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Wednesday, 22 June 2011

School of Fish

Accompanied by yet more rain we met again on Friday for the second session of Choreographing Community. After a recap of what we had covered the week before we managed to integrate our four new members into our name game AND remember our name actions from the first week.

We whizzed through a warm up using the five actions we had started with the week before (jump, turn, touch the floor, suspend and swing)and trying out some improvisation based on body part isolations. This nearly fell apart when I suggested isolating middle fingers because I was then faced with 23 people swearing at me! I will think more carefully about the body parts I suggest next time.

Temporarily splitting the group into those who were able to attend last week and our newcomers gave us time to recap the duets and trio from last week and teach the phrase of material we learnt to those it was new to. We then shared this revealing some tweaks and amendments to the choreography created last week.

Beth led an exercise called 'school of fish' which consisted of two groups moving in unison and organically changing directions and movements seamlessly. This was quite entertaining to watch, particularly when the concept of a rebel fish (off shoots of each group) was added.

Following this fun but silly explorative play we developed two phrases of movement in two groups. This was done through accumulation of individual moves contributed by each participant. The brief was to teach your action/move (developed from the stimulus of 'identity' - in whatever way you interpret that) to everyone in the group and then as a group find ways to link them together. Once the group was confident they could remember the sequence they played with how to perform it. e.g. in canon, different speeds, different facings. When we shared the results we danced to Regina Spektor's 'Us' and several people commented how emotional it was to dance in unison to such lovely music.

Although we hadn't quite got through everything Beth and I had planned for the session I was so impressed with how willing everybody was to take part and contribute creatively. There was lots of laughing alongside the productivity!

Installment two was topped off with a lovely trip to The Angel pub on the river front...a perfect way to finish a spot of community bonding!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

The day after the night before!

Accompanied by a soundscore of terrential rain and cracks of thunder we kickstarted the project last night with an impressive cast of 22 people. Initiation came in the form of an epic name game around our giant circle - I feel sorry for the five people we have joining us next week because they have a lot of gestures to attach to faces!

Once we had weaved and handshaked our way through a warm up Beth taught a phrase of movement to switch on our thinking caps. A few worried faces and conscientious questions followed but several run throughs later and everyone was moving in the same direction, at the same time and beginning to put their stamp onto it. (we will put a video of Beth dancing the phrase on vimeo for the group to see and practice if they wish!)

Florence and the Machine helped us travel across the floor before creative mayhem commenced. Beth and I thought the best way to get a group of strangers better aquainted was to encourage them to get up close and personal so everyone was instructed to connect named body parts to body parts (e.g. ear to knee or elbow to hip). The result was on the lines of a giant game of twister!

Working with a partner to build up a set of four body part connections with linking movements in between led to the development of duets. Each pair then joined another duo and taught each other their movement phrases to create quartets. We then shared the results of these collaborations with each other. It was lovely to be in a supportive environment - lots of clapping and smiles (and some giggles!). It will be interesting to see how these duets and quartets develop the more we get to know each other.

We have asked everyone to have a think over the next week about what 'community' means to them. How do we as individuals fit into, contribute to, influence or be influenced by community? Are we part of just one community or several? What unifies a group of diverse individuals to form a community?

Beth will be exploring the idea of a landscape (urban, physical, people etc) and the concept of a patchwork of people over the coming weeks and feeding in the group's experiences, ideas and thoughts. Who knows where we will end up?!

Jonathon, our photographer, has kindly agreed to get involved, get to know us and blend into the background to catch the highlights. He set a precedent last night by throwing himself into the warm up too!

I hope everyone enjoyed the first session as much as we did. We feel very lucky to have such a lovely bunch to work with and are looking forward to seeing what next week brings.....

Friday, 10 June 2011

New Beginnings...

Today is D Day or would C Day be more appropriate? 'Choreographing Community' our 8 week adult dance project starts this evening. We are delighted to be completely fully booked with a waiting list of keen beans sitting in the sidelines. Beth, our choreographer, and I have planned prepped and we are very excited about meeting everyone tonight!

The project is taking place at The London Bubble Theatre, who have kindly supported us and we are very grateful to IdeasTap who have financially supported this work. We can't wait to get started!

The group are going to explore the concept and definition of 'community' through discussions and movement workshops. Tonight will be an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other, have some fun and start moving.We will be keeping you up to date with our progress so watch this space!