I am currently writing a transfer document for my PhD and the most recent section was on creative methodology. It got me thinking about the shift in my thinking from when I first started creating movement and how I go about it now. I used to be quite structured, with a very clear plan about each rehearsal, and I still am if I am on a tight timescale or if I am creating for class choreography or technique. However, when it comes to performance work I try to find the theory in the movement before I arrange the aesthetic. Let me explain below.

In the video above, which I suggest you watch, Wayne McGregor offers one of the clearest demonstrations of how one might go about their didactic creative process in dance; what can be used as a stimulus, how various phrases can be put together like a jigsaw puzzle and how the dancers’ bodies can come together. When I first started creating work, I found his work really useful because I could see how movement could be formed by random imagery and visual architecture. As mentioned above, this creative methodology still works when I am creating technical movement or movement for movement sake. However, if I were to apply it to my performance work (which is now predominantly centred on objectification and empowerment), I would struggle to find the link between the overall abstract architectural structure of the movement and its relation to deeper meaning of the work. For instance, if I were to draw the word “object” with my body, how could I make that link to the wider meaning of the word? First thought is that I could perform the movement in sort of a robotic way, which would cause an absence in my subjectivity. However, I would then have to think more about why I respond to such external control and where it would go next. From a solo perspective, it would deviate too far away from the theme of the work.

So, for me, here is where improvisation comes in. Rather than being bound to a specific and rigid external stimulus that is only aesthetically pertinent to the work, why not find out, through experimenting with impulsive physicality, what the meaning of the word really means to you. I said word to refer to the “object” example above, but this could be extended to an experience or event. I suppose the point I am trying to make here, more to myself than anything else, is that one creative method does not fit all.

More regular updates to come.

Rowena x

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