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.