Archive for November, 2010

rehearsal video clips


after 1 week in Amsterdam

we’ve just finished a week of work in Amsterdam, which was difficult for me because I was also busy building up lights and dancing in the performance ‘The Half’. this took a lot of my time and my attention, and though we anyways managed to rehearse almost every day, I felt like I didn’t have much time in between rehearsals to reflect and prepare.

in any case, looking back I think it was a very productive week. the first few days I focused mostly on workingwith Ingrid.  the work in Potsdam had acquired very specific forms for William’s materials but not so much for her. after the experience of the previous 2 weeks I proposed to focus on one movement proposition and develop it as a basic material.

this basic sequence consists on walking through the space as if she was moving in spaces which she only knows through pictures – the Argentinean Secret Detention Centers. the movement work is, in principle, very simple but requires a lot of concentration and work on her presence. we approached the idea of mapping the space (and her own body) by registering the sensation of movement (proprioception). in this way, she is not busy with projecting an image of the space and referring it to visual landmarks in the studio, but rather measuring distances and directions in her own articulation. the mapping is self-referred, is about translating the information from the photographs to all kinds of small movements and adjustments in her joints, ligaments and muscles.

this work served as a base for other movement textures we have been exploring. we keep sourcing from the photographs of these spaces she has never been into, but trying to extract from them other sensations and affects (to map them) instead of trying to reproduce them visually.

next to that, we started looking at how the 2 solos (I still doubt about how appropriate it is to call them solos…) can co-exist in the space (and time) of the presentation. it’s been very interesting and challenging. maybe here I should include sound, because both overlappings (movement and movement, movement and sound) have triggered pretty much the same problems. I’ve been confronted during the week with the fact that the materials have been created also in particular conditions, and now these remixes sometimes feel quite superficial. so far the most interesting situation is to give the movement materials their own time (to let them last as long as they need to) and to have their own space (to keep William and Ingrid clearly separate). this way they seem to stay closer to something more essential, more important. I fear, otherwise, that the ‘composition’ makes the whole thing look like an excercise.

I was mentioning that working with sound has posed similar problems, though it’s not completely true. the thing here is that we started working with Robin and Firat (the musicians) only this week, and there’s a lot to still try out, negotiate, understand together. I also realize how easily sound takes over and fills up the space, and what can be interesting in this work is particularly related to the emptiness that can be felt around the bodies… I think that sound can produce some very exciting moments bringing the observer’s attention back to the present… a sort of perceptual taking-the-carpet-off-from-under-our-feet. reminding us of the contemporary aspect of this event. I also enjoy what sound can produce in terms of leaving or actually picking up traces in the space. I think it’s promising, but we still need to find a common code.

one last thing that we had to deal with during this week is that the frame of the research presentations (I have to keep reminding myself -and stating it in my e-flyers and blog!- these are research presentations). a big issue is the time frame we are offered. DMA asks us not to go over 30′, and for the first time that really poses a problem for me. the movement materials sometimes really need time to develop, and if we rush or try to make things compact they can easily become very superficial. but we’ll see. maybe we can negotiate a bit, or eventually show just a section of the work we are doing.

in any case, we are entering the last stretch of this period of work and it’s exciting. we still don’t know how we will continue next year, but I hope we’ll find some space to go on. in the meantime, I’m looking forward to encounter an audience.

wrapping-up potsdam

we’re coming to an end of this first period. 2 more days left to work in Potsdam, though the rhythm of the work is starting to demand something else. the work on William’s solo has reached a point now in which we need to start looking at structures and relations to other elements. our main focus should be now how does it start interacting with Ingrid’s solo, which would require, to start with, working also with Ingrid.

we’ve developed quite some materials and they are maturing. we’ve worked with a basic procedure of sourcing movement from the photographs, and from that basic sequence we’ve started creating different materials that could be considered variations. by themselves, these materials are already quite extensive, since some of them need duration to become interesting.

from the near future perspective, we can’t move much further because the presentation in Dansmakers Amsterdam has a time limit of 30′. that means, specially because he needs to alternate/overlap with Ingrid, that we won’t present the whole spectrum of our work here. that’s fine, but it just (re)defines what to go on working on, and how. this is why I was said it starts becoming indispensable to work together with Ingrid.

and then, the next problem is that Ingrid’s solo still needs a lot of definition. so next week in Amsterdam I need to start by working with her, refining her materials and creating structures that we could start playing with in relation to Ingrid. to that, we will be adding the sound work of Robin and Firat, which means some extra complications (in the best possible sense).

in the meantime, then, I’m trying to decide how to organize today’s and tomorrow’s rehearsals. we’ll basically revisit the chunks (3 short structures we are building up for William) and maybe try how would it be to put all of his material (or most of it) together. small structuring excercises, and practicing the materials within them rather than still working on each thing separately.

when do the disappeared return?
whenever thought brings them back

how do you talk to the disappeared?
with a gripping emotion inside

impression – Lotte

I appreciate the pictures in the back of the studio. They are strong reminders of history. As Pablo said, we are dealing with the present, in relating our contemporary bodies to historical bodies. But nunca más, never again, also implies the future. We will not let this happen ever again. The question arises: how current can we get? There are some places in the world today… this makes this work all the more important to me.

The basic source material, inspired by the documentation of the disappearances, is leading the way for different approaches. By working on speed, muscle tension and shifting awareness, the movements get blurred or become distorted. The postures in itself have a characteristic of being taken out of context, they are maybe uncomfortable, awkward or at least loaded. A lot of them seem non-voluntary. They trigger my imagination about the situation or space they could be in. It opens up another layer of narrative or meaning so to say. In the silence and concentration, you can feel the heaviness of the subject matter.

The material is not fixed or stable. It is sometimes very fragile, but that makes it all the more interesting. I like the dedication that Pablo and William have regarding the work. I am very curious about how things will come together in Amsterdam.

going public

today we had a few visitors in the studio. some people from Fabrik Potsdam and one of my friends from Berlin came to watch an informal showing of the materials we’ve been working on since last week.

today, our 7th rehearsal, we tried for the first time some sort of structure or sequence of different materials we had been working on. it was an interesting challenge to have to think about what could make sense, because I hadn’t been focused on that kind of choices. I asked for some things I wanted to see and I also asked William how would he feel about certain juxtapositions: from both his and my perspective I’m interested in finding organic connections between the different materials, an order (or different orders) that can emerge out of the tendencies inherent in the different movement works. since they all have a common sourcing, there are different options, but still some combinations don’t make sense, or make William’s work too difficult.

what came up: my interest in showing our basic sequence, because it is the source material for all the work, and it has a clarity and simplicity (somehow) that could give the audience an access into the rest of the work. the question is, then, whether to show it at the very beginning or later on. our observers seemed to more or less agree on that, besides the discussions about the physical work itself.

for me, the most striking comments was about other layers coming out of the work beyond the postures and forms. it was interesting to hear someone talk about a certain breathing (which appears with only 2 of the postures) in terms of an emotional content, which I’m interested in triggering. the problem is that she found it irritating and somehow suspicious, maybe because she could read it as an emotional layer. she said the choice for it was not clear enough (since that breathing is a particular work that doesn’t appear all throughout the postures) and that it could feel as a manipulation, some sort of forced attempt at indicating emotion… something like that (hope everyone realizes here that this is my interpretation of the thing). William then pointed out something important, which is about being careful with connecting also these kind of elements (like the breathing) back to the same sourcing process that the postures have… something to keep in mind both when we keep rehearsing these materials and when new things come up, not to cling to the things that work (the solutions) but to keep engaging with the processes that spawn them.

people seemed to see a lot of searching in the postures work, and several times memory was mentioned. it made me wonder if we need to adress that word more or not… in a way, it’s intrinsic in the procedures of work, which is maybe the way of generating an honest approach to it. at the same time, because of its significance in relation to the subject of forced disappearance of people, the social importance of exercising of a historical memory, it made me think that maybe we need to keep the word closer to our work…

it was also interesting to look at how the pictures we are using as sources work in the space, that is, hanging on the back wall, visible though not very clear. they triggered sometimes an awareness of the different gazes in the room, which is an interesting frame, though I would hope it doesn’t bring the audience’s attention into an exclusively visual relating to the performer.

finally, everyone seemed to agree on the necessity for some contextualization. of course the discussion is, how much is enough. it was interesting to hear everyone suggest that the physical work itself is already rather universal in a way that it wouldn’t be so easily narrowed down by giving the audience some context (for instance, with a small program text). this is something I’ve been busy with for already a few days in my head. I haven’t written anything properly yet, but it was good to talk about it today. it seemed in the talk that it could be important to share why I have a personal interest in approaching this subject. I have to say I have been thinking about that in relation to the fact that, in the end, what we are busy with is my interest, rather that Will’s or Ingrid’s, and that talking about it will require then a careful approach  to that situation: what is the difference between my engagement with the subject, and the performers’? and how is that instrumentalized in the work? I’m thinking about those issues specially for the coming presentations in Amsterdam, which are cleary framed as research presentations.

so, we’ll see how it goes on. I have to admit that today’s rehearsal, though short, drained a lot of my energy. it was very intense, and it changed my attention a lot. I go to sleep now.

near future

the next steps in the work with William, which we started adressing yesterday, are about:

* to further layer what we’ve been doing, with an interest in the affective and emotional impact that the work could have. we keep investigating how to emphasize this aspect of the choreographies. we’ve talked about viscerality, about trying some physical practices that could trigger this more. the main idea is to attempt a practice inspired by BMC organ work, to look at the sensations it triggers and at how these could be recalled during the practice of the choreograpies.

* refining the materials we’ve been discovering: definitions and tasks, parameters, how to access them easier

* finding new elements: it would be good to keep an opening for new materials, though I think what we have for now is already a lot and needs attention. we don’t need to force the search for new materials. the potential for new elements lies, I think, in what else can bleed from the photos and their context into the basic movement work.

* maybe sharing with William some of the work we did with Ingrid, as a way to use him and the space to refine those concepts and make the coming work with Ingrid more efficient.