Thursday, May 29, 2008


I think I work best with chocolate and caffeine in my system so, over a couple of strong coffees, Nicola and I, in our usual manic but efficient way, downloaded a month’s worth of ideas, concerns, gossip and desires. It feels good to rekindle our shared interests for butoh, image work, improvisation and a need to work creatively.

Tucked away in Toyenbee Studios away from my perceived pressures to conform to orthodox traditionalism in my dancing, I feel suddenly freed. After some discussion it feels right to head up to the studio and do some Authentic Movement. We start by one of us moving for 15 minutes whilst the other observes as “witness” (to use Authentic Movement terminology) and then vice versa.

Neither of us knows very much about Authentic Movement but we’re learning. I’ve done a bit with Jonathan Burrows, Nicola has just done some with Henry Montes and coincidently we’re both reading the same book: Offering from the Conscious Body: The Discipline of Authentic Movement. So we’re not at a total loss; plus, we know each other well so the movement comes easily and without much self-censorship.

Almost immediately, Nicola called my attention to the two large white installation-like boxes in the studio so we made no haste in organising our improvisations around them. Initially, I found it challenging to get out of my “removals-man” mentality when negotiating my body in relationship to the boxes but Nicola seemed to have no problem conjuring up and embodying images of things like water, moss and snails.

Despite my challenges in manifesting images in working with this large prop, Nicola and I discussed how useful they were in forcing us to move differently as we had to pull ourselves up onto the boxes, lever ourselves off of again and find ways of simply manoeuvring ourselves physically around them.

We drew conclusions at the end of our time together about how a simple idea, like, ‘move around some boxes’, was very successful. Perhaps an image does manifest out of such an idea; for instance, the image of a snail. Well then, this image could be filled out with other images; such as: where the snail is crawling, what it is eating, what the texture of its shell is like and so on. As is the case in butoh work, one image is the spark that lights the fire and you are only limited by your own resistance to explore aspects of your own consciousness.

A productive day….



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