Thursday, January 20, 2011

Frying Pan Post - Susanna, January 20, 2011

And this question of dancing. Are we dancing?
I find I worry about this less both when we are dropped into each other and also when we are staying connected to our physicality - however that may be, and whatever we may be doing. Perhaps it's not surprising that these two givens are usually linked and take care of each other. The body, the self, the physical self (be that moving flesh or sound) needs that softness you describe, Sarah. A suppleness.
Nonetheless, like we discussed in the studio today, I want to keep open to all the possibilities for movement and not put a cap on our modes of physicality. What you pointed out today is key, though. Not every possible quality of movement is going to be appropriate for every improvisation we enter into. And it's certainly possible that there's an overall tone or world to this thing that is our meeting (the score) that inherently excludes some things. Like it's unlikely I'll find myself doing a dévélopé, but you never know. All kidding aside, though...
In deciphering the physical manifestation of any moment, there is again that need for suppleness and continual dropping in. An image or movement impulse presents itself and you can't just stay with the surface of it, the idea of it, it's first glimmer; you need to keep following the tiniest details of it's actual physicality... every moment.
No wonder we're exhausted!
Maybe there will always be a small sense of longing for what didn't happen... and maybe that's ok.

Frying Pan Post - Sarah, January 20, 2011

I'm thinking about this notion of dropping...dropping in, dropping the voice, dropping my shoulders, there is this downward pull into giving in, loosening up, opening up. I'm remembering one of our first discoveries about allowing things to happen and not tightening up in the face of the unknown next step. We described it as a softening, remember? I felt that unless I relaxed in some way, through breathing or just dropping my muscular intention, I couldn't receive anything that would lead to the next impulse. In these last 3 days, we've been revelling in a very "dropped" place, for me a softened place of becoming a kind of sponge that can hold all my creative resources and energy while still able to absorb and soak up Susanna's to better play with her, merge and unmerge, join or contrast, but always stay in relation. It's a delicate place but one of such strength. It is a delicious challenge to stay in the unknown and breathe through it, trusting that something will emerge. In fact, it just takes noticing it, and we realize that the next place to be has already emerged, we just need be in it to follow it. We've been finding that it is in the simplest and quietest places that we find the roots of our next impulse...and the longer we stay with the stillness and quietude, the more fruitful and lush the next place will be to visit.

We improvised for an hour straight today and just about burned ourselves out. It's a special kind of exhaustion, one of mind more than body. An exhaustion of the imagination.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Frying Pan Post - Susanna, January 19, 2011

Just before we took a break for the holidays, we invited Linda Rabin into the studio to witness our work. This was so illuminating! Just getting used to grappling with the unknown in front of someone who's opinion we respect is humbling and a cue that we need to do more of it in preparation.

But the thing that has really stayed with me was her insight into our approach. It's really true that at a certain point, all the tools you practice really are only tools. Without leaving space for the chemistry to ignite between us, it remains an exercise, and actually from the inside, the holding on to those tools makes it deadly.

Listening... really listening to Sarah. Entering right into the cells of what she's offering. Acknowledging our inherent energetic differences and traveling fully together from the vibration that is essentially hers to mine and back. It's an incredibly volatile and exhilarating roller-coaster ride. Our first first couple of encounters with this new tack were hypnotic, almost drug-like.

Of course today the drug started to wear off a bit... to be expected. Can't hold on to even that. And some of our accumulated struggles and questions resurfaced. And now some new ones as well. For instance, I seem now to be having an aversion to any of the language-sharing play that had become a staple in our work. And what is this new experience of "dropped" (our term for reducing the intensity and being more "normal" - just Susanna and Sarah meeting)? It seems intangible, especially in those moments when I fall off the wave.

That old familiar friend and wrench-thrower, second-guessing.

I think that's all I have to say for now to start.
But, seeing as this blog is beginning far into the conversation, I'll just list a couple of points that have come up over the last few months.

Maybe Sarah or I will have more to say on these:

- the essential difference between composing and improvising - I've changed my view-point on this considerably through this process. I used to be someone who called improvising "instant composition". I am no longer of that mind now through this experience. An essential element of composing is the outside view and editing from that outside view. Taking that outside view within an improvisation is antithetical to the act of improvising. And this also relates to how we witness improvisation. I'll say more on all this later.

- being "dropped" vs. being "extreme" or "performative"

- how much of a score is necessary? what makes this performance a qualifiable entity when it is never the same?

10-4 till soon,

Frying Pan Conversations

Hello dear readers,

After too long a hiatus, I am re-animating this blog to provide a window into the creative process for "The Frying Pan's Too Wide".

At the heart of a shared-evening of performance by the same name (which will run at Tangente in Montreal from Feb 18 - 27, Montreal choreographer Sarah Bild and I are engaged in the ongoing creation and recreation of an improvised duet called "The Frying Pan's Too Wide". We began this process about two years ago, simply meeting to follow our desire to develop a practice of improvising together inspired by our shared studies in Ruth Zaporah's Action Theatre.

This practice has developed into a very loosely scored improvised performance, with several performance incarnations along the way. Over the past five months our work has evolved into a swaying dance of continually straying from and returning with fresh eyes to the Action Theatre work, becoming a practice and view-point all onto itself.

The simplest core of the work that's been developing seems to be the history of our meeting in a studio consistently over time to play, wrestle, converse, laugh, question, and work. Our questioning conversation is physical, but inevitably it leads us back to language, and this is what we'd like to share over the next month on this blog as we head into the final stretch.

By noting some of the things that arise, confound, and delight us in the studio, we will continue our conversation on-line. Please feel free to listen in and join the conversation if you so desire.

We're hoping that our on-line conversation will provide some entry points to those of you who can eventually join us in the theatre.