Moving, Meditation, Performance

Sunday my company and I presented improvisational material in an informal studio (which you can watch here) showing at Joy of Motion Atlas. Since late fall we've explored bringing various meditative movement practices into performance. Below is a description of each of the 6 sections.

1. SHAPES: We explored the sensation of a specific position by sensing the body's weight into the floor, placement of the right leg, left leg, spine, right arm, left arm and position of the head. As we move from shape to shape we sensed each of these 7 elements. As the section continued we create more complex pathways and hold shapes for shorter periods of time - the whole time keeping inner awareness of the shape while outwardly relating to each other.

2. SOLO: We started with the question, "What do other people see when they watch dance?". This evolved into one person moving (in this performance, Ilana), while the others take turns describing what we see as we watch Ilana. Sometimes the talking is descriptive ("lift leg, step into lung"), or interpretive ("she seems to be moving away from something, or someone"), or encouraging ("That's it, make it bigger").

3. SIDE-STEPPING: One of the meditative practices we worked with was walking meditation. From this, Ilana brought in a structure in which the dancers start in a straight line doing a simple side step and together movement. Anyone can leave the line to initiate a new group improv, then anyone can come back into the line, side-stepping, together. We changed this score to a certain degree - for example, every time we break out of the line the new movement has a very different quality than what we were previously doing. We also approached the side-stepping movement as a form of walking meditation.

4. DUET: Similar to SOLO, except it is a duet for Stefanie and myself. It starts with Ilana and Katie commenting on the duet, but Stefanie and I take over to have a dialogue while we're dancing - about the experience of being inside the dance, while being in the dance.

5. AUTHENTIC MOVEMENT: We explored Authentic Movement quite a bit in our rehearsal process. It consists of one dancer in the space, with his or her eyes closed, moving in response to his or her body/mind sensations/thoughts/feelings/images with no expectations of the kind of movement being danced. While this person is moving the other person(s) watch from the side, without judgement. For this performance we each took turns going into the space and moving with, usually, our eyes closed for a period of time (undetermined). For this performance we had music playing which isn't necessarily usually the case when one is doing Authentic Movement.

6. PATHWAYS: Based on a work I created number of years ago, this work explores pathways we travel through the performance space, as well as the limbs relation to space, being somewhat playful with one another, and entrances and exits to the space. This was a fairly short section (2 min).

In the fall we'll be continuing to work on improvisational work and will hopefully share new stuff in November.

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