8 november and 20 december – Shadow Carpet

Makiko Ito and Marije Nie make an investigation into the world of moving shadows, using active lighting with flashlights. We want to investigate how simple light and shadows can work as spacial and hieroglyphic moving elements in improvisation, by influencing and creating perspective, direction, size, mood, multiplicity, dynamics and so on. Working with simple heavy duty flashlights we can also create low-tech images, shifting landscapes and depth.

Anyone who is interested to light and be lighted can join these sessions.

What are the Carpet Sessions? / Where is the studio?  (click here)

Shadows. Flattened to two colourless dimensions and fluid form. Multiplied by light, moved by light.
In black and white 2D both humans, instruments and objects loose their object-ive stability and become subjective, mixable, elastic, doubled, fragmented… and unified.. A fascinating aspect of shadows is that it shows the gaze of the be-lighter through the negative image. It invites lively games between be-lighter and be-lighted.

picture Nellie de Boer

Reminder: Kecak session #2 Interlocking as moving mechanism

Tomorrow: Session Interlocking #2
In this session we will continue with the translation of the interlocking rhythms of kecak into from vocal to movement and space. In session #1 we discovered that using these interlocking vocal rhythms as a base for movement improvisation gave a suprisingly dynamic and interesting balance between individual freedom, partnerships and group connectedness. In this second session we will continue to work on the principles of interlocking. First we will explore the group work more deeply, focussing on the various relationships inside the structure. Then we will see if and how these principles function as a continuously evolving structure that can lead into stories (in dance, song, words, music).

Important: Crash Course Kecak @ 13:30
To open up session #2 for a bigger group I will offer a 30-minute crash course in vocal kecak for those who are new kecak and wish to participate in the session It is also recommended if you have done kecak before but not last week! This crash course is necessary to be able to do the work, so please let me know if you want to join.

Session leaders: Marije Nie and Thomas Johannsen
13:15 doors open
13:30 – 14:00 crash course kecak
14:00 – 17:00 session #2 Interlocking
For more practical info, address etc see ‘Carpet Sessions’ -> ‘Why Where When Who?’
Please post any questions, remarks and attendance here, and we will answer you.

Interlocking Principles and Common Ground

Thursday 13 September / Thursday 20 September 2012

Time: 13:30 doors open – build up / warm up  –  14:00-17:00 sesssion

Starting off the season this year is a closer look at the interlocking Ketjak rhythms as a binding element for instant composition pieces.

We are interested to research two aspects more:

1. the way the ketjak rhythms form an undercurrent and fertile ground for other things to happen on top of and through it (solo’s, duet’s…). How does the group react/relate when that is happening? What sort of overall dramaturgy does this create for a longer piece?
2. the way the principle of ‘interlocking’ can be used for other improvisation material. To explain: the ketjak is in fact one simple rhythm that interlocks with up to eight ‘copies’ of itself, shifted in time. How could this be translated to the on-the-spot development of choreography or theatre? E.g.: replicated dance phrases that interlock, pieces of monologue that are copied/repeated/shifted.

Please comment on this post to announce that you want to be part of these sessions.  Any questions? Ask!

Marije Nie
Thomas Johannsen

A new round of Carpet Sessions starts March 22nd: Interlocking again! (Kecak)

Next week we start up a new round of carpet sessions.
Starting with a kecak session by me (Marije Nie), then The Five Rhythms by Leon Beckx and Passing Through by Maaike vd Westering

Starting with a basic kecak, where new people can join in and learn the form and we get deeper into the rhythms and basic movements as a group. Then we blend in more improvisations, both in group and individual using any disicpline and technique that people bring in, song/movements/texts/instruments/etc. From there we move into group improvisations with kecak form is the underlying structure, but going in and out of it, working with tensions like expansion/contraction, rhythm/no-rhythm, individuals/group, story (or theater)/music, and so on.

Please comment on this post if you are certain to come!
Thnx and hope to see some of you next week.

More “Interlocking”/kecak sessions

After three kecak sessions in January we decided to add two more sessions in February. They will be on 16th Feb and 23 feb.
New people are welcome to join!

We will continue working as we did, starting with a basic kecak, where new people can join in and learn the form and we get deeper into it as a group. Then we blend in more  improvisations, both in group and solistic using any disicpline and technique that people bring in, song/movements/texts/instruments/etc. From there we move into group improvisations where all the elements can be integrated, working with tensions like expansion/contraction, rhythm/no-rhythm, individuals/group, story (or theater)/music, and so on.

It was great to see that there is already a level of ease with the kecak form that we can really work with it. This opens up a lot of possible avenues for exploration…

While sitting in a focused circle or while doing precise and coördinated movements it is pretty easy to keep the rhythms connected. It was more of a challenge when we were moving about without order. The first session we had some difficulty keeping the rhythms locked in together while moving. We tried walking on the beat to keep us together, but this is actually didn’t help at all, almost like it was distracting from the subtle sharing of the rhythms, like the feet had a denser, heavier way of matching up all the bodies… Kecak is voice and the feeling is very light and fast, like water molecules moving…
What worked very well this time was when we actually moved as atoms around eachother while making contact with our eyes and matching the rhythms with everyone we met. This faster and faster, so in the end we only took a small ‘check’ to make sure we were locked in. This gives a strong bonding and at the same time the individual freedom that is a necessary element, both for improvisation and kecak.

Here are some things that happened in the individual improvisations:
violin – interesting to explore the ‘other sound’ of solo instrument in a vocal context. Can it match with the voices? Can it float on top of the rhythm? How can a voice be ‘out’ and float on top of the group, not pulling or fighting them.
text – different interaction with the group, immediate and direct. She was telling US her story. Lots of interesting tension between words, sounds and music.
taps – can communicate rhythmically very strong, like a conductor or caller. Can also float non-rhythmically on top
dance- lovely direct energetic connection between the dancer and groupsound, with great waves.
duet- voice duet on supported by the kecak
song- very intense long song frases, with a strong identity, it was easy for the kecak to flow underneath. Created strong moments of silence, too. I think because the song feeling made it clear that the frases would follow and were connected. That gave the group trust to carry silence.

The possibility in the kecak to move between different levels of focus (on sound, on rhythm, on story, on movement), different group ‘architectures’ (flocks, circles, alone’s, subgroups), different political structures (with a leader, organically growing, anarchic), and flavours (rhythmic drones, choatic and wild, suspenseful with sudden outbursts, swelling and ebbing, strict cycles, silent and still happening)…

Last sessions Jeanette brought texts from Under the Milkwood by Dylan Thomas. These enigmatic texts worked very well in this context, moving fluidly between concrete/poetic/abstract/words/sounds. It was interesting to see the resulting fluïd changes in the group improv. The text and the way Jeanette moved between her modes of performance had a strong relationship with the way the group moved too.

See you next week?!

Reviewing “Interlocking”/kecak sessions

We have done two energetic and inspiring sessions learning and improvising with kecak, also going in and out of the kecak rhythms and combining it with other disciplines. It turns out to be a powerful tool for group cohesion and a rhythmic way to be connected as a group. It is easy enough to learn fast, so come to the last kecak session this thursday and have a go!

After a basic kecak session we had it down pretty well, and we were able to play around with various modes (fast, slow, loud, soft, different sounds, tones, movements etc). It creates a flexible and yet stable rhythmic carpet that is strangely similar to the drone.

We improvised with both group improvisation and solo’s. For the group improv it was much more difficult to find eachother rhyhmically when we were all moving in space, but when we touched base with eachother separately while moving around it came together really well, like you would touch with your hand but now with the rhythms. After that we ‘touched’ eachother more and more quickly, untill we were able to move and stay together. At this point we were ready to also drop it completely and let the rhythms appear again from that silence.

The kecak created an interesting dynamic between group and soloïst, both with movement, text and vocal improvisation. Soundwise it creates a rhythm that can be fragmented, thinned out, or otherwise manipulated easily and both with and without a leader.

This is definately something to explore more coming thursday, moving through different layers of attention fluidly (musicality, movement, story, flocking, individual choices and voices, chorus, moving out in space and into the circle, moving in and out of the kecak all together ). It was also fun to feel the (dis)connection of movement to this ongoing rhythm.

I hope to see many of you thursday, and we will take some time to talk about the upcoming thursdays.

PS. I just lost my whole post by backspacing…Somehow this browser (firefox) interpreted this as ‘go back a page’. That is pretty upsetting.. This post is but a meager second try… :-((

CC #22 – Interlocking

Kecak – interlocking voices, bodies, minds

In a series of three afternoons I will present the theme of Interlocking Voices (Bodies/Spaces/Etc’s) through practise of the Balinese kecak. Kecak is a complex system of vocal percussion and singing, dance, and storytelling, with its roots in ancient ritual and it’s present in a thriving, passionate and unique music / artform. Kecak usually retells a scene of the Hindu epic Ramayana, in which Rama and monkey king Hanuman rescue Sita, who was abducted.

This is a vocal percussion system where one specific simple rhythm is sung by many voices, each starting on a different beat. The result is a swirling texture of interlocking rhythms, it almost feels like a beehive, or very active drone!

As kecak itself is very interdisciplinary and open, making it an interesting startingpoint for improvisation, using circle forms and polyphony to group movement, translating (the idea) of interlocking rhythms into other disciplines.

Every session will start with a kecack practise, to get comfortable with basic kecak forms. Then we’ll start to bring our own disciplines and styles into the kecak, and finally introducing kecak and its principles into our own work. There are definate links with previous sessions, like polyphony.
I hope to see you then,