Background

Hobart

Lead Artists: Kelly Drummond Cawthorn, Luke Campbell, Charlie Smith and Dianne Reid

‘Writing as a response to watching someone dancing is a strategy for artistic layering rather than critical analysis. I try to encourage a poetic approach…just writing words or phrases spontaneously to see what images emerge to support and offer an active response to what one experiences as witness/viewer. A reminder of the different voices we have at our disposal and how individual our ways of seeing and being in the world are.’

– Dianne Reid

Workshop Plan

Preamble

  • finding creative space and time (meeting points, support and collision)
  • particular collaborations (history and aesthetic commonalities)
  • finding your tools for enquiry (mine as camera)
  • considering contexts for sharing (site-specific performance, screendance, papers/interviews/resources)
  • diversity is individuality, nuance rather than normalisation, the poetics of struggle, virtuosity of attention
  • opposite ways of working than today’s tech era—process, dismantling structures, opening ideas about language, tools, body

Warm-up

  • name game
  • body massage
  • joint mobilisations—moving into the floor, sleeping positions shifting with breath
  • shifting, rolling, pouring, settling
  • meetings and navigating another, in and around their body space (non-contact)
  • moving between laying, sitting, standing, travelling in relation to others
  • building group walking patterns
  • equidistant with two (unspecified) others until satisfied, so stillness of whole group

Location, location, location

exploring locations with body and senses; making choices as viewer how to watch an event (proximity, angle, in motion, part of the frame?).

This exercise is one I have been developing as part of a screen dance and improvisation workshop. It draws on the tools of cinematography/editing and applies them to the body. It’s a way of exploring different site-specific architectures, finding ways to occupy a “frame” or location with all the senses—How does it sound, smell, temperatures, textures, quality of light, how does your body fit within it? Are you on or off screen? And as a viewer—reminding of the potential to actively watch/witness and perhaps to be part of the frame/action for another viewer. Provides a way to be included in an event or to open to broader possibilities of action and participation. After spending time exploring a few locations as individuals, we gather and move as a group with each calling “Here” to move us to their location and our viewing position/s for their performance of that “frame” then calling “end” to move back into the herd before the next solo is called.

Sound & text

Finding Music

Sound Pie—group laying in circle heads to centre, eyes closed—breath becomes sighs, notes, chords—play with variations of pitch, volume, quality

Orchestra conducting—one conducts the group, play with quality of gesture, speed, pitch/level

Vocal exercises (acknowledge Andrew Morrish and Peter Trotman for the following)

Individual play—speaking while moving; naming what you see; speaking slowly & sustained in a straight line with moments of stillness; speaking low volume to whispering

Pairs—unison talking with a partner; random words in response to partner’s touch

Building solos out of 3 words (each word, assigned by another in the group, has a movement and direction/plane) play with the order of the words

School of Fish—travel as a group with a repetitive, rhythmic movement with one person leading. As direction of the group motion changes so too does the leader (and movement). Insert 3 word solos so individuals drop out from then re-join the group.

The work through sound and back to movement is a way to connect with breath, to invigorate and activate the physical body through resonance and vibration, and also to connect physicality with spoken language. Other parts of the brain and nervous system are stimulated as well as a different sensory meeting between bodies as a group. The tuning in to the aural landscape can diffuse the usually dominant sense of “sight” which carries its own particular hang-ups relating to status, image, performance. Closing our eyes to focus on sound or touch can open and diversify our movement vocabulary—offering individuals time to redirect their attention to their internal or imaginative landscape.

Showings, writing in response, sharing writing/feedback.

Writing as a response to watching someone dancing is a strategy for artistic layering rather than critical analysis. I try to encourage a poetic approach…just writing words or phrases spontaneously to see what images emerge to support and offer (as with the viewing in Location exercise) an active response to what one experiences as witness/viewer. A reminder of the different voices we have at our disposal and how individual our ways of seeing and being in the world are.

e.g. my writing watching someone’s solo

Walking through a minefield of marvellous invention & welcome wandering That touch was my first taste of avocado
This shape is the day breaking
That sound began in an earlier lifetime We greet another in spite and because of our yearning for touch

Images by Sandi Sissel