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As always in my process, predicting what I am going to come up with and what the outcome actually is or how the process develops is usually vastly different. I have been working thus far a lot with improvisation and with testing my physical limits. I’m revisiting a common theme I explore which is the complexity of strength, when people demonstrate their strength authentically. My struggle right now is putting up some barriers and framework to guide that improvisation and how to create moments of interest I’ve been researching while also recreating the magic and authenticity of when they happened in real time in an improvisation. A lot of videos and re-watching which is both frustrating and testing, especially when it’s on my own body. I am using The Choreographer’s Handbook by Jonathon Burrows as resource which is helping to structure some of my tasks and movement research.
It’s both a blessing and a curse to have any time “limit” or “expectation”, but I don’t necessarily feel restricted by that number. 12 minutes is definitely enough time for me to share some of the research I’ve been doing which is how I am approaching this phase of the work and the culminating showing.
“Performing is spontaneous” – David Zambrano
The time I have spent in the studio has consisted of playing around with the wonderful dancers Yian Chen, Kaylee Louie, Samantha Presley and Kaia Shukin. I am so grateful for this time to play, laugh and create. This piece started as a duet I created while participating in Boombox’s youth residency Split Screen. 12 Minutes Max has provided me the opportunity to expand my ideas within a larger space, and with the support of more dancers.
Using variations of standard playground games like tag and Marco Polo, we are working to create live social interaction between the performers. Throughout this process the ever-shifting personalities and motivations of the performers continue to offer new suggestions. There’s the defensive one, the cautious one, the spontaneous one, the sly one and endless others that come out varying from day to day and from game to game. How will the performers respond during moments of conflict, surprise and playfulness and how can I facilitate the most genuine reaction and interaction between them all?
We have also been taking some time to reflect on our time as children and the games we played. Reflecting on these games, I am considering what kind of interactions they encouraged. Is the game supporting leadership or collaboration? What kind of interactions am I supporting both within the games we play and within the rehearsal itself? Throughout the evolution of the piece these and more questions have arisen, and I find myself delving deeper inside these games and discovering more possibilities.
As I write this text, I assume that I’m only in the beginning of the research, which I will share for 12 Minutes Max. So, my reflections here are in fact a hypothesis. I’m looking back at something that is still to happen. Which in turn describes quite well the work I’m hoping to do in the next weeks to come… Let’s cross out the word “hoping” and – for the sake of experimenting with this piece of writing – let’s pretend I can predict what will happen:
Four weeks from now, I will have learned a part of the solo “Try Leather” from 1975 by dancer, writer, performance artist and feminist Margaret Dragu. I will have struggled to dance some sections of it, so I will have decided to only work with an excerpt. But the more difficult part will have been to find out, how to perform it, how to work with it. I will have felt a distance to the material, but at times also an almost intimate proximity. I will have attended to these two qualities to learn how they can relate to the past and the present. I will have discarded them as not being sufficient. I will have experimented with verbally describing the movements of the solo and dancing the solo and I will have played with delay, interference and doubling of both actions. I will have observed and listened to what sensations this creates inside myself and whether this might be an answer to the question, how the past can touch the present and thus project into the future.
At some point this question will have made way for a more precise question and a different set of problems. By that time this text will have become obsolete, yet before it will have gone out of use it will have hauled that, which belonged to the past into the present and thereby will have started shaping the future.
12 Minutes Max Studio Showing
Monday November 26, 2018 at 6pm
Scotiabank Dance Centre
Photo Credits: Megan Hunter/ Shannyn Higgins; Katherine Vincent; Britta Wirthmülller/Christian Scholz