Dancing Dragons in London: The Product in the Process

In our second choreography session with Rahel Vonmoos we explored various improvisational scores to expand our entry points into creating and movement vocabularies.

After our morning warm-up class, we started up our creative gears by playing a game in which we had to call out someone’s name to prevent getting tagged. The game allowed us to both increase our energy and give us a bank of new movement qualities. We created a phrase based off of these actions, which gave us another approach to creating movement.

We did another drawing exercise with our eyes closed, once again melding multiple mediums of art. This time, however, we were asked to draw our bodies: shape, energy, internal state, whatever our mind led us to draw in that moment. We chose a small section of our drawing that caught our attention and walked out the pattern on the floor to play with making spatial patterns with regard to composition.

In order to focus our attention on creating, we discussed our creative processes and what it is that usually brings us inspiration to move. Much of the dance world is currently focused on the process of creating rather than merely the product, as much of the value of a work is discovered throughout the process and not the final product. As we worked this week, we took 60 second videos of each segment of work we created, an image that inspired us, or anything else we encountered that seemed relevant to our process.

On our second day with Rahel, she gave us some words and images to work from. The image that inspired me the most was a work of art, entitled Untitled Furniture (Armoire) by Doris Salcedo.


In groups, we performed a one minute improvisation based on our own images that were evoked from looking at the picture. I was very inspired by this image and this particular exercise gave me a new perspective on other concepts I have been working with in class.

We visited a few galleries at the Tate Modern, the most visited gallery in the world. Our task for this gallery trip was to take two pictures of architecture and body that inspired us. The next day, we used these images as projections as a backdrop for new improvisational scores which we then placed on the group. We took the seed from these score and continued to develop them into larger choreographic studies, working collaboratively. this experience differs from choreographing alone because there may be differing preferences as well as aesthetic choices for the work, and requires a certain amount of compromise and sometimes sacrifice to find balance.

Rahel emphasized working collaboratively to direct a group in a choreographic setting by giving specific directions on space, movement quality, and movement itself. We simultaneously created short films from combining the video diaries we filmed throughout the week. We shared these on our last day of class, three at a time. We discussed how it was interesting to see the similarities and differences in interests amongst the group. We were able to transition into our next and final choreography week with reflection on how we might be inspired to create based on the video compilations.

This past week was interesting to navigate creatively because we were all so exhausted from sightseeing and constantly working our minds and souls in order to produce material. Fortunately, being in London provides constant inspiration and self-realization.

On Monday, we also celebrated Independence Day in the very country from which we gained our independence, which was quite ironic. I celebrated by eating a good old-fashioned hamburger and french fries (which, of course, I had to order as “chips.”) We definitely all felt a little homesick on the 4th of July.

Stay tuned for sightseeing adventures of the weekend!