Background

Sydney

Lead Artists: Sarah-Vyne Vassallo Assistant Artist: Melinda Tyquin

‘For the past 15 years I have been working within a community of exceptional and unique artists. We have been moving, shaking, sharing and advocating and the journey has been long and hard and worth it. Sometimes we have to set sail on our own and it can get lonely out there. But knowing there is a community also out at sea helps us to forge on.

The Sydney LAG workshop was a place to explore ideas, share talents, exchange perspectives and creatively play.’

– Sarah-Vyne Vassallo

Workshop Plan

Sarah-Vyne Vassallo Statement

The following exercises and tasks are examples or frameworks of exercises I have tried and tested within inclusive arts environments. Nearly all the exercises can be translated/adapted for ages ranging from Primary through to Seniors. I also use many of these exercises as a base or starting point and then vary the methods and approaches depending on the group I am working with and the needs within the group. Several of these exercises I have been taught in my own training and are based in theatre and dance foundations. Whilst I cannot take ownership of these exercises I have spent many years refining and re-defining them to engage participants and artists of all levels, interests and abilities.

Day One


Introduction

Do your 100% – your version – your reponses – your way

 

My practice + background

Invisible disability

Integrated journey

Fusion of theatre, dance, visual arts

Ice Breaker

Find your Match


Participant travel/walk/roll/drive around the room freely, using the whole space, then when given the instruction from the leader from the list below, they have to find the people that they match with, some of these tasks may require conversation, which is fine as it is a good icebreaker and fun way to get to know people. This exercise is also a friendly demonstration of how different we all are yet how many similarities we also share.

 

  • Males and females
  • Hair colour/s
  • Straight hair
  • Curly hair
  • Same height
  • Eye colour
  • Groups of siblings
  • Size of hands
  • Size of feet
  • Colour of clothes
  • Age groups

 

*I experienced this exercise whilst on my Winston Churchill Fellowship in a workshop led by Caroline Boweditch

Meditation

Body Awareness 10 mins (No music)

Group to find a comfortable place of the ground or in a chair, body heavy and relaxed. A gently recurring reminder of the mediation is that “you don’t have to do anything, you don’t have to be anywhere’.

Focus on the following is led by Sarah-Vyne one step at a time

  • Breathing
  • Calmness
  • Scanning the body
  • Warming the body
  • Leaving any judgement out of the room
  • Waking up body parts by shaking

Universal Warm Up 20 mins

Activating the Body                                              (Dance the way I feel)

  • From the toes to the nose and everyplace in between
  • Circling motions through all body parts from the feet to the head. This might include rolling, twisting, shaking, rubbing, swinging
  • Respond in the way your body needs to, to create warmth, circulation and flow

 

Balloons (I heard)

  • Expanding and contracting the body
  • Participants start curled up in the smallest, tightest, most wrapped up version of themselves
  • Over a slow and steady pace participants gradually expand into the largest, longest, fullest version for themselves
  • This can be done in one spot and/or progress to traveling/floating throughout the space during the expansion

 

Vocal warm up
10 mins

  • Make siren noises/sounds
  • Rolling up and down the spine and letting the sounds and air out as you go down and up, can be done seated or standing
  • Having partners pat down the back of the other, exhaling and letting the natural sounds flow out
  • Over exaggerating the alphabet

 

Taking in the space 10 mins         (In progress / Moan)

Walking, rolling, driving around the space – taking in the whole environment, notice what you notice. Be focused on yourself and aware of each other. A balance between the internal and external. A shared space between breath and bodies.

 

Stay focused and I begin to add cues into that you respond to while you are travelling.

Find:

  • Soft edges
  • Sharp edges
  • Combination of both
  • Space gets smaller
  • Half time / Slow motion
  • Add Levels / Zones of space
  • Stop / Go (Intuitive)

How long is a piece of string              10 mins

The group stands in one straight line across the room and one long piece of string is given to the group, you can hold it with you hand, arm, mouth, chin, so long as it connected to you and each other. It needs to remain fairly tight and with no-eone leading and no one following the group will travel form one side of the room toht other remaining in a straight-ish line.

  • Energy based
  • No leader and no follower
  • Groups focusing task

Movement Tasks

Body Weather Exercise                           15mins                                  (Schneider)

Bag of bones

  • Groups of 2              3 minutes each
  • One participant lies on the floor and are surrounded by one person per body part.

 

Heavy Limbs                                                           10mins                      (No music)

In a tight pack/flock/group participants walk, roll, drive around the space, sensing and being aware of each other, one participant decides to run away/depart from the group and finding their own space. As they arrive he slowing start to become very heavy, melting to the earth, the group respond by quickly following that person and supporting all their limbs as they fall, supporting them so they don’t fall.

  • Principles of trust
  • Taking body weight
  • Sensitivity to bodies

How to get to the other side?                 15 mins

Modes, moods, dynamics and directions

  • FLUID – Fluid, continuous, curved, glide, float (Perfection / Oums)
  • FOLDING – wrapping, contracting, expanding, opening          (Dancing on my own)
  • TWIST – twisting, tension, wringing, squeeze, tight (Tangeuedia III)

 

With a set intention and/or task, participants are asked to travel from one side of the room to the other. In small group/lines of 4-5. There are an endless amount of descriptive modes that can be explored and the music used should be chosen to support the different modes; e.g.; Heavy, Stuck, Frantic, Floating, Electric, Fluid

 

It is helpful to have other adjectives to describe the word clearly; you can also use visual images, tactile materials and/or sounds to demonstrate the intention of the various movement modes.

 

Eg; Swinging – sway to and fro, pendulum, curve, glide, you might have a picture of a swing or a video of a pendulum clock.

 

This exercise is a great strategy for breaking down the idea that we have to “dance/move” one way, it also assists in generating material and activating creativity, and developing a movement language.

 

This can also be workshopped to any particular theme or concept.

 

Improvisation Score                                 1 hour (Max Richter Album from Sleep)         

 

Participants are invited to develop a short improvisation, each of the following instructions are the landscape for the score and must be completed within the task, which . The task travels from one side of the room to the other. The task is also done in slow motion.

  • Slow motion

Slow motion. To achieve this, fill the space with everyone moving freely throughout, then halve the speed of the movement, halve the speed again, and again, etc until they’re moving as slowly as they can.

 

Then in smaller clumps, they move in slow motion from one side of the room to the other, inserting the following score in any order and form that the group creates:

  • A greeting
  • An altercation
  • A fall / heavy limbs
  • A rise / A lift

Sharing / Discussion                                15minutes

What does that movement make you think of?

What did you notice when you watched the other group?

What am I taking away with me today?

What have you discovered about yourself?

How did it make you feel?

 

Day Two

Introduction

How is everyone feeling

The Joan – mainstream

Subscribe – Mel is my phone

Mel get a few photos for Instagram

Other people not talking Imogen not included

Veronicas response and feelings

Meditation

Body Awareness              10 mins                     (No music)

Group to find a comfortable place of the ground or in a chair, body heavy and relaxed. A gently recurring reminder of the mediation is that “you don’t have to do anything, you don’t have to be anywhere’.

 

Focus on the following is led by Sarah-Vyne one step at a time

  • Breathing
  • Calmness
  • Scanning the body
  • Warming the body
  • Leaving any judgement out of the room
  • Waking up body parts by shaking

 

UNIVERSAL WARM UP 20 mins

Activating the Body (Dance the way I feel)

  • From the toes to the nose and everyplace in between
  • Circling motions through all body parts from the feet to the head. This might include rolling, twisting, shaking, rubbing, swinging
  • Respond in the way your body needs to, to create warmth, circulation and flow

 

Balloons (I heard)

  • Expanding and contracting the body
  • Participants start curled up in the smallest, tightest, most wrapped up version of themselves
  • Over a slow and steady pace participants gradually expand into the largest, longest, fullest version for themselves
  • This can be done in one spot and/or progress to traveling/floating throughout the space during the expansion

 

Vocal warm up
10 mins

  • Make siren noises/sounds
  • Rolling up and down the spine and letting the sounds and air out as you go down and up, can be done seated or standing
  • Having partners pat down the back of the other, exhaling and letting the natural sounds flow out
  • Over exaggerating the alphabet

 

Taking in the space 10 mins         (In progress / Moan)

Walking, rolling, driving around the space – taking in the whole environment, notice what you notice. Be focused on yourself and aware of each other. A balance between the internal and external. A shared space between breath and bodies.

 

Stay focused and I begin to add cues into that you respond to while you are travelling.

Find:

  • Soft edges
  • Sharp edges
  • Combination of both
  • Space gets smaller
  • Half time / Slow motion
  • Add Levels / Zones of space
  • Stop / Go (Intuitive)

Lunch

Creative Development

Prior to the workshops commencing, the participants were emailed the following take-away tasks/provocations. This was gently touched on in discussion on day one and reponses, thoughts and ideas were to be brought to the group on day two. We spent time unpacking the provocation as and sharing responses with each other. The groups responded through movement, storytelling, physical theatre, signing and spoken word.

 

Statement : I have questions

 

Provocation : What are your top 4 questions?

 

  • If you could choose any 4 questions – what would they be? (Option 1)
  • If you could choose any 2 questions – what would they be? (Option 2)

 

Note: No limits are placed on your response, no perimeters to the intent or context, it can be as serious, subtle or as outlandish as fits

 

Over the 2-day workshop I will lead a variety of creative tasks and discussion, in response to these questions. These tasks include some of the tools and methods I use in my creative practice. Based on the responses of whom I am working with, whether it be in a making or learning environment my process is highly dependant on each individuals response and investment process.

 

  • The group will work as individuals and also collaborators
  • The group will be working closely with support staff
  • The group will be working in response to the provocations
  • Responses might include; written, voice/sound, physicality/movement, partnering, small groups, ensemble work and combinations of the above

 

* Remember – there are no specific outcomes required – so I invite everyone to be free to be the artist  – in a studio, creatively responding –  without a deadline. A time to practice, exchange and play.

 

The afternoon was spent workshopping these responses form the group, starting by conversation, then breaking up in small groups or in a solo based on these discussions and interests, it was a combination of me curating the groups and also groups organically forming. We had regular break out times, for sharing the scenes in developments, reflections, feedback and further discussions.