michael j. morris


Autumn Quartet: 3 More Times
2 February, 2010, 9:21 pm
Filed under: creative process, Dance | Tags: , , ,

I don’t have long to reflect on the ideas that are spinning around “Autumn Quartet,” but this seems to be typical of 2010 thus far. Too many ideas, not enough time.

Last week we had two guests in our practice of the piece, and their perspectives and feedback were both fascinating and valuable. The most poignant thought I went away with was the ongoing question of how to situate the work in such a way that it can be experienced/appreciated as a practice primarily concerned with our (the four of us dancing) kinesthetic/spatial/personal experience of it. It is not concerned with the visual spectacle of the piece, or even a transmission or communication of our experience. It is concerned with our experience, whatever that might be, within the confines of the experience itself (the algorithmic score, the movement material/vocabulary, the space, the time in which it occurs, our experiences of one another, etc.). I have not yet found a successful way at framing the piece in this way without devaluing the presence of the observer.

The other lingering ideas I had about the piece after last week:

-Structural elements of the algorithm: I am thinking about the possibility of adding the score, a minor detail, that shifts some of our walking patterns contingent on the spatial organization of others in the space, how this transforms our experience of the space, our attention to one another, and adds yet another power dynamic of dictating spatial organization. I’m not sure if it will work, but it’s an interest.

-The question of nudity came up again. Why is it that we only strip to our underwear? How would it be different if we were completely bare? Are we as a group (the four of us) at a point at which we can be naked with one another/what might that mean/how might that be affected by the presence of observers? On a practical level, can we dance the movement phrases without our bodies literally getting in the way? If not, what might it mean that the movement material is “designed” for the clothed body, violent or brutal to the naked body? I’m not sure . . . and if full nudity were to come into the piece at some point, how might that be instigated? Do we discuss it again, make decisions before we start? When I look back at the score, it describes “the final state of undress,” whatever that might be, allowing for it to be individually determined and allowing for the possibility of full nudity. Is any discussion beyond that necessary? It is a question/lots of questions, not an answer.

-There is the lingering question of love.

-There is a question of pleasure. In my yoga class this morning I taught about swadhisthana, the second chakra, and the indication that pleasure/potential pleasure is always accessible within one’s experience, as one’s body. I began to wonder about this dance, and whether I still experience it as pleasure, if I am still “finding the pleasure” as I dance it.

We are only scheduled to dance the piece three more times. I’m not sure how these questions might be addressed in those practices. But as they have come up in my contemplation of the piece, I wanted them to be included in this bog account of its process.

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