Monday, July 18, 2011

ideas in the raw (week one at summer stages) by Adele Myers, 2011 Choreographers' Project Fellow

Part I: this dance is what you see (CPF project)

Part II: a new work (Adele Myers and Dancers)
Part I:
This Dance Is What You See

I am simply interested in people dancing as if each moment were a sequence of events experienced with heightened awareness. Whatever that conjures is what it will become. Of course the sound, clothes, and environment etc. will frame what happens which is why the working title is: This Dance is What You See.

It is the chemistry of the group that dictates the work for me. I am simply a movement curator and perhaps a curator of chemistry between the eleven people I am working with at Summer Stages.  I don't second-guess my instincts at this point. I use my intuition to make pairings and compositional choices about what happens when. I'll question and analyze later, maybe.

We are playing with being in control of being out of control. And we are playing with being individuals in a group.  And about running fast and then taking time. It is not about that but it is that.

There is not much more I want to say about this process yet other than to say with all sincerity that the chemistry of this group and each person and how they move seriously rocks my world twice.

Part II: A New Work

I am working as a choreographer and director on a new collaborative project with a filmmaker, a writer, a composer and a dramaturg around the theme of falling or flying.  We are working toward coexisting in time and space for 60-minutes or so without making it adance-o-centric performance.  We’ll see.  During the month of July(now), all of the collaborators will individually create seeds of ideas that wewill share with one another in August during an intensive week in NYC.  We’ll see what sparks and develop fromthere over the next 18 months until the work premieres. 

So far at Summer Stages I have been working in the Scout House experimenting withcreating visual, kinetic and sonic experiences that evoke for theviewer/listener a physical sensation of anticipation of almost…something. Teasing that threshold. So far, this is an “exercise” in abstraction, notso much an investigation of conceptual ideas or emotional states.

Words that frame this project:





A Task For You:

Above are two pictures.  What do you see?  Roland Barthes writes about the “punctum” in his book Camera Lucida.  The punctum is a specific part of the picture that pierces you, draws your eye. What is the punctum for you in these pictures?  (Can you let me know in person?)

I also use the idea of the punctum to help me discover and edit in the choreographic process.  The punctum of a movement phrase or exploration is a singular moment I am most drawn too.  Scrap the rest and just dig into that.  That is my approach for this project.

I am interested in the picture of the person climbing up the ladder. I find satisfying the colors in relation to one another and the clean lines in space and the person within the frame of the lines. It is a clean and controlled framing of a person about to do something or having done something.  What intrigues me is that we do not know what just happened or what will happen.  There is a big unknown for us (viewer) to figure out, or not.

The second picture is also from trapeze school where we launched the new project in late June. It is not the Apollonian aesthetic of the person on the ladder.  It is the Dionysian experience ofletting go of control.  It is a messier experience, seemingly.  Can the two coexist? Does one precede the other? Looking at this photo makes the back of my knees feel funny and yet I crave that flight again.  (Yes, both pictures are of me at trapeze school. Super self-referential. Yuck.)

Some ideas and images that Diana and I discovered last week:

There is construction happening at the Scout House and I am going to assume that is fate because of the picture of the ladder. I like taking situations as they are when making a new work and allowing that to shape the process.  So far,we have been climbing up ladders  (don’tworry, they said we could) and singing into the huge orange industrial fan.  Who could resist that?

One personclimbing an 18-foot silver ladder for 60 minutes-the duration of theperformance. (There happened to be ladders of ALL sizes here). This one wasleaning upstage right.  I have a fear of heights so maybe I will do it andit will cure me.

Creating some kind of surround sound environment - perhaps in the dark- where we disorient the listener's equilibrium. I tried this with someone (Thanks,Tenielle) sitting in a chair with her eyes closed. With the recording device onour cell phones, Diana and I recorded ourselves singing the same song indifferent ways into the industrial fan at full blast.  We held the phones close to the ears of the listener and then began circling her at varying speedsand bringing the phones far and near. She said it disoriented her sense of balance while being seated. Much like a small vertigo but she said it was an intriguing state- not nauseating. Unless she was lying.

the leaningroom


 between two fallings

I gave Diana and I the task of creating a movement study that we thought might agitate and/or soothe us and/or an audience. For us that meant standing still.  I took a sound score that both agitated and soothed me with it's harmonic vibrations (soothe) and atonal (agitate) elements. I put the cell phone across the room and decided the task would takethe time of the score- 4 min. Our task was to begin by shifting our weight intoour heels to the point where we almost fell backwards. We had four minutes toshift our weight to our toes without falling forward. It is fascinating to see two or three bodies and various states of leaning. It is an experience ofexisting between two fallings (backward and forward). Watching one or two or three bodies do this task is very interesting. The space changes and does their relationship to one another-in leaning forward and back and struggling not tofall while teasing the edge of almost falling.

Diana sitting on a 6 foot ladder:

Diana on 6 foot red ladder doing a series of accumulations of pendular (is that a word?) arm swings and gestures we combined into what we call the scapula dance.  (This material has found its way into this dance is what you see.) It is scary for her and also a difficult series of movements to remember. We recorded her doing the scapula dance sitting on top of the ladder while I watched from beneath the ladder with my legs draped over the bottom rung. Interesting to watch someone watching someone on top of a ladder from below the ladder. As if we (viewer in the seats) can imagine an empathetic experience from the point of view of looking up.

Adele standing on a 4 foot ladder:

I simply fluttered my hands from the wrist impossibly fast like a humming birds wings for one-minute while standing on top of the 4 foot ladder.  I watched the clock.  Each second passed slow and matter of fact. It was actually very scary. Diana said her gut was clenched as he watched.


We fell primarily into explorations of accumulation, variation, and repetition of actions in complicated patterns. We played with being as the mercy of momentum. Riding its sweet spot. Watching the series of pendular (there is that word again) swings they guide her through space it is quelling.  

Those are afew beginnings so far.

Unfortunately, Diana had to go.  She was only here for week one.  Company member, Kellie Lynch is here for this week and so far we are experimenting with an idea we just affectionately labeled “Ralph”. To be con't…

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