July 17, 2:34 pm
Jumping, my impulse is to completely disconnect from my heel, I shift the whole self forward, disconnecting from my primary control, the front of my body completely takes over
Shift my weight back, sense of heel and actually weight in my heel in order to be able to push off from my heel
I noticed this when I when passe, eleve, passe, eleve, passe, inhibiting my impulse when the next thing was jump
Nothing on the &, tricking self in order to know preparational movement, what do I do when I think about jumping, how does the body prepare?
Beginnings and endings – how do dances begin, why the slow build to something, can I start a dance in the middle of something?
What if something had no beginning or ending? It just continued, it never started, it never stopped, it always was.
Where the arms “begin” = at sternum
I notice that I think of arms as being separate, distal, not connected to my center, not connected to my spine, reimagining “arm” considering the full structure as I am dancing, and how that reconnects limbs, radiating out, paying attention to all the parts in between, somehow hands become more articulate- they begin to take on new textures, tones, energies,
Ankles higher than I think – hard for me to envision still….
Where am I?
Who is there with me?
What do I see at this line in front of me? What is that line?
Ocean, waves, tides, sand beneath my feet, somewhere costal, but why, out to sea, by the sea, breast is important, feeling the invasion of something, keeping something at bay, ship off to sea, where am i?
The place that I am is expansive- I am outdoors
Micro and macro, there is a world so much bigger than me
I am but a drop in the ocean.
Leaving a place behind, leaving a person behind (ending, is about letting something go) about a willingness to leave something cared for
The beginning is about caring, a caring for a place, a caring to feel that place, to know that place intimately through the body.
Letting something go before it happens.
How do you prepare for the hurricane? How do accept the havoc it is going to wreak?
Staying in the moment, not allowing it to happen as it did before, not about innovation, but it is about not falling into habit, allowing myself to experience movement in that moment.
July 17, 7:50 pm
AT Project Work
Notes on Solo run for Marissa
Pacing in the beginning is nice, going from moments of focused, contained, even tone to quick bursts
Habits of phrasing and repetition – can I stay with it longer or let go of urge immediately?
Jumping section – shift that worked
When I am shaking head – shift from what I am seeing to the action itself – why? How?
In between focus – clear with gesture, clear with big movement, unclear other places
Vocabulary of dance is set, however the intention shifts? The experience of sensation shifts?
How to invite new vocabulary into dance, how to incorporate it so that it feels as integrated as the rest
“This approach to one’s self and one’s training requires a radical shift in attitude. Instead of seeing the body as a static set of conditions to be positioned, corrected, tamed, and polished, we become a continually changing process of events, responses, and choices that may be observed, quieted, redirected, or left alone” (Bluethenthal 1996, 84).
“Real change means an increase in kinesthetic acumen – changing established ways of moving rather than simply layering more “moves” or “skills” over your existing habitual movement patterns” (Vanier 11).
Choice over habit
“In the Alexander Technique we learn to pay attention to a number of things simulatanesouly: we can attend to how we are using ourselves while we notice who is around us, what the temperature is, what the teacher is saying, what the musicans is playing all at the same time. We try not to narrow our concentration or limit ourselves to one perspective; rather, we try to be available and versatile so that we do not get caught in just one train of thought” (Vanier 85)
“Having the ability to inhibit our usual way of performing something allows for choice, letting us be selective in determining not only what we need to do, but what we need to stop doing. If you are interested in changing the way you perform a certain movement, you cannot implement the change once you have started doing the movement. You need to stop first, and give yourself time, even if it is a nanosecond, for something different to occur; otherwise you will be “off and running” into your habitual movement pattern” (Vanier 112)
“… More important, you are allowing your system to reorganize itself” (Vanier 113)
“But it is not simply a matter of stopping the jump itself; it is stopping your desire to complete the jump. It is this desire, or stimulus to jump, that triggers your habitual way of jumping” (Vanier 114)
“Nothing on Count One” exercise
“It is interesting to notice what you tend to do on count one. Becoming aware of your impulses at this moment is instrumental in discovering your patterns of movement” (Vanier 115)
“Boiled down, it all comes to inhibiting a particular reaction to a given stimulus. But no one will see it that way. They will all see it as getting in and out of a chair the right way. It is nothing of the kind. It is that a pupil decides what he will or will not consent to do” (Alexander 1995, 203).
Back of sitz bones staying connected to wherever you are sitting – moment in dance when I am sitting on my heels
Where do you feel work / effort? (Ask this as I solo)
Mapping of ankle joint
Mapping of hip joint
I can not let go of the image / languaging of folding in the hip joint or a hip crease
I can not seem to imagine another possibility
I can not suspend my belief, I know that the femur continues beyond that place…but I don’t “know” that….
It is shifting my thinking higher? Forward and up?
July 15, 10:53 am
In many ways these are my morning papers. I would be curious to look back on that first try and see what was coming up. Is it more confessional like my early childhood, things that I want, needed? I suppose that writing is what helped me find my voice, it helped me figure out what I wanted.
This morning I find myself craving a studio space, a big space to move, to reach, to take up space, do I still need practice with that skill set? Have I learned to take up space? I think I am still widening; I am tyring to let go of clothing that feels restrictive. I don’t need anything pulling me in. I am working on expanding, of really allowing my rib cage some space back there, in my thoracic. I want to be able to imagine my inside more; my inside is a blank space, I don’t really know what is there, where my organs are, what they look like, I want to learn more about what makes up my body, but in an experiential way, how can I make that happen, would BMC address some of those questions?
Pauses, what do pauses do? Do they distract? Does the mind wander? Do they refocus, allowing one to collect, to process, to land, to identify? I want to work on choreographing more pauses for myself, to sit in those moements on stage, to notice the movement that is still happening: the breath, the tension, the tone, the residue. How do you highlight the residue, what is left after the swirl of movement? How does one quiet without wandering – this sounds like a meditative challenge. Will I ever be someone who can mediatate?
My skin is so dry- perhaps I need a new brand of lotion. I can feel my skin thirsting.
July 8, 2017, 2:49 pm
I have been improvising to my music. It's interesting to allow myself the pleasure of moving without composing. When I do find myself in composition, that is when my habit seems to appear the most. I inhabit my head in a certain way, an awareness of other even when I am alone in the room. What is up with that? How can I be alone in the space but still aware of a presence outside of myself, a jugdement? Who is this person in the space with me and how is there invisible presence shapping my decision making? Why is there a sense that I am making, that there is an audience, that I am being seen? How does that shape my thought presence, my embodiment?
There are moments when I am in the room with others that I don’t move as though I am being seen, and there are moments when I am alone in the space and I am moving for myself, moving for healing, for house keeping, moving because I need to, moving because every part of me begins to feel stuck, every part of me begins to feel stagnant, and moving is what I need to do to keep things moving- to find a release, a flow, a ripple, circulating, what is this idea of circulating? what is circulating? How is it circulating?
I am finding after the training this summer than I have a stronger sense of memory while dancing, that images from my life seem to visit me as I am moving. I am also more present with my vision, considering where I am, seeing space, placing myself inside of spaces, that there are others with me even when I am alone, that I am somewhere not here, somewhere real, somewhere imagined. I am finding that I need to be in the studio, that being in the studio is like breath, and what I like about the studio is its stability, its clean, clear, stable ground, a freedom to move without fear of stumbling, cuts, splinters, I like the windows, the light feeding in. I like the firmness, the massage of rolling on the surface, massaging all parts
What just happened in my dancing? What could I describe? I was rolling on the floor switching between two ways of seeing, seeing the ground beneath my feet and then the space above my head. I am playing with gesture, internal rotation of my arms, the stutter of my legs as it rond de jambes, I am thinking about my students, my teaching, my performing.
There are moments when I desire for new friendships when I just want the excitement of getting to know somone, really getting to know them, building intimacy. I crave intimacy; this is something I know about myself, I desire relationships where there is mutal sharing, where someone is letting me in. What are the relationships between people? How are they built, maintained? How does this tie in to beginnings and endings- the beginnings and endings of relationships? How we come together, meet, build community, how we say goodbye, how we let go? Maybe this is my next dance – a dance about coming together, how to stay together, how to let go. I am realizing that I often fight to stay in a friendship far past its expiration date, it is hard for me to let go of intimacy once it has been built. This is my next dance.
I have not posted any of my writing recently. While my practice has been inconsistent, I have been continuing this process of moving and writing, writing and moving. Here are some slightly edited free-writes:
I just finished dancing in the studio and now I am beginning my 16 minute writing practice. How will this experience be differnet after moving? As I was moving today, I was finding myself having a hard time with the mirror. This idea of survelliance is continuing to pop up for me. When do I survey myself? When do I change my behaviors because I feel as though I am beign watched? The mirror makes me consider what my movements look like to audience, how my movements are being read. As I was improvising today I was thinking about making. I was thinking about editing a current solo and I think the idea of a distilled image was really speaking me to me. I remember dances based on images, images that stick with me, images that are provoking or engaging in some way, and I am drawn to repetition as an audience member, I like watching something again and again and again, I like to see how each repetition brings something new to life and how the repetition is connected to embodiment, that somehow the grove gets deeper, the movement more clear. Its funny that I love repetition within a work but I hate repetition of a work. Or perhaps its just that I don’t like repeating a work that I don’t enjoy, that doesn’t do something for me as a performer and then it’s the question of how many times do I need to perform a work before it ceases to do that thing for me. It is about the space and time between each repetition? .
I am proud of my writing challenge. 16 minutes for now is about all I can muster. I find myself getting antsy toward the end but I will work on sustaining, developing my concentration, the ability to drop into myself. In my moving today I was thinking ahead to my dance this fall. I think I want to assign a text? I want to make the reading more rigorous, I want to come up with more content to use as research beforehand? I have learned a lot from this semester of making. I am learning to gernerate material, lots of materials, and then figure out its thingness, then figure out the structure, the form, the images, the content. I want to create a schedule for myself where we make for a certain amount of weeks, structure, and then work, work, work on embodiment and performance. That pattern seemed to work well this semester. I want to continue to think about landscapes. To think about time, to think about what space my work is occupying. And repetition – why always repetition? I feel as though I am beginning to figure out how I work best with others, but I am curious to see what that challenge will be If I work with less experienced movers, with less committed movers. I am beginning to see and feel my strengths, and I want to keep following my curiousity, keep reading.
No edit. Why is that so hard for me? Why do I have such a strong desire to edit as I go? Why is it so difficult to just generate?
A minute and half to go and I just cant sustain it. And I feel frustrated with myself, I know that this work is so important, I know that if if I am going to be in relation to others that I have to do the work myself. And I am working on prioritizing the work. I know that this will be a journey.
July 12, 8:21 pm
What to do with this writing? How to make sense of it? What am I researching? How am I deepening my knowledge? What am I learning through moving; what is being revealed to me as I move?
I want to somehow get Roanoke making things. Making something is a form of resiliency, making something counters something, to be creative, to be in collaboration, these are forms of resisting. I am resisting what…..
I want to connect with disciplines that are different from mine. I want to model collaboration and conversations across disciplines.
To be resilent, what does that mean? What does it mean to start again? to keep going? To say yes, repeatedly, to say no? To take a step back and that be the push. What does it mean to push? Can push mean less effort? can push mean waiting? Can push mean something different then what we associate with that word? How can I be a better leader- to not micro manage, to hold others accountable, to not be afraid to say what I mean, to be curious, fearless, that word comes up to me a lot, what does it mean to be fearless in my practices? Why am I afraid of saying the wrong thing? Why am I afraid of letting my ignorance be seen? Am I afraid of being ignorant because I am worried about hurting someone? About seeming less then? Is it about ego?
I woke up this morning with my body feeling bleh, with little motivation to get out of bed. Why is it hard to get up? Why do I feel like I need to stay vertical? I could have gotten up at 7:00 am but I didn’t want to face it, face what? What is it that I don’t want to do?
How do I organize my thoughts? How do I write something to share? How do I somehow dig through this writing and find the essence, the importance of practice, the act of writing and dancing?
Censor - why do I censor myself when I am alone in the space- maybe there is something there, who am I dancing for and why is that question so complicated?
Hungry, hungry, distracted hungry…
The discipline of writing.
wJuly 12, 10:44 pm
Slightly more structured writing.
A while ago, I began a movement practice of improvising for around thirty minutes without an agenda or specific intention. As Andrea Olsen would call it, a form of housekeeping, a way of tuning in to my inner landscape, connecting with and dropping in to myself. This time often afforded me a sense of clarity, suddenly things would become clearer, both in my sense of myself and my understanding of the world around me. Over time I recognized that this state of being could also be found in meandering walks and free writing. A form of meditation, where all the chatter would quiet and I could return to a sense of wholeness, filling a gap that I once found in religion. A ritual. During this time, I would enter a state of flow, time would pause, and I would find a sense of calm, peacefulness, no matter what movement I was engaged in – there was no future, no past, just this moment. I learned to be present. I learned how to show up, to inhabit myself fully. And ironically, I learned how to perform, how to embody movement from the inside out.
In recent years, I have added a second component to this ritual: writing. I have experimented with writing both before and after my practices, noticing that generally my impulse is to want to write afterwards. Writing allows me to make sense of what I learned while moving. Writing helps me clarify, solidify, name. I move from practice to theory- but an everyday theory, a theory that is loosely held. My writing always is free form and I strive to find a state of flow, the same state of being I held while dancing. This is important – why? I am not composing, I am improvising, improvising on the page.
What does improvisation do that composition can not? How can you give form to something before you know what it is? How can you discover its “thingness”?
Where I have trouble is in composing this writing, in returning to it, in pinning it down on the page, and creating something out of it. The words I have written during this time period are often quite surprising, I wonder how they were written, I can feel a liveness, an embodiment, a fullness, the words don’t read hollow, overly shaped, they are fluid, like waves.
It is this practice of writing before and after my practice that has shifted the experience towards research – I have conducted embodied research since I was a child, but I didn’t know how to track it, I didn’t know how to follow its developments, I didn’t know how to let the accumulation of this knowledge carry its weight. In other words, the process didn’t have a container. There was no way of reflecting on the shifts, on the changes, they appeared and disappeared without me noticing. Their traces are there. They are inscribed into my physicality, into my memory, into the bodies of those I have taught for the past decade. But this writing practice gave me the space to make it known, to be able to revisit, to see more clearly what was happening in these spaces. The writing gave me agency; it allowed me to make choices about what was happening in my practice. I began to see the themes, concepts that seemed to reappear.
I began to develop my capacity to remember.
Writing also became a form of survelliance; surveying what I just did, taking stock, and in some way measuring its usefulness. The double edge sword- what was the take away, what did I get out of the process, what was the ahaha, the moment of clarity, writing at times puts pressure on my practice to be something, to DO something.
This idea of surveillance keeps going.....
Being seen (title of paper?)
Sometimes when I am moving all alone I am imagining that I am being seen……
And sometimes I am in a room filled with people, constantly negotiating space, yet, I feel as though I am alone, that no one can see me, that my movement is mine, for me.
I realize how being seen somehow shifts who the movement is for. When I imagine myself being seen....
Is it an awareness?
What shifts? Why is this shift important? What does is signify?
It is about vulnerability? Fear?
I just finsihed moving in my backyard and the question of where am I when I am improvising came up. I was at times located in my backyard, noticing the unevennges of the tiers, noticing bugs crawling in the grass, noticing sounds, surfaces, textures, but at times I was located in the studio, at times I was moving in front of an audience - my neighbors, my students, my next performance, in the past, with people I have danced with, for, places I have moved, I was at JC Pennys working through some Jennifer Wood movement patterns, dancing with Kristin, Lindsey, Shanon, people who pushed my movement vocabuarly and I wish that I could have made dancing with them work long term, that process excited me, but I couldnt get away from my politics of labor, and how labor is recognized, how labor is appreciated, seen.....
At times I was thinking about teaching - how do I go about teaching technique and this notion is getting more and more complicated for me.....I learned how to dance through ballet and through improvising....ballet gave me form, it taught me how to make shapes, it taught me precision, footwork
improvisation taught me how to move, how to take up space, how to be coordianated, it taught me how to make transitions, how to embody and show up, it taught me presence and pleasure
what has modern class taught me....anything? I am curious about how to necogicate these things for myself, why teach choregraphy....do I want to learn someones choreography in class, in what ways is that useful, what does it teach me about dancing? how can i bridge this gap?
this mosquito bite on my forehead is driving me bat shit crazy.
I am not sure how to articulate AT and dancing. I am not yet sure I know what AT is....this idea of wholeness, habit, and making choices keeps coming back. How can I perform a piece and respond in that moment? how can I not let my habits of phrasinig dictate my impulse, how can I locate impulse that is not dictated by habit, informed, but not dictated? how can I allow for a new possibilitity, a new version of that movement that I have not performed, a new unfolding, why that word, why do I constantly come back to the idea of somehting unfolding????
how do I teach young dancers to conduct embodied research - how does one show up with their politics, how do I give censored name a platform to express her frustrations with micro agressions, her experiences in educaiton, how do I give her space to share her fucked up experience of the world, how do I see the ways in which my education / habits show up in my teaching???
Can I start each class with a question?
beginning and endings.....
i am most sucessful when I create a space where we are learning together....but how do I share what I know, what they need to know, how do i claim my authority???
can i take the time to really see what is coming into my field of vision while dancing?
how can i move from my trunk, how can i think less limbs?
how can I light up my spine while dancing, how can I envision my spine, its thickness, its location, the space around it,
what will I do with all this writing?bout the gap between my understanding as a student, when i ngelou,ad the past, I thought that these issues, their voices were representing somehting that hadppened, somehting that no longer happened, I was not able to see that I am racist. I will always racist, that growing up white in the country has made me racist and that t it will show up in ways I don't see, cant see. that when I read about now, it mid not know thatere happening all around me, how reading has allowed me to see the world from another perspective, but I dont know what to do with that information, I can aknowledge it....but what do I do with it, how do I show up in the world, how do I make the world better, how do I teach epartment??
July 8, 2017, 3:17 pm
I just ran the solo for the BMC conference; this score feels like it is working for me. I like having a set vocabulary to play with, but I like the freedom of making decisions in the moment, as I go. I like seeing how the movement will unfold, what will creep in, what will disappear? I am trying to experiment with repetition as it is necessary to this moment, not repetition that feels familiar and comforting, but a repetition that is unfolding in the now based on my sensations and emotional landscape.
The same goes with an ending, can each dance have a new ending but can each ending seem just as revelant, necessary, and composed? Does it need a clear period, or is the point of this dance that there is no period, there is no ending, that it goes on, but it is rising? It is coming to a point; it is narrowing, the time that is left is closing in on me.
How does I use the vision; what do I see when I am not looking at the gesture? Where is my focus called to?
How can this process become a model for me, a way of improvising, a way of composing and making?
I like having the clear sound score.
I need to make changes to this ending. I like the way Marissa is thinking. who do I bring in on my process moving forward? Who watches my dances? Who coaches me on performance?
I love performing; I miss performing. I wonder sometimes if I am meant to be in an institution now? How do I balance all these parts of myself?
How come I can not reflect on the performance? How can I can not comment on it? I still feel inside of it, not enough has passed…
My goal is to improvise for 30 minutes every day.....
Today I attempted the shaking score for 10 minutes.
I also considered what it would like to teach outside for one week. How does technique exist outside of the dance studio? Away from the set up we consider to be the necessary environment for moving.
What movements are "safe" to be performed outdoors; how does one care for the body? How does one explore the vision, the use of sight? There are so many more things to engage the senses with, how do you also stay tuned into the self, into the experience of moving? How does outer landscapes begin to permeate with inner landscapes? How can one distinguish between innner / outer - it is poissible to differenetiate, or is it a whole?
How does one tune their attention, drop into the work performatively?
How can I make a one week syllabus that establishes these research questions- that makes the technique process more clear for the students, for myself, that allows that research to show up in an explicit way?
Where we dance - silmultaneous events
Making dance seen
Making our labor, work, effort seen
We are not hiding in the studio, blurring the lines between in here and out there.....
Who gets to dance - does space dictate practice?
What permission needs to happen?
How to protect from the environment- how to make choices that support your systems, the care of oneself?
I am curious about what it means to trace surfaces with the eyes- to trace a space, to duet with a space, to partner with the space?
I am curious about the ways in which we notice "other", the ways in which we notice the space, and this includes grass. How does one partner with the grass? With a tree? With the air? How does one allow the earth to support - can you notice the uneven surfaces, what does that teach us about balance?
Why do I want to dance outside- there are no walls. There are less boundaries but more boundaries all at the same time. It is a challenge to ignore the fact that I am seen, that others can see me.
Shaking, it was difficult to think of creative ways to shake and then I wonder why I needed creative ways to shake, couldn't I just shake? What does shaking make me aware of, why shake? What does it do - somehting about being constantly in motion, something about liberating the flesh from the bone, something about energy that went out, something about flow.
Writing practices after moving practices...how long to follow?
I want to be more bold in my moving on uneven surfaces - I tend to stabilize in my feet and move upper against a stable lower - can I find ways of moving quick and with energy, power and still protect my ankles?
How does moving outside allow you to see things from different persepctives? How is being upside down completely different outside then it is inside?
How does one relate to the environment? How are we activating a space? How is a space activating us?
Why do I have a desire to teach a week out of the studio? What do I hope this will do for the students? For myself? For my practice?
What is this next dance going to about? Where is the research going to start from? beginnings...endings.....that seems like a good place to start.
I hold so much tension in my toungue.....
Tongue in time out as part of my summer project?
How I sit as part of my summer project?
How expansive can my summer project be?
I want writing to be a part of my summer project....
Improvisation and the alexander technique....
but how to be more specific.....
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.