I won’t complain about the detrimental effects that Covid-19 has had on my life this past two weeks, but let’s just say it was depressing deleting all of the exciting projects I was due to work on before all of this came about. You can view short improv at the end of this post if you want to learn more about my response to covid-19. On another note and sticking to the purpose of this blog, I am sharing a piece of research that I have engaged with this week, something I have read and something I have watched.

Constraint in Improvisation

Goldman asks a really straight forward and significant question ‘‘what does improvisation look like and whose tradition is it’’? The short answer is that is does not belong to anyone. The beauty and power of improvisation comes from the individuality of the mover and their social, cultural and political backgrounds. However, the form in which the dancer is trained could potentially act as a restraint. I supposed this is akin to my feeling towards being attached to objects on stage and that they somehow make my work much more interesting than if I was to go on stage without them. This encourages me to think further about the notion of freedom and restraint and how I could, in improvisation, go against my habitual movements and inherent bodily signature to discover something that is “freer”.

What I have Read

It couldn’t have been a more appropriate time for me to read Austin Kleons “Keep Going”. Here are few points I took from reading this text.

  • Instead of only making “to do” lists, make “to create” or “to research” lists. This will deepen discipline and goals. Similarly, a “not to do” list can be just as beneficial as a “to do list”. For instance, because my strengths lie in solo work, I might make the decision to always create on my own or one other body as opposed to giving my attention to a bigger cast.
  • Creativity is about connection, you must be connected to others in order to be inspired and to share your work. But you must also be able to disconnect to protect the connection you have with yourself. Give yourself some creative incubation time.
  • Have something of your art that is only for you. A little piece of you that does not need to reach an audience. I have many pieces that I have made and never shown to anyone and have found this really beneficial.
  • You can dance without creating a dance. Sometimes I forget this when I get caught up creating a dance for everyone else to enjoy.
  • “You do not need to have an extraordinary life to make extraordinary work. Everything you need to make extraordinary art can be found in your everyday life.” (p.104). This point is also appropriate for the current time. I do not need a massive space to dance, I (and you) just need body and mind.

What I have watched

Requiem for a Dream (2001) was one of the most powerful full length films I have watched in a long time. It was very traumatic and with a small cast, I grew much empathy for the characters who were all suffering with drug addiction or psychosis. There was a scene where the young attractive girl in the film is forced to sell her body to buy drugs for herself and her boyfriend. This, of course, leads to further prostitution for more money to buy more drugs. The editing of the film was absolutely incredible and generated a sharp intensity that I need to learn how to achieve in live performance work. I think it was their repetitive use of split screen and close ups, like the cooking of the drugs and the dilation of the pupils once the high had hit.

Rowena x

I will be back with more notes next week, but in the meantime, you can see my daily updates by following me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook