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Karen Jamieson

The role of mentee is proving to be somewhat improvisational. Sometimes I guide myself to where my interest is going and formulate pathways and questions out of this, and other times there are actions desired of me.

I have been attending Karen's rehearsals since CONNECT was completed. These two or three hour sessions are the culmination of research in the studio. These have been dialogues between her and a number of leading dancers and choreographers in the city. I asked for this to be a part of my mentorship with two primary motives: to learn about the way that a highly experienced artist makes a dance piece on herself, and how an older dancer makes efficient use of the bodies capacity to dance without injury.

The first session, Karen brought out her large black unlined notebook to look at some rudimentary scores. These scores were beautiful to me. They were notes of action in lettering that was cursive, shapely, slightly unreadable, and dynamic yet simple stick figure drawings showing expression and shape. She drew on these to recall a score of a specific part of an exploration. The research that she did produced video documentation of movement based, dialogue accompanied studies in the various vayus of the body. She found the moments where her body went into the particular qualities attributed to each vayu and her unconscious remained in charge. These moments, caught on video, were then extracted via Karen's notebook, or brought into the studio and learned in sequence.

Sometimes my role has been primarily for myself, just being present and witnessing how she makes decisions and sequences the work. Other times I am asked to help with the integrity of the choreography from video to body in the space. Much of the time, I feel like I am still absorbing a way of moving that remains new to me. The concept of movement generation from energy centers, though not alien before working with Karen (I have done some rudimentary exploration of it on my own), is a deep practice and is quite distinct from much of the formal training that I have had.