Dancing Dragons in London: Space to Create

We started our third and final choreography session with Marina by simply moving through the space in the room. We then sat out and watched the rest of the dancers move slowly through the space, stopping them when they were all in a position that intrigued us. We called these pauses “images” and asked the dancers to remember where they were and what they were doing. We set a series of 5 images, maybe making very slight adjustments to the body or the very specific spacing, and then had the dancers move through the images as a sequence.

This was a new way to approach spacing and spatial pathways. Methods like these are very helpful when choreography block occurs and there is no source of inspiration to move forward. Sometimes simply playing with a topic devoid of meaning can draw out a concept or become impetus for movement.

We continued to look at spatial pathways by drawing out a map with several points and at each point putting a body part on which to focus movement in that area of the floor. These developed into larger, full bodied phrases. Our partners for this exercise found the essence of our phrase and directed us how to develop the mere essence of it, keeping the quality, but reducing it down to the simplest version, yet still keeping all of the necessary aspects.

As a mover, I tend to articulate fully through my spine in all forms of movement. My essence and challenge for this was to move my arm and leg as though they were connected by a magnet, but to not move my spine at all. This was very challenging and while I was exploring the essence, I found it very frustrating to develop movement because I was uncomfortable.

We discussed how much is enough in order to make what is vital to the piece visible to the audience. To approach this, we continued to play with the idea we were working with, rather than trying to fix or edit the material we had.

After class, we were sent out to record 30 second sound clips that could potentially be used as sound scores. A few of us looped these clips and used them the next class for our works in progress.

We did a framing exercise, where one dancer performed their “essence” solo and someone else “framed” the piece by choosing a position in the surrounding space. We were able to develop these even further into longer pieces by changing the sequence and keeping some dancers in stillness.

After class we visited the Whitechapel Gallery to see Keith Sonnier’s exhibition of neon lights, “Light Works.” This exhibit focused on incandescence, shape, color, and the reflection of light.

We were all very inspired to move from the art and actually did begin to improvise in the gallery space. We were able to play with movement until the guard told us that their insurance probably didn’t cover performance injuries.

From the various exercises we created, we began to develop material for our showing on Friday. Marina was very helpful in giving us feedback on the chunks we had in order to develop their concepts. Feedback from both teachers and peers is so vital to a choreographer’s process because it can be very easy to become lost in the work, therefore, another set of eyes can aid in a change of perspective.

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On Friday, had the privilege of putting our work into lighting design. We experimented with different states of light to see how the lighting tone affected the mood and meaning (or lack thereof) of the work. Seeing our work in different lighting also allows the work to develop and informs the aesthetic. Literally seeing it in a new light.

 

These methods of composing differ from other experiences because in the past I have created movement in relevance to a theme, inherently giving the movement meaning. These methods look at movement from a perspective essentially devoid of meaning, and rather look at movement creation from process to confirmation. All of these approaches gives us a toolkit to use for all future choreographic endeavors.

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