Through my practice, thinking about lines of flight, reminds me of moments that transformed my paradigms of Dance. Like the first time I saw Black ballerinas when I was watching a video of a Balanchine ballet from the 80’s. I remember the way it struck my curiosity.
Then I traveled to NYC on the summer of the last season before Dance Theatre of Harlem went on their 10 year hiatus, I believe it was 2003. The program opened with The Four Temperaments. I had never, ever, seen any performance like that one.
Between the music, the movement, the range of colors of bodies and lines I was fascinated. I remember thinking: So this is what Ballet’s supposed to look like!!!”
I saw bodies that looked like me, that moved like me and that appealed to me in a way that I would have never known or imagined. That night, my notions of dance changed and that changed ME forever…
I’ve probably spent most of my life working on my dance technique and some days I look back and wonder why…
Why spend so much time and energy on something that won’t last? I think about the ephemerality of it all (back to that word). Yet, I miss training when I don’t.
Through my practice I have discovered embodiment, and a new way of using all that physical knowledge that I’ve acquired through the process of becoming a master of my craft.
That never ending process of creating a unique tool…
Weird right!? Exploring different practices, I stumbled upon this article from the Wall Street Journal discussing how one is so concern about having the exact ingredients that they forget how to do the damn thing. It is interesting thinking about how to work with what you already have and see what can develop from that which relates to dance improvisation.
“Improvisation is more about the thrill that comes from not knowing what it will be in the next moment or the next time.” (Buckwalter, Melinda)
What about before improvisation?
The idea of preparation… How can you prepare if you do not know what comes next or what will be created?
It made me think of how my body is actually feeling before I move. What are my habits of preparation to move?
“Improvising in front of an audience can be settling, and your usual responsive, spontaneous creativity can dry up like a mirage. Self-consciousness can suddenly yank you out of the driver’s seat, especially when you sense the audience fidgeting, yawning, or looking for the nearest exit.” -Lynne Anne Blom and L. Tarin Chaplin
Going off this quote, I have been questioning that it might all depend on the environment/audience. For example, being in a dance environment where you know everyone, improvising in front of them feels normal. There’s no judgement.
I’ve been doing some thinking on how to present my practice… Reading, researching… I think something happened in my mind because the moment I went to the studio to work on the movement, my practice had completely changed.
Did movement just completely take over?
Was it a physical response? Mental response?
It was like placing a layer of color, of gravity and physicality over the lens…
I have been practicing with the idea of doing improvisation in front of people and doing it alone. Many questions has come up while doing it and they are:
What do I feel that I have to show off in front of people?
Why is there a different feeling when I am doing both?
Can I still have performance quality while being alone?
Inviting people to watch me versus putting myself in the environment where there is people how can that change my movement?
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