Writing for Teaching during Covid 19.

For the class ‘Seeing and not Seeing’ 24.06.2020

fragility of fragments

Can you see sense their weight

its suspense between gravity and

structural force to hold above ground?

Moving together

you and everything else

perhaps all else is moving and you are not?

Arriving in suspended moving

being still in movement

What if what surrounds you

are the limbs or fragments

of a life form

that has you at its centre

What if every item is belonging

to your body?

limbs

fragments

whose energy you can feel

whose gravity you share

matter amongst matter

you are content to this space

an ingredient

adding to the flavour of this space

that all of you – from skin to core, can taste.

Amongst things, amongst weight, amongst forms.

close your eyes

still and moving

conditioning curiousity

After having an STP break and going of to do other company work I found myself coming back with a confused body. Preparing my body and using it for other people’s work is a very different thing altogether than moving according to my needs and curiosities (STP) even though ‘other people’ still make use of my body as as an instrument with its own brain, as a person, a wholesome entity. However the line between preparing my body for someone else’s project and preparing it just for me, is distinct. The difference being that ST allows for my own curiosities to unfold without pressure of having to tick boxes and without trying to configure what other people deem a suitable body to fit their project or style. What happened today and produced an understanding of this situation is that I found myself executing boring ‘ticking the boxes’ warm up when i suddenly found myself sensing something that was interesting me and that I followed up. I caught onto a line of investment that sparked an excitement I had not felt for two months – feeling free to inquire, using and taking the space to move how I wanted to, not feeling judged, not framed in any way, just excited about a connection that I could sense and expand on.

Feedback

Running Shared Training for a while now those items have surfaced through feedback:

— Sharing the studio with other experienced dance artists stimulates movement and feeds one’s training, mixing a personal enquiry with enquiries taken from other practitioners.

— Searching and following one’s own enquiry while sharing space feels vulnerable though positively challenging because others occasionally witness or share.

— Being free to do anything at any time allows for a more sincere inquiry about one’s needs let that be rest or warmth, trailing thoughts, witnessing, roaming – opening another kind of dialogue about what we ‘need’ to do versus what we ‘should’ do.

And this is what becomes clearer to us, facilitators and regulars:

First comers are faced with multiple options to chose from and usually move from one input to another with less control but great curiosity. Personal movement preferences emerge but also easily slip into material we feel we should be able to do (external value system) and should work on. There is a somewhat involuntarily drift between personal focus and other people’s enquiries which is less tailored to a personal inquiry but stimulating in its juxtaposition. Shifting focus between one’s environment or towards oneself is a more conscious choice if you come regularly. Refining, filtration and confidence of material starts to happen because of placing focus more consciously and the reinvestigation of material. New material also emerges coming about through making connections and increasing awareness of all that makes movement. What is ‘new’ is also fragile through a lack of confirmation or establishment. Moving without predefinitions on how something looks like, or should, means moving outside known territory. We trust that all exploration is valid and the value we create is based on our own gut feeling or reasoning and the exchange we have with other practitioners.

 

 

start to work

There are times when there is only very few of us in the studio, however that is more than it used to be. It used to be just me. And then there are times when it is actually crowded and we are falling into ‘Fame’ scenes of wild dancing with fun music, flying across the floor. This week at some point we were only three and we had a very beautiful and focussed session – we enjoyed spaciousness. This is were it all started and I am very happy that this is what we still treasure. Of course we also want this to grow, want many to appreciate it, want to integrate it as ‘new normality’ for dancers in order to create a consistent dance development. Not a workshop spurt with a glimpse of investment which is never enough – no, I want people to do this again and again because only then we start to see our patterns, history and values (god, values is a huge subject and we hardly even perceive it). What we can do and what we want to do, what we want to share and why. This pot is so deep and it strikes me with disbelief how many of us don’t even lift the lid. But maybe this is simply our way and also things, anything, takes time to be perceived .. and valued. And surely others have ways I am not quite able to perceive but I have the suspicion that in this society, if you want to do your art, dream, exchange and penetrate the surface, you need to start Not with money and status and space and time … I know it sounds obvious to some but you’d be surprised how many talks I have been to over the past two years, with people going on and on about the lack of financial support. I know it is sad, and difficult, but why not starting with your work, carving out a way to actually do it, with little money, with clapping hands, getting on with your curiosity. Then a world opens up to why you do it and also where to place it and why people need a bit of it .. or not. And then the money shouldn’t be taken out from a little arts council pot where hundreds of people cue up for, but it should be taken from places and people who really need and want what we can offer .. and sure enough, what we do has value but you need to find the value not demand support for something you don’t even quite know. BUT, in capital letters, I am not saying we all do that… rather be aware where you place your focus.

So, I just really wanted to write about space in the studio because I came across a video footage from The Old Tidemill when it was just me. It is a little time travel back, some excerpts of improvisations. It is my way of saying Good Bye Tidemill, You were a very dear and precious friend to me. Now your doors are closed due to new development and in some way that is fair enough, part of London’s landscape and we have found a new home in Shadwell which is better in some ways but hey … we had some good and special times, love Laura

BLOG ST AND SP

Please scroll down to see the various entries, Title in bold and underneath the writer

Time marker – Four Days in 14.01.2015
by Anne-Gaelle Thiriot

Four Days into our 2015 Shared Training and Shared Practice and each one of us: Laura, myself, Tania and Fernanda have now all had a go or more at facilitating it. As we have defined these two components as the way into our physicality, and the way we deepen or use our physicality, I am happy that already many discoveries and thoughts have emerged that started from a physical place. Here are a few of them.

Training wise, we follow a format which content is not prescribed. I am surprised at how different is the kind of journey and kind of movements that I go through everyday to reach a state of satisfaction: being sweaty and feel trained. Sweaty but not too sweaty… I currently enjoy finding ways of softening and relaxing myself to access different layers of my movement content and a deeper care for my body. I have mini-revelations everyday: ‘the state of quiet and calmness can be to have my mind quiet or my body quiet or both’ or ‘When I can walk straight with the heels of my hands in my eye sockets I will have reached technical perfection’. It is funny the difference between the experience, the language and the experience of language. When I realise something through doing a task, there is always a sense of deja vu in the thinking and wording of it. Putting words into it is nothing like the experience but for some reason it helps reaffirming my experience. Problem is that often language doesn’t quite represent the essence of my dance experience so I get frustrated because the remaining traces of it feel unsatisfying. I just read a book (Thinking: Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman) that among many things talks about the difference between experience and memory. I guess I try to articulate something of that kind: my dance experience, when put into words becomes a dance memory. And a great experience can create a dull memory and vice e versa. So I strive to get and give great experiences but what if there will never be great tangible memories of it? Does it matter? It links to what we leave behind when we principally deal with being in the moment. “Maybe it is about finding the words that can recreate a sense of that experience” suggests Laura. ‘Language […], as movement, reflects your movement of spirit, thought, playfulness’ writes Tania.

Questions that arise during my training are linked to two elements: how do I solve problems? (e.g. varying my dancing, keeping flow, going from vertical to horizontal using the most of my bones and minimum of energy, etc.) what are the patterns that I or anyone can practice to reach a specific aim (e.g. create connectivity, or finding axis or efficient alignment). Yes anyone. Is it possible?

It is interesting that the Shared Training and Practice (STP) is addressing questions around what one finds valuable vs what one should find valuable, and how our original backgrounds, what led us here, influence these. In what we perceive is in a good or bad way.

Something very helpful to establish these values is Tania’s proposal of focusing on the notion of pleasure as a filter for our daily practice: Pleasure of feeling in the body, pleasure created by executing a movement, pleasure of realising or keeping a form, pleasure of yarning, pleasure of relaxing into weight and being efficient, pleasure of being responsive and relaxed in one’s mind, pleasure of trusting, pleasure of making a sound of pleasure, pleasure of rhythm, pleasure of sounding, pleasure of not sounding, pleasure of performing, pleasure of playing with expectations (of one self or of a watcher), pleasure of dealing with what is there, pleasure of finding images in the moment and move through them, pleasure of being connected, pleasure of having different intentions, pleasure of integrating, pleasure of perceiving, pleasure of thinking, pleasure of communicating, pleasure of finding that something makes sense, pleasure of realising that something makes no sense at all but is still pleasurable, pleasure of really meaning it, pleasure of representing, pleasure of relating or not to the viewers, pleasure of being, being close, being far, comfortable, finding touch tones, story-telling, pleasure of watching pleasure and freeing acts, etc…..

We are starting to develop a common language: we create “palettes” to represent our conversations, we are making a body of work or a body of wisdom, we talk about what happens when we try to communicate something. And we still use the word performance.

Laura said today that ‘the content is all in the movement’. I liked that because it brings us to stop thinking narrative and meaning in what we do in a linear way. Instead it brings us to construct meaning through a multi-layered and multi-experiential labyrinth; is it our nervous system as Tania mentioned that links everything together then? Or our DNA?

For the first time I have facilitated a Talk and Walk task and I really enjoyed it. For this purpose I used the format described in Dance Exchange:

http://www.danceexchange.org/toolbox/tooldb7c.html?Line=10

In everything we do, there is a certain amount of planning/ strategy and a certain amount of instinctive/in the moment thinking and acting. Walk and Talk proposes to become conscious of how we work and think through taking a dynamic/active approach. Therefore making no plan and finding on the way what we are working with, or making short term/realistic strategies. Very practical to devise. Need to use it again to see if it fulfils more purposes.

With Fernanda we thought and talked about our future today. What a scary exciting intangible but soon real prospect. It is beautiful to see that this links us to having a vision, as well as entering a process of applying it. We then keep talking in twos but this time space becomes much more important. Therefore body. Therefore form. Language. Moving. Making movement. Thinking. Listening, Reflecting. Relating. Communicating. As we get a chance to observe another conversation, I am fascinated at how varied and unique are our approaches and ways to integrate moving, reflecting, responding, using language, acting, justifying, arguing, dialoguing. I wonder how it would be possible to show this richness in a performance. Or maybe this is not the point. This is our practice. Till next time. Anne-Gaelle

 

Creating Normality , a new idea on how to see my practice. 15.01.2015
by Laura Doehler

Normality is a term I would have defiantly pushed away a couple of years back because my immediate association was boredom through repetition, also a lack of awareness because of repetition. However with ST and SP repetition produces awareness and creates a time and space window with a view that … is wonderfully rich, full of secrets waiting to be revealed and tickled, altogether a view that is wide and far and everyday different.

Both formats, separately and together, produce frames that allow yourself to emerge as you are through movement by posing questions such as ‘What are your preferences, your intentions, why – and how do you work it out? Because of others being present a perception of yourself through others eyes and thoughts is happening as well as your own perception of them creating a comparison without intend to judge. It is a long journey and won’t happen on an ad hoc basis – infinite if that is what you want.
Being your moving self – once you can see it repeatedly, the constants and the changes, the personal time of change, the personal space of yourself in relation to other, your pleasures and curiosities – then you can see that being yourself can become arriving, less reaching and somehow normal. Arriving is like standing still – not motionless but a way of perceiving a place as a journey walked and inhabited without stress and desperation or alienation in wanting to be other- arriving is going home, where all is familiar, greeting you, becoming part of you because it belongs there – or rather it is already part of you and it is your consciousness that greets and says, now I know. And to be your moving self, again and again, to me, is like I can see normality, my own normality and along with it my movement language.
And it is the knowing well, inside out, from back to front, that is never complete that makes it exciting and at the moment I hope that this is enough.