Archives for category: Embodied Creative Methods

Crossing the street, an older man stands on the corner and gestures for me to come over. I approach. He says quietly, simply: I want you to come over and visit with me. I reply, curious and hesitant: Do you live around here? He gestures with an arm extended: across the street. 113. I follow his gesture with my eyes, turn back to him and say: I can’t right now but thank you for the invitation. He turns to cross on a red light, I reach out and touch his arm: watch out, not yet. I turn and leave.

The exchange is gentle, non threatening but far from banal. I’ve been asked to give something of myself: time, trust , compassion. I feel a sense of desperation rising, panic. How much do I need to give? Will it ever be enough? I think of Yoko Ono”s Cut Piece, Carolee Schneemann group improvisations, Wilhelm Reich’s body armour and Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen explaining the difference between sensing and feeling, Irene Dowd and intentional touch.

This is another way of preparing the body/mind for physical improvisation. Leading the participants through guided give and take, offering and receiving. Trust and wordless dialogue.

Care full, supported,not equal but reciprocal. It is not about matching but listening to the request and negotiating a return.

A student expressed fear of working with disproportionate bodies afraid of injury. I was surprised because I had forgotten that the students needed more body listening tools. How to give and take….

Listening with your eyes, seeing with your ears…
For any group activity, bringing awareness to the present is a challenge. In performance, a warm-up is meant to bring individuals to a state of openness or receptivity such that the work after flows, engages, produces material that creatively feeds the participants.
Today the warm-up felt like it had a structure to it, a container. We moved from self to space to others to group in ways that supported individual and collective needs. At the end, I saw warm bodies, open and relaxed faces and strong connections between people. All of this, without too many words.

Reflecting on non-fragmented relational holistic methods and a way of living that requires multiple attachments. These associations entail commitments, at a basic level, deadlines, products, and outcomes.What runs through all of the points of attachment in a day, in a project? My body, mind, breath.

When referring to teaching a physical dance/theatre warm-up that is so familiar that I “don’t have to think,” I realize that something is out of balance. Where is my mind in this warm-up? ¬†Is there a way to bring mind and body into the warm-up for students such that they reach beyond the mechanics of their bodies in space and into an awareness of their thinking bodies. Bring their attention to how their mind supports, inhibits, contributes to choices they make on a physical level. So, how do I integrate and teach a mindful body practice that carries the effects of being present into the rest of my day and into the lives of my students as well? How can I make this a practice that works for all of us? I want to create a container that encourages them to be specific, fully explore concepts, discover new ways of moving with their minds and bodies engaged? Develop attention and action…without being too directive. Take them on a warm-up journey that awakens, brings into consciousness how they are in their bodies and minds in the present moment rather than consciousness as an abstraction disconnected from a moving body. Or, worse yet, bypassing the affective states of mind/body connections and drilling the body into codified patterns and shapes meant to give them the tools for accessing body awareness in other contexts. Does it give them anything of the sort? Training the mind and the body to be open, aware, and ready to move in any direction. “Taking root to fly,” as Irene Dowd would ¬†describe it in her book on functional anatomy and movement. Also reading an acrobat of the heart, moving through Jerzy Grotowski inspired movement explorations, focussing on (re)turning the actor to being a vulnerable, open, ready, full bodied performer…

Can fragments create a whole? Or does it work better if I hold the idea/feeling of a whole in my body/mind and integrate the parts (of a day, project,thought process…)? I imagine, hold in my body, the feeling/idea of being supported in this journey of exploration that I lead and am led upon. The container/nest…requires time for integration and transition. Those are the things that are missing in the practice. Allowing the mind/body to acknowledge states of being.