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Anouk LLaurens Eligible Member // Teacher
IDOCs » COMPOSING THE BODY-IES, COMPOSING THE SPACE - Warsaw CI Flow International Dance Festival.
Recollection of the composition workshop I guided during the 11th edition of the Warsaw CI Flow International Dance Festival. Composing the body-ies, composing the space’s observatory is an opportunity to experience the relationship between perception, imagination and composition. Listening to sensations will be the core of our practice, not as a mean for gaining or capitalizing knowledge, technics or tricks, but as a mean for staying available to present circumstances, being composed by and composing with local conditions/presences.
2020.09.12

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COMPOSING THE BODY-IES, COMPOSING THE SPACE

A composition observatory guided by Anouk Llaurens

Warsaw CI flow - 21th to 25th of August 2020 

Description of proposal:

We don’t need to be literally touching to be in contact with the world and each other: light touch our retina, smell touch captors in our nose, sounds touch our hear drum, so one can say that all the senses — touch, hearing, smell, taste, and vision— are ultimately tactile. Thus the world is constantly touching-affecting-composing us, as we are touching- affecting-composing it in return, to the point that one can question whether the dichotomy between body and environment, inside and outside, the other and me, really exists.

Composing the body-ies, composing the space’s observatory will be an opportunity to experience the relationship between perception, imagination and composition. Listening to sensations will be the core of our practice, not as a mean for gaining or capitalizing knowledge, technics or tricks, but as a mean for staying available to present circumstances, being composed by-composing with local conditions/presences.

Each session will articulate movement explorations and compositional games inspired by Tuning Score, a collective compositional practice developed by the American dance artist Lisa Nelson. It will borrow and adapt warm ups that activates attention, perception and body systems. We will practice the compositional games indoor and outdoor. Players will cycle back and forth from being in action and being in observation. This change of perspective will afford them to receive direct feedback from their actions. They will use an operating terminology coming from choreographic and editing practices to act directly on the composition arising (begin, enter, exit, pause, repeat, sustain, reverse, replace, redirect, end…) They will collectively tune the space in order to compose an experience that makes sense for them. The collective attention will support the emergence of poetic spaces where duality between doing and watching, inside and outside, the other and me might temporarily vanish.

 

Day 1: studio space

Warm up : 60 minutes

Lie down in any comfortable position and close you eyes. Pay attention to your sensations whatever they are: sensation of the inner environment and outer environment.

How is the outer environment touching you and where:  floor, air, light, sounds, smells, people, objects, else?

Bring your attention to sensation of the movement of your breath. Where do you perceive it? What is its rhythm, its amplitude? Exchanging with the room, taking O2 from the trees, sending back CO2, a dialogue. Let the oxygen travel through your veins, carried by the blood, reaching extremities and feeding up all cells of the body, trillions of porous breathing cells, expanding and condensing.

Notice how breathing is affecting your relation to the floor/gravity. When you inhale the body (like each cell) naturally expands in all direction like a sun, it lightens up. When you exhale the body relaxes, concentrate and meets the ground more intimately.

There are also PAUSES between inhaling and exhaling. My yoga teacher says the gaps in between are the moment where the body rests and the energy moves. Let the body inhale when it needs to need to rush, let the body exhale when it needs no need to push.

The body can always change position when it needs. Follow your interest.

Let the body roll and find another place to stay and experience breathing.

Use the environment (floor, air, light, objects, people…) to explore yourself, like a newborn that moves to give sensation to herself. Exploring means that you don’t know and have no plan. You discover your path on the way. Notice if you have plans, no need to judge, let them go if possible. You can start with the floor that is the most tangible surface. You can then use more subtle presence like air or light.

The body is moving and pausing. You don’t have to move all the time. Pausing is active. When the body pauses, the attention is moving. Let your attention scan the internal composition of the body, sensation of bones structure, muscle tension, breath, images, thoughts, emotions, desires and pay attention to its relation to the floor, the room and other presences.

Your sensations are your guide. Follow your interest and appetite for movement and stillness.

You can explore different layer of yourself, skin, muscle, bones, organs…

You can explore different relation to gravity and progressively rise up.

You can use air as a support to explore yourself when you rise up.

Keep your eyes close even if not comfortable when you are more vertical. The restriction is there to teach you something. If no restriction, no learning, you just do what you know.

You can explore yourself travelling in space, open skin and hear for encounter. 360° awareness. Resist the temptation to open your eyes. Open your skin to listen and orientate yourself. The skin is the largest sense organ, 360 degrees.

When it is time for you, continue exploring yourself with your eyes open. “OPEN” (is a call that invite you to open your eyes, “CLOSE” to close them).  What does it change? What does it allows?  Keep connected to the previous layers. Opening the eyes is adding possibilities. Can you stay in the receptive mode with your eyes open? Newborn eyes, curious, interested, learning not judging, let the light touch the retinas.

As you continue using the environment to explore yourself with eyes open, you can name out loud what you see and get inspiration from it. Let yourself be moved by what you see.

 

Score 1

A duet between your body and your eyes

Moving eyes closed, pausing eyes open

Moving eyes open, pausing eyes closed

Finally choose the pattern that you want to play with.

What is leading, the body or the eyes? Notice your habits.

In the next two minutes give yourself what you need to complete this exploration. When you feel that you have reached an end call it out loud “END”. When it is the END it is the END. If you end before others, stay connected to the collective space.

 

Break10 minutes

 

Feedback round: comments, questions, discoveries about the warm up. A gift to the collective learning space. Teaching each other.

 

Score 2

30 minutes

A trio. Moving together, pausing together, noticing how time and space compose themselves.

All trios work at the same time in the space.

 

Score 3

30 minutes

Two trios joining each other to make a sextet. Trios alternating moving and watching. Watcher at the center of the room, movers find a “space” at the periphery of the room.

5 minutes rounds and four rounds.

Trio of movers: Moving together, pausing together, composing time and space.

When mover feel that “something” begins they call BEGIN. To begin can take some time. Listen to the “real” collective beginning not the one you want or are used to individually.

When watcher hear BEGING they start the chronometer for five minutes

After five minutes, watchers say “FIVE” to signal to the mover to let the trio END.

When movers acknowledge the end, they call END.

No break when group change from mover to watcher. We want to create a feedback loop. What did you see or not see watching the other group? What do you want to play back and add when you are in the space? Layering of proposal, learning from what you do and see.

Feedback round: comments, questions, discoveries about the composition practice. A verbal, reflexive gift to the collective learning space.

 

Day 2: studio space

warm up

More or less the same warm up than day 1. Using the environment to explore yourself CLOSE (eyes closed) and OPEN (eyes open)

When participant are “OPEN” (eyes open), I introduce PAUSE and REVERSE.

I start calling for the entire group then anyone of the group can call.

Why and when are you calling?

PAUSE: maintain stillness for how long it is alive for you. Measuring the lifespan of your stillness, scanning the internal composition of the body in relation to its surrounding.

REVERSE: revisit your experience going backward as far as you can remember.

 

Break: 10 minutes

 

Feedback round: comments, questions, discoveries about the warm up, a gift to the collective learning space.Teaching each other.

 

Score 1

Sextet (six people).

Find a cooler place to work inside the building; it can be in the studio too

Two trios alternating moving and watching.

5 minutes rounds

Movers are moving. They also call for BEGIN and END. When mover feel that “something” begin they call BEGIN. To begin can take some time. Pay attention to the collective beginning not the one you want individually or the one you are used to.

When watchers hear BEGING, they start the chronometer for five minutes.

After five minutes, watchers say “FIVE” to signal to the mover to let the trio END.

When movers acknowledge the end, they call END.

Watcher can call for PAUSE, REVERSE and SUSTAIN

SUSTAIN:  continue with the activity your are engaged in, to unfold it, as long as you can or want. You can also sustain a PAUSE.

Movers measure the life span of their PAUSE, REVERSE and SUSTAIN.

 

Extract fromTuning scores, an approach to materializing a dance, Lisa Nelson, August 2010

“The commentary cites some predictable consequences of calls from my point of view at the time of this writing. Each player would articulate these differently, and that is the point of the practice, although likely we would discover we share impressions, which is also the point. 


I: from the dancer Inside the action; O: from Observers on the perimeter

Pause as long as you like or as long as you can

I: intense physical engagement to maintain stillness; attention extends into the space in all directions; feel for the moment to reactivate or release into movement in relation to whole and body’s circumstance; opportunity to renew musicality of the space.

O: outer space halts, sudden interruption of flow, expectation, and rhythm of my attention; attention revives to follow its nose; measure relationships with eyes and ears; imagination hobnobs with the future.

Reverse your movement as far as you remember without effort, then continue in real time from the new starting point

I: going reflexively, I let my body retrace its steps; where have I been?; pass through crystals of memory and zones of forgetfulness, noting differences in synchronicity with others in the space; notice when I am reversing my movement or my experience.

O: musicality of the space is recapitulated in a curious variation; attention shifts to details of movement; surprising departures and synchronicities of my memory with the dancers’; time flows forward and backward at once.

Sustain current activity/intention/attention as long as you can or want to


I: sustaining my activity in the direction it is going, I come into unfamiliar relationships with others and the space.

O: time to see details and small changes in the illusion of a stable field of action; anticipate incidental conjunctions of players’ pathways.

No break when group change from mover to watcher, no talking, no applause. We want to create a feedback loop. What did you see or not see watching the other group? What do you want to play back (replay) and add when you are in the space? Layering of proposal, learning from what you do and see.

Calls are not orders. They are tools to communicate your opinion to each other. We can have different opinion and sometime agreements emerge as two or ore persons are using the same call at the same time.

 

Day 3: studio space and outdoor

Score 1: The poor warm up

40 minutes

You can find a drawing and writing documentation of this practice here:http://mindthedance.com/ - article/54/moving-drawing-writing

Use the floor to explore/map the four masses of bones articulated on the spine: pelvis, rib cage, shoulder girdle and head.First of all, touch these four masses with your hands to knowledge them.

You can also look at these bones sculpture on an anatomy book before engaging in the practice. Each of these assemblages is a kind of environment to explore. Remember details.

Start sitting on the floor with your eyes closed. Bring your attention to the bones of your pelvis. Roll on the floor to explore its various parts. There is no sliding, no skipping, only rolling (in Rolling the body is committing as one unit, sliding can be too local). The pelvis is the center of your attention. Other body parts (hands, feet, limbs and others masses) organize themselves to support this specific inquiry. If you notice that you always follow the same pathway, redirect your trajectory to visit unusual places.

Continue the same practice around your rib cage, shoulder girdle and your head – it is almost a sphere; there is infinity of pathways. You can alternate exploring with your eyes closed or open. When they are open: what do you see, what is touching your retina? Can you stay connected to your tactile and kinesthetic sensations while seeing colors, matters, objects and people engaged in the same practice around you?

When you have finished with the head bring your attention to the bones of your hand, feet, legs and arms. Use the floor to explore them. As you are rising toward verticality pay attention to the space in between you and others, limits of the studio, and watch the composition of the room.

 

Warm up Score 2 

Walk forward through the space. Pause in a standing position. Let your center of mass fall backward. Let your feet catch your center of mass and engage into a walking backward exploration of the space. Pause again. Do the same forward again.

Keep the same walking speed (not too slow) and look into the eyes of each person you cross on your way. Gradually accelerate while keeping the eyes contact going. How fast can you go?

Gradually slow down and find stillness.

 

Warm down Score 3

Ideokinesis

Find a dynamic standing position and close you eyes. No need to lock ankles, knees, or hips. Let the body small movement adjustment to gravity happen (Steve Paxton Small dance)

Imagine that you have roots growing under your feet towards the center of the earth.

Notice the effect of the image, how do you perceive yourself standing?

Imagine that you have a long tail that is growing from your coccyx reaching the floor and resting like a third leg behind the space between your two heels.

Notice the effect of the image, how do you perceive yourself standing?

Imagine that there is a string attached to the middle of your sternum and hanging from the ceiling.

Notice the effect of the image, how do you perceive yourself standing?

Imagine hot water running from both shoulders down your arms and water dripping on the floor.

Notice the effect of the image, how do you perceive yourself standing?

Imagine that your head is full of helium, a gas that is lighter than air.

Notice the effect of the image, how do you perceive yourself standing?

 Let the images resonate, tasting your dynamic standing experience.

 Let go of the image, let your eyes open and light touch your retina.

Bring you center of mass forward and catch it with your feet, you are walking forward. Let the walk gently dissolve.

 

Break:10 minutes

 

Single image score (Tuning score)

40 minutes

The single image score is one of the tuning score core practice (with “blind unison trio”, “solo proposition with multiple replays”…). It allows practionners to show each other what they perceive/imagine of the potentiality of a site. Tuning score runs are often starting from this practice that unfold later with the use of calls. We stayed at the first stage of the practice and did not use calls to unfold the images.

In groups of six. Each group chooses a different site to practice with.

1- Players take a common front to look at a space/site in order to share the same image space. Players look at the image space and imagine themselves in it. Where is it inviting you?

2- One player closes her eyes, go where she imagined herself and finds stillness.

This is a new image space. Watchers take the time to taste it, and refresh their imagination. Where do you imagine yourself NOW?

3- A second player closes her eyes and goes where she imagined herself.

This is a third image space. Watchers take the time to taste/measure it (when does it begin and when does it end) with all senses.

4- Both players composing the image space listen and make one synchronized action together. (What is one action?)

Watchers measure the life span of the last image and call END.

We can measure a composition orally (the musical aspect) or visually (the visual aspect) in the single image score we measure the life span of images.  For how long is this image alive for you?  For how long do you want to look at it? For how long can it resonate?  We often don’t let images (and even actions) live their full life. Some images can last (resonate) for very long.

It is very important to take the time in between the first, second and third images space, to refresh your imagination, to let go of your previous desire/ plan, to be in tune with the present situation.

The same when you go to actualize what you imagined: while entering the space with your eyes closed and going towards where you imagine yourself, stay connected to the present circumstances. It is not about being accurate and take “for ever” to reach the place you imagined yourself but to set up an intention and a certain body presence that can be redirected according present circumstances, timing for example. All actions in space, including calls are part of the composition. How do you go to your imagined place? You can experiment with way of entering and timing.

 

Score 2: Blind exploration outdoor with guardian angel

Another way of discovering/unfolding the potential of a site. What is there to play with?

A duet. One explorer, one guardian angel. 30 minutes /15 minutes each. Starting at the entrance of the Laboratorium.

Explorer uses her body to explore the environment with eyes closed. The subject of investigation is not you anymore but the “other”.

Guardian angel follows explorer and protects her if any danger. Be ready to intervene. What does it mean physically and mentally to be ready?

Note: It was Sunday afternoon and there were many people in the park, café and the restaurant near by. I appreciated the contrast of behaviors.

 

Day 4: outdoors

Day 1 warm up with a witness: 70 minutes – 35 min each round

A duet - one explorer – one witness

Explorer uses the environment to explore herself. She revisits the “day 1 warm up” in a different environment and with a witness.

Witness notices how environment is affecting her (explorer is part of her environment) and where her attention is drawn to

Witness also protect mover that spend most of her exploration with eyes closed.

Warm up day 1:

Lie down in any comfortable position and close you eyes. Pay attention to your sensations whatever they are— sensation of the inner environment and outer environment.

How is the outer environment touching you and where:  floor, air, light, sounds, smells, people, objects, else?

Bring your attention to sensation of the movement of your breath. Where do you perceive it? What is its rhythm, its amplitude? Exchanging with the room, taking O2 from the trees, sending back CO2, a dialogue. Let the oxygen travel through your veins, carried by the blood, reaching extremities and feeding up all cells of the body, trillions of porous breathing cells, expanding and condensing.

Notice how breathing is affecting your relation to the floor/gravity. When you inhale the body (like each cell) naturally expands in all direction like a sun, it lightens up. When you exhale the body relaxes, concentrate and meets the ground more intimately.

There are also PAUSES between inhaling and exhaling. My yoga teacher says the gaps in between are the moment where the body rests and the energy moves. Let the body inhale when it needs to need to rush, let the body exhale when it needs no need to push.

The body can always change position when it needs. Follow your interest.

Let the body roll and find another place to stay and experience breathing.

Use the environment (floor, air, light, objects, people…) to explore yourself, like a newborn that moves to give sensation to herself. Exploring means that you don’t know and have no plan. You discover your path on the way. Notice if you have plans, no need to judge, let them go if possible. You can start with the floor that is the most tangible surface. You can then use more subtle presence like air or light.

The body is moving and pausing. You don’t have to move all the time. Pausing is active. When the body pauses, the attention is moving. Let your attention scan the internal composition of the body, sensation of bones structure, muscle tension, breath, images, thoughts, emotions, desires and pay attention to its relation to the floor, the room and other presences.

Your sensations are your guide. Follow your interest and appetite for movement and stillness.

You can explore different layer of yourself, skin, muscle, bones, organs…

You can explore different relation to gravity and progressively rise up.

You can use air as a support to explore yourself when you rise up.

Keep your eyes close even if not comfortable when you are more vertical. The restriction is there to teach you something. If no restriction, no learning, you just do what you know.

You can explore yourself travelling in space, open skin and hear for encounter. 360° awareness. Resist the temptation to open your eyes. Open your skin to listen and orientate yourself. The skin is the largest sense organ, 360 degrees.

When it is time for you, continue exploring yourself with your eyes open. “OPEN” (is a call that invite you to open your eyes, “CLOSE” to close them).  What does it change? What does it allows?  Keep connected to the previous layers. Opening the eyes is adding possibilities. Can you stay in the receptive mode with your eyes open? Newborn eyes, curious, interested, learning not judging, let the light touch the retinas.

As you continue using the environment to explore yourself with eyes open, you can name out loud what you see and get inspiration from it. Let yourself be moved by what you see.

 

Score 1: Revisiting score 2 of day 3 in outdoors conditions

40 minutes

4 groups of six peoples.

Choose a site that you would like to practice not far from the entrance of the laboratorium so I can see all groups. This site will be the site that you will practice in public and you will stay with the same group.

Two trios alternating moving and watching.

5 minutes rounds

Movers are moving. They also call for BEGIN and END. When mover feel that “something” begin they call BEGIN. To begin can take some time. Pay attention to the collective beginning not the one you want individually or the one you are used to.

When watchers hear BEGING, they start the chronometer for five minutes.

After five minutes, watchers say “FIVE” to signal to the mover to let the trio END.

When movers acknowledge the end, they call END.

Watcher can call for PAUSE and REVERSE.

Mover measure the duration of their PAUSE and their REVERSE.  This time, mover don’t have to synchronize. The pauses and reverses can have different life span.

No break when group change from mover to watcher, no talking, no applause. Alternating moving and watching creates a feedback loop, a layering of proposition. What did you see or not see watching the other group? What do you want to play back (replay) and add when you are in the space?

 

Feedback round

 

Day 5: indoors

Warm up: I propose this specific warm up to practice embodying someone else to introduce later the REPLACE call

60 minutes /30 minutes each,

a duet, one mover one reader, side by side, facing the same front.

Mover with eyes OPEN, reader with eyes CLOSED.

Reader uses one hand to read the mover’s body to imitate/embody it.

After a moment reader can take snapshot.

After a moment reader can open eyes

Both measure when the duet ends and when they agree call END.

 

Extract from "Tuning scores, an approach to materializing a dance, Lisa Nelson", August 2010

“Replace observers’ choice to replace a dancer’s activity as faithfully as possible; all dancers exit whether replaced or not

I (inside as a mover): sustain my activity to give time for observers to read and enter; feel space converging toward me; does someone desire to take my place?; curious to see a version of my circumstances from the outside.

O (at the periphery of the space as a watcher): parts of the perimeter fold into the space directly toward its contents; some forms multiply, some are displaced, resituated, or abandoned, while original image cross fades into the borders, leaving a new organization of some of the same elements; enter to replace someone either to experience their movement or, by reading the intentions of the others entering, choose to balance or unbalance the density of the image.”

 

Break

 

Score 1 : Revisiting Score 2 of day 3 + REPLACE

Two trios alternating moving and watching.

5 minutes rounds

Movers are moving. They also call for BEGIN and END. When mover feel that “something” begin they call BEGIN. To begin can take some time. Pay attention to the collective beginning not the one you want individually or the one you are used to.

When watchers hear BEGING, they start the chronometer for five minutes.

After five minutes, watchers say “FIVE” to signal to the mover to let the trio END.

When movers acknowledge the end, they call END.

Watcher can call for PAUSE, REVERSE and REPLACE

 

Feedback round 

 

Words about the public practice

 

Break : Two hours

 

Gathering with players before public practice outdoor:

Remember it is not a performance but a public practice. Stay connected to your experience — sensation, emotions, though, imagination.Remember to listen to your sensation and following your interest within the collective composition setting. Let mover find something before your start to call. Be careful not to bombard them with calls. Remember it is a dialogue so there are two sides. Don’t be afraid to make mistake, there are no mistake, or we are looking for the mistakes. Do what you need. Notice when you monopolize the action/calling space and inhibit yourself to give space to others.

 

Public practice outdoor: 60 minutes

4 groups of six peoples in four different sites

Trios alternating moving and watching.

5 minutes rounds/ 30 minutes

Movers are moving. They also call for BEGIN and END. When mover feel that “something” begin they call BEGIN. To begin can take some time. Pay attention to the collective beginning not the one you want individually or the one you are used to.

When watchers hear BEGING, they start the chronometer for five minutes.

After five minutes, watchers say “FIVE” to signal to the mover to let the trio END.

When movers acknowledge the end, they call END.

Watcher can call for PAUSE, REVERSE, SUSTAIN and REPLACE

Mover measure the duration of their PAUSE and their REVERSE. 

No break  between the rounds no talking, no applause to creates a feedback loop, a layering of proposition.

 

Introduction for watchers:

We have been practicing compositions, playing with composing and being composed by the environment/present and sensual circumstances. You are going to witness (participate?) a public practice. It is not a performance. People are at work and hopefully they will make you at work too. The practice is inspired by Tuning Score, a collective and improvisational game developed by American dance artist Lisa Nelson.

You will hear people using calls. Notice when you also start to be engaged in the practice and feel the desire to call too.  Please don’t do it, as there would be too many people calling, but noticing and becoming aware of how what you see if moving you is already a lot.

There are fours groups of players. Each group has chosen a site to play with. They all look at this site from the same agreed front. You can walk from one site/group to the other. Follow your interest and take your time to engage with a group before moving to another.

We will play for 30 minutes and then gather back her to share impressions, questions and comments.please do not applause between the round , you can do it at the end of the 30 minutes.

Thank you.

 

Feedback round with public question and comments : 30 minutes

 

Added note about audience’s “participation”:

One of Lisa’s questions while developing the Tuning Score was addressed to audience members, asking them if they were improvising while she was dancing.

This question has been also addressed by French philosopher Jacques Rancière in his book “The emancipated spectator”: “Emancipation begins when we challenge the opposition between viewing and acting; when we understand that the self-evident facts that structure the relationship between saying, seeing and doing themselves belong to the structure of domination and subjection. It begins when we understand that viewing is also an action that confirms or transforms this distribution of positions. The spectator also acts, like the pupil or the scholar. She observes, selects, compares, interprets. She links what she sees to a host of other things that she has seen on other stages, in other kinds of places. She composes her own poem with the element of the poem before her. She participate in the performance by refashioning it in her own way – by drawing back, for example, from the vital energy that it is supposed to transmit in order to make it a pure image and associate this image with a story which she has read or dreamt, experienced or invented. They are thus both distant spectators and active interpreters of the spectacle offered to them.

This is a crucial point: Spectators see, feel and understand something in as much as they compose their own poem, as, in their way, do actors or playwrights, directors, dancers or performers. The emancipated spectator –p 13, Jacques Rancière. Ed Verso

 

More info about Lisa Nelson work

http://oralsite.be/pages/Conversations_in_Vermont

http://olga0.oralsite.be/oralsite/pages/What's_the_Score_Publication/#fn:10

 


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