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Movement Research's blog posted an interview with Heidi Henderson
this week where she touched on some really fabulous topics.
Kinebago: So, what I love about your performance is how open it is. It has this great combination of openness and specificity of movement together. So it feels both external and internal. Vulnerable and emotional, but still geometric and anatomical.
Heidi: Yeah, and part of it is that difficulty. The movement is difficult enough to do that I can never count on it being easy. So in performance, I have to pay attention in a pretty extreme way. So the movement is built to be open, but it's so hard to do that the care that I have to take to dance it demands that other presence.
As I get older and the fear/nervousness/excitement of performing in front of people becomes more manageable (not gone by any means), I think
I'm beginning to be able to understand something of what Heidi means here.
In my own work, I've recently been playing with celebrating a wobble or fall within a set phrase and allow them to introduce improvised small new movement pathways into the phrase, but always having to revert back to the set phrase. This seems to allow for a surprise or newness for both the performer and the audience and in addition it actually strengthens the performers muscles to be able to "correct" a movement.
However, in others work, this isn't always wanted. :) In Adele's new work, we are playing with the idea of pushing ourselves to our most riskful physical moments so that the audience can see the effort, strength and desire to pull ourselves out of it or find the end of a suspension without falling. Sometimes you have to forcefully muscle your way out of a suspension because you went so far...and sometimes you fail. :) But when taking these riskful scenarios in front of an audience, part of me doesn't want to fall or take that extra chance. I've tried so hard for so long to be able to stand on one leg and balance, what if the audience doesn't see how hard it is or how difficult it is and thinks I'm not a good dancer because I pushed myself to the limits and almost fell or wavered? In addition, we are constantly working on being present with the audience. Thankfully we have had 2 years of practicing our being present with the audience with "Theater in the Head" before attaching all these new obstacles. Being open and inviting the audience in when your concentrating on your movement is such a difficult task...it's such a fine and interesting line to try to traverse.
I think these ideas are a little different than what Heidi is saying here, but fall in the same pool. :)
Heidi: ...my dances don't feel like they're about something, other than the movement. Even though I recognize that they are for other people. I don't think of story or meaning while I'm moving, I'm thinking about pure physicality. But in teaching, I couldn't come up with enough language about physicality to get people to understand what I was doing.
Kinebago: So it's an afterthought.
Heidi: The imagery is an afterthought. Like, I've made the movement, and here's a way I can reframe what I'm doing so that you might understand it better.
Kinebago: So when you say things like "I'm holding the moon," when you made it you weren't holding the moon...
Heidi: Nope, no moon.
Kinebago: But now there's a moon.
Heidi: Yeah. I can't... I'm not a literal person. Although it's funny... at night before bed I read bad science fiction, or fantasy books. I listen to thrillers while I'm driving in the car. I love the idea of plot! But I can't make dances that way.
Kinebago: Why do you think that is?
Heidi: Well mainly, because I don't believe the movement means that...
Me too!! Me too!! I also am an avid fantasy reader and also feel like I can't put plot in my dances. Sometimes creating movement for me comes from emotions that I'm trying to let go of or physicalize. However, other times I create calculated, structured improvisations that bind the movement in certain ways, but again...a lot of the time, the movement is only a collection of the emotions, thoughts or aesthetic choices I felt or thought were interesting when I was making up the phrase. My subconscious seems to know the meaning of my movements when I'm doing them, but my conscious has either yet to figure it out or is not meant to. I haven't figured it out yet. :)
Recently I'm a little stumped with my new project "The Soil Project" because I feel like there is so much meaning there without me having to outline it further. Does it have to be more than a series of photos that can mean anything from death to life to recycling to a fantasy goddess? Does it even translate to movement? This project began with an image, so where's the movement in it? Is there plot? We'll see I guess.