Sunday, 23 December 2012

Thoughts from Dance on Film workshops: December 2012, week 2

Our second week of workshops for the first Made By Katie Green dance film have provided a great deal more food for thought, and I will document some of our key discoveries over the next 5 blog posts instead of trying to fit it all into one post. (Video footage will follow later when I’ve had time to process it.)

Just to recap, we are using a 100 word story entitled Fly by Daniel Marcus Clark as a starting point for the film workshops and ultimately for a new dance film. Very simply, the main character in the story wants to learn how to fly; he makes himself some wings, he goes to the top of a cliff and he launches himself off. The story doesn’t tell us what happens after he jumps. For me, the act of getting to the edge of a cliff and deciding whether or not to jump off is representative of many difficult decisions we encounter in our lives, and so the film will be an exploration of the decision-making process generally rather focussing only on documenting one individual’s decision to jump off a cliff in his attempt to fly.

With support from psychologist Dr Kate Hefferon, Dance Scientist Elsa Urmston, and performer/psychologist Siri Steinmo I will also be drawing on research into ‘flow theory’ (the psychology of optimal experience) within the final film, using elements of flow experience as starting points for the choreographic content and also investigating how I might be able to support the dancers to access ‘flow’ in the choreographic process itself. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi identifies nine features of being 'in flow', which are:
-          There are clear goals every step of the way
-          There is immediate feedback to one’s actions
-          There is a balance between challenges and skills
-          Action and awareness are merged
-          Distractions are excluded from consciousness
-          There is no worry of failure
-          Self-consciousness disappears
-          The sense of time becomes distorted
-          The activity becomes autotelic (it is an end in itself)

As this will be my first dance on film project, I’m interested in using film choreographically to achieve things that I could not achieve in live performance.

The following blog posts cover a series of key discoveries:
  1. Interplay of emotions/motivations/limitations within the decision-making process
  2. The feedback process
  3. The role of the performer
  4. Depicting the decision-making process on film
  5. Other things that enable us to take a leap of faith

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