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(Dis)connecting the dots – The Report

The very fruitful research of working with musicians, dancers & actors on equal footing in Instant Composition Performance has culminated in a detailed review article that can be found here:

(Dis)connecting the dots – Merging dance, theatre and music in improvisation

 

connecting_dots2_pusteblumen_grey_light3Parts of the article were used to extend our Knowlegde Base with another main chapter (Material) and a subchapter (Phrasing). Please let me know if you see anything that you cannot agree to from your own practice.

Also, if this inspires you to write more subchapters to the Knowledge Base, or contribute your knowledge in any other way (we are still looking for a gifted website person to make our improvisation.wiki more ‘3D’  🙂  )  – do get in contact.

Thanks to all the performers, to allimprov and to Anja Boorsma for making (Dis)connecting the Dots possible! (click here for the original session invitation post)

The performers who contributed their time and expertise to our extending knowledge on interdisciplinary improvisation work in this project were:

James Hewitt
Bernt Nellen
Wouter Snoei
Tanaquil Schuttel
Zwaan de Vries
Anja Boorsma
Esmeralda Detmers
Jurriaan Kamp
Edgard Geurink
Maria Michailidou
Annabel Garriga
Stefania Petr
Thomas Johannsen

(Dis)connecting the dots II – Bridging music/dance/theatre in Improvisation

     
UPDATE: the here described sessions resulted in this extensive article that talks about the work and the main issues we encountered.
     
     
In May last year we had the first edition of “(Dis)connecting the dots”: Looking at the trinity theatre/dance/music in improvisation performance with the question how each discipline differs in their audience’s expectations and their reading of a piece. Questions from the different audience perspectives were:
     
  • What do I enjoy about an improvisation performance or concert?
  • Does it have to make sense for me in order to enjoy it?
  • In which way does it have to make sense? A pure concert usually ‘makes sense’ in a different way than a theatre play or a dance performance does. So how does this work for interdisciplinary performance?
From the makers/performers perspective, we posed the following, related question:
 
  • How concrete and readable should our work be? What should be left unexplained – how opaque, many-layered, confusing or abstract do we like it?
connecting_dots2_pusteblumen_grey_light3Any artist wants his work to be readable to a certain extent, in the sense that it somehow ’speaks’ to the audience. And at the same time, any piece needs a certain obscurity, leaving something for the audience to wonder about. Also music can be more or less ‘accessible’ in this way.
Genres in all disciplines differ on how to concretely measure this mix of readability and opaqueness.
As Interdisciplinary Instant Composition wants to be inclusive to all genres and differing perceptions of art, our question is: How can we improvise, talk and play around this topic of ‘readability’ effectively?
   
We want to continue our research with a series of five Carpet Sessions in May/June 2015:
       
7 May
14 May
21 May  including showing/Q&A at the end
28 May
4 June    including sharing/performing with other improvisers in an open Carpet Session
       
There is a core group of actors/dancers/musicians who will work together on these Thursdays and there are two moments on which we would like to open up the work to all professionals interested in joining us:
   
21 May 2015: after 15:30, we invite you to join us in the studio as reflecting audience. We are very interested in your feedback to inform the rest of the research.
   
4 June 2015 (13:00-17:00): an open Carpet session where we will share our findings in an inclusive performance session. (meaning: any improvising colleagues from our network are welcome to work/play with us & reflect throughout the whole session. Let’s have a ball with it!  🙂
   
Please announce yourself if you would like to come on either 21 May or 4 June by writing a comment to this blogpost (below).
For 4 June, guest performers contribute the usual 5,- p.p. Carpet donation for helping to keep the studio open all year for improvisation research.
       
Update:
We had the first two session with the core group. Such a bliss to be among such knowledgeable people! Many are multi-disciplinary, but for the interest of this research, each of us works in first instance from one discipline:
Music:
James Hewitt
Bernt Nellen
Wouter Snoei
Tanaquil Schuttel
Zwaan de Vries
Theater:
Anja Boorsma
Esmeralda Detmers
Jurriaan Kamp
Edgard Geurink
Dance:
Maria Michailidou
Annabel Garriga
Stefania Petr
Thomas Johannsen

This second edition of (Dis)connecting the dots is supported with a small subsidy by allimprov (many thanks to there!), which will mean you will find traces of this research soon as part of the Improvisation Knowledge Base: improvisation.wiki


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

Further thoughts on “Postponing the end”

This post is a reaction from Weijke Koopmans to the announcement of the upcoming session “Postponing the end”.  We have worked together previously around this theme.  The letter below is her personal attempt (and she is managing well) to describe even more precisely what the core interest is in working with “endings” in Instant Composition.

All who are interested to join the session this Thursday are welcome.

***************

Dear Johnny

i write my thoughts in the form of a letter to you. i will try to become more clear as i write. your comments and thoughts are very welcome.

‘postpone an ending’, those words immediately scratched a lot of stuff.
ending is anyway a very fascinating business. when, how, who. does everybody get it, is it the right moment, too soon, late, clumsy, obvious, smooth, necessary.
the best ends for me are where ‘it’ decides. what is ‘it’? this so hard to name, but so necessary thing you need in improvisation. the shared mind. being with and in that sense that all of us try to develop. that state where you are totally present and alert, yet not on a deciding track. where you ‘are’, movement ‘is’.
so then the end presents itself.
haah, there it is, an end! and do you take it, or not.
you are sitting at a table, there is a sandwich on your plate, you notice it being placed in front of you. are you hungry? can you sit and watch? do you eventually bite, do you walk away, or do you pass it on to your neighbour. it is an interesting improv exercise: just watch the sandwich on your plate, being still and alert. just watch for a bit. it’s like a little gap in time. can you stay there, still alert, and do nothing.
next could be: what are your options: eat, put some music on first, make tea, do a phone call.
so in the mean time i am also talking about postponing. for me, it has a lot to do with noticing. so i do not think so much of postponing. more like noticing a possible end. and decide: is it shared, necessary, good timing? it is just a possibility. you can do with it what is needed, what is wished for, what….? maybe you don’t know, you don’t decide. now it gets really complicated. and you are not the only one in the space! there is you, other dancers, the dance, music.
noticing an end: it can pass in a millisecond. you stay behind, a little bewildered sometimes, omg, i missed it! or it can linger on for a while. the interesting bit, is what i think you refer to johnny, is that bit of time. end-ing.
an ending is also a fun place to be, to wait, to live in, move through, be still.
could be an interesting thing to do: can we make a piece that consists of only endings? as sometimes i consider my movement as only beginnings, a continuous stream of beginnings (that is a hard one to end, by the way).

then to finish my letter, some possible ends:
still
obvious
in the air
superb
boring
moving
expected
together
amazing
tired
happy
fullfilling
slow

could be a long list, this one. so, could we name the endings this thursday? what kind of ending is this ?
fun and horrible too. label something that can also just exist, needs no words what so ever.

so, a little food for thursday. sitting here in my lovely backyard, catching the last sun…
and you dancing away in rotterdam…

love,
weijke

(Dis)connecting the dots

An improvisation meeting of theatre, dance, music and more

At the end of the Carpet Sessions season, you are invited to join the exploration of an issue that is probably the biggest source of discussion in interdisciplinary art making:
How concrete and readable should our work be? What should be left unexplained – how opaque, many-layered, confusing or abstract do we like it?
Connecting_Dots_PusteblumenThe problem is often that we don’t even know from each other what we exactly mean with all these words, while the issue itself is not so complicated, and applicable to all art disciplines:
Any artist wants his work to be readable to a certain extend, in the sense that it somehow ’speaks’ to the audience. And at the same time, any piece needs a certain obscurity, leaving something for the audience to wonder about. Only in how to concretely create this mix is where genres and artists differ.
As interdisciplinary instant composition wants to be inclusive to all genres and differing perceptions of art, our question is: How can we improvise, talk and play around this topic effectively?
          
On 29 May (Hemelvaartsdag), we would like to do a research session with this question in mind.
     
As especially the perceived difference between improvisation theater and improvisation dance/music is big on this issue, Anja Boorsma is inviting a group of improv actors, while Thomas Johannsen is inviting dance improvisers. We are also inviting musicians with experience from both the ‘concrete’ theatre genre and the more ‘modern/abstract’ performance genre.
Any other disciplines/improvisers who would like to participate are absolutely welcome. Just write us a comment below this post if you are interested (if the group becomes too big to be workable, we keep the option of selection).
Let’s see if we can create both crystal-clear and many-layered pieces of performance, and survive the clash to tell about it.  😀
What are the Carpet Sessions? / Where is the studio?  (click here)
          
UPDATE:
There has been so many reactions that we had to make a selection. Otherwise the studio would be too crowded for what we want to do.
So the session is not open anymore, and this is the research group for the 29th of May:
         
Anja Boorsma
Esmeralda Detmers
Jurriaan Kamp
Wouter Snoei
Hans Kuykens
Ralph de Rijke
Thomas Johannsen
Annabel Garriga
Johnny Schoofs
Tanaquil Schuttel
              
We will keep you posted on our findings!
      

Review 1st open session Phrases Research

Hallo everybody,

thanks so much for all the good work during the Open Session at Dansmakers on 30th of February.

We were with 40 dancers/singers (+ 1 dog), which is an amazing number for a research session, and it worked magically, beautifully well!  The performance in the evening was surely something to remember…

I just wanted to post here the aspects of the research that we gathered during the session, with your help. The core group will now dig deeper into it the coming weeks and we hope to see you again on the rounding off Open Session on 29th of March.

phrases40people_opening

Phrase =  beginning – duration – end

Linked to the question of beginning/end in phrasing:
Landing/Arriving – What ends? – Transformation – give new life to… – what comes after? – same/different/similar thing in different context.

Linked to duration:
Coherence/Integrity of a Phrase – What holds is together? – ‘It makes sense’ – Dynamics – Shape – Rhythm

What is Silence? (in Phrasing)

Awareness of choice in Phrasing: what, when, where, with whom?

Why phrasing? For readability / For clarity of your vocabulary
Phrasing = Articulation

Phrases are Building Blocks and Markers – in time/material. Creating perspective in the sea of meanings.

What are the different layers of a phrase?     
         

More quotes that were put on the second paper at the end of the session:

“Interaction is important for phrasing/meaning.”

“For something to be a phrase you need at least two elements and a connection between them.”

“I make decisions all the time.You need to keep in mind your destination the entire road.”

“What is being proposed?” “Making a choice brings clarity and readability. Awareness of another phrase is a starting point.”

“Letting it grow, not make it”.

“10 people, many phrases. One phrase is contagious: Three people pick it up, join and finish the phrase.”

Phrase –> Receiving

“Relating in time to phrases:
– Starting together
– Slow starting after each other –
– Together: A – one phrase and B – three phrase in one”

“Timing, Dynamic, Play!” / “Connect”

To join the upcoming open session on 29th of March or read more about the project, find all information here.

secretlifeofPhrases_opening

“Secret Life of Phrases” project is set!

Dear improvisers,

Thank you for all your reactions to the “Secret Life of Phrases” research!

We had great response from a number of colleagues and heard clearly the shared intention to support and take part in these self-organized research projects under the Carpet Sessions wing. The idea is to grow in the interdisciplinary practice and feed the improvisation community in the Netherlands.
Next to this project, we trust that other events of this kind will follow and we would like to encourage other artists to feel inspired and organize such a gathering under a theme they feel strongly about.

voicemovemnt3For this particular project, we have the division between two longer, open sessions (22-02 and 29-03) and closed sessions with the core group on four Thursdays in between.

Our choice of a core group has been made considering different aspects of having a balanced and challenging configuration, as well as limiting numbers to be able to work intensely in this limited time frame. The core group is:
Sarah Kate Gardiner, Maria Michailidou, Johnny Schoofs, Marc Nukoop, Virag Dezso, Moira Mirck, Petra Pieck, Yinske Silva, Marjolijn Roeleveld

The core group will deepen the research during the Thursday Sessions, but before and after we would like to welcome everyone on the two Saturdays where the dialogue with movement and voice and a reflection with a larger group can take place.

So we are looking forward to meet you in the Secret Life of Phrases research!  See for the whole project description this post.

If you want to take part in (one of) the IC practice sessions, on Saturday 22nd of February and/or 29th of March, do let us know by commenting below, so we have an approximation of numbers.

Times and Address for the two IC Sessions:

16:30 -18.45 Practice (studio open 16.00)
19.00 -19.30 Performance

Contribution: €15,-
Address: Dansmakers Amsterdam, Eerste Helmerstraat 102 ½ (opposite 147)

voicemovement

We hope to see you there and play/reflect together! 

With warm greetings,

Thomas & Marisa

The dreamer and the observer 2013

Hello everyone,

This is a call for participants for a research project that will happen in January (31) and February (14, 21) 2013 and where I would be very please to welcome you.

This project aims to develop a methodological approach that would facilitate dance music performances creation by giving a specific framework based on the archetypal notions of the “Dreamer” and the “Observer”.

The point of departure for this research originates from my experience as a dance performer, with extended experience in improvisation approaches, and from the work of Authentic Movement, philosophy and phenomenology, Vipassana meditation, neurosciences research, Shamanism, Continuum Movement, the Jungian and humanistic approaches in psychology.

When I refer to the “observer” I mean the internal witness, the voice of our inner self, perceivable through feelings and sensations. The “observer” give us a sense of self and being present in the here and now. The Observer is at the core of the experience.

When I refer to the “dream” or the “dreamer” I mean the creative capacity of the psyche to project sensations, feelings, images…it is a mental activity that we experience in everyday life when our thoughts navigate between insights, memories, mental projections, creation of futures and imagination. The dreamer’s space is dimensional, virtual, endless, and infinite.

The first stage is to be aware of impulses, and to locate from which places they come from. We use impulses originating from the body or the mind through imagination and sensory awareness; it becomes the primary source of the dream.

We project the content of the dream into a performing space of awareness, with the help of the observer. The goal is to project these impulses in the room and to manifest them physically in a creative and performing act.

These impulses may come from a physical, emotional, mental or unconscious place, the “observer” is in charge of tracking and locating them in our system and to give permission and consciousness for the “dream” to unfold. The “dream” is actualized through creative expression of movements, sounds, dances, play, characters, actions or anything that is manifested through possible forms of body’ expressions.

This approach follows psycho-physiological processes as a base for a creative action, more than a technical approach. The performance is then not based on technical mastery but upon the capacity to create within oneself clear and strong imagery, dance, theater and situations that will engage an audience.

The method becomes then appropriate for amateur, non-professional or for anybody wanting to explore his or her creativity, and more largely it is a performing approach giving to individuals ways to perform their own potential.

I hope we can share some of the research together and I am looking forward to meet all artists interested in this process.

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

Sylvain Meret

Objects and stuff in November/December

Object/visual theatremakers and puppeteers Lindai Boogerman and Martine van Ditzhuyzen will lead with me an exploration of objects and improvisation in November/December. With the subtle relationship in mind that a puppeteer/object-player can have with ‘stuff’/things/material, we want to know how we can use this for interdisciplinary instant composition. We would like to involve and ask not only puppet players, but more so musicians, dancers, actors, lighting/visual people,… to interact with material that accompanies them on stage.

22nd of November 2012 

6th of December 2012

13th of December 2012

Sessions (14:00-17:00) will be semi-open, meaning we would like to define the group of researchers beforehand. Preference is to people who can join all three sessions, but exceptions can be made. Just talk to us.

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

We will post more detailed information end of October. But you can already write your comments below to state your interest in the subject or if you have a question.

greetings!

Thomas, Martine, Lindai