RESEARCH: SDIPT Module Two - Emotional Embodiment and Improvisation
December 22, 2013
I was at Dance Research Studio for The Speaking Dancer: Interdisciplinary Performance Training for the second module, Emotional Embodiment and Improvisation. This module was taught by director of the course, Jacky Lansley and we were also joined by Anna Furse on the final day. The weekend was really insightful and refreshing because it allows me the space, time and environment to look deeper into my own practice and thoughts. During the weekend we also revisited developmental movement, cellular breathing, naval radiation, mouthing, the nervous system, vocalisation techniques and we did lots of drawing too. For each module, we are asked to undertake some preparatory research before our arrival at DRS.
“Choosing is a useful start to the creative process; the materials you select can offer insight into your own experience, and provide the beginnings of a performance ‘text’.” (Lansely 2012)
In preparation for this module I used an Observation technique: self and others (OTSO) to look at three minutes of everyday life. I thought about what happened, how it felt emotionally, the sensory input and physical or language patterning. I chose a very stressful three minutes of everyday life that had happened earlier in the week, to creatively explore through improvisation and emotional embodiment. I shared a short piece of choreography for the rest of the group that consisted of everyday gesturing and the vocal sounding of comfort and pleasure, which gradually built into frantic repetition of gestural actions and distressing vocalisation. Performing in front of the group is really lovely as each and every SDIPT student is supportive and ready to applaud work that they have enjoyed watching or being part of, as well as provide direction for growth, which makes for an enjoyable environment to work in.
We were also invited to choose a short piece of text for physical and vocal exploration during the weekend. The text I chose was taken from Performance Research: A Journal of the Performing Arts (18:4) Editorial, On Falling written by Emilyn Claid and Ric Allsopp as I knew that I would be taking part in a research lab with them the following weekend named Falling About. I selected the following text because I wanted to explore an embodied and physical sense of the writing:
“Fall away, fall apart, fall on, fall in, fall back, fall behind. Falling is a movement between one place and another, a process of uncertainty, of risk and exhilaration.” (Allsopp and Claid 2013)
We spoke and learnt a lot about our individual approaches to improvisation and the ways in which we use improvisation all day, every day. Improvisation as a physical and metaphysical practice that relates to habit, response, awareness and possibilities. I thought a lot about discovery and the ‘finding out’:
“Our educational and social infrastructure is commonly about strategy and methodology, rather than about the process of finding out, the discovery. We need to become better improvisers.”
During the morning of the final day, we were taught by Anna Furse who is the Head of Department of Theatre and Performance at Goldsmiths University and she has extensive experience, knowledge and practice of dance, movement and theatre within performance and academia. We did a practical session together, drawing from a range of techniques that have been used and combined to form Anna’s own movement methodology. We looked at psycho-physical exercises that are designed to unblock dancers and actors, improvisational games and ways of starting with the body. During the afternoon on the final day, we also worked in small groups or duets to choreographically explore and collate some of the material and findings that we had gathered over the course of the two modules so far.