Practical tools for sourcing and interacting with others; Tools for increasing one’s skill set, confidence and fulfillment in performance-oriented improvisation.
The focus of this series of classes is: “How to get the dances we really want to be having!”
We will do this by integrating technique and partner dancing skills within a larger range of improvisation and performance concerns. We’ll apply these skills and engage with each other in a variety of practice and observation scores every week, with the aim of relishing some uplifting dancing that makes body and mind sing. During our dancemaking we’ll explore techniques for staying present within our choice-making while deepening our kinaesthetic, compositional and communication sensibilities.
After 25 years of developing and re-considering approaches to teaching movement technique and improvisation, and on the verge of beginning graduate studies in architecture, I find myself asking: “Why not have it all in one class?” The answer I come up with is, “There is no reason not to unify all aspects of the work in one integrated session that has the goal of bringing forth whole dancing in connection with others.” Architects design constructions while visualizing place and ambience; they create space while drawing inspiration from structure and composition. In this spirit, these sessions will offer tools with which to create physically satisfying, aesthetically fulfilling movement-art-experiences.
Returning to North America after years of intensive teaching throughout Europe and Asia, it is a moment of asking myself how these years in the European dance environment might be shared with a community of dancers, dancemakers and avocational dancers here in America. In conversation with Tonya Lockyer about her sense of the Seattle dance community, I was reminded of the different needs of the companies I have worked with. When I asked the director of Ultima Vez – a mixed group of actors and highly trained dancers – what sort of training they would like, he replied, “Oh, well a little body work, some floor technique, a bit of improvisation and perhaps some contact skills as well.” Basically, he wanted a good thorough warm up and some creative playtime in all the disciplines that the company were skilled in and using in their choreographic process – which was improvising scenes for creating a new work.
For companies such as Rosas and Kidd Pivot, I presented skill sets for improvisation and creation in such a way that they could be easily remembered and accessed. For these groups I would pin up large sheets of paper on which to illustrate ‘menus’ and ‘palettes’ for the dancers, ordering the information so it might be at their ‘fingertips’ during scene creation. This process of classifying fields of attention has been instrumental for my own process of guiding and directing; I function better when I have models that assist me perceiving and sorting large amounts of information easily, so that my creative facility can function intuitively, flowing with the moment.
My intention for this series of classes is to combine these approaches: identifying and exploring common vocabularies for dancemaking; using this work to create rich group improvisations; and providing participants with clear tools for use in their own choreographic or improvisational settings.