MORNING MOVEMENT PRACTICE
ASYMMETRIC AUTONOMIES: A TECHNICAL APPROACH TO EMBODYING GRAVITY
WITH ANDREW WASS
In this first week we will cover the basics of weight sharing and simple patterns movement to create a common vocabulary as a point of departure for the group, drawing on concepts from release technique, yoga, Alexander technique, Material for the Spine, and developmental movement.
ANDREW WASS BIO
After graduating from University of California, San Diego with a degree in Biochemistry in 1997, Andrew Wass replaced the chem lab with the dance studio. By experimenting with aleatoric processes, he finds that movement reveals an inherent awkwardness, a humor that echoes our own vulnerabilities. He formalizes the coincidental and emphasizes the conscious processes of composition that are the generative source of much of his works. Andrew works by creating a defined, almost crystalline palette in order to generate a myriad of possibilities. The possibilities are reduced and concentrated in the moments of execution and reception. Vital to his development has been the phrase. The content lies in the structure(Impro:110) and combining the methods learned in the laboratory with performative practices.
His performance work has been shown in San Diego, LA, San Francisco, Marfa, Tokyo, Tijuana, New York, and Seattle. Teaching has taken him to festivals and universities in Japan, Germany and throughout the United States. He has performed in work by Nancy Stark Smith, Mary Overlie, Jess Curtis, Nina Martin, among others. A member of the performance groups Non Fiction and Lower Left he is a graduate of the MA program of Solo/Dance/Authorship at the Hochschulübergreifendes Zentrum für Tanz in Berlin.
FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION
WITH DIANA THIELEN
“It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic, of all things physical and metaphysical, of all things human and all things superhuman, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of the soul, that the life is recognizable in its expression, that form ever follows function. This is the law.” (Louis Sullivan, 1896)
Form follows function, an idea that has been widespread in architecture informs our investigation in these consecutive morning classes. As dance and movement practices often tend to center aesthetics, the utilization of biomechanics, physics and anatomy offers a different sort of freedom in one's own movement vocabulary and therefore enables people with a wider range of bodies and (training-) experiences to participate. The potentials as well as limitations of our anatomies and also of this approach will embrace the structure of the class, invites for engaged discussions, and time to embody theoretical knowledge. The exploration starts with rolling and crawling and leads us to more diverse and sweeping choreographies. We gonna run and jump, to fathom the manifold anatomical structures and supportive body mechanics and bringing them to bear in various movement situations.
The Axis Syllabus (AS) could be described as a trans-disciplinary Toolbox which provides discoveries and tactics for improving movement education and practices. As a tool for teaching, the AS requires a commitment to research, to questioning and reflecting upon movement disciplines, which create various ways to experience and practice it.
DIANA THIELEN BIO
Diana Thielen is a dancer/performer, teacher of the Axis Syllabus, dedicated feminist, and student of education and gender studies, based in Berlin, Germany. She graduated from Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance/SEAD in 2008 and is teaching workshop/classes/intensives in Contemporary dance, CI/partnering and Yoga in Berlin and all around in Europe. As a movement activist Diana is involved in organizing gatherings exploring the intersection of dance and body politics and shares her intersectional inquiry and fascination with the human body in all its expressions on her blog movementactivism.com .
Currently Diana is collaborating with the director/performer Alisa Tretau, with whom she already worked and performed in the (queer-) feminist and sex-positive Installation "Sweet Peep Salon", Berlin 2016. Together with performer Sarah Bouars she got invited to perform the duo “2 feminist perspEGGtives” at the International Feminist Art Festival Chouftouhonna 2017 in Tunis/Tunisia. As a person who loves animals, especially cats and dogs, Diana currently explores the idea of founding a (queer-)family, which isn’t limited to human beings, but expands care-taking to any sentient being.
AFTERNOON THEMATIC WORKSHOP
WITH ANNA NOWICKA
In his book: “24/7 Late capitalism and the end of sleep”, Jonathan Crary points to sleeping and dreaming being the last resorts of humans independence, spheres that resist capitalism. By the marketed reality they are pronounced obsolete, while they actually allow us to make sense of things, understand what we need, and to re-orientate.
We are actually dreaming all the time.
The creative work I propose will specifically focus on becoming awake to the ongoing dreaming process that is accompanying our conscious existence, allowing this continuous flow of sensations, feelings and images to in-form the body, influence its presence and become the source of actions. We will also work on participants’ night dreams, closely observing the way they are composed, using their structure as a kaleidoscopic map for creativity. The aim of the process is to combine intuitive ways of creating with conscious choreographic decisions, and to empower performers to connect with their dreaming as a legible source of knowledge and foundation for creativity. The work will begin with an awareness and sensitivity practice that I name ‘attending’. The aim is to prepare the body to be open for creating from ‘here and now’, for noticing the continuous flow impulses, sensations, images and feelings, and for becoming aware of different possibilities - present in every moment of the process – for the movement to emerge. By ‘shifting the eye’ to different places within the body and outside of it, allowing them to in-form one's actions, one will learn to remain engaged while performing, and to follow the constantly changing stage situation. This practice will be explored in solo research and through partner / hands on work, already introducing the presence of an observer.
During the three weeks' work we will be collecting night dreams, starting a dialogue with them, and systematically ‘opening’ dream material through the body with the help of tools from “The School of Images”. The school, which was founded in 1982 in New York by Dr Catherine Shainberg, teaches the language of imagination for instantaneous insight and transformation. ‘To open a dream’ means to distinguish basic levels on which the dream simultaneously unfolds: to catch and precise its' storyline, and its' relations with reality; to discover repeatable patterns; to find a question, which forms its' compositional axis and leads to a secret, revealing the way in which a dream can support a shift into a new reality. By immersing into this layering process one receives a multidimensional access to the night’s material.
We will learn to apply this procedure to choreographic work, plunging into the practice of opening any image, situation and form, responding to it from a place of rested, attentive awareness. We will embody singular images, experience entering them and exiting, developing their specific qualities, states they induce and movements they jolt. We will follow the way in which they expand into narrations, using storylines as prompts to fluctuate between qualities and shape shift with ease. Working with questions will allow for the introduction of a poetic way of composing, weaving movements in a non-linear, associative manner that fosters connections between seemingly unfamiliar materials. In the process of ‘dream opening’, a new level of community will unfold. A text of a dream will be shared within a group, expanded through different embodiments that encourage versatile perspectives on a singular material, and finally returned to the original dreamer in the form of an experiential, communal event.
The second orientation of the workshop is the practice of ‘shifting perspectives’, so characteristics for the dreams’ construction. While dreaming, a person experiences a specific situation from multiple points of view, simultaneously. Every part of the dream is the dreamer. One keeps changing the perspective of looking. One can take a position of a doer - directly engaged in an action, a witness – closely observing the situation while mediating it to an observer, or the observer themselves – similarly to an audience member obtaining an overview of the whole event, while not being directly involved. By moving between these three perspectives, we will expand the space between sensing, feeling and taking an action, inviting different embodied ways of responding to performative tasks. The practice will be enhanced by an exploration of different ‘ways of seeing’, and questioning how gaze affects bodily presence, movement quality and the meaning of an action. We will explore notions of looking and being seen, and take this basic stage condition as a creative tool for unfolding a singular event into a multilayered, synchronous experience.
In the “Dreaming Reality” workshop, I aim at unraveling ways in which one can become an expanded, alert and active agent, letting go into the on-going dreaming process as the source supporting creative decisions.
ANNA NOWICKA BIO
Anna Nowicka is a choreographer and performer, MA Psychology graduate at the Warsaw University, Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance, and MA Choreography at the HfS Ernst-Busch/HZT in Berlin. In recent years, expanding on her long-term interest in the work on dreams, imagination and physical actions, she started developing tools to be applied to artistic creation. Her focus lies on questions of imagination, gaze and creativity, and the potential of images to expand the body into a state of constant becoming. Since 2011 Anna's research has been recognized: she was rewarded the DAAD Prize, followed by the choreographic scholarship from the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes and Tanzstipendium from the city of Berlin. Her performance: “fire is raging in your hair” (with Weronika Pelczyńska) won the 100GRAD Festival in HAU, Berlin, and her solo: “the truth is just a plain picture. said bob.” was selected for the Polish Dance Platform, Fringe Festival in Edinburgh and Polish-Israeli Dance Platform in Tel Aviv. Since 2010 her individual choreographic practice is connected with the Art Stations Foundation by Grażyna Kulczyk in Poznań.
Since 2013 Anna is working extensively with Ivona Šijaković, developing a shared practice that bridges dreaming, choreography and theater directing. In 2015 their third piece: “Hers” premiered in Ballhaus Ost in Berlin. Anna’s interest in vision, visuality and the gaze manifests in a long-term collaboration with Aleksandra Osowicz in the field of film and photography. Currently, Anna is doing her PhD at the Polish Film School / Acting Department in Łódź, and is a practitioner at the School of Images of Dr. Catherine Shainberg, expanding her research through intense dream-work with Bonnie Buckner. She divides her life between Berlin and Poland.
Photography: Patrick Beelaert, Elmacita Riza, Manuel Miethe, Kuba Wittchen