Mischa Baka

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

ECHO. Healing stillness, what lies beneath

September 05, 2018 2
ECHO. Healing stillness, what lies beneath

Echo is a new dance theatre work by Lola Howard, performed at Trades Hall in Carlton as part of LaMama Theatre.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Creative process collaboration

September 02, 2018 1
Creative process collaboration


Today I met with Ella Dumaresq, she is studying dance therapy at the VCA within the art therapies school. We met at a VCA workshop and felt that various areas of our research intersect.

I shared a creative process of mine that involves recording one sided conversations and filing in the other side with an overlapping track. Gaps in the conversation are left in the first recording and instances of a simple ‘ yes’ and ‘ no’ can help provoke a response on the overlapping track. I developed this process to enhance my own screen writing practice. 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Being open to one’s self, being open to others.

August 26, 2018 0
Being open to one’s self, being open to others.

Today in Alchemy Rebekah shared with the group her appreciation of Anne turning up to every class with a consistent ability to facilitate such a warm, nurturing and open environment. (Over 15 years for Rebekah) This sparked some emotional sharing from the group.


Anne shared how her many years of facilitating Alchemy began from being in a dark place, and that Alchemy and her students had helped her find happiness in life. We were thanking her, but she also thanked us.

Many people expressed being open and expressive and its profound impact on how they feel about life and humanity. They expressed how Alchemy allowed them to find an openness with other people, and often, helped them understand how they were deserving of opening themselves up to the world because they were beautiful and worthy.







Mishka shared that Anne helped her understand when she could hold back from being open and not overshare.

Anne described how being open to one’s self is sometimes the first stage of being open to others. I liked this understanding. It resonated with my creative process, that begins with a sensitivity to personal experience and then extends outwards sharing that emotion and understanding with others.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
from her book: 'A Return To Love'
Marianne Williamson

Friday, June 22, 2018

Fill a large space in a soft malleable way.

June 22, 2018 0
Fill a large space in a soft malleable way.

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.


Andrew, Barbie, Rebekah and Morris
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.  


Members of The Central Australian Aboriginal Women’s Choir


Monday, June 18, 2018

Effective communication and presentation skills workshop.

June 18, 2018 0
Effective communication and presentation skills workshop.

Using actor training strategies, Rinske Ginsberg and Anna McCrossin-Owen offer the opportunity to experience powerful and fundamental vocal and physical techniques. Learning is delivered in an experimental / active participation format allowing you to discover your own communication strengths and identify unconscious or habitual practices.

The first day of this workshop was everything it promised to be and more. I had listened to Rinski the night before on a podcast. I liked her wisdom, clarity and humour.
The exercises that resonated with me:
Game: Moving around the room and following directions; Walk, stand, clap, jump, name and dance. Each direction is introduced over time in sets of two. With each set the meaning is eventually reversed, so that Walk means Stand and stand means walk and so on.
Trying to follow the inverted directions was challenging. Rinksi warmly laughed out our strange mannerisms that arose as we made mistakes, fumbled and quickly corrected ourselves. It was a good way to uncover awkward moments as the body tries to catch up with the right action, but also a  way to become comfortable with making mistakes, becoming aware, but not critical. 


This image is not from the workshop, but represents its style. Taken from dance workshop with Rebekah Stuart. 




Game: The class makes an audience before the door. Each participant takes it in turns to enter through the door into the space and introduce themselves, Hello, Im Mischa Baka and Im pleased to be here.
Before entering the participant must choose to present themselves as portraying a certain level of status relative to the space and the audience. 1, was described by Rinske as not even entering the room. 2. Performed by Rinske as an example, was, shy, anxious and afraid. 5. Is natural, or equal to the space. 9. Is high status and dominating the space.
The beauty of this game was guessing each person’s status after their entrance and describing what signalled that status. We discussed what physical and vocal language informed the stutus of each participant. The task provided insight into personal mannerisms and habits of relating. Mannerisms that weren’t necessarily bad or good, but we were learning how to be aware of them, so that we could have more control over the power they posess.  


A simple tilt of a woman’s head made her endearing with a look of love.  Walking quickly and talking as soon as entering gave a sense of anxiety and lowered the status. Interestingly, playing bold, strong and high status sometimes gave the impression of being insecure.
Anna McCrossin-Owen shared a series of paragraphs that target different sounds in our speech and help understand what parts of our body struggle when making speech. With Annas observations and feedback I found that relaxing my lips helped me deliver the final paragraph.
Anna McCrossin-Owen had us present our research and vary qualities in our delivery; speed, loudness, pauses and liveliness. We listened and Provided feedback to each others presentation and suggested just one quality to be improved. This was a successful way to help each other without providing overwhelming feedback. We found ( As Anna intended) that often just one quality offered as feedback would help improve various aspects of delivery. The simple feedback allowed complex development to branch out.

Anna McCrossin-Owen used the concept of Cirlcles of presence to define a feeling of being present when performing. A concept taken form Patsy Rodenburg. In brief we presented our research to ourselves ( first circle)  to the universe ( third circle) and then  we found the second circle between the two that has us connect to the people around us with presence.

I found that I lean more towards the first circle, often presenting to myself, talking to myself. This helped understand where I needed to take my delivery.  

Anna McCrossin-Owen had me hold a heavy bag straight over my head and present my research. This had me standing very straight. A magic thing happened, my voice was clear, resonant and I felt connected to the people listening to me. Feedback from the group made it clear that they also felt connected. On reflection with Anna and the group I descried how the heavy bag prevented my body from collapsing into any mannerisms that help me shy away from the group or hide in my posture. I was straight, open and clear. This was a revelation. It brought me out of the first circle.  

The class ended with a relaxation on the floor and I felt very grateful for what these amazing and generous teachers had shared with me and the group.

Day 2

The idea we kept coming back to was to develop an awareness of our habitual and natural ways of behaving and performing so that rather than perform unconsciously, we may be conscious of our behaviour and make it work for us.

Today we presented some of our research to the group. Working with Anna and Rinske you feel the depth of their knowledge when receiving feedback. They know small suggestions and observations that speak to much larger and complex systems of behaviour. For instance, simply asking me to perform with one hand in my pocket was key in shifting my energy away from the ceiling and grounding my presentation. Bringing my performance back down to ‘second circle’ with the group. These type of small but powerful observations and suggestions were offered to everyone in the group. Anna and Rinske have such a soft and strong energy, you feel safe and assured in their company. I thought of the cliché drama school teacher who might ‘ break’ their students for the sake of their development, and thought how unlike Anna and Rinske.
They have a beautiful understanding of habits, mannerisms and behaviour as not being good or bad, but simply a quality that can be mediated and balanced with other qualities. This meant that it was hard to feel judged or attacked. There feedback just felt insightful.

Much of the work offered insight by exploring the other side of a quality, be it slow, fast, loud, soft, forward backward, high low. The expertise of Anna and Rinske connected these qualities with emotional, communicative language, so we knew what we were shifting in our behaviour. These qualities felt so simple and yet spoke to complex modes of behaviour in the body and voice.  

GAME: I loved one game at the beginning of class that had the group send energy around the circle int the form of, lust and excitement. A chain reaction formed that was thrilling and intoxicating.     



Sunday, June 17, 2018

Dance Choir - Rebekah 1st Rehearsal

June 17, 2018 0
Dance Choir - Rebekah 1st Rehearsal
Rebekah 1st Rehearsal with Candice Polglase, Dale Polglase, Ben Jamieson, Ella Baxter, Stacey Lake, Sarah Hotchin, Sophie Thompson. 

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.

Dale, Ben and Ella
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.