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September 25th Workshop - Watching

I sit and watch, again an observer, much like the way I started being involved with Karen Jamieson's community engagement works. I am researcher and anthropologist once again, by necessity this time around.

This gives me a way to get a little distance and notice different things since I have been participating and facilitating.

I notice the sense of the circle and how important it is to begin with this, to begin with the structure of togetherness.
The sense of the circle is then taken into an internal practice, of balancing the inner structure of the body. Weight is dispersed to all corners of the foot in a circular motion. Shifting and pouring.

Plie and straighten. The words 'pouring' and 'surging' are used to encourage a visualization of the rebound. This allows dancer's of all abilities to access the essence of the plie.

The principle of giving and receiving takes physical form in an improvisation of the hands tossing energy balls across the room to another, then receiving it. This solidifies both self-care and group care.

Rhythm and weight are bound together. 

These sentences are used to guide the opening and closing of the arms, as in a port-de-bras: "inhale to release it to everybody" (arms wide) and "exhale to gather it in" (arms in front). It takes any of the special language of dance out of the process and allows the action to take the focus of the group.

Karen experiments with teaching a swing of the arms and how it can move one through space. The swing is a 3 count move, beginning with the swing of the arms, adding a push with the hands, then allowing the swing to take your feet for a run. Essentially, the feet run after the swing. This seems like the beginnings of a modern dance triplet to me.

The practice of clarifying an exercise is important in this group. Some members come every week, but some come intermittently. One of these exercises is the gift of impulse exercise: one dancer moves their hands in a specific way into the palms of another dancer, and the receiver then interprets that energy, pattern or rhythm into a whole body improvisation.

The workshops have now shifted to more focus on the choreography for CONNECT, to be performed in the Heart of the City Festival on November 3rd. An edited and updated version of a scene script has been planned by Karen and handed out to all who will perform.