Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Friday Morning Moves - 16th September

This week's theme turned out to be kidney's and lungs. Seems that these things find themselves within the movement and exercises that we end up doing. Starting with a loose MandB format moving through the room in relation to partners bodies we end up finding the lines between kidneys and feet and lungs and hands. This turns out to be food for most of the session, including individual and partnered explorations of each organ and their relationship.

Clare's really interested in handstands at the moment, and so we move into a repeated flow designed to turn us upside down and get us on to our hands. We end up with three people supporting the fourth to do a handstand with information from the supporters focussing again on the kidneys, lungs and related limbs. The experience of these supported and aligned handstands is pretty awesome, and a real sense of light groundedness emerges.

I've been playing with water and balloons for quite a while now, stemming from my masters research at AUT, and thought I'd separate them out into two different object experiences, with hot water bottles full of hot/warm water, and balloons full of air. First with the bottles, I invite people to think of them as people, exploring them through the different depths of their body, tissues, organs, bony structures, then thinking how they might be experiencing your body as a sensory/movement experience. We move for a while and then join with another person, to make a four 'person' improvisation, giving our bottles and ourselves opportunities to experience the different textures, temperatures and sensations of our bodies and play.

Bottles are then left, and we start to use the balloons as a rolling point of contact between partners. The particular lightness and fragility of the balloons is a nice experience of the attention needed to successfully partake in a contact relationship, and this one seems to have a life and a mind of its own, as the balloon is rather unpredictable at times. With more balloons added into the mix, we are challenged to be ever more present, and always moving, over, around, under, through ourselves and each other. A very fun score.

Lastly, the balloons are used to give a partner a light, yet sure experience of the boundaries of their body as they lie on the ground, and then move with the balloon tracing, informing and being lead by the movement.

Gratitude to all who were present, and the space that allows such spacious play!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Friday Morning Moves - 9th September

Clare and I sometimes like to plan our classes. Sometimes we don't. Today's class was planned, but then it started, and I'm pretty sure we hadn't written down the exercise that emerged. I guess that's what happens when you move with someone for a long time, movement arises from our shared history and bodily experience, in our case, contact improvisation and healing modalities.

So our first movement experience of the day was a contact/stretch/healing flow that started to juice us, squeeze us, using rotational, spiraling forces on skin and organs, following lines, and giving and receiving intentions to be present and release tension.

When we received our first and only participant for the day, we shifted into a more 'formal' experience of class, firstly using a Body and Brain technique, of tapping our puku, and then our organs and meridian lines to heat ourselves, and warm up our kidneys, and then moved to a sounding/vibrational experimentation of our chakras through the vowel sounds. I experienced this exercise during my work with Louise Potiki-Bryant on Charles Royal's farm, creating the Te Karohirohi work that happened there during 2010/11. Erina Daniels lead this offering, and it is one that I have come back to again and again for myself as a way of invigorating my body in a fully three dimensional way, and allows a deep sense of listening at the same time as sounding.

I invited us to experience five of our chakras, root, navel, heart, throat and third eye/crown through five vowels, u,o,a,e,i, in that order from bottom to top. As we sounded each vowel, in different tones and notes, we used our hands, and then moved our bodies with the sound, both on the spot and through the room, to wake up, release tension, and bring greater awareness to each area. Each vowel and chakra became stacked upon the others, and all sides of our bodies were breathed and vibrated.

We then experimented with improvising through the room with any vowel or chakra that felt appropriated or needed. Lastly, we came close together, sounding into the space between us, creating a soundscape of vowels and tones, listening, spacing, leaving, sounding into the air, finally moving the sound up, down and around each of our bodies to completely activate our selves inside and out.

With these fully activated bodies, Clare started an M and B style section of the class that worked on techniques of preparation for handstands and inversions, opening up our side bodies, strengthening lower bodies, co-ordinating and confusing ourselves between sides, and stacking organs and chakras upside down.

This was leading towards finding spirals through the body on the ground, rolling from limb through torso to limb, with guidance from two others. She invited us to feel the softening of the organs through each spiraling movement, with the intention of not to have the greatest 'stretch', but to have a greater sense of connection and ease in our bodies, that at each moment there is a line of spiral through our body that is created through the support and tone of the organs. This delicious experience of a familiar exercise was noted to be much easier after the opening of our bodies that had been done through the class leading up to this time, as opposed to it being experienced as more of a 'warm up' exercise.

Our final play was to see if we could take this spiraling into a contact exercise, with two people spiraling over and under each other, each trying to complete the task of the original exercise with as much integrity as possible. Seriously good stuff! Thanks Xin Chen for participating in today's movement styles.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Friday Morning Moves - 2nd September

Clare on Chair, Alyx on floor with broom, val on Broom

Today we start with balls, squishy, small, large, harder, spiky, smooth, a range of balls that allow us to find ways to squish our selves, roll, breathe and sound on to and into the object we have picked. The sounds vibrate into and through the objects and back into ourselves as we move. Sounds evolve into syllables and pre-words. Sounds and objects and people join, to sound and breathe into each other.

Dead body exercise follows, and we invite people to be curious, to research a person's body, it's densities, textures, movement pathways, tendencies, finding out about it's structures and qualities through our own body and it's own structures. Four people give one person an experience of their body, opening up space and sensation. We discussed the experience of this work and the expansiveness of our experience through touch, the aliveness that comes through manipulation and the invitation to just observe and feel rather than do or try. I found the differences of touch and sensation happening throughout my body to be interesting in that this created a more 'total' body experience, where no one body part or sensation had dominance over another. 

Some contact improvisation work activates us in a more active way with one person using the other as a surface and structure to explore their peripheral and then their 'core' bodies, then swapping roles. 

This exercise leads to individual explorations of kinesphere, core relationships using circles, spirals and movement into and out of the floor, upside down and up again. 

A game of stay close to but don't touch another person ensues, with addition of compulsory swearing every time you do touch.

Jiggling jogging, then finding different surfaces of feet to experiment with in relation to the rest of your body, moving into specific toes and fingers leading movement around kinesphere. Being specific about how each specific part shifts the rest of the body's movement possibility.

Object play with things from the hall and things we'd brought. The initial task was to use an object in a way it's not made for, notice how you are using it, repeat it on both sides, then take the object away and repeat. Move to another object and repeat

Then, take one object, repeat the task, and then instead of starting the explorations again with another object, repeat the action from that last one but transfer it to a new object. Keep transferring the original object action to new objects, and then eventually accumulate information from each object to carry on with in the next interaction. 

Witnessing in pairs, interact with a few objects then come back to the original object.

Reflections from object play:
For me, there was an interesting kind of architecture created through the objects and bodily interactions. Interesting to just see people repeating an action regardless of object, yet each object distorting, shifting, rearranging bodies according to the specificities of the object's structure and materiality. Some people found that they were kind of 'bored' when they were doing the task. In watching it though there was much more interest. Others found that there was an intense sensorial experience that was interesting, but actually watching it may have been more boring. We discussed how the 'inside' and 'outside' experiences of performing and performance are not necessarily correlated. I think this could be especially so of contact and somatic practices, where the inquiry is often intensely personal, experiencing sensation and feeling through movement (or stillness).

Thinking about Object sensory explorations, densities of touch explorations, object chakras and healing objects....


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Musings #1: Developments of a paper for Undisciplining Dance Symposium 2016: Parental Practices and Performance

I thought that it might be interesting to revisit the thinking process I underwent to present a paper at the Undisciplining Dance Symposium in July this year. What I eventually presented was quite unlike the earlier versions, and was based on quite a different and more specific subject matter, but in the process of arriving at this subject matter, quite a lot of other interesting things came up. Re-reading them now, I'm interested in developing more conversations with others around these ideas.

These are purely cut and pasted form word docs I wrote in kind of note/stream of consciousness form..

What does parenthood do to undiscipline a body, practice, performance?
What does parenthood do to discipline a body, practice, performance?
 What does an ‘attachment’ or ‘responsive’ parenting model do to a body, practice, performance?
What do these parenting practices offer to us as dance and movement practitioners?
Hierarchies of teacher/student, choreographer/dancer?

Bodies in fluidstates, bodies exploding, food and sleep cycles, community, families of support, roles of mothers and fathers, roles of women and men, how do we feel in our skin, in the skins of these roles.
What are the expectations of parents, and in particular, mothers, to be able to work after baby? What are mothers expectations? What are everyone’s needs in relation to the work they hope to continue with? How do families negotiate everyone’s needs? What are ways in which they feel supported, or let down by the people they are working for, by the institutions, companies, families they work for?
How do mothers, fathers, parents, negotiate bodily needs and the shift from disciplined to undisciplined bodily experiences, and sometimes back again?
What is the perception of a disciplined body, and it’s usefulness within the wider experience of life outside of a dance box? How have parents used their dance practice within their family life? Punishment? Self control? Physical interaction with children? How do dance practices come into the small everyday details of family interactions?
In the absence of a studio practice, where do dance practices exist to enable parenting dancers to continue to feel like they practice?
What communities exist that encourage parents and children to dance together?

Friday, August 26, 2016

26 August 2016

Clare rolled around the studio for most of the morning whilst I was attending to my daughter...

When I got there we played with 'domestic' interactions of objects, noticing movement patterns and bodily co-ordinations, then moving these co-ordinations, patterns and movements around the room, abstracting them out and playing with object-body interactions and characters.

We then played a made up game, which consisted of: only being allowed to sweep a small spiky ball with brooms at the same time as only being allowed to kick a larger squishier Pilates ball around the room. Both of us had brooms but were chasing the same balls... a lot of laughing and remembering why people like to play ball games.

Lastly, we set up an 'object' obstacle contact course, which we approached from one end each. I was enjoying the different textures and densities of the objects, the way in which they became second, third or fourth 'partners', who were at once both less predictable, or maybe less 'known' as a body, but also more passive in their trajectories. They still all had their own movement qualities, affordances, ways of responding or not, that seemed to be endlessly interesting.

These tasks were felt to be fruitful and would be something to explore more.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

First Friday Morning Moves 19th August 2016

Friday 19th August:
Consisted of:

A soccer ball being kicked, thinking about how you learn an action, replay the action for both sides of your body, become familiar with an action and then abstract it so you can create strange sequences.

A greeting and excitement of gathering, new opportunities, opening, checking in.

An offering of a grounding Thai bodywork practice from Clare.

An offering of spiraling MnB practice, moving through the joints from feet to head to arms, with attention to the sexual organs of the body and relationship of hands and feet to organs, reflexology style.

A play with objects, contacting them. Then contacting a partner as if they were the object, firstly without their engagement with your contact other than their body being material to work with. Then swap roles. Finally, both people engaging with the other person as though they were the original object. Plus observation of the other partnerships.

Much fun.