap in the underscore, a good reminder that it's ok to not always know what is happening or to be in synch
  • Kaitlin found a feeling of liberation at the "task oriented" feeling of the score. Without having to feel creative, she was able to live in the group movement, making choices based on the number rules.
Challenges as facilitator
  • the dances felt shallow and sporadic and probably needed much more time
  • how to give the dances more time but still give everyone a chance to move/prevent getting cold from sitting too long
  • how language affects the room: problems with the interpretation of the word unambitious
On November 19, I was allowed to try again, to find answers to the questions we were left with after the 2:3 score. 

To begin:
Invite being seen - simple standing and facing the group witha generosity of presence
Walking around the room, stopping to invite being seen - I found that a big part of "inviting being seen" for me was in the eye contact, so when we transitioned to walking all around, stopping and going as we pleased, I had a harder time finding that connection. I had to simply trust that someONE in the room would and was seeing me if I was making myself available to it. 
The goal for this warm-up was to prepare ourselves to be aware and inviting of others in the group while also being aware and giving of oneself. I hope everyone felt much more connected and ready to dance together with this warm up.

Transition to:
Group 1 idea
  • line
  • circle
  • stillness
  • asterisk
  • square 
Without much guidance as to whether these words meant formation, body shape or movement, we came to an agreement as a group when we felt like the "1 idea" had been achieved, allowing anyone to call when it had happened. 

Return to 2:3 score:
This time around we focused our groups on movement vs. stillness or contact vs. no contact. The dances were also a bit longer, at somewhere between 6-8 minutes apiece. 

  • invite being seen created an appreciation for stillness
  • there was a clear sense of commitment to composition within the groupings
  • the commitment to composition took away from the commitment to partnering, which put people in situations where they did not feel safe
  • while last Monday felt frantic, this time around seemed busy and engaged
  • being ok with the inability to keep track of a grouping larger than duet or trio
hmmm... how much of the more "successful" feeling from this evening do we attribute to the fact that we had the experience of soupy confusion the week before? 
did we get better at the score? 
did the score feel less restrictive when we were throwing less ideas into the pot?
is it possible to compose space and compose duet and compose group all at the same time, spontaneously and successfully?

A few last words to hopefully move forward with:
One idea is the one that is already there, you don't have to find it or create it. 

Be always commited and always letting go!

Broaden the senses when you feel bogged down by a task

Also, both sessions I lead were sourced from experiences I have had with Lower Left artists. They are amazing.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Alex's thoughts and debrief from 10/29 lab

This post is from Alex:

I led the last lab in our session exploring ensemble work. There was low attendance this evening, but the smaller group potentially allowed us to deepen further into our dancing. 

We began with a warm up dance to music. We warmed into our bodies, the space, and did some light grazing while moving  to the first few songs on Andrew Bird's album Useless Creatures. The album is his only purely instrumental album I know of and it seemed to be well received by the group and provided us with a luscious container for our collective warm up. 

After our warm up dance, we split up into two groups and spent the next 20 minutes in our first long engagement dance with others. Cyrus, Louie and I danced in a trio and Mike and Michal danced a duet. I wanted to use these dances as a way to warm into listening, giving and receiving weight and deepening our connections with others while dancing before jumping right into ensemble work with more people and information. These dances were a good investment for the work we did later. We all seemed more prepared to share weight and find the juicy places of interdependence in the dance rather than just adding information on top of information without the genuine connection and listening that can happen when there is lots going on. 

After these first two dances, we paused to harvest before moving on to ensemble work. I brought paper and pastels and we spent a few minutes working on our own images before sharing with the group. I noticed that everyone seemed to share an equal amount and everyone spoke about their image during harvest. The time to reflect before speaking and the use of a different form of communication to share our experiences, seems to be helpful in terms of balancing out who shares and how much each person shares. When we go right into speaking during our harvest, it can sometimes feel a bit unbalanced. I am interested in exploring a variety of ways to harvest.

Louise's image described our warm up dance speaking to the perfect amounts of space in between all of us during the dance and the group momentum. His image had lots curved lines with arrows, crescent shapes, stars, suns and flowers on the ends of each line. His image was rhythmic and well balanced with a mostly even amount of negative space surrounding each line/pathway. The lines were all orange and some of the shapes on the end were surrounded by black dots. 

Cyrus drew a long, curly, line that seemed to map the path we traveled in our dance. The line traveled around the page and paused in these little enclosed "eddy's" that were filled with more specific, detailed activity which looked geometric. The image also had these light, wispy knotted lines that surrounded the thicker path. 

I unintentionally chose the same colors as appeared in our trio's clothing (red and blue). I focused on a series of diagonal, linear marks and also these hook-like marks that all curled and folded into each other which represented movements that stood out to me in my dance with Louise and Cyrus.

Michal indulged in a lovely drawing that she said had nothing to do with her dance. It was colorful with lots of circular shapes that she said were influenced by Denis' painting in the room. 

Mike used his image to express his frustration with not feeling totally grounded in his body. Feeling tired and run down and not well connected, his images spelled out FUCK OKIE. He said he was playing around with expressing his feelings of frustration making the picture caotic, buzzy, with odd faces and scratchy lines. He also was practicing accepting where he was at even though it may not have been his desired state which I believe influenced him to write OKIE.  

My initial idea was to have everyone find one small moment, word or idea from their images to use as a "seed" for our ensemble dances. I remember Scott mentioning the idea of one person "seeding" the dance with their movement, exiting, then everyone entering the dance together with that particular seed in mind. 

But then after sharing our images, Louie suggested instead of using our bodies to "seed" our dances, we could use one person's image as the "seed" or source material for the ensemble. We all agreed to go with that and danced everyone's image. It produced incredibly interesting, connected dances that all had very unique specific flavors that were clearly connected to the images. There was always at least one person witnessing and everyone agreed each dance was superb. They all just felt "on" somehow. 

Cyrus mentioned the dances having really specific subtleties.
Someone said the dances seemed to unfold and didn't appear forced. 
Mike was interested in this idea of translation. A dance into and image back into a dance. 
Michal said it felt like people were dancing inside the image.
We were also interested in engaging with different form of communication than verbal and how that may have opened us up to more creativity?
I wondered how important it was that those images came from our collective experiences rather than using just any images? I think there is something to the re-using of material we created together. Building upon a language that's being established. 

This work with source material or "seed" seems juicy to me I would be interested in exploring all sorts of different sources. It could be fun to use objects, a piece of music we all listen to in stillness, or a smell. 

Lots to explore here!



Saturday, October 27, 2012

An Overview of Monday

This is Kaitlin...I led lab last week, and I just want to publicly record some notes since this was a goal we laid out at the potluck in an attempt to keep tabs on the question "what did we learn?" Also, Alex is leading this coming monday, and maybe these will be of some use to her as she continues our trajectory.

To review, we started of with a basic leading/following exercise with a twist. Blind partners led by their seeing partners around the room progressed to leaders only touching their blind partners in order to prevent collision. This then progressed to non-verbal agreements between leaders to switch partners, and then the pace was accelerated. With this exercise I hoped to find group mind out of necessity. The seer must be constantly aware of everything happening around you in order to protect your partner. The blind partner must be totally trusting of the group. It is also just fun.

Then for the rest of the lab we split into groups of four and five, and while one group watched the other performed a ~5min ensamble dance, working towards finding an ending as a group. How to make decision as a group (especially how to finalize that something is an ending without saying so) brought a few challenges. Here are a few observations from people that a jotted down during the harvest, I hope I can sum up what people were saying accurately enough:

-Louis brought up the word "satisfaction" and that these dances had a certain kind of satisfaction when the same thing happened at the same time, synchronicity happened, etc. That these short dances were like swimming on the surface, which has a different sort of satisfaction than one might find in a duet or more extended, developed dance, which is more like "diving deep."

-The concept of a "cleansing dance" came up. Which I believe is a short dance followed by another dance to sort of get the initial unfocused energy out of the way.

-Scott (I think) mentioned that when trying to perform as a group, the individual is looking around at a sea of ideas, trying to pick up on the strongest one and joining in that idea to try to find some cohesiveness. Different people end up choosing different anchors to join, and then there is pressure to abandon your idea in favor of the group dynamic. So the whole thing can be a shallow negotiation of these elements. Scott suggests that sometimes the best choice to make in a "soup" is a strong new choice instead of affirming someone else's not as strong choice. But then we have to balance this with the question of "how do we do less?" How do we as a group find cohesion through ways other than just testing out ideas in a soup?

-How do we avoid the contrasty/slapstick rutt which seem to be the two most prominent choices in group improv?

Some ways to improve the format of these exercises were suggested:

-Begin with 20 seconds of breathing and stillness
-Have a "seed" to build the improv around
-Connected to the "seed" idea, have a solo, then a octet (assuming there are 9 people total) in response, followed by a duet in response, followed by a septet in response, followed by a trio in response, and so on and so on.
-Having someone call start once the group was onto something, and composing from there, or having multiple "ends" so that things could continue to develop longer/see what happens.
-Someone dancing calls end.

Sheila also asked if there were some tips/tricks of the trade for group improvisation for those who had not done it in a while. I will just list some off the top of my head that I use, anyone please add to it!

-Staging--where is everyone in the space? How does where I put myself contextually change other people/our relationship?

-Contrast/imitation--I think this is an obvious one, but it can go in non-obvious directions. Contrast can be a contrast of energy of course, but it can also be a shift of idea. Becoming verbal, changing my role, or focus shifts can all be contrasts. Imitation doesn't necessarily just mean doing what someone else is doing. Can I do what they are doing but much bigger or much smaller? In another part of the room? Develop it into something new?

-Developing thematic relationships/identities-- maybe I have a goal that you are trying to accomplish, such as "I'm trying to get away" or "I'm trying to rearrange people" or "I want to touch everyone's forehead"or "I am going to walk in circles" etc. Also I often find a physicality/mood that I like within a dance, and then I let that define how I interpret new information/decisions.

-Repetition--if a theme/movement returns from earlier it helps with cohesion, if that is what I want. Sometimes it helps me to store things that I like, and then when I get stuck I can come back to them.

-Rhythm--sometimes if I am stuck I think about the rhythm of what is going on or how to add rhythm. Or as the arc of the piece as a whole as rhythm. Maybe this is sort of like contrast.

-I follow my desires! I think mostly for me it's just about being aware of what's around me and then my gut will tell me what it needs.

Ok, hope this is helpful. Will see you all at the potluck!


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September 17, 2012

Hi, and I'm very pleased with your responses to last nights lab (Ensemble communication, how do we sense ensemble weight-sharing, etc).  In my past experience w/ ensemble work/play I've leaned a lot towards direct imitation of each other.  This shift away from self towards the Other(s) seems to be an instinctual mode for us humans (all those mirror-neurons...!)  "Imitation is love." - Jean Genet, French dramatist

We walked amongst each other, stopped and were helped deliciously to the floor.  I, too, love being able to fall/collapse (is there a word for such mutual-assisted collapsing?) into my backspace all the way down.  What a gift to give and receive.

We then collapsed solo trying to mirror the quality, timing of the others.  Then in small groups, trying to add elements of composition.  I observed this mostly and noticed individual choices effects on group behavior.  What elements come to your mind, when you move and "compose" spontaneously?  I consider space, time, energy, as well as, dramatic elements of relationship, character, objective, etc. 

Group lean towards center is due for more exploration.  As we began to lean away and hold each other up and together, someone said, "fascia".  We seemed to really find some ensemble listening meat here, so to speak...  Has everyone seen the video Michal shared last winter?  Michal, can you find and post again, or is it on here?  I'd love to explore ways to make this "breathe", less continuous tension. 

We lay our bodies down and breathed.  Breathed together, shifted position on the exhale, and moved into an open improv.

Here's my main question I left with:  How did I edit my choices to stay connected to the ensemble?
I do hope to see you all next Monday!
- Christian

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Underscore Drawings

Sorry it took me so long to post these! Nadia says:
Hand written by nancy stark smith herself! From a workshop I did in Austin in 09.

The Underscore in Text

Here's a textual rundown of the underscore. No symbols, but a good overview of everything. Karl Frost posted this text on a while back. He grabbed it from an Amsterdam jam. Not sure who wrote it originally.

Developed by Nancy Stark Smith, it is a structure that organizes a contact impro and allows people to work together in a warm-up or an impro session. It generates a very interesting frame to share that may orient the impro and provides a language to be able talk about the experience later.

I. Sequential Aspects: These aspects of the Score serve as a guide that develops sequentially. The changes from one aspect to the next occurs spontaneously for each dancer rather than being strictly controlled.
  • Arriving:
    1. Arriving energetically: bring the focus to the present.
    2. Arriving Physically: bring the attention to the sensation you have in the body at this moment. 
    3. Pow-wow (optional): coming together to talk in a circle (names, injuries, how long it will last)
    4. iv. Pre- ambulation: (optional): go through the space, open connections with the space and the people after the talk. 
  • Skinesphere: What’s inside the skin, sensation, what we feel in the small dance.
    1. Bonding with the earth: to relax the body, to feel the support from below, connection with the floor. 
    2. Mobilising, agitating the mass: To mix the mass with the air, by jumping, moving, to get a new organisation afterwards.

  • Kinesphere: Attention to what you can reach with your limbs.

    1. Low kinesphere: Dome, centre on the floor.
    2. High kinesphere: With the centre high. 
    3. (Maybe a moment to balance, to increase our tone.) 
    4. Expanding and traveling kinesphere: The base of it is the connection with your centre and with the floor. Breath. 
  • Overlapping kinespheres: We start to be more conscious of the others in the space.

  • Connections- Grazing: Short connections happening during the Overlapping Ks. Between one and the other is your solo.

    1. Coincidence: same time same thing.
    2. Confluence: two rivers that meet. 
    3. Divergence 
    4. Touch 
    5. Attraction: is magnetic, you feel attracted by a body or a movement.
    6. Repulsion or Aversion 
    7. Intersection: cross ways. 
    8. Influence: music, people… 
    9. Contrast: acknowledge that difference is a way of connection. 
    10. Collisions: soft, they wake us up. 
    11. Tangent: when our route meets another just on a point. 
    12. Empathy and Resonance: I feel something from the distance. 
    13. Shearing: from shearing sheeps.

  • Engagement: At some point we start to be more implicated with the connection.

    1. Development: developing a duo
    2. Resolution: disengagement, end of the duo. 
  • Re-circulation through the score: Allow the sensation to continue. Where am I? What do I want to do? Don’t cut it, don’t escape to drink water.

  • Open Score: We can use different ways to re-enter the score.

    1. Observation
    2. Re-Entrance

  • Final Resolution of the room: The beginning of the last chapter. Each person resolves his own activity arriving to stillness where we can feel the experience of had been dancing.

  • Disengagement of the whole pattern: From the stillness we imagine the group as a crystalline form, and when we are ready….end of the total design.

  • Reflection and Harvest: Introspective revision of the body. And then harvest, you may write or draw or…

  • Sharing: Harvest’s celebration. Listening to the authentic of the personal experience, we learn, we feel.

II. Non Sequential Aspects- Any time All the time:

  • Streaming: Current, flow, stream. Small particles of light in movement (like the fffffff of the tv). Vital force. Related with the breath.

  • Gap: temporal moment of absence of reference. You don’t have orientation.If we experience a gap we may focus on the streaming, for the current not to diminish, because we need it to orient ourselves. Also allow ourselves to explore the gap, we don’t have to fill it always.

  • Telescoping Mind: We can zoom in and out when we like to. 
    1. Zoom in: We concentrate on a particular sensation and we increase the focus. It gives context.
    2. Zoom out: Consciousness of the total composition, without loosing the consciousness of what we are doing.

  • Idiot Button: When it gets too much the trying to be aware of so many things we press this button and we simplify. We feel, we breath, and if we want awareness we press it again.

Potluck Notes from July 2

It's another lab session! Here are the details:

Theme: The Underscore (more details below)
Dates: July 9th through Labor Day. No lab on July 30th due to SFDI. No lab on Labor Day (Sept 3) unless folks decide they want to. That leaves 7 weeks total.
Time: 7-9pm, with the space open for warming up from 6:30.
Cost: $20/person, paid to Liz, with extra $'s going into the retreat fund.
Summer caveat: As we've done the last couple of summers, we expect that folks are going to have commitments and may miss chunks. We're a bit looser with attendance, but let's stay communicative about days that folks will be missing so that facilitators know what to expect.

More about the theme: We've decided to explore the underscore this session. Kaitlin and Nadia (and whoever else has material) will work together to post more detailed info about the underscore on the blog, so make sure to take a minute to read up in the next couple of days. Michal will bring printed underscore info to lab. Michal and Cody will be facilitating the underscore on Monday. Future weeks may choose to focus on specific areas of the underscore that people find interesting (i.e. what can grazing really entail? What does it mean to acclimate to our upper kinesphere?). I had some interest in ending this session by having the lab facilitate an underscore with the larger CI community at the end of the summer. We'll see if there's energy for that. Some labbers will have the opportunity to dance the underscore at Orcas as well.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Mukilteo Jam

First off: here is Roel's link that he sent via email, it is a more direct stream of the slowed down beethoven without the radio-lab portion. I enjoyed listening to the radio program a lot, but it did make me want to hear the music uninterrupted. Thanks for this link, Roel.

Great jam last night. Thanks for organizing Sheila! I took a few pictures because it was so beautiful. None of the pictures are very good (taken with my phone), but thought I would post them anyways.

Potluck at my place at 7pm on monday. I'll send out an email with more details, see you then!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

June18th Lab

Christian here - and I think I'm learning how to post...?!  
Last night we explore slowing down and trying to remove momentum as the invisible 3rd partner in the dance.  Other 3rd partners began to appear, such as a sustained tone (speed) of motion, image-based qualities, an attention/listening towards the Ouiji connection of beginning with light touch to skin, then increasing weight and speaking into muscle then bones.  Some spoke of their choreographic mind becoming more active once momentum was removed and the pros and cons of this.  Michal and Cyrus tried dancing all wrong (creative deviance, I've heard this called) to get past the over-thinking while dancing.
Roel, you took lots of notes, any more you can share?

Kaitlin liked this new word:
can·ti·le·ver (It has many meanings, but this might be closest to what Cyrus meant.)
Extend outward: (intransitive verb) to project outward with an unsupported end.

This came from Michal.

here is the link to the Beethoven piece and radiolab show about .. time...

You can also stream the episode below:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I described this clip, from the movie Microcosmos, in discussions at the lab 1 1/2 weeks ago, Mike encouraged me to post it here:

(Some of you already got this by email sorry about the double-post).
This past Monday I brought some work to explore intimacy & trust in our backspace.  My focus on the head and tail was inspired by learning recently how innervation of the parasympathetic nervous system departs the spinal cord primarily from the brainstem and the sacrum, and not so much from the mid/main part of the spine.  That correlates with my own experience and perception of the head and sacrum being places where, if handled right by a nurturing partner, induce a sense of being cared for.  We had a super-small turnout, just me Liz Mike & Scott, but went ahead with my planned program anyway, the others suggested I might want to repeat it with a larger group in a few weeks, if we want.

  1. egg-uterus exercise. I brought this directly from a egg-implants-in-uterus exercise Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen taught a few weeks ago.  When an embryo implants in the uterus it burrows into the wall of the uterus and then the uterine wall encloses over it.  Two dancers stand back-to-front, the person in front acts as embryo and backs into the the uterus dancer, while the uterus dancer offers support/resistance, and gradually enfolds the embryo dancer in their arms.
  2. head into gut.  Active dancer leads with their head, mostly eyes closed, pressing into gut of a caretaker dancer.  Caretaker dancer allows head-leading dancer to initiate but offers resistance and safety.  Caretaker dancer can use hands on active dancer as well. 
  3. tail into gut.  Same as above but active dancer leads with tail.
  4. falling backward.  We started by practicing falling backwards, and trusting the (inanimate) safety of a stack of mats that would cushion our landing.  It is incredibly hard to fall flat backwards this way, without invoking a reflex to tuck your head (or fold your whole body to protect your head).  Once we were able to fall into the mats, we tried the same in a group but trusting people to catch us rather than mats.
  5. backward-falling duets.  Working in duets, we tried to maintain that sense of trusting our partner to catch us when falling into the backspace.  One dancer is the active faller, the other dancer is the caretaker/catcher.  The faller begins with eyes open but eventually eyes closed to emphasize the act of trusting.
  6. open dance.
Exercises #2 and #3 didn't seem to go quite where I wanted, I think all of us found ouselves distracted by the mechanics of the exercises and they didn't evoke the sentiment of surrender & caretaking that I had hoped for. Yet, when we got to the open dance I really did feel like I had been strongly affected by the sequence of what we had done before and was dancing differently than usual.  Surprised to discover that the invitation to go into the backspace had me going upside down a little more than usual.  The other three folks all gave feedback that more active movement leading into the sequence of exercises might help (I went straight into #1 at 7pm).  Scott, Mike, Liz you want to share any impressions?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What's an intimate dance?

Yesterday's lab involved cataloging the decisions we don't make when the opportunity presents itself. This can happen on a physical, emotional, or narrative level. A dance is heading in a certain direction, and rather than following the trajectory of a moment, we turn away and make a safer choice. We choose not to leap into back space, untrusting of ourselves or our partners. We break eye contact because it's uncomfortable, or avoid an intimate moment because it's too vulnerable. The list we generated was fascinating, and I'm excited to explore some of the CI moments in which we lack courage.

At the end of the night, we tabled a really interesting question: What is an intimate dance?

Nate suggested that an intimate dance is one that focuses on senses rather than momentum. Liz felt strongly that any intimate dance has to contain vulnerability, pleasure, and listening (did I get that right, Liz?). Cyrus talked about a process of partners "attuning" with one another. We had a hard time agreeing on a concise definition, though I think most of us would have said that "we know it when we feel it." Regardless, it begs another question: Are we all talking about the same thing when we talk about an intimate dance?


Also: can a trio be intimate? An ensemble? A fast dance? Does an intimate dance need to be relaxed, or can there be an element of struggle or conflict? How often are "unbalanced" dances happening, in which one partner feels a sense of intimacy and another partner doesn't? Does intimacy change the physicality of a dance, or just the mental and emotional framework we have while dancing it? Is intimacy always obvious to people witnessing the dance?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A clip from Fall After Newton

During the previous potluck and at tonight's lab, we talked about wanting to share some video, in particular revisiting some of the videos that document CI's early days. I thought I'd start us off.

Here's a clip from Fall After Newton. There's so much in here that goes really beautifully with the lab we did tonight around being upside down.

May 7th - June 18th Session: Courage

Here are the notes from our April 30 potluck and the overview for this session:

When: 7 Mondays, taking us through 6/18. Our next potluck will tentatively be on 6/25. The space is open for personal warmup from 6:30-7pm. Focused lab starts at 7pm sharp, which is also when we'll stop chit-chatting.
Who: Mike, Liz, Cyrus, Roel, Michal, Cody, Scott, Kaitlyn, Sheila, Nate, Christian, Lisa
Cost: $20/person. I vote that we just standardize this and put any excess into a fund that will go towards a lab retreat / special event.
Facilitation: Cyrus is facilitating week 1, all about being upside-down. Mike is facilitating week 2 (audits! whoah!). The rest are TBD.
The big theme: COURAGE
Underlying research questions:
  • Where are the places that we stop ourselves from going in the dance (physically, emotionally, intimately, narratively)?
  • What would it look like to find the courage to go to these places?
  • Is protecting ourselves from these scary spots necessary? Are we actually in any sort of real danger?
  • Are there any skills we could learn/exchange/develop that would make it safer to go to these spots?
  • Is there any way to find more ease or comfort in in scary or uncomfortable places?
Structural considerations, ideas, and requests:
  • More direct feedback: People have voiced that they'd like more opportunities to receive direct feedback/advice/direction about their dancing. We talked about building in audits, or places where people can take stock of specific habits or tendencies and receive direct feedback and direction around them from other labbers.
  • ...but less talking. While processing and reflection is important, folks weren't sure that talking and processing actually affects the course of the lab or how any of us dance. How do we reflect in meaningful ways, and in more varied ways than just a talking circle?
  • Focused collective warm-up time so that we drop into the dance, physically and mentally. Folks reiterated that they like to have a clear, focused, and extended warmup that allows us all to arrive on all levels together and "drop in."
  • Less "classy," more "labby." Folks wanted to see more possibility of lab participants actively changing the course of a lab and being more actively involved in engaging the research questions. Cyrus had the idea of introducing counterfacilitators, designated folks whose role is to actively check and redirect the facilitator to reflect the needs and interests of the group, or just keep things interesting. Other folks suggested coming with more open structures or setups that allow the full group more active input in a developing flow for the night.