Wednesday, 17 April 2013

What is a triangle II

My last five days now have been spent in Coventry, immersed in Tuning Scores improvisation work with Karen Nelson.  (a workshop organised by decoda in Coventry)

One of the first few exercises had the initial 12 of us working around a large studio space with our eyes closed - a cornerstone of the sensory heightening in this work - when Karen said "now make a triangle".  What was that?  How would we find that without sight, with so many people, and the confusing immediacy of touch, sound and intuition?  After the exercise ended, Karen said, "Give me a title for what you just did." One dancer volunteered, "what is a triangle?".

The questions continued.  How do you know you are dancing? Can you walk forward, with backwards eyes? How do we know we exist?  We learned to make suggestions to the group as we danced, and worked on listening to the calls and to our senses and our desires and expectations.  Pause. Reverse. Replace. End. Begin.  A multitude of instantaneous decisions and interactions.  So much information around us, in every instant. How do we survive this world?

These five days in, I know my improvising will never be the same again.

There is such a richness in this practice of sensitization and questioning. As individuals we take in snapshots of inspiration from time to time, and live in a world constantly filled with many other people. But in how many of those moments are we actually existing together, in connection? I realized today that this work is one of those pathways that allows us to cultivate the present.  When reaching with intuition and an activation of as many of the senses as we can muster.  Calling out our desires and curiosities to ground our attention and to allow us to enter into each others' perception and experience.  Allowing us to be present in a common reality with ourselves and connected with others - moments otherwise so fleeting and often unacknowledged.

Right now there is nothing better than having no idea what is going to happen next.  "A funeral," said Karen, "for our desires."  It is a work that takes practice - for people like Lisa and Karen, a lifetime.  It is fun and at times playful but it is also exhausting work and a commitment to be alive, to be awake and to be together with other people.  At the workshop, Charlie Morrissey recommended this article by Lisa Nelson on how we look at dance - and how we dance as a consequence.  Before your eyes: Seeds of a dance practice.

What is an end?  I am growing to love how the idea of an "end" is a marker that holds time.  It draws our attention to see a possibility of finite-ness, or the space for new beginnings.  In our lives, we identify things as "end" because that's a test of how much we want to be able to stop time.  Or how much we wish we could force it to continue as it was before. Continue it does, but only in a way that we have no control over.  We can only respond.

For the first time, on the last night that I am here, I am noticing the sound of the train going by. Tomorrow I will be in a new place.

(some little edits from what I posted a day ago.  blogger's license!)

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