Friday, 25 January 2013

Fly: video research extracts 1

This short video includes extracts of our Dance on Film research, working through several stages:
  • improvised and set movement in which 'ambition' (moving from the place where we feel ambition is situated in the body, which is different for everyone*) interacts with 'doubt'; generally, ambition moves forward and doubt moves backwards, although overall there is an ongoing sense of fluctuation, constantly shifting in all directions without settling - the focus (i.e. of the eyes) is important here and all of the body is activated in spite of the initiation from ambition/doubt centres
  • we can also internalise this sense of interaction between ambition and doubt, which resembles the 'small dance' that happens just before we take the first step on a challenging journey. Closing in using the camera, we can draw attention to the (subtle, intricate) activity of the fingers, breath, the movements of the face for example
  • we then tried putting these ambition/doubt phrases alongside each other, with one dancer responding to the physical information around them (as if they were looking to the options on offer in order to help them make their own decision); note the way in which Tim's facial expression changes towards the end of his journey and he smiles, in relief maybe, or happiness! I've discovered recently that activity of the zygomaticus major facial muscles (a smile) is one of several physiological 'markers' indicating the occurrence of 'flow'
  • then, very briefly, we started playing with what we could do in film post-production in order to give the sense that an individual dancer could in fact be interacting with different parts of their own psyche, rather than communicating with other people, by overlaying footage of the same dancer performing a series of different movement phrases. Having spoken with Neil Baker and Steve Hatton (Electric Egg) it seems there's a lot more we could do with this idea (in addition to the extra choreographic attention I would like to give to the movement given more time e.g. so the interaction between the different figures is clearer - developing spatial relationship, quality, rhythm and use of focus), including manipulating the opacity of the different takes in order to guide the audience’s attention towards a particular figure at a particular time, giving additional emphasis where appropriate to the story-telling (e.g. associated with the protagonist’s purposefulness, confrontation of reality or ‘loss of self-consciousness’ (which is one of Csikszentmihalyi’s nine dimensions of flow)).

* In retrospect, having spoken with Dr Kate Hefferon, I am now more aware of the potential impact of using a word like 'ambition' in setting up a movement task, which can act as a 'primer' i.e. sometimes causing the dancers to think about what they should be trying to achieve in relation to what they think of when they think of ambition, rather than just getting on with the task in the moment (and therefore maybe thinking with their brain rather than their body). This isn't always the case but is worth bearing in mind. The second compilation of short video clips develops from a more physical initiation point rather than an emotional idea situated in the body.

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