How differently do we move when being observed?
Knowing when we’re being drawn, we move with clearer shaping and dynamic phrasing.
The planned theme for today’s workshop was the same as that planned for last week: transitions between extreme states, in anticipation of exploring Antarctic landscape change.
I had brought with me some small glass slabs that look like blocks of ice.
The fellow at The Bower Recycling Centre where I found them, told me they had been used for cutting and crushing material for study in a scientific laboratory.
Their random cracks, sharply formed amidst otherwise pristine class, suggest sudden, unpredictable shaping, punctuated through an essentially fluid form.
Their qualities suggested starting points for moving and drawing.
A scientist friend suggested the blocks be metaphors for human lives. Their cracks could be the traces of past experiences that have shaped us.
In preparation for working with the glass, I began the workshop with the idea of neutralising the positive or negative value we often place on shapes and or movements that we make. Rising is often read as more positive than lowering. Opening upwards is often felt as positive, and closing downwards as negative. We bring residual feelings to body shapes and movements.
Standing and feeling the spine drawn upwards by an imaginary thread (an image often used in classical ballet class), we bend the knees to lower the whole body. The downwards motion of the vertical body is thus neutralised by the upward image of the line drawn upwards.
As the extent of the knee bend, we push our body weight downwards through the floor, using that downwards pressure to rise to standing. The rising motion is thus neutralised by the pushing downwards.
Other movements explored were opening the chest, and then opening the shoulder blades. The latter move is more often experienced as the chest closing.
The idea was to experience familiar movements in new, unexpected ways – to banish feeling expectations – or ruts.
In response to the glass blocks, we moved between extremes of sudden, unexpected shapes and fluid motion, holding the different energy states until change suggested itself.
With our movement as the score, we brushed and smeared lines with ink and water, on paper scrolls along the floor.
Pairs took turns to dance and be observed and drawn.