This summer swimming is an activity in which I can apply the theories from the Alexander Technique class I've been taking. Yesterday utilized the concept of faulty sensory awareness in my swimming. Doing the different strokes, I concentrated on my pelvis and noticed what I was really doing with it. In the Breast Stroke I observed that my pelvis slightly rotated to the right as I kicked my legs. I then tried to apply Alexander's technique of Inhibition – or, don't do what you've been doing. Instead of trying to do something in a correct way, you just stop doing whatever you've been doing wrong. Or, if you stop doing the wrong things you'll only be able to do the right things. But, as I found out in the pool, there is often a lot of confusion in this process. I tried not to twist my pelvis and it felt like I couldn't do anything, or it seemed my habit became more pronounced, or I twisted the other way. Eventually I just left it and concentrated on other things. I checked in again with my pelvis at the end of my session and it my body was still experimenting – sometimes my pelvis felt in the middle, sometimes all over the place. I like the approach of stop doing what is inefficient and the more efficient movement will happen, and, thankfully, in this case confusion is interesting.
This weekend I'll be presenting a new solo, "HOME", as part of the end of semester show where the work the grads have been working on this summer will be presented. The solo I'm presenting is a beginning of a larger work that I'll be developing over the next year or so. For the second section of the solo I'm using a variation of a structure I learned from my music for dance teacher, Norma Dalby, in undergrad at SLC. Norma created a way of notating music that used the breath cycle. She would work with a group of musicians to coordinate their breathing - everyone breathed in and out together - depicted above by a single arch (inhale, then exhale). Then, along the arch, she would put marks that would signal when the player was suppose to play a specific percussive instrument (red marks). Each musician would have a line of arches for each instrument they played - again, see diagram above. We did this in music class and it was very cool and challenging. Over the last couple of years I've been playing with bringing this structure into a dance context by coordinating the number of movements per breath. For example - in this solo I start doing one movement that lasts the length of one complete breath (in and out). After doing this a couple of times I divide the breath in half - one breath with the inhale and a second with the exhale. Then I do two movements with the inhale and two with the exhale. Lastly I play with my movement phrasing - sometime doing one or two or more or less movements with a breath. This organizational method creates an organic development to the movement and its intensity - moving from meditative to quite dense.
In the Improvisation class we had to do a project around the improv modality that we've been mostly working with this summer - The Viewpoints. So, I'm making a series of short videos that explores different aspects of The Viewpoints - for this video I explored Architecture. From the book "The Viewpoints Book" the authors write, "Become acutely aware of exactly where you are and let this architecture inform your movement. Dance with the room." This isn't exactly a whole room, nor is it dancing. Not exactly.
The lights come up on a performer who begins to move slowly, with pauses. She waits and then continues. Music begins that is unfamiliar with sounds that you can't quite place. Another performer enters and begins talking. At first the talking is confusing. You realize he's talking about his family, but also about the earth or politics, with bits of poetry weaved in. It takes some time to figure it all out. Now the two performers are in a duet where they support one another, roll, separate and come back together. They dance like two cats - similar in their fullness, but remarkably different in their choices. The music suddenly shifts, other performers enter and everything comes to stillness. They wait with attention. A performer begins to move from undulations of the spine, exploring the inner space and finding supple movement. You believe her. Her limbs become more active until her whole self is energetically filling the space, almost in a trance and at the same time you see everything she is doing. She is balancing a hurricane and a microscope in each movement. They all begin moving, maybe more like walking, but with purpose, with each other. There are small interactions while we hear a voice off stage describe her mother's gardening tools, or a distant conflict, or the path in the woods she walks each morning alone. The work ends with a subtle shifting movement phrase and one by one the dancers leave. One dancer is left and, with care, begins to cry as the lights fade. You're not sure what has happened, but you're feeling melancholy or relieved or satisfied. You'll have to think about it.