a film by Christian Kipp documenting the making process
June 1, 2005
What is going on in rep c?
Some questions behind the work
What does it mean to believe in process?
How does having 24 performers highlight the issue of texture or quality of movement?
How can a group express unity without becoming uniform?
What if people were to share an intention or a behaviour (e.g. creating a constellation between themselves, creating an approximate line, making a sea of arms and legs, crawling towards a destination, diving into the ground, making clicking noises, quietly shifting away during an emergency)?
What if this shared behaviour were like a shifting landscape, like the ephemeral happenings of a lifetime?
How would those shifts happen and why? What if some of those transitions were hidden and what if some were revealed? Which, if any, of these landscapes would repeat themselves?
How might micro-solos slice across or transgress this group landscape?
What if the solos were like pop-up windows on the computer, shout outs, cries for attention, mini-dances to do with longing, short portraits of being a part of and apart from the group?
What would the physicality of such solos be? What if these solos were idiosyncratic, detailed, outward, plunging, energetic, distorted, rhythmical, territorial, direct in their relationship to audience?
Why do these solos look strange? Is it because they sit next to inward and plain-looking group work?
Does this strangeness come from the odd sequencing of actions and peculiar dynamics or phrasing?
Why do solos juxtaposed by group activity look sad, lonely? Why am I drawn to this image?
Using the interplay between solo and group, could the dance play with issues of foreground and background?
Where would this structure lead?
What if the ceremonial quality which emerges with the duets brought about a fissure in the form / structure of the dance?
What if this fissure led to a different kind of landscape, one which appears more individually driven and risky, flailing across the space?
Has this become another dance about impermanence?
Having made all this material, what is going on? What kind of vision is this about the body and about being human?
Apart (rough score)
You begin roughly on the edges of the space. During Paloma’s solo you organise and neaten yourselves in a pedestrian and unselfconscious way. You notice her solo at the same rhythm that the audience notices it.
Paloma’s solo is a quiet call to attention. Her movement involves floating, waiting, patience and a summons to join her in dancing.
The group is watching Paloma or sensing her. You can almost touch the quality of listening, like velvet in the air.
Colin takes the cue from Paloma. He is matter of fact with his entrance.
Everyone finds their own attitude towards entering the space.
You create a constellation, a configuration between yourselves, and it looks like the process of becoming part of something larger than yourself.
Then you begin something small and subtle which becomes increasingly awkward. On the way there is the suggestion of humility, of bowing, of giving over. The searching fingertips suggest a quiet desperation.
The rhythm of rebounding is gloriously different each time.
You change facing, take in a new perspective, and repeat. The repetition of the one-legged balance provides a sense of ceremony. The slowness is generous to the eye. We have time to take in your differences.
Diana is impatient and departs.
You wander and wonder in curves and at the end of it manage to find a line, however imperfect and patchy.
When you are standing there plainly, I am thunderstruck by your beauty.
You turn and hook long arms around each other. A lockdown. Security. You stealthily march. The line buckles but at least you are still together.
Meanwhile Kelly has opted out. She catches a taste of solitude and runs away. She is moved by something liquid and other worldly. She hangs sideways and lingers there testing her outlook on the world.
The group is sinking, sunken. The sea of arms and legs look alien. Time is suspended.
Kelly’s jumping is a wake up call; the dream is interrupted. You find gravity and play with it to bring you to standing.
Fran explodes. You can see the wham! Bam! Superhero exclamations around her movement. She moves the group, shifts the birds on the telephone line across the street.
Joey hits the floor and signals caution. She whirls while holding onto something precious. She scans the audience and tells them a secret with her eyes.
Alexandra reverses into a cosy downstage corner where she sings a ballad with her movement. Her gaze at the audience is haunting, truthful.
You are walking upstage with clear purpose, like following a stage direction.
Antonia, Shannon and Amy splat. They undulate and flap and shout with their bodies. They have the energy of a bird trapped or of an argument waiting to happen. But they also appear to have a sense of humour about their condition.
You race to a stopping point, pause and then dive off the high board. This puts you in an uncomfortable place but you move through it with grace.
You find all fours and move with a destination in mind. The meetings and passings of bodies look like bees in a beehive, messages about the past and future transmitted through your locomotion.
Veronica is hovering, navigating through difficulty. She collapses and rebounds and then chops at the forces which surround her like a gentle warrior.
The constellation is found again, but this time it is more distant and dense. Like a small wood in the middle of a field.
Diana launches herself into a different space. She is jerking and restless, settling only temporarily in a pensive rocking. She seems apart from and a part of the clicking which accompanies her.
The clicks go from being atmospheric and sparse to rhythmical and almost melodic.
Colin finds a home on the very edge of the space. He begins as a kernel and unfolds mystery.
The group approaches with openness and readiness. You trick each other into being goofy.
You find your own place in the space and you practice surprising yourself. Colin’s cue is not just a signal to do something, it is an urging to find joy in real risk and to never ever take yourself too seriously.
Natsuki, Paula, Nicole, Fran and Heather cut across the mayhem and offer a row of pulsing movement which together looks sorrowful and pulsating. They borrow energies and movements from each other, emphasising their common ground.
Meanwhile the order behind the chaos is revealed. There are lines and there is unity.
Katharina and Jochelle charge around and make a scene. Through their dance they declare that people are in crisis. Their movement calls attention to pain and clowns it at the same time.
The group attends to the emergency while scooting quietly away.
Leire and Irene come forward and change the temperature. Their rapid and twisting movement looks part of a mysterious ceremony for cleansing the air, clearing the space, moving on.
Monica and Sue-Ella proceed forward and continue the ceremony. Their rhythm asks for action, for release, for physical commitment.
The crossings which follow are individual, frenzied, risky, alive, on the edge, different to what we have seen so far.
How does this information translate into advice for performing this material?
Practice the heightened sense of being alive which performing offers.
The work hinges on your investment in each second of the material.
The fact that you all have different attitudes to performing highlights your beautiful differences.
aims behind the process
to work with performers in a way that matches my independent choreographic practice and, so, to make use of performers’ own movement.
to allow myself to experiment and to try things which don’t work as much as things that do.
to allow myself to be challenged by the group and by individuals.
to challenge everyone in the group, not necessarily in the ways they expect or even want to be challenged (It will probably not be difficult for students to execute or remember movements. It may be challenging to attend to nuance of performance and to adopt a generous attitude in crowded circumstances.)
to be artistically rigorous and to find where this rigour can meet the principle of equal involvement.
to be as transparent as possible about the process of making the work without damaging the kind of leadership which is necessary for this project.
to not feign certainty.
to emphasise imaginative engagement with and formal clarity in movement material.