3/10/17 december 13.00-15.30
A new series of three sessions start next week. artists from any discipline (performing ans non-performing) are welcome to join us in the search for balancing the groupwork and solowork within improvisation. What makes us a group, how do we perform as a group, how can i go solo within the group, where is my timing, our energy, how does it flow?
all these questions came up in the previous series. Now we want to continue our work.
if you want to know what happened in the previous sessions, read our summary below
Leave a respons if you want to join in.
“There was a sense of Rebellion”
About Can I go solo?
Three sessions have taken place by now.
In these three sessions we worked with actors, musicians, dancers, visual artists.
A lot of questions arose during the work. We wrote them down to share, but we didn’t try to come to a group answer on them. Everyone found their own answers (or not). The ones i write down here are a combination of our shared observations and my personal thoughts on the subject.
Questions written down were:
Observations on GROUP:
We started our research by doing the same thing all together at the same time. There was no audience, everybody was improvising all the time, the whole time. This lead to the following remarks:
Not copying defines the group, but focusing on the same while doing different things.
A group becomes interesting to watch when you can still see the individuals within the group.
Feeling part of the group came with a feeling of organic mood/rhythm/movement.
There was a sense of rebellion, which leads to making small changes to the given group theme: was this impatience or evolution?
The second and third sessions we worked with a more structured way of improvising. There was audience, and the structure meant we started with an empty space, and one by one we would start improvising, up to a maximum of 4 performers. This way we wanted to create more room, time and space for all the elements we encountered in the first session. It gave us the possibility to observe the process more. These are some observations on those sessions.
What makes us a group? The very fact that we are in this room, concentrating on the same work, makes us a group. But then we find there are groups within groups.
The performers are a group, the visual artists are a group, the audience is a group. You can play with this. You can try to diffuse the boundaries between these sub-groups by not acknowledging the difference. If you consider everyone who is physically present as part of the group, then you create a kind of confusion for everyone about the part their taking in the improvisation (e.g. Is there an audience, when you consider the audience a part of the improvisers?)
TRUST was a word that came up more and more; trusting your group members to focus on the same thing as you. Trusting the each other to follow and lead when it feels necessary. But also trusting yourself to change or alter the improvisations form/energy/etc. When you think it necessary.
It appears that often everyone felt the action needed to change, but no one dared taking charge and break or shift the action. So group ca also mean no one dares to take initiative.
Trusting the group gives a natural rhythm to the improvisation.
Waiting long enough to be/ feel like a group seems to be important.
ADDING and BUILDING and DIVERSIFY:
We defined a difference between the several actions you can take as a group;
You can ADD to one another’s action. Meaning a does something, and B steps in and does something to counter it, or support it or, broaden it.
but you can also BUILD. This would mean, A starts with an action, B steps in and does the same, so does C, D, etc. By committing our self to this one action as a group, we narrow down and intensify the action until a climax is reached, after which something new can start to happen.
DIVERSIFYING would mean that every group member has an individual action, but is still very much aware of the actions of all the other performers. So there is still a group work going on, although it is not immediately clear on sight what the group focus is. It’s just the TRUST between all the group members that our mutual focus will keep us together.
On the matter of SOLO:
Does solo work exist within a group? Or is it merely a continuous shifting of focus, between doing the same thing, to everybody doing something individual to one person doing something different from the rest, with all the group giving their attention?
Also solo moments can work as a tool for changing the group energy ans rhythm. It bends/breaks/shifts the ongoing flow.
Solo can be:
a new starting point
the shifting of focusing
breaking the energy.
In the first session the performing group seemed to be a more dominant subgroup within the group. Fast decision making, feedback, action, leading. Whereas the non-performing artists seemed more observant, following, silent. After talking about this the next session, there was more room for different kind of impulses and initiative. More visual actions, more awareness of space, colour, sound. And a greater sense of freedom by everyone to bring in any impulse or action you wanted. This freedom led to a beautiful series of moments where performance, colour, sound and spacing came together. This freedom seemed to give us more sensitivity for each others’ impulses and more possibilities to explore new grounds.
The last two sessions we have been working on shifting focus in groupwork and solowork. And a lot of new ideas, concepts and questions arose.
We have been focussing on:
It has been an exciting journey up till now. During the last two sessions we found a way to shift from group to one or none, endings becoming new startingpoints, individuals becoming a group, doing the same thing, doing different things but still remaining a group, then becoming a group of soloists, evolving into a solo of blue squares.
Next week we want to go deeper into themes like
waiting/ strechting time/timing. Adding to eachothers ideas/building on eachothers input/taking time and space/giving time and space.
Sounds interesting? Come and join us next week to share our research. Let us know through the posts, or email me at email@example.com.
We start at 13.00 and work till 15.30.
For more info on the Carpet Sessions: What are the Carpet Sessions? / Where is the studio?
Task 1: Anne is watching without her camera ,while Virag and myself are dancing.
We talked about the difference between Anne as a filmmaker without her camera and Anne as a spectator and our relationship to her in relation to these two roles; we experienced that the two roles are melting into each other and what connects them is the physical presence.
Question to investigate further: in which ways are the two roles melting and how can we become more specific about that?
Task 2: Anne behind the camera filming: She noticed she was busy with making compositional choices and that limited her perception of space. “I always guess the space”, she observed.
Virag had to remind herself Anne’s physical presence while filming and that helped her to perceive the whole space, also the space that was not used.
I myself was not aware of Anne’s physical presence, as the camera was between us and her. Anne was identified with her camera.
Question: what if we include Anne and her camera in the making process? what if Anne and her camera become an element of the piece?
Task 3:The film is being projected on the wall. We’re making a piece interacting with the film and each other. Observations we made:
We’ve been shifting from image to real time movement.
We’ve been integrating the response to the image into the actual piece.
We’ve been making “free translation” of the visual material.
Task 4: We changed roles: Anne is copying my movement from the film, as she is dancing and watching simultaneously, whereas I’m copying Virag’s movement and Virag is filming.
How does it feel like to be in another’s body?
E.g. In another’s rhythm, musicality, body language, choices?
In this session two beautiful musicians joined.
Task 1: Anne is filming body parts or zooming in actions. Afterwards, the film is projected on the wall. Anne is sharing her own perception and ideas of composition.
The film was more about human bodies interacting with each other, the space and the music rather the unfolding and development of an instantly composed piece. Interesting and fresh perspective.
Question to investigate: what if we approach composition from this perspective? In what way will that affect the outcome?
Task 2: We are making a piece while interacting with the projected film and each other. For some of us the “body of information” was overwhelming. For some others challenging.
Question: how can we find ways to relate/deal with a large body of information/impulses/impressions/sensations/choices?
Task 3: Anne is filming whereas at the same time the film is projected.
Questions for further investigation: how do we feel as performers/musicians with receiving immediate feedback?
How does this affect the composition?
We watched the film. It reminded us of movies in 70”s. That had to do with the light-Anne mentioned-and her specific way of filming:
Zooming in on specific actions, travelling through bodies, body parts spaces and actions.
Task 4: Anne is projecting on the floor light patterns. We make a piece including the light patterns.
We experienced that: Light moulded the space
Light created a new perspective of the space
Light sharpened our focus and heightened our
Light created music.
Light had a physical presence.
Task 5: Anne projected on the floor one of the films she has made.
We worked with this “amorphous””,continually changing shapes and forms “‘body”.
Question: How can we work with different materials in the space, e.g. patterns and/or “amorphous’, “distorted’ image?
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.
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:
in the air
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…
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.
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
Address: Dansmakers Amsterdam, Eerste Helmerstraat 102 ½ (opposite 147)
We hope to see you there and play/reflect together!
With warm greetings,
Thomas & Marisa
The secret Life of Phrases
An investigation into Voice and Movement
A musical phrase, just as a movement phrase are the DNA of any music/dance improvisation performance. They are building blocks, that combined create more complex structures of dance, composition, story…
And what are phrases themselves made of? Sounds, tones, rhythmical relationships in music, and for physical performers: smaller pieces of movements and the way they are pieced together in tension and timing.
Vocal Performers and Dancers lean into each others’ discipline quite often. As for a dancer the use of voice can be seen as just another layer of playing with the body as an instrument, while for a singer the way the voice is affecting the body (and vice versa) is an always present aspect of musical performance.
Working with phrasing means working on a higher level than just producing sounds or movement, which is to say that in instant composition performance, working with your voice or your body cannot simply stay a side-effect of your other, main register in which you improvise. Phrasing means articulating sound or movement in such a way that it takes on a full sense of language as we create.
We have two research questions to approach this subject of interdisciplinarity:
How to integrate voice and movement as an improvisation performer?
On individual level, how can the two registers/languages of voice and movement inform, stimulate and challenge each other in an articulated way? How can the two integrate towards one language?
How to integrate voice/sound and movement as an improvisation ensemble?
In an ensemble with dancers as well as singers, how can we integrate voice and movement into that “one language” that the ensemble speaks?
Marisa Grande and Thomas Johannsen want to combine their experience in order to explore these questions from both sides of the range. While being both multidisciplinary improvisers, Thomas leans probably a bit more towards musicianship through his vocal improvisation work with the Genetic Choir, Marisa comes slightly more from the perspective of movement improvisation through her somatic dance practice.
In the project that we propose, we would like to work with a small group of core-researchers: 4 improvisation singers / 4 improvisation dancers. At the same time, we will open up the research to any other improvisers who are interested to meet the research group and play together on two occasions: the IC practice+performance at Dansmakers.
The whole project is made of 2 Saturdays (open IC practice+performance), and in between 4 afternoons of research in the Carpet studio. Closing the project will be a performance at The Boiler Room in Utrecht and maybe other public gigs that will appear by that time.
Saturday 22 February – IC practice and performance at Dansmakers (16:30-20:00) – practice and performance open to all improvisers
Thursday 6, 13, 20, 27 March – research sessions in the Carpet studio – research ensemble only (14:00-17:00)
Saturday 29 March – IC practice and performance at Dansmakers (16:30-20:00) – practice session open to all / performance will be done by the research ensemble
Sunday 30 March (to be confirmed) – Performance in Het Huis Utrecht, in the Boiler Room series
The Carpet Sessions know a studio-costs share of 5 euro p.p. per session. Read more about the Carpet Sessions here.
The IC Practice on Saturdays knows a contribution of 15 euro p.p. per session to share the (higher) costs of the Dansmakers space. For this particular collaboration with the Carpet Research it will be 7,50 for the core group members to compensate for their bigger commitment.
(the money is solely to cover costs and any possible surplus will go to supporting the respective initiatives)
As with all Carpet Research sessions, we are looking for performers with artistic maturity and capacity to contribute to the unfolding process from their own practice.
Please respond if you either just would like to be part of the process on one or both of the Saturdays, or if you would be interested to join the core group on all the dates and performances. We will select the core group to create an interesting mix of individuals.
Don’t hesitate to tell us you are interested, even if you still have date-issues to solve. Let us know and we will get in contact with you.
We are awaiting your reactions until 31st of December and will announce the research ensemble shortly afterwards.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Marisa & Thomas