This past weekend Nick and I went to New Orleans for the first time. We were enjoying some jazz music at Fritzel's European Jazz Pub when I noticed a sign on the wall saying, "NO DANCING." Now, the moment we entered the small bar, we were taken to our seats on an even smaller bench, and were sitting pretty darn close to our neighbors in every direction. So I can imagine that if someone decided to stand up and dance, things could get pretty dicey, pretty quick. Yet, the sign really bothered me. How did they define dancing, because I can't sit still and listen to jazz. My feet start tapping, my shoulders shaking, and my rib cage starts swaying side to side. Putting myself aside, let's talk about the musicians. Their entire bodies are responding to the music as they play (which by the way I would love to document in a dance film).
I took a picture of the sign, and I'll upload it to the blog later.
So this has become my motivation for the week, and what I am planning on showing as a structure improvisation at Venturing Out this Sunday. Let the practice begin.......
PS. I had to include the music this time: from the Original Jazz Masters Series, Vol 1, Disc 2, Perdido Street Blues (Chris Barber and Dr. John) and part of A Night in Tunisia (Don Byas)
Lately it is rare that I improv to music. However when I do, I turn the audio off when I upload to the blog. I don't want to run into any music rights issues. Today I did my improvisation to music- instrumental piano- and I find that I am heavily influenced by the music, and finding a change in energy is difficult as I feel very driven by the music.
I normally post videos before I watch them. That way I can't decide that I hate it the improvisation and don't want anyone to see it. After watching today's videos, I realized how much of my practice has been done in small, confided spaces. I like small areas; in small spaces, you have very little room for leg work. I love articulating my arms and spine- I find that there are so many options and choices. But my legs- I don't know why, but I can't for the life of me I can't find creativity in my legs. Also, when I get into a larger space and concentrate on my legs, my arms just start to swing, and swing, and swing, and swing, and swing. I want to find more pathways and ways to articulate the joints of my lower half, and I want to explore how to coordinate my lower half with my upper. I have no idea where to start- so feel free to send ideas my way!!
Today in my DANC modern class at San Jac, I asked my students to share one thing they wanted to work on. Then, we all spent a five minute improvisation concentrating on that one thing. Since I have been doing my improvisations mainly at home, I haven't had the chance to really travel and expand. Therefore, this first improvisation is all about using this giant studio here at San Jac South.
Since I had the time, space, and energy in between the two classes I am teaching today, I decided to move some more. I am considering doing a structured improvisation for my upcoming showing at Venturing Out. The impetus is fear- so here is my first practice. Honestly, I'm not sure if this motivation is going to work for me. I ended up feeling quite stuck and uncreative. Fear immobilizes me- in real life and in movement. I also feel that it may be unhealthy to indulge fear- to let it manifest in physical form. While I think that it is important that art reflects the realities and truths of life- I do feel there is a fine line between awareness and dwelling on something.
I'm not sure why, but traffic sends me into a tailspin. I loose it. Majorly loose it. And this afternoon I sat in one hour of traffic, and I got home ready for all hell to break loose. So I let it break loose- in an improvisation. So the first part of this is my movement hissy fit- followed by deep breaths, and trying to let it all go.
My daily dose of moving.....
Eight-nine minutes seems to be the time frame I feel most comfortable with....I'll have to start exploring that more.
I am interested in creating my own somatic practice, and have been making an effort to become more aware of my movement habits. I feel strongly that my movement history comes out in my dancing, and I have been trying to pay more attention to what I do directly before and after I dance. Today, Nick and I went and walked around the Houston Arboretum and as soon as I got home, I began this improvisation. When I walk, I feel like the muscles in my legs and spine get progressively tighter. I am curious if in my improvisation I counteracted this tightness by gravitating towards movements that elongated those muscle group OR if I gravitated towards my typical movement patters regardless of what preceded. Afterwards, I do feel looser in my spine, hamstring, and psoas, but my quadriceps and IT band feel the same.
Today was a lazy, hazy sort of day. But even on my laziest of days, I just feel better if I move some. To stretch, to reach, to grow, to paint, to create, to live, to be, to breath, to let go, to gain, to give, all in a sweatshirt and cowgirl boots :) Plus posting here makes me feel like something happened today, something was accomplished, that today was recorded, even if only for 6.5 minutes. To quote Beyonce, "I was here."
PS Nick is watching a Houston Dynamo game in the background. He didn't realize I was mid-improvisation, and now that I think about it, I'm not sure why I didn't answer him.
I had the dance itch this evening. Sometimes I find myself restless, and well quite frankly difficult to be around. I find that moving scratches that itch, and gives me a nice exhale. It's almost like I get to take a deep breath with my whole body.
This is a blog of processes. Through the sharing of media and writing I am following my impulses, teasing out and unpacking, translating, solidifying, and making concrete my investigations into something that can be shared.