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