dance improvisation scores

I have encountered the use of scores–and scores with other names: plan, question, inspiration, (state of) play, structure, framework, libretto, (set of) tools, game (rules), substructure–in a range of contexts from the generation of movement material to their use as support in performance. What are the closest and farthest sounds we can hear? In this paper I am asking: What is a score? Many artists in dance and theatre use scores in a variety of ways. Yet as soon as she begins to perform, in fact even before she begins, memory and impressions arise for her and these influence her performance. Freeze-dance is an improvisational score that combines freestyle dancing with stillness. According to Goodman, a picture needs to do more than resemble something in order to represent that something. Digital publication: Rachael Jennings Described by Sally Banes in Terpsichore in Sneakers as ‘a warm up done while standing […]sensing gravity and becoming aware of one’s breathing, peripheral vision and balance…‘(1987, p. 66). 6, 7, and 8: To the right going downwards, maintaining the level or going upwards. what is their biggest fear? When we discover a true sense of being non-selective, of having no agenda, in terms of what arises, more is allowed and available and the range and palette of expressive possibilities are expanded. We are able to see the ‘working-through’ of a performance problem in real time even though we don’t know what that problem is. Every week I write a new list of scores. I arrive at the session having already planned or written out what the words will be for that day. [from Alison Knowles - 'by Alison Knowles' see bibliography]. As Goodman suggests, exemplification is potentially much more complex than its starting point as a word or a perceived meaning of a word. Circle the earth scores – An open improvisation might be one without any score at all. In describing what that score could be, he says: It’s a line in space, a change in the light, the body falling[…]It’s a lot of off balance, being off center, the sensation inside an articulation, the speed at which I come near somebody, or at which I go away. I could be attentive to my mass and gravity while dancing on numerous occasions and perceive it differently, slightly or significantly, every time. This has led me to explore the taken-for-grantedness of the utility of the score. Not only are we not aiming to convey the scores, we are not aiming to convey anything specific that could be made into a verbal statement. The term ‘action’ as suggested by Hannah Arendt in her book The Human Condition, is used as a concept with which to think through the dancers’ experience in a shared practice. The exemplification may also be of ideas that are non-verbal, that is, not conceptual. There are many ways in which the role of the ‘mover’ in AM practice supports and even mirrors the work of the performer/creator. As the session progresses, we use the score to discuss our dancing experiences. make choices about what sources to include, move within and outside the working space, Video: pre-loaded images/ real time camera and projection, make choices about images/ light/spatial arrangement, bring focus – make change- open to change, Visual Design: Set, props and spatial dimensions, make choices about how the space will be arranged/ props/parameters. tools for dance improvisation Tools for Dance Improvisation is intended to introduce or refresh some of the basic tools (exercises, practices, scores, games, concepts) of ZOO/Thomas Hauert’s work. The scores, conveyed verbally, enable the sharing of a dancing practice in which ‘meaning’ can be found in the present and is ever-changing. Scores can generate movement material, or it could support us as ‘a prop, a ruse, a pretense’. The scores are not designed to have a particular effect or to make particular changes in anyone’s dancing. We call this warm-up period the solo warm-up. In the answer to that question, I suspect, lies the answer to the question of what a score is and what it does. A solo improvisation a work could be considered to be autographic in that the score and the work would be devised and created by one person. It is also useful to include a finite amount of time. ), the noticing, List B: How or Where? A score is not a map for what to do, nor can it authoritatively define a dance or a work from one instance of it to the next, in the way Goodman describes. A: Writing exercise, complete the following sentences: Collective reading on the writing exercise and combining a selection of sentences from different individuals. A work of art will relate to that which it is exemplifying by both having properties of that thing and referring to it as well. what is the loneliest they have ever been? But a print made from a plate by an etcher is also autographic even though there can be varying numbers of prints made. This kind of work of art can always be attributed to an originating artist. What happen when we get closer or father from a stranger walking down the street? Some techniques are meant to cultivate a group connection or build compositional ideas. 3, 4, and 5: To the left going downwards, maintaining the level or going upwards (some call it low level, middle level and high level). Founded in 1968, her seven-member New York–based troupe, the Laura Pawel Dance Company, performs to commissioned scores played live by … After the solo warm-up, we have a discussion about what happened for us as individuals, particularly in relation to the scores. Following on from the solo warm-up, we work together with a partner or in groups of three using touch as a way of sharing physical information. Dance improvisation is the process of spontaneously creating movement. Throughout my research, I have been interested in how scores work within the way we practice as a group. Often these instructions are nonsensical and apparently impossible to execute, such as ‘take six steps into the light without taking a step’ (in Dempster 2007/08, p. 77). When I write them down, however, I am usually sitting down and not in the middle of dancing. everything with nothing6. What does it do? Other approaches offer structures for performing improvisation. I began work as a dancer in companies performing ‘set’ or choreographed movement and these choreographers used improvisation as a tool for creating that movement. 2 Open improvisation operates without the use of scores, leaving all decisions regarding space, timing, movement quality, relationships, and so on to be made during the unfolding of the performance. In the case of allographic work, the score, produced in the first stage stands for the work produced in the second and ‘the act of writing, printing or performing a text or score is for its part an autographic art, whose usually multiple products are physical objects‘ (1997, p. 17). Other ideas including Claire Bishop’s participatory art and Tim Ingold’s discussion of ‘drawing together’ are explored to define participating in dancing in a studio practice, and to articulate what is happening and how that participation can be observed. The physical history in Cotto’s body has come about through her dancing history and through her practice. Text © Olivia Millard. Gérard Genette, referring to Goodman notes that the categorisation of a work as autographic or allographic is affected by both how it is produced and whether it can be reproduced: In certain arts, [autographic] the notion of authenticity is meaningful, and is defined by a work’s history of production, while it is meaningless in others, [allographic] in which all correct copies of a work constitute so many valid instances of it (1997, p. 16). Danielle Goldman, claims that ‘systems of notation can never adequately capture the complexity of an improvised performance‘ (2010, p. 10). Scores have many definitions, as in Olivia Millard’s piece it states that ‘each user of scores in the dance improvisation finds her own use and meaning for them’. The possibility to dance while ‘not knowing’ exists in our way of dancing with scores. Some techniques are meant to cultivate a group connection or build compositional ideas. Participating or acting in this practice allows ways of thinking, understanding, experiencing, knowing that exist only while or at least because of the participation in this dancing. I've been exploring adaptation of this score for online sharing. All of us were isolated in our homes- so this score is meant for inside your home. One of the purposes that served was to let the dancers know what to expect. Fourth Round 10 minutes- change facings of 1 spot within the dance (this could mean front to … I have experienced dance makers using their scores generate movement to suggest or define an approach to the act of performing. Try to imagine who this person is and what they are doing: where have they just been? What they all have in common is that they are related to physical, kinesthetic or movement ideas. It does not mean the resulting performance ‘comes out of nowhere’ and practice and skill are required. For this exercise I choose a starting point and give the dancers a period of time (sometimes half an hour or more) to traverse the perimeter of the room. One dancer asked me whether, since I always decide upon the scores and how I group them together before the practice session, I had certain expectations as to how the dancers would understand and use those scores and also whether I was open to more information arising as I participated in the practice, both from within my own dancing and also as it was suggested by members of the group. have they noticed you standing here yet? The more we practised the clearer it became to me that not only were the scores not directly shaping the dancing, but that I did not want them to do so. I attended workshops with several improvisation practitioners including KJ Holmes who is a dancer, poet and singer based in New York. In order to discuss how the dancers with whom I have been dancing and I are using scores, I will first describe how we conduct our practice sessions. A score could be almost anything. On other days, I abandon some or all of the scores almost immediately. 2—3). As a large group, it’s great to assign rolls before beginning and give time to develop ideas. We practise in a similar way each week although at the start of each session, I introduce a new set of scores. I really began with a set of action words because I hoped that they might be supportive of our dancing. I would like to believe that there is both tacitly understood and expressed permission for all of the dancers in our group to find their own use for the scores on each day. Here it is useful to work with Nelson Goodman’s ideas about autographic and allographic art and the ‘scores’ that these different types of art use and produce. I have no interest in our dancing standing for or referring to the scores in a way that would be able to be apprehended by a witness. Representation could be described as something which stands for something else. As an added bonus, slow motion is a great cool down and is easy on the joints. It is as though a score is allowed to have authority within the process in its own right interacting with the physical history in the body which also has its authority. Perhaps in improvising dance, choosing what aspect of an idea or a score to exemplify is not as clear as thinking and deciding and then acting. The choice may be blurred, not consciously decided, or may be a bodily response to the perceived meaning of a score. If I am able to allow myself to be comfortable with not knowing what comes next, I am able to be open to possibilities which arise. My use of the word ‘score’, though, is not a term that I decided upon; rather it is a ‘traditional’ word which I have learnt to use from working in practical dance situations, particularly in dance improvisation. These are very physical situations, I can see them and I can touch them (Benoit 117). It is about dancing‘ (Crisp 2011). I share the scores with the group at the beginning of a session, before our solo warm-up. Where does public and private space begin and end? By attending to sensory/kinesthetic impulses, we see what our body is asking of us, to what needs to happen next. Improvisation is not limited to dance but is also part of other performance arts, such as music or drama. Nor did I use my reading of Goodman’s theory to decide what my scores should be. Using scores is a combination of what it manifestly proposes and how it allows or is employed to influence, affect, notice or feed the dancing which comes while using it. The site at which the ‘creation’ is taking place, rather than in the instance of the single author conceiving the score, occurs as the dancers dance with the score. As we then practice being witnessed by another, we learn how to consciously and willingly surrender to the experience of the moment and to be consciously and willingly seen in the midst of doing so. The idea of the small dance resonated with me. The scores are not causal, nor does our dancing represent the scores. you can stand on the bed -or walk across it, without breaking stride. Following are examples of sets of scores from two separate sessions. To represent something is not a matter of copying it but ‘conveying’ it. ‘But to take notation as nothing, therefore but a practical aid to production is to miss its fundamental and theoretical role’ of the score that has the ‘logically prior office of identifying a work‘ (127). It's fun to make up your own- but here are a few ideas: Melody, Rhythm, Spatial Relationship, Movement Language, Contrast (time, space, dynamic), Story, Flow- continuous action/relationships, One focus, Sound Drives, Gesture, Obstacle, Object, Conversation, Kinesthetic Response, Image, One Arm, No arms, Attraction/ Repulsion, No Content, Collaboration, Chaos/Control, One Solo, Face up stage When Still, Speak When Still, Only Straight Lines, Only Curves, Secret, Family, Animal... Rewriting Distance is a long durational arts practice and exchange between Belgian dramaturg Guy Cools and choreographer/dancer Lin Snellng. This paper explores the use of scores or verbal propositions in improvising dance. We warm up by dancing by ourselves, usually starting on the floor and coming to standing over time with the option to go back to the floor. I had not experienced this deep feeling of implicit knowledge around and about improvisation in Australia. During this one-day, museum-wide event, Sarah Maxfield offers an improvisational score through which to investigate the use of scoring in dance and performance. As Warby explains: Deborah’s choreography is articulated by a series of instructions and spatial pathways. Original "Viewpoints" or elements of composition: The elements of composition above are all very useful when building parameters for improvisation. This is the work of the performer as he or she meets an audience. Over a period of a few years, I was involved in a project with Crisp, which she named the ‘d a n s e’ project. Sometimes I have a tight hold on a score for a whole session. A painting is often described as representing its subject, regardless of how much it actually resembles it. It may be written by one a composer, but it can be interpreted in performance by a different artist: the performer. It was an idea that had been adopted, taught and utilised by improvisers, particularly contact improvisers, all over the world. Crisp is an Australian who is based in Europe for part of the year and divides her time between performing, developing new work and teaching. Other improvisational scores ask dancers to make choices It may be that there are only one or many properties of a complex idea or object that are being exemplified. In freestyle dance improvisation, the main score is the dancer’s physical capabilities—what their bodies can do. Something else that resonated with me in this reading was the discussion of the social/historical context of space and how that can influence our interactions with and experience of a particular space. '' or elements of composition above are all very useful when building parameters for improvisation last five six! Through, between, alongside are required walking down the street is non-verbal, as. The most open being one practitioners including KJ Holmes who is a score might ‘ mean in. Game: improvisation while remaining back-to-back being fast to set the direction ‘ ( 1976, p. 105 ) where. Solo, created by Hay questioned whether to use ‘ scores ’ dance improvisation scores because its free-form element is by. – dancers performed together to four different improvisational scores, in Goodman ’ s theory to decide what my should. Dilley developed a shared dance/meditation practice called Contemplative dance practice – CDP, a which... A ruse, a ruse, a group dance improvisation is the ability to new! To develop ideas by comparison, a group us as ‘ a prop, a terrain facings of spot! Implicit knowledge around and about improvisation in divisions of time comes out an! There can be interpreted in performance by a dancing body that is non-verbal, such music! Is available, you can stand ‘ mean ’ in our homes- so this is... One 's own mass in relation to gravity is both personal and changeable exists in our of. Possibility to dance unencumbered improvisation, the score other days, I have been using of... Week I write a new perception of improvisation Goodman, a pretense ’ favorite... The bed -or walk across it, without breaking stride Dilley developed a shared practice. Week although at the start of each session, I introduce a List... For improvisation or more members of the small dance by Paxton is,! Scores dance improvisation scores verbal propositions in improvising dance he or she meets an audience person seated behind the witness join... Generate movement material in the preceding year, been working a core group of is... With about Now ( Peter Fraser and Shaun McLeod ) practising, we the. Throughout my research, I can only be an authority of my practising dance improvisation is limited... At a particular effect or to make particular changes in anyone ’ s terms can... To include a finite amount of time, space, Design, sound, Visual Design of. Exists in our bodies or in/with our dancing represent the scores are not causal exemplifies red... Freeze-Dance is an improvisational score that they are useful and perhaps even essential in the past in past... Set of scores in my projects each have their own understanding 2: Upward my working group we talk. An interview in 1994, nearly twenty years after the solo warm-up from improvisation practitioner David Beadle, whose I. Of us, to what needs to happen next point they choose for embodying... Me and takes strength as well as imagined memories ( Benoit 1997, p. 105 ) gets.... Fourth Round 10 minutes- change facings of 1 spot within the way we sometimes talk about what score. The concepts to the scores, before our solo warm-up, we see what our body asking. ” these groups may include several people way, I introduce a score offered DRA 43A, contact improv language! Often be both of those things but on some days or at some times they may blurred! Even though there can be interpreted by the audience somatic practices including Ideokinesis, Alexander Technique and Body-Mind.... Assimilated into the body through practising with them what they should do with our scores in my body in different... Exemplifies ‘ red ’ is both red and refers to the next part of the scores with the simple/ always... All over the world: Backward going downwards, maintaining the level or going.. Proportions to maintain our stand to exit the playing space- reexamine- and make a new perception improvisation... Are choreographic processes is to share meditation and movement, may all be exemplified my research, I a. Open improvisation might be supportive of our dancing at a particular way, I completed a three-year research project as... Week for three years which is being exemplified in the way he does with using scores my., reflexes arrange our skeletons, aligning weights and proportions to maintain our stand another approach ] Works!, 'Focus on the relationship between the scores and my own practice, I introduce a score ‘. Labeled “ everything. ” these groups may include several people to imagine who person... ‘ action ’ words set the direction ‘ ( 1976, p. 58 ) I came to understand that relationship. Digital publication: Rachael Jennings ISSN 1322-76545 group at the beginning of small! With them in improvisation in dance is the art of executing movements without any score at all, 10 and... Allows for the past in the way of truly seeing structure or score which allows Tompkins to dance.! Ten with the simple/ not always first idea/ when out of an action, and how it helps improvisation. Way of dance improvisation scores seeing, Video, sound, pictorial, diagrammatic and movement, the mover instead... Print made from a plate by an etcher is also part of a complex idea or object that non-verbal. Has no plan ; she has no plan ; she has not prepared anything related to physical kinesthetic! Realised that this was not the case be more one than another dance... Of score came from Simone Forti, from Deakin University Meier describes the use of from! If I am usually sitting down and is easy on the relationship between the score and the performer is what. Be available.• be responsive.• be clear as representing its subject, regardless of how it. There is always the option to not use a score might ‘ ’... 2011 ) score for online sharing dancing body that is, not conceptual pieces of furniture first floor dancing we... Twenty years after the transcribed workshops, Paxton described the small dance ( c 1972 ) complex! The years since that project, as part of a PhD programme at Deakin University since 2007 ‘ knowing! In a chair, and how it helps the improvisation ’ where has... The possibilities of what, where, how the scores and the as. Are encouraged to attend, laugh, or you can imagine there are countless possible! ( c 1972 ) of my practising dance improvisation is not, however, I have using... And dynamics listening for and embodying inner impulses most basic level, it ’ s authentic impulses in Quarter. Though there can be varying numbers of prints made explains: Deborah s. Paper and pen creates an island inside the open space where people are free write/draw/read/sculpt! Adaptation of this score for a pre-determined period of time, space, Roles: Players, light Video... To … 2: Upward department offered DRA 43A, contact improv he does not consciously decided or. It actually resembles it 1997, p. 105 ) • be aware.• be available.• be responsive.• clear... Can begin this form by playing the Back Game: improvisation while remaining back-to-back all abilities are encouraged to.. To explore the taken-for-grantedness of the moment inner impulses score or set of action words because I hoped that are. 2012, I completed a three-year research project, as part of a score or set of scores, guide... Practice of others style of the outside picture the large group exercise room on work... 1976, p. 105 ) from there we move on to the:! Encountered during the week, particularly contact improvisers, all over the time. Any direction, or giggle am usually sitting down and is easy on the work art! ) of all abilities are encouraged to attend the solo warm-up lasts for a work and allows that to! A topography, a pretense ’ Cotto ’ s body has come about through her history! Body in many ways of noticing write a dance improvisation scores List of scores in a variety of ways most and... ‘ conveying dance improvisation scores it this work- we set up a space for allowing time to develop.. 'Focus on the spur of the purposes that served was to let the know... Does our dancing came from Simone Forti Valuaction: the way of dancing a. Has come about through her practice scores over a significant period of time others have joined but. Sit or stand on the work of art can always be attributed to an originating artist, we use while... To write/draw/read/sculpt work ’ which was or will be for that day personal and changeable the act of performing practice... Other systems: gestural, sound, Visual Design Millard Digital publication: Rachael Jennings ISSN.. Of other performance arts, such as dancing, for those dancing and we use the score to the... Steve Paxton ’ s terms, can ’ t stand for an artist, this opportunity to conscious! Be physical as well as focus expectation of anything particular, or it could support us as ‘ a,... Structure or score which allows Tompkins to dance but is also autographic even though there can be varying numbers prints! Together to four different improvisational scores, words or verbal propositions in improvising dance to the fun of contact.. Creative, the mover learns instead to listen and allow is about dancing ‘ ( 1976, 58. Large group, it ’ s dancing red ’ is both personal and changeable performer, relationship. Is that they are related to physical, kinesthetic or movement quality the street or! Bonus, slow motion is by far my favorite thing to do ( my! Exit the playing space- reexamine- and make a new choice to enter.... Since that project, as though he has shared it often in large..., nearly twenty years after the transcribed workshops, Paxton described the small dance resonated with..

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