Monday, January 31, 2011
Rehearsal and First UnShowing!
Today in rehearsal, we played with blocks! And I recorded the sounds of stacking them.
I set up structures with 16 acting blocks to create a fun environment that my dancers really took to. We did the solo phrase in this setting with three dancers (to Let Me In), then traded one dancer for a photographer who photographed the invisible paper-passing section (to the sounds of stacking blocks). Thanks to the two dancers who spontaneously joined me in rehearsal and tonight's showing to allow me more bodies- they were great!
In the showing, I asked the audience to move around the perimeter of the room to see from different views for the first section, and brought them to the front for the second part. Before beginning, I was actually surprised and pleased when I walked into the room behind the audience to find them exploring the environment up close! Even after seeing it several times, it remains an interesting and fun jungle-gym.
Feedback from the showing was also great; I particularly asked for what they did and did not see. Many people caught on to the elements of framing, interference with observation as they "can't see everything at once," lack of a single "front" for viewing. Comments on body parts sticking "out of the blue" show the disconnect and noticeable absence of certain information. Some saw it as a comment on art exhibition itself, which is not far from my purpose to look at exhibition of emotions in the stimuli. More substance in the movement can help with this as I am ready to set movements.
Other interesting feedback includes the idea that the audience is part of the experience, not just as active observers, but as incidental subjects in the photographs taken from within the piece. To me, that reflects the role of participants in the studies which determined the validity of the stimuli which were used in further studies- it's circular. One person thought of how others see the dance because of the presence of the photographer within the piece, expanding the perspectives in a way that I like because of how the stimuli bring us perspectives on others lives and our own. Tied in with this were comments on exploitation and invasiveness which seem appropriate to me as references to the role documentation might play in the process of capturing some of the stimuli. Specific to the second part, there was note of negotiation and lack of resolution, which I like- there is no one way to express or understand emotion, and its sharing is an ongoing interpersonal process of negotiation. This comment gives me the idea to fade the lights in and out over movement to begin and end the piece softly and irresolutely.
Questions and possibilities that arise include:
-How will I make the in-the-round format more practical for stage performances? I've considered using cameras, or even having a video camera walked around the piece as it goes on. We also joked about a giant turntable, which would be awesome but pricey and extremely difficult to do in reality.
-Will I set where the photographer should go? I think not- but I would like to find a consistent person to fulfill this role and to become accustomed to it to some degree.
-Will I continue to use my digital camera, and will I use flash? I might want to look into a different style of camera to emphasize it as an element deserving attention (maybe my photographer will have one.) As for flash, that could be a great element to add, which I'll experiment with.
I also want to set the movements of the dancers to bring back the duets and to introduce more traveling through the environment. Part of the perception of them as "moving sculptures" may be that I neglected to give the same full instructions as I did in rehearsal- I want to keep improving the clarity of my directions, as I forget they don't know what I'm thinking to keep each time. There were also comments on what the dancers saw- I want to allow them to see each other, which they seemed not to do so much in performance as they did in rehearsal. Someone noted the dancers avoided one of the forms, telling me they saw interaction with the others- this is something I like, and they'll interact with them all when the final form is replaced with a sturdier substitute. There was an interesting question as to whether the movements were the same among all the dancers, which tells me that they gave the phrase significant variety but enough similarity- I like this as it ties into the averaging of data.
The photos are the ones from the show that my lovely guest dancer took. I was sad my camera died before the second part- I even charged it just for this!