Thursday, 4 February 2010

Stranger Than Fiction: improv dance and comedy

I noticed a collective called Stranger Than Fiction probably several month ago. They do improvised dance performance once a month. Last Saturday, finally I managed to go and see their performance in a little modern church in Isligton.

There were three solos for 15 minutes each or so, and a duet for 20 minutes or so. The most remarkable point is that THEY ALL TALKED! It is not too unusual to talk in improvised dance but I would say it is one corner of improvised dance. They talk quite a lot, not only words, lots of lots of sentences. So basically they are telling absurd stories with talk and movement. It's funny. I laugh. But I can feel that the performer is trying to do something interesting so that people don't get bored. This brings me a question.

When I go to an improvised music gig, it seems that they are more going with the flow. They are not afraid of waiting until something comes up.

The approach in Henry's class is also like that. All the improvisers has gone through this kind of slow process for the body so that you can let the body's own intelligence come out.

But when improvisers perform, do they have to be out from the deep state of the body-centred? I don't mean that they have to stay in that state. The state always shifts and we go one to the other even in a second.

In a way, I felt a danger of improvised dance performance becomes comedy. Too much concern of the audience response changes the nature of improvisation.

This is an developing area, and we can try so much.
I feel I need to have a regular platform of improvisation dance, inspired by Amsterdam.
How can I make it happen?

Henry's class: jelly body

Following last Thursday, I went to a class with Henry Montes at ID. Henry is one of my favorite dancers. I admire his gentle careful fluid soft movement quality. His class description is the below:

Henry’s class is informed by his ongoing studies in Craniosacral Biodynamics. Focus of the class will be inquiry into the quality of the breath, tuning into our midline, grounding and orienting to space, how our fluids support our tissues, organs and how they in turn support our structure. Class will consist of open explorations, puzzles and culminate in set material, sometimes complex.

'how our fluids support our tissues, organs and how they in turn support our structure'
This is new concept to me. Structure means the skeleton and perhaps muscles. When we think about moving, we think about muscles moving bones. But the real quality comes from much subtler system in the body- fluid.

I was feeling pretty heavy this morning, but after the first exploration, I was tasting my movement.
I feel like I can keep moving forever.
I feel my body like jelly, and a flow in the body moves my body, so I don't need to make myself move.
I can feel some of my body parts has less flow than others.
Touch by a partner is a magic.
Then after a while, I don't need a touch any longer.
I keep getting stimulation from other people anyway.

The whole class was well thought and everything we did made a sense. With a great care of how the body feels, the building up of the class was smooth. It is art to deliver such a class. Rooted on experience and knowledge, I would like to be able to teach like that.