Friday, June 22, 2018

Fill a large space in a soft malleable way.

Andrew, Barbie, Rebekah and Morris
The Song Keepers in Concert:
The Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir

The Sydney Opera House, In the Concert Hall

Today Rebekah and I arrived at the opera house to accompany the womans choir, provide support and document some of the experience. We travel with the choir to America in two days.

Barbie saw the Concert hall and felt the urge to sing. Andrew Kay seized on the moment and championed the tiny performance. This moment was indicative of Andrews work with Morris, Barbie and the full choir.

I love that three members of a family can simply walk into a cavernous space and fill the whole space with their voice. The voice reaches out, the walls are touched, the ceiling touched, every corner, and the space speaks back acoustically. The family, and the space now know each other. It is a beautiful reminder of the human capacity to fill a large space in a soft and malleable way.   

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Dance Choir - Rebekah 1st Rehearsal

Rebekah 1st Rehearsal with Candice Polglase, Dale Polglase, Ben Jamieson, Ella Baxter, Stacey Lake, Sarah Hotchin, Sophie Thompson. 

Dale, Ben and Ella
The song and dance Rebekah shared with me yesterday was today shared with the group. The feeling of the song could be seen in each person as they let it flow over them. Dale said it was like having a long ago memory that was both beautiful and sad, but not bad, and not necessary a memory of his own.

The group singing was powerful. I think Rebekah is really onto something with this combination of dance and choir, I cant wait to see the idea expand and be played with in future workshops. I think the group were similarly excited.

In a presentational formation on seats Rebekah also had the group enact a series of directions one after the other( written down for each person). This sets up a complex web of inter-relatedness as cross contamination of mood, feeling and action ripples through the group. 

Raw documentation for the group can be found here.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Choir Dance Company - Genesis

Tonight Rebekah performed for me an idea she is thinking of developing with her friends. She moved through a series of postures and dance moves while singing along to a pre-recorded song she had written when in her early twenties. She harmonised with the recording of herself. It was beautiful.

Candice and Sarah, image from the next day. 
I suggested that her dance company be called, ‘ Choir Dance Company.’ I was very inspired by her performance and thought it perfectly combined her families history of singing and choir work, with her love and history of dance.

I described how contemporary dance often tries to include text and voice with mixed results or success. But that her background in choir brought a depth and strength to her combination of the two.

I think good creative work often draws on a deep history of family and tradition. From our parents history, occupations, troubles, passions and skills. Sometimes moments arise when we find a way to draw on that deep history and make it a part of our own work and journey. These can be powerful moments, because the work itself becomes imbued with that history and power.

This relationship with personal history and culture informing our creative work can be so varied, sometimes subconscious, sometimes troubled, sometimes too confronting. When you find that history working for you in an honest and powerful way, it must be sized upon.

I think this is such a moment for Rebekah, she can draw on her history, of her father and mothers success with choirs and music and channel it into her dance to create something new and exciting. It will be new, but will carry with it the depth of her families own history and journey.

I love that a choir lifts the spirit by making notions of community, togetherness and expression immediately experienced and felt. It goes straight the heart and makes you feel connected to humanity. I love that dance speaks directly to the body, it inspires strength that is pliable, soft and full of life. Dance and Choir together is a sublime union that speaks to the soul.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Dance Film: Background, middle ground and foreground

Ben Jamieson in a tree. 
A dance film in the Melbourne botanical gardens with Rebekah Stuart, Sarah Hotchin, Ben Jamieson, Candice Polglase and Dale Polglase.

Candice, directing with me, had prepared the group the day before with a series of exercises and dancing.

Working together we explored camera movements that were motivated by performance. Head turns, traveling through the space with dance, and rolling along the ground all carried the gaze of the camera.

Camera movement was at times motivated by dancers in the background, middle ground and foreground and often shifted between the three in one shot. This dynamic helps the eye move into and around the image creating a sense of three-dimensional space.

For instance, Ben danced along a path in the background which led a pan of the camera over to dale in the foreground, who then walked us over to Rebekah, who then ran into the middle ground as the camera tracked after her.

Candice took up direction, music  playback, and wrangling the team which allowed me more space to offer ideas and guide the shoot collaboratively.

The finished film ( In a quick assemble edit) was a good exploration of movement, relationships and emotions, it developed how Candice and I can work together and promised future possibilities.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Salt Bush Trauma

Today we shared a passage from Jessie Coles ‘ Staying’ ( Page 248) to explore the idea of trauma within a character. We discussed how and what trauma can be and places in the body and environment that can accommodate and hold trauma.

We began a 'Together and Alone' dance series with guest dancer Rebekah Stuart dancing with Mark Wilson. Her energy and capacity to be bold and wild helped model how far the students can go in an abstract way.

When we gave the teen actors scripted text to include in their dance the dialogue came alive with a great sense of movement and choreography.

Rebekah was impressed by how authentic the dialogue sounded and how easily it was taken up by the young actors. All the dancing had paid off in allowing the body to drive the performance over the text/mind.