Tuesday 18th March 2014
Structuring – investigating – exploring – experiencing – trying it out – reflecting – accomplishment. It was our time to explore areas of contact improvisation that we struggled with, found physically challenging or simply wanted to expand our knowledge on. In small groups we came up with a question which would purposely challenge us along with a few group questions of areas which we felt could be further explored.
Our initial thought were to create a mini score and play around with our 4 chosen questions so we could have a clear understanding by what we actually meant by them. Another thought was to have a few people exploring these questions with two observing peers to take notes. We decided to combine these initial thoughts. This allowed us to create a space for exploration and perceptive viewing. We worked through each question in depth building up knowledge and understanding along with a confidence boost with element we were individually unsure about.
The worry of hurting someone when lifting them or hurting myself is a constant barrier for me. One of our questions was based on surrendering weight and taking weight. We started by surrendering all our weight to the floor and someone lying on us to sense each other’s centre. We slowly worked our way up to standing. As the lifter I always feel as though I am not strong enough, however after exploring today I found ways to have a more stable structure and feel comfortable. The centre of each dancer must be connected and active in order to have a comfortable lift. We discovered that we must think about our core and centre of gravity rather than forcing all the pressure of the lift into the arms.
Catching someone’s eye in a contact piece can be off putting so we decided to explore eye contact and create tasks to challenge our uncertainties. One of the tasks consisted of four people keeping eye contact with the person diagonal to them while three others danced within square not making eye contact with anyone. We all found that when we kept eye contact as an outsider our peripheral vision was heightened and we felt open yet enclosed in our diagonal gaze. As an inside dancer I especially felt like my movement was restricted and I had no connection with anyone else in the space.
The understating that arose from these individual tasks was quite profound once we fully explored our uncertainties. I feel that eye contact is part of the success to any contact improvisation piece as it connects you to your active centre and those of others. ‘One dancer wields a large effect on the actions and tasks of other dancers’ (Albright and Gere, 2003, 231) here Maura Keefe states a strong point of whom I agree with. Without a relationship to the other dancers in the space the triggering of new and innovative movement would not arise.
Albright, A, C. and Gere, D. (2003) Taken by surprise: A dance improvisation reader. Middletown: Wesleyan University Press.