Feb 232016

Today was simple but hard and surprisingly challenging. I went home thinking “Why does my head hurt so much?”

1stDay - 1 (3)

I have been taught some beautiful exercises which I will carry with me and I know I will use again. Things that make me think, made me react, made me discover. Exercises that taught me to leave time and space as well as the idea of self reflection in a group (a paradox I know, but a good one).

The question that stuck with me the most after today was when Claire asked “Do YOU – you not anyone else – identify as disabled”. And even though I have been asked that question before I don’t think I have ever thought about it properly, with there being no consequence for my answer. Normally you are asked that question when you fill out a form, are ticking boxes, doing an application, you answer it to get a specific response from another person. To genuinely just be asked the question “do you identify as disabled?” was difficult and I still don’t know the answer, but will be something I ponder in the week.

Feb 242016

This exercise was my favourite thing I did today. I have done something similar before and actually hated it, but today I loved it. Swapping between 3 different things describing your movement, moving with the breath or moving with sound. After some exploration we were set to work in pairs. Philip and I worked together, having only met yesterday and not yet really having done anything together or even a conversation over lunch. Yet it was the most connected duo.

There was clarity of movement. It was impulsive. It was easy to listen to each other (because we were listening to both movement and sound). There was clear communication between us (by simply talking/making sounds as we danced).

Especially today I have really appreciated not only getting to work with the inspiration that is Claire, but also all the other participants in the workshop. Getting to know them, watching them, and learning about their projects and practices has been amazing and given me so much to think about.

Feb 252016

The presence exercise.
I thought I knew what that was. I thought I knew where that was going to go. I didn’t.

There was something very interesting that happened when I spent a solid 5 mins just connecting with someone. What was interesting was that it seemed to change who was watching and who was performing (even though we had designated roles). It got me thinking about Marina Ambromivic’s The Artist Is Present (for anyone who doesn’t know this piece google it you will thank me later). I remember reading something about The Artist Is Present and Marina describing herself as a mirror to reflect the audience (that may be totally inaccurate but interesting concept all the same). It got me thinking in The Artist is Present who exactly is performing? Who is witnessing? Is there a difference between Marina and her audience?

Another quote from somewhere came back to me during this exercise, which was that your eyes are the window to your soul. There is something interesting about eye contact in this exercise. What happens when you close your eyes? Are you more present? With yourself? With the space? With your audience? and Permission. What does eye contact do to the power? What is it to look at someone who is not looking at you?

Today I also realised the simplicity of performance. Performance is being witnessed. That does not make it a “good” performance. But being witnessed makes A performance. Although what makes an experience is another question…

Rachael Woodward, Presence