Four facilitators with diverse professional backgrounds taught our first workshop on our own. What I mean by on our own, is that Karen Jamieson entrusted us with the rich material that we have been learning from her.
Karen began the meeting by excitedly telling us that she had had lunch with a poet who leads a workshop at Carnegie. She told us of how this poet is working with the Carnegie Poetry Group on site-specific poetry in conjunction with a Dutch architect. The project is called the Stanza Project, and connects poetry with Downtown Eastside architecture and squatting. The act will be “word-squatting” so to speak. This poet is interested in our group and will potentially come to one of the workshops.
It is important to maintain ongoing engagement in this arts programming. Continuing the work rather than having large breaks in between sessions is imperative to encourage interest, process and to build on the work.
Karen asked us how the workshop went. We divided up the elements of the workshop in order to each take responsibility for leading our own 20 to 30 minute section. For our first foray into naming each section we called the sections warm-up/energy body, hands/dance dialogue/tree, tensegrity with links into animals, dance fundamentals and finally group improvisations.
We told her how we proceeded to make sense of these sections through facilitation. Each of us took interest in different specificities of the work, and thus emphasized those embodied dimensions most. I expressed a desire to maintain integrity to Karen’s methods. Karen encouraged us to find our own voices within the work, to not be held down by attempting to emulate her.
For this first workshop, my task was to lead the dance fundamentals section. While I was leading the group in a duet movement task, I offered a co-facilitator the opportunity to roam and assist or add in any helpful directives (there were an odd number of people in the room). She said that perhaps two voices would diffuse the focus. This became a topic in our meeting. Generally, one facilitator voice at a time is easier to follow, but we discussed the ways that two facilitator voices could be successful. As we become more confident in our joint facilitation skills, our sensitivity to how our voices and messages are melding will become more precise.
One thing that I noticed was that Karen doesn’t use counts when she facilitates. Counting, in the form of musical arrangements and thus timing taking form in the body, is something that is customarily found in dance classes. I was curious to know about Karen’s opinion on this matter. She stated that keeping this manifestation of musicality out of the workshops was a conscious choice, and that she had found that keeping time through the movement and sounding is much more effective and accessible. It doesn’t presuppose a prior knowledge; it just lets the movement make time.
How do we keep time in the case of not using counting? In the past, Karen told of how she used songs and singing to introduce phrasing, rather than grasping at counts. This gives people room to be faster or slower depending on their personal capabilities and body tendencies. We are interested in introducing diversity in timing into the personalities of the animal movement explorations.
-feet: massage metatarsals, find "bubbling spring" of the foot, spread the toes/tarsal bones
-energy Bodies (real, muscular/ ligamental structures and imagined bodies that are used to make the work functional)
-bandas: pour energy down as weight, energy rebounds up into the ligamental straps of your feet
- Energy pours down and rebounds up through feet>ankles>knees>inner legs> to the PELVIC FLOOR (1st "floor of our house after the feet)
- pass pelvic floor to the hip bones (iliac crest) under naval, up to the DIAPHRAGM (2nd floor)
- continue up the chest, sternum, high heart and pause at the dip in the collar bone ("om"fingers), up the neck to the SOFT PALETTE (3rd floor), sense the plumb line through center of body
- moving in and out of the circle as a group with soft plies and "offering" hands, palms up
-review the energy lines (to be informed by animal shapes later)
-hand dance improvisation: a personal hand dance dialogue is passed around the circle, everyone else dances that dance in terms of its tone, rhythm, feeling, energy
-tree exploration: body as tree, hands as branches, reaching out into space
-rebound of energy through image of tree and roots
-hand energy response duet: one person stand with arms out, palms up and the other does a hand dance into their partners hands, then the receiver takes that information and moves around the space using full body
-animals body improvisations: bear, fish, wolf, eagle, and butterfly
-the energy lines that are most utilized with each animal: i.e. back line- bear, side lines- fish
-“let us all recall what these animal bodies are”
-“I am still learning too” re-embodying the animals as a group
-moving through space in a variety of animals: changing from one animal to another and sensing how the energy lines are changed in each
-move around space: go to spaces where no one else is, use every corner of room, then gradually get tighter and closer in as a group- how can you creatively and attentively move through small spaces?
-walking score: as above, with changes of speed and level (high, medium, low) and walking forwards and backwards
-add in arm and hand movement improvisation: sprinkling flour with hands, extending out through upper body
-energy body duet with above explorations (proximity, speed, levels)
-in two large groups – improvisation score using elements learned in class, collaborate as group then showing