Bedroom dancing

I’ve been away in another country for a week.

Belgrade, Serbia, attending a digital arts conference ‘Resonate’ and being inspired by the super warm and creative vibes of the artists, designers and new friends I’ve made there.

Actually, I’m also really happy about where I’m staying… in a beautiful studio flat, where everything is pretty much in one room…  Bed, kitchen, bar, a little bathroom… And a great wooden floor for dancing. I’ve been dancing everyday after I wake up, before I go out. It seems to integrate the movements of ‘dancing’ into my daily vocabulary of pedestrian actions.

blog photo notes serbia.jpgDrawings from after my daily dancing

 

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Watching others

I was in a bar the other day.

It was the busiest bar on the street.

One of the groups of drinkers broke out and two girls started dancing something like an Irish jig or the Riverdance.

The sound drew me in, their energy. It was a good few seconds before I noticed I was even watching them. And I felt like it was not rude to watch them.

They seemed to get a bit nervous after being observed and they went back to their seats, slightly awkwardly.

Later I wondered why I didn’t feel like I could carry on watching them after they stopped ‘dancing’.  It felt so normal to watch them because they were ‘dancing’. Or was it because I was hungry to just witness other bodies and the notion of dancing gave me a validation to just look at them? Did it make them self conscious? I often crave a freedom to watch people and for them to knowingly let me watch them, even outside of the performance context. Sometimes I do it but mostly just of my periphery vision, ‘seeing’ them from other parts of me, like my torso or belly. It feels reassuring, like we are in the same ocean, that we are somehow connected… perhaps via our feet on the ground or the energy radiating from one heart to another.  It sounds cheesy but it feels great.

 

 

antony gormley feeling material.jpg
Antony Gormley: Feeling Material

Collaboration!

I’ve recently been practicing my collaborating skills with a many people,
Trust, and letting go of control are things that are coming up for me…
And not having to agree..

Like Jonathon Burrows says: ‘In the gap between what you agree with and what you disagree with, is a place where you might discover something new…’

Can we collaborate with ourselves also?  Find ways to gently trick ourselves into letting go and trusting our impulses?…

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Two hieroglyph scores from a creative session working with Tim Murray-Browne, on new dance technology collaboration, ‘Slow Movement’ (working title!)

This is one of the dances I improvised out in the streets one sunny day last year… Now I look back on them, I can see just how much I respond to the sounds of the environment, like music. Also, it seems that the influence of people’s interactions and actions also, like music, has its effect on my stream of consciousness. I would like to develop this further… to find points in the dance, where I can reach out to people even further, and to also find some silences and settle inward into myself.. To go between these, to extend the range of states.

Dance for Music, Music for Dance

Recently I played live improvised music for a few dance improvisation events.

A few questions arise and linger in the air…

What’s needed of me?  I am needed?  Can dancers find their own music?  Why am I here, as a musician?

Sometimes I think I am needed, sometimes I feel pretty independent, and free in what I can play.

Sometimes I know that the dancers and the space needs some uplifting, or some shaking up.  I can feel it, see it.

Sometimes I feel the difference in what I can imagine to play, and sometimes it feels not very good to play certain styles of music with certain dancers. It gets me or them stuck perhaps. Sometimes its better to not try to reference any kind of musical style at all… Maybe fragment it, cut it, samples, distorted landscapes, less total, more challenge, use physical scores or something about the rhythm and texture beyond anything else.

So… what about a space where there is negotiation and dialogue?

Perhaps it’s something to do with always ‘changing the rate of change’ as the choreographer Jonathan Burrows says.  Like a stream or a flow between the players and dancers.

Like yesterday night when I was improvising music for a dance class, I felt that I was in sync with this stream with the other dancers.  I think it helped that I did the physical warmup with them and shared a freedom to move within the physical space.

In all situations, can there be an equal feeling of creative collaboration between dancers, and musician(s), that it’s not merely one accompanying the other?

Mike Vargas wrote a useful and inspiring list about relating between dancers and musicians:  http://www.mikevargas.net/documents/Notice-and-Contribute.pdf

I will keep musing on this… or maybe I should keep dancing on this