What tools will help me to be more present to the choreographic moment?
In the hopes of undermining habits of my frontal cortex that seem to get in the way of a more responsive creative process, I am going back into rehearsal tomorrow with some new tools. Usually, I have a plan for rehearsal, and bring my notebook into the room. Trouble is, I tend to get lost in my notebook. One day I saw myself from the outside, looking in: sitting, hunched over my notebook, back turned to the dancers, brow furrowed. Here I was, ostensibly creating a piece about intimacy (with self and others), but my posture was entirely closed, and I was not in my own body. I wanted to be more present in the room. So for tomorrow I have limited my reliance on language as an anchor for process by allowing myself to only use huge pieces of paper that I will post on the back wall. On these sheets I can write only what is essential. Another tool that disconnects me from the creative moment is reliance on video. I tend to video process and respond later—again, a barrier to presence in the moment. So tomorrow I will not sit behind the camera. Yes, I will set up a camera, but will simply let it run on a tripod in the corner.
Tomorrow we will begin with an improvisation score designed to point the way to: fire, desire, pleasure and play—antidotes themselves to the rather abstract, formal and cool landscape we have already created. And on another sheet, a set of live coaching cues I will use to guide the action:
Stay with it
Stay with the feelings
Deepen the breath
Find a rhythm to the action
Repeat/Rewind and repeat
Color the action with [inset emotion]
Allow the image to develop
Act on instinct
Clear the space/exit
The above are cues for individual dancers.
On another list, a set of cues for relationships in the space:
Mirror with body or box (we are working with a set of boxes as props)
Pick up the image (and/or develop)
Support what’s developing (“Yes, and”)
Obstruct with body or box
Make or break contact
Readers, what helps you be more responsive to a creative moment? What is your experience with tools in the studio, or the cues listed above? Of course, here I am writing about everything. Language surrounds and permeates the process, even as I try to contain it. Stay tuned to how the above tools influence process and outcome.