Week Three – Connections and reflex

Tuesday 28th January 2014

‘What is your pallet today?’ (Silverthorn, 2014)


Steve Paxton’s material for the spine is our main focus each week and the groundwork for our personal and group exploration. It allows us to develop ideas of our own influenced by Paxton’s work and concerns with the spine; this in turn acts as a foundation when in contact improvisation practice. Starting each class with a similar warm-up, a “small dance”, allows us to be fully aware of what is going on around us and what our body is feeling and wanting to do. Awareness, not only through the body and the feet being grounded but also through eyes can act as a place of communication between yourself and your surroundings.


The main aspect of class today was to think about leading with the eyes as well as the pelvis to explore movements of the spine. We focused the majority of the class on leading our body through the space with our eyes; our eyes guiding us into a new space for exploration. We connected with each other in the room by look and by touch on the back of the head, no pressure just a placing of the hand so the other person knew we were there. This was both explorations in physical and internal connection with our inner movement and with others in the space.


We developed this sense of connection through pressing the crown of the head against someone else’s, giving weight and feeling like they were an extension to our own spine. I didn’t feel this way in the slightest, I felt completely separate from my partner and that in fact we weren’t moving as one instead I felt one of us was always leading, whether that was through a slight touch or forceful pressure. I felt disconnected rather than connected. Due to the explanation we were given by our tutor I feel that I need to experiment in my own time with other dancers creating an extension of my spine to really understand the purpose of this exercise.


Daniel Lepkoff’s insight into movement is inspiring to me due to his perception of communication ‘…performing is a communication and when something magic happens in the theatre it is created by a confluence or symbiosis of both the audience and performer together.’ (Lepkoff) I feel that Tara reiterated this in our class today when she said that ‘Contact improvisation can be liberating by not knowing what’s coming next.’ (Silverthorn, 2014) demonstrating Lepkoff’s point of communication in performance that it is an essential part of movement. Communicating through the body with an open mind gives room for exploration.


Works cited:

Silverthorn, T. (2014) Paxton’s material for the spine [seminar] Contact Improvisation: An Ongoing Research Lab DAN2005M, University of Lincoln, 28 January

Forti, S. (2005) The movement of attention: An interview with Daniel Lepkoff. [online] Available from: http://www.daniellepkoff.com/Writings/Daniel%20Simone%20Interview.php [Accessed 30th January 2014].

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