Forsythe's Improv Exercises

Currently I'm studying improvisation with Gerald Casel as part of my MFA studies at UWM and this week we're going through some of William Forsythe's improvisation technologies. In today's class we worked with a number of exercises that primarily had to do with space and specifically with lines of the body. In one exercise we imagined drawing lines in space - either from a specific body part into space or from an inanimate object (floor or wall, for example) into space. Once you 'draw' the line you can then imagine moving it, dancing around it and relating to it. Other exercises we did had to do with folding and unfolding the limbs, creating spirals into the floor and manipulating other kinds of imaginative object. As I was doing these exercises I noted that they felt like they were improvisational exercises devised by someone trained as a ballet dancer. I don't mean that in a good or bad way, just that it was interesting to feel the history of Forsythe's training in my dancing as I was exploring his 'technologies'. It makes me wonder how the improvisational exercises that I choose to explore and teach are influenced by my body history. Or, if dancers whom are predominately trained in other modalities (ie. not modern/post-modern) would approach creating improvisaitonal exercises. We, of course, have some examples in tap, hip hop and probably many, many forms that I am not aware of. Any examples anyone can supple would be very interesting.

Here's one of the exercises I found on YouTube:


I'm a Composer. No I'm not.

This summer, as part of my work for an MFA in Dance, I'm taking a class in sound design and editing. For the class we are using Audacity to edit sounds and music. For our most recent assignment we had to take a specific file of a man and woman talking and make two different studies that felt very different. So, while I'm not claiming to be any kind of composer, here they are:

Bullet by dburkholder21

Who I am:
Who I am by dburkholder21


The Value of Patience

I like art that requires patience.

Recently a colleague commented that she thought I must not mind if audiences are sometimes bored. I took this as a compliment.

I mean I want people to connect to the work, be effected by it and find value in it. But, it is also ok if they have to do alittle work. When I'm reading a book or poem or listening to music or watching a dance, it is ok if there is time of ambiguity or even boredom. I often find if I keep investing myself into the work there are great rewards. If I just give up on the work if it's not immediately engaging than I loose out.

And, of course, sometimes the work just isn't any good. I can be bored or disinterested and there is nothing to reinvest in. But I don't know that at first glance - it takes time and effort on my part.

I am currently reading a book of poetry by Pablo Neruda and last night I read through one of the poems and at the end I had no idea what the poem was about. So, I had a choice to either just go on to the next poem and discount the current poem or reread it again. I, obviously, reread it. And then I read it again. After multiple readings the meaning and flavor of the poem became clearer. It is a lovely poem.

So, patience is something I value in art, in the watching of art, and in the making of art.