Improvisation is slowly becoming a habit. I find the urge to improv happening regularly, and now I find myself dancing just about everywhere. This journey has brought me back to my childhood. Remember when you were a kid, and it didn't matter who watched, you just had to move? I think improvisation has changed how I feel about dance. It is no longer about technique, perfection, being the best, getting into companies, or cast lists. Dance has become a way to be the truest me. So there have been many undocumented improvisation sessions.
I do want to continue to blog, as a way to see growth and change over time.
Day 50 was inspired by a solo I am working on. The solo starts with me seated on a chair upstage right. I recite the following monologue:
It all started in kindergarten. For show and tell, one of my classmates brought a video of her tap dancing to Billy Ray Cyrus's Achy Breaky Heart. I was completely mesmerized. At the end of that year, on a cut out cardboard diploma, I declared,"When I grow up, I am going to dance on the stage."
So today's improvisation is tap dance meets modern dance in a chair.
This week in rehearsals with Sandra Organ, I have been so mesmerized by the way she uses her back. As a dancer, I have a tendency to move from my extremities. How can I find a way initiate movement from the inside of my spine? I tried to channel that feeling by thinking of the resistance you find when moving through water.
I was looking through a book to come up with ideas for today's improvisation. Nothings was jumping out, but as I flipped through the pages, I realized how interesting it was to flip through the pages. Aha! There was my entry point. I couldn't use the book I was looking at as it was a borrowed book, and I vow to return books in the condition I receive them. So I went to my bookshelf and grabbed The Vision of Modern Dance. As I started dancing, it just felt right to read. And I learned the other day that improvisation and talking at the same time is quite difficult. So I read aloud, and let my body move on autopilot, as the words of modern dance's greats washed over me.
My sweet friend Janette loaned me a copy of A Map of Making Dances by Stuart Hodes. This book is filled of interesting projects to explore and generate movement. Today, I improvised from the ideas of Project 7: Movement from action: physicalizing. What every day actions can inspire me? How can I make sweeping, cleaning, reading, writing, and watching TV a dance?
For my second go around, I went with the action, to watch. What does it look like to really see, look, and observe while dancing? To perform is to multi-task; one must observe and respond to their surroundings while simultaneously engaging the audience through a purposeful focus. What if that purposeful focus is to simply watch?
I am currently in the process of choreographing a show with the working title How I got here. The show is part narrative, part solo dancing, sharing my journey and the moments that shaped me into who I am today. One of those stories is about my first experience with improvisation when I was in 4th grade. My intention is for the movement to be improvised during the show based on how I felt in that moment as a child. Here are two different sessions.
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.