In our second session we explored being 3 dimension objects in solo improvisation and the use of our eyes to generate movement. This resulted in a final rehearsal that combined both ideas to challenge the dancers to become 3D bodies and engaging their environment through their focus.
Understanding the concept of being a 3D object in space is key in improvisation. Because the audience sees a dancer from in all angles, the performer must focus on what their body is doing in a space rather than focus on the image that they are making. To do this the dancer must be aware of being in a space, the position of others in space and how they come across to the audience.
Using an adaptation from Deborah Hay’s work, I layered ideas through the exercise and challenged the dancers to make their movement more interesting by asking, ‘what if you could be seen from all angles?’ Afterwards, the dancers reflected that the activity helped them to increase their spatial awareness and break their movement and fall-back habits. I will use their feedback to identify how I can explore this concept in greater detail.
We also tried to use a mirror for feedback however the dancers found this hard as the 2d image of the mirror reflection caused them to lose their 3Dness and their connection with the room.
Inspired by Katie Duck’s teaching, we moved on to the use of the eyes to generate movement. The use of the eyes is important as “Focus creates interest.” Sometimes in performing improvisation dancers forget about their focus and default to ‘glaze over’ which makes it more difficult for the audience to engage. Our activity challenged the dancers to focus externally whilst keeping an internal 3D body. Initially the dancers reflected that when they focused at a long distance, they lost their immediate awareness in space. However, after exploring the different ways of using focus and the eyes, the dancers enjoyed being allowed to choose which eyes they were going to use.
The session left me with the question and the challenge; how can we both use our focus and be actively aware of ourselves within space at the same time?