It seems awfully hard to reflect on only movement from this term and the year as a whole, when I feel I’m always moving. It’s ingrained in all I do; I’m not a person who really knows stillness well. If there’s one thing I want to reflect on, before I go into actual detail on the actual movement topics of this assessment, it’s how grateful I am for movement this year. I think my body has always felt a little alien to me, something other. I have fought it for a long time and in so little time I have not only come to terms with it, but found its power. Something I think is quite special.
Very little of my part in the immersive project was movement focused, which was something I really struggled with. Even during the performance week when we hurriedly adopted a process for filling the space in the finale, there was no energy in it. I feel I am a person who works hard even when the work feels stilted or empty, but such last minute planning came a lack of care, at least on my part if not on others. I have come to realize in all my work I like structure, a prescribed period of time, and mutual understanding that these retain their body, and I am aware I need to work on this to better my ability to cope with sudden stresses or changes in the rehearsal process.
So on the note of working with ensemble connection, I didn’t feel that this term. I think we lost a lot of what we were aiming for, for more reasons than anyone cares to admit. But I won’t deny the moments I felt those connections during this term, such as the afternoon of the intimacy workshop, and in other parts of the year. I have come to feel that for all the individuals in our room movement is a place we can find a level playing field; in movement sessions I rarely notice the tensions or natures of the people, only the sensation of gravity and the bodies cooperating with it. So although this term hasn’t truly built the ensemble we hoped for, I think to an extent we partly had it anyway.
Exploring space has been one of my highlights of my growing movement practice. Space, in my mind, is only known through your body and the sensations it produces, and though our piece didn’t incorporate choreographed movement, I spent several mornings in Regent’s Park waiting for Conor and discovering what it feels like to dance, specifically, in an outdoor space. Height and travel become limitless, which as my interest in contemporary broadens, really excites me, and I envision (and hope) some of my work will take place outdoors to further discover how we move in a seemingly limitless space.
Observing and engaging with Anne Bogart’s Viewpoints was a highlight of term two for me, and I really wish we’d had more time on it. Stripping back movement to passage through an arena-like square and then adding in new considerations gave me a new process through which to approach movement-creation. In much of my interest lying in dance stripping back in not always a first approach, but it really allowed me to consider how to instigate purpose in movement, and to discover how tempo, gesture and repetition can better enunciate a character, narrative or emotion than textual work can. I enjoy working through the elements of viewpoints when dancing or teaching dance, particularly in a warm up, and I am working to adopt its processes in developing movement within the play In Addition that I am working on over the summer.
The intimacy workshop was hugely enjoyable, though like much of this term, too short to feeling wholly engaged in the process. The distinction between personal and professional really interests me, because in the arts it often blurs, and finding balance between work and artistic endeavor is far more difficult than many anticipate. I find the approach to dealing with intimate scenes that Ita has developed so interesting, and such an invitation to make an experience always seen as awkward not only less daunting, but enjoyable. It has also made me consider how I in acting or performing, may learn to deal with expression some emotional truths of my own, to bring power to my performance. I think there’s something to be said of introducing an intimacy process on yourself, to find a balance between yielding experience as a force for expression, and unearthing things that we are not prepared to confront. Nonetheless, even in our rehearsals of In Addition we have began to adopt an openness to approaching physical contact and movement, to ensure the comfort of myself and Lewis (the other performer). This has made the whole process more enjoyable and less challenging.
I feel this is now extremely long and winding, but I just want to finish on a note of gratitude and a look to the future. This has been the year I have undertaken the least dance ever, and yet somehow I have found my moving body, as I coin it. I think there’s something to be said about how in confronting yourself, you find comfort in your own skin, and for that I am so humbled. Now I look forward to developing a dance and choreographic based practice, and seeking new journeys in which my seeming ‘short dancing life’ doesn’t feel like a limitation, but a strength.