In Doing What You Want
A space for experimenting in performance improvisation and group structures.
Held at Karkhana in Kathmandu, and at The Woods, CPR, and Roger Roof in Brooklyn
Some writing from the days .......plans/ideas
Day 3: WATCH AND REPEAT - about a story
A sort of telephone exercise, where you watch the first group create a piece. 2 minutes – maybe less. The second group briefly discusses what they saw and then tries to recreate(assign to specific people? Try to recreate one persons trajectory instead of an entire group?) . Or does the second group just recreate blindly without discussion and then the talking can come into play later on down the road?
It’s about continuing an arc of events and realizing details more fully. Its about recognizing what sticks in someone’s brain, what reads, what is noticeable. Succinctly summarizing. Can be about recognizing an attempt at making an event. Also about memory.
Try recreating moments from last week – repetition and muscle memory. How much do they play a part in what we choose to do next?
When you find yourself pulled by gravity, pulled by an impulse, pulled by a person, you have stepped into a state where everything is happening and everything is equal. This heightened state of attention beams out of you as you wait to be affected and to affect.
You are responsible for that day of creation. Responsible to contribute, to raise, to shape. As your adrenaline kicks in and you realize that you have no idea what is about to happen, your body becomes malleable and your choices just come. You cannot compare what comes next to anything existing outside of yourself – forming at the core and then expanding. Expanding to affect the tiny actions that come next. Each decision causing the next series of events made up of connection and motion and narrative to take place. There is a constant need for you. For your brain to process, to consider, and to choose what comes next, for you to say to someone, “take me with you”. There can be no action without your own, no attention without yours, no creation of a piece. This work without your thoughts, movements, choices. There is no universe in which dance must be the reigning factor. We all have different contexts and backgrounds and interests. That is important. We are all important for being here. Show up. Tell the truth. PAY ATTENTION.
Volcano Eruption Game: Standing and feeling this energy boiling up through the earth, entering the soles of your feet, moving up through your bones and your blood and gathering in the center of yourself. Roiling around, colliding, boiling until you cant take it anymore. Then you explode into movement. Is this something that you try and do at the same time? Is it about feeling someone else’s attention, someone else’s breaking point? Growth of energy? Is it about synchronization and trust and knowledge of one another? Or could it become more about the composition of what youre undertaking? The spatial relationship as you translate feelings through your bodies? The timing of it all? Making choices to go through this cycle in a conscious way?
“Breaking out of it into a walk, as soon as one person starts walking, everyone else has to catch on and walk until the walking resides, and each person finds a new spot to root themselves into. And again.”
2. Dancing or exploring more fully this boiling feeling
3. Denying your impulses – extending and changing
Was lovely. We concentrated generally on an awareness of our own bodies in space, and specifically acting from a spinal awareness. Placing our spines in relation to others bodies, to the architecture around us, to our organs and skin. Triangulating the other spines in the room to our own, following, leading, influencing, and feeling. Trying out open scores of movement as we considered these particular placements. A small list of these actions can be seen here.
Here is a piece of writing from the first day.
I read it as the opening statement for this whole thing – something I had written as a thought process exercise, but decided to share as a beginning. BEGINNINGS are hard. How do you start a process of learning and building knowledge? My instinct is to rush through all of these super general CONCEPTS and then go back and refine each one once you get a larger picture of what improvisation can be. To prove to them the wider possibilities of this form. I want to invent exercises, GAMES, ways to develop these concepts.
Movement Vocabulary – how to make decisions about what your local body is doing.
1. Impulse Holding
2. Basics - Big and Small; Fast and Slow; Levels; Travelling v, Stillness
3. Weight Studies – Resiliency, Strength, Lightness etc.
4. Shape and Time
5. Saying yes v. listening
Things to use : gaga (texture) , forsythe (body awareness v. outside influences), viewpoints, pedestrianism
Come join us on May 18th for the next trial.
Sunday, May 4th; 11am-1pm; The Woods
This workshop is open to all.
For a long time now, I have been craving a platform from which I can work with artists and friends that I respect and am excited by - on something that I respect and am excited by - IMPROVISATION. Now, I am not saying that we all get in a room and wiggle around and feel really good. That could be nice...but I would rather WORK. On composition, on the connections my brain makes naturally and unnaturally, on the ways my body chooses or doesn't choose to interact with gravity, on my existence! Because seriously, that's what this work is all about.
During my travels in Nepal, I ended up teaching a workshop to a group of techie robot builders. It was a weird bunch of people, but with a little good music and the ability to realize that this is a really fucking weird art form to outside eyes- we got through it. And it sparked lots of thinking for me - about how this can serve as one big analogue that could help people to think differently of whatever field they happen to work in, about how its just good for the body, about how it can be a serious adrenaline rush, about how watching is often more interesting than doing, about how doing can lead to more doing, and about a future time that I would like to experience in which I could go into a room with people who were on the same page as me, and seriously enjoy myself for a few hours.
Here are the rules: (I didn't make these guys up!)
1. Show up
2. Pay attention
3. Tell the truth
This work is about the choices you make in the time you have to make them. It is a creative practice geared toward analyzing the play between brain and body.
It is a form that can include all types of people- dance training not necessary- who wish to spend some time actively creating. It involves talking about and experimenting with specific compositional techniques dealing with space, time, shape, movement invention, architecture, landscaping, navigating, listening, seeing, interrupting, and supporting. Its allows someone to learn about their local (own body) choices and impulses, while having to analyze the ways in which we interact with/as a community (other bodies). We will spend a little bit of time getting into our bodies, a little bit of time talking about one specific concept, and then A LOT of time in open score periods, in which the group composes a new piece or new pieces.
This is purposefully a group of many disciplines, but if you feel like you would rather photograph/film, play music, or do something else, i'm open to talking about it. For now we're sticking to the movement of bodies.
The sundays we will be working, as of now, are:
MAY 4th from 11am to 1pm at THE WOODS
MAY 18th from 11am to 1pm at THE WOODS
After that we will alternate Sundays, hoping to develop a core group of people that will show up every other week and make work together.
Let me know if you are in. or down. or up for it! There will be a $1 donation for studio rental- but if you dont have a dollar to donate, please come anyway. Feel free to invite someone you trust who would enjoy something like this.
P.S. I will be putting up videos, writings, and discussions about these workshops. As an initial recording of the process of developing this practice, I want to eventually have a substantial body of information to serve as reference, interest, or entertainment.