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Blog entry for session on May 17th

The session we conducted on May 17th at Carnegie took a slightly different rhythm than our prior workshops on account of two factors: having given ourselves limitations in terms of how much material we would cover, and the predominance of veteran participants of this process.

Julie, Mirae, Lindsey and I met before the workshop to solidify our class plan after having collaborated on a document outlining a sort of "best of" list of exercises and experimentations. As we talked about our plans, we noticed how difficult it was to not get too excited about material we had chosen that could connect to other new material. There were some exercises that we left out based on the fact that some experienced dancers would know them but others might not.

The warm-up was shorter than usual. Our goal was simply to set the exercises up to integrate body and mind, so as to be ready to be creative and play with composition in solos and duets later on. Mirae worked on the energy body, presence and the bandas. I worked with rhythm, heartbeat of the earth and some of the basics of Metis jigging, which has been taught and shared with me by Yvonne Chartrand and Madelaine McCallum (Compagni V'ni Dansi, Louis Riel Metis Dancers).

Julie led the group through the lines of the body, animals and tensegrity. Lindsey segued the class from warm-up to improvisation by working with the personal studio and concept of the kinesphere as impulses for movement. This then moved fluidly into the creation of personal phrases of movement that were then shown within a sharing circle: rather than distancing viewer from performer, viewer encircles performer and supports through mirroring rhythm or tone of soloist. By continuing to move while witnessing, judgment is not felt by soloist.

The main thing that we wanted to focus on was using the warm-up and technique in service of the creative work.

Many members voiced a need to have more time to explore creation, improvisation and choreography. In having more time, Julie, Mirae, Lindsey and I saw that the next step to explore more deeply with the group is figuring out endings. One particular trio sharing ended with two dancers finding an ending at relatively the same time, and the third continuing on in solo material for some time before finding an ending.

Afterwards, the question arose about the various permutations an ending can take, and that it is not limited to completion as a group. In reflecting on endings in our meeting, we all agreed that to work on endings is to work on creation on the whole: what makes an ending is informed by the beginning and middle, and what is it in the middle that drives towards the ending?

A continued imperative for the facilitation of these workshops has been a recognition and integration of the vast amount of knowledge that lives within the group, within each member and participant. As facilitators, we act as mediators of this knowledge and the knowledge we bring into the space about dance and movement. As mediators, we stay open to what can be received and shared at any given moment.