Wk1 1 Aug: Alexander Technique, Butoh & Brazilian Dance

Following ‘today’s’ session, I went home and consumed a combination of food substances that should probably not have been amassed in such a sequence nor quantity, but it was automated response to a newly paced metabolism (temporary). I am writing this on my scheduled Body Break Day since I was too weary yesterday but to put myself on a train towards prospective food.

I am realising that actually I can’t go too far from what is a natural connection to the process of making I have been developing over these years . That’s to postulate an emotive connection that begins from the core and finds its language through non-choreographed actions and modes of expression. I say this because from the three modes practised today, Alexander technique, Butoh and Brazilian Dance, I found the speed, pace and prescribed moves of the latter most disconnected to where my art practice naturally locates itself- a space that allows others and myself to assert a voice. Perhaps that’s because we learnt a rapid Dansa Afro Brasiica sequence- I am sure once understood with the provenance of each sweep, leap or shake in the history of slavery, this could also be made one’s own.

We began with considering posture and alignment and relaxation, softening parts of the body such as knee caps and alerting ourselves to the  the weight that can be shifted and the pace that can be controlled in walking or running around the gallery, led by the head. This was followed by a set of leg swings lying down, that transformed slightly into transitions between states to finally kneeling and standing.

Butoh was where I felt most at home. It was akin to some of the tasks I’d encountered in Tuesday’s physical theatre and Laban dance, looked to ground ourselves through our connection between animating the foot and its textural and autonomous qualities and relation to the concrete floor. This led to various exercises that meant I spent time intently honing into the most miniscule rhythms and movements within my body, beginning with the facial muscles and then beyond epidermis and veins and into cells and blood flow – how certain parts of my body then urged me to move.

Maria’s light touch across different parts of my body was then the trigger for my own interpretive movement – imagining our bodies somehow possessed from within and then the external factors of light or sound in slow walking. I was able to close my eyes and escape then and I also felt much in the set of contextual relations we had created in the space working in partnership. It was incredibly intimate to have been able to trigger these subtle convulsions or rippling moves within Maria’s flowing and sometimes stuttered moves. I was able to compare how I was out of my usual space- this was neither nor to what I was accustomed and this was Maria’s language, evident since she was able to respond through space, wide, open, up, down, across. It was moving to behold  her grace and fluidity, though, I felt not in contrast to her but somehow in accompaniment- though at times wanting to acquire that capacity to correlate the deepness of what was within through the dynamism of moves and gestures she had was clearly a vocabulary that needed to be built.

When 45 minutes away from the end, a patterning point of physical and mental expenditure I am beginning to recognise,  was the point at which I needed to remind myself, I was not a trained and dedicated dancer, I should not expect my own body to be able to gain such dexterity and moreover, hindering myself with the horror vacui prior of being unable to remember any of her instructed actions was less than useful.

I am interested in asking Maria to join me in the performance event on Saturday 10th, since I think there’s scope for us to create something together from this gap between her versed dance language and my own approach to assembling the live.

There have in particular been two elderly gentleman who have frequented the sessions with great interest. One of them will bring his banjo next week and the other enjoys chanting along to the movements.

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See Opening Talk & Performance, 27 July 2013, 2pm

See here for the Dancer, Participant & DVD Amnesty Open Calls

Main Shadow Dance text

See Schedule here

See other Documentation here

See Closing Event, Talk & Performance, 10 August, 2013, 2pm