Contact Improvization


Charlie Morrissey’s workshop:

This class encourages playful curiosity in exploring and expanding our experiences of the body, its multi-dimensional occupation of space, and its relationship to the ground and the support it offers. Working individually and in contact with others, we will enjoy a deeper sense of integration through the exploration of physical patterns, pathways and sensations.

Independent Dance
For professional dance artists
April – August 2008
Siobhan Dance Studios [flyer]

I enjoyed:

The curvaceous light spaces of the Siobhan Dance Studio
Slow body motion and weight through the floor
Vigorous throwing of weight through the air
Give and take of body weight between people
Feeling at ease improvising

What did I find relevant to Antarctica, or animation?

Movement improvisation is like ‘straight ahead animation’, where you begin with a drawing, then keep changing it each frame. So the lines lead you onwards, suggesting ideas as you go, and it’s finished when you sense it has found its own form. It’s Surrealist stream of consciousness, automatic drawing, and Len Lye doodling for Old Brain symbols. It’s a way of revealing unconscious thoughts, and welcomes the unexpected. It seeks connections with one’s deepest feelings. It is a risky business, with a great attrition rate. But the end results are otherwise inconceivable.

Awareness of the floor pushing up beneath my body, at the same time as my body weighing down against it, is like the feeling some experience in Antarctica, of no separation between themselves and the landscape. To animate this feeling, context is required, something we can relate to. Oceanic feeling in a vacuum turns to mush.

Siobhan Davies extended her dancer’s body with white rods, which could be lines of ice, and insect appendages.
White rods cut through black space, like extremes of night and day, Antarctica’s two seasons, and the extreme physical and emotional responses humans can experience there.

Aesthetically and conceptually, Endangered Species works for me. It leads my mind to Dawin, and the ice, and the dancer. It makes me think and feel her connection, expanding it beyond a personal moment. But does that make it accurate?

Can art be accurate when it means something different to everyone?