Monday, 9 February 2009

Back in action And CandoCo masterclass

Well, its been a long time and i have finally decided to get off my arse and do some work.

I went to a workshop with Candoco on thursday, in the middle of the South Bank centre. The workshop was a dance masterclass focussing on the work of Nigel Charnock and 'Still'.

The day began at 11am, and took place in an open space in the South Bank cente, where people sat around watching as we made fools of ourselves, shouting and dancing about with blindfolds on. When i arrived, i felt vey nervous about what to expect from this 'masterclass', would i look inexperienced or unfit? And how would i be percieved by everyone?

Initially, everyone sat in their own space and began stretching and warming up, nobody spoke to anyone else, and we were all very judgemental of each other and how we perceived one another.

We started the class with some yoga stretches, which i found familiar to the some of the stretches that we do in our lectures. So i felt quite comfortable, knowing what i was meant to do with each of the movements. Then we spent some time warming up our arms, and our legs; learning short mevement phrases and then repeating them to music. We had to do lots of travelling across the space, focussing on the extension of our arms and legs. At this point i became very frustracted with myself, for not being able to do the movements correctly. I began to get upset, but before i could really loose it with myself, one of the members of Candoco came over and offered me some advice. The next time i tried to do the movements, i felt a bit more comfortable. And she once again came over and told me that i had improved a lot since the previous attempt; this gave me the confidence to continue and not shy away.

We then had to move around the room, and upon coming into contact with someone else, we had to join our heads, and step out to form a counter balence. After a few moments, one partner would move away, and the other would have to continue to walk away from the person.

Another trigger when walking around the room, was to place your hand on the lower part of someone else's back guiding them around the room until they build up speed and then let them go.

The final choice of trigger was to hug someone from behind, so they melt into the floor. Then you pulled the person a little way across the floor, and then offered them a hand to stand up.

At this early part of the day we had to come into contact with a lot of strangers, and had to erase our preconceptions about the people we were working with. This also gave me a chance to get to know different people in the room; those who were able bodied and those who were less able bodied.

The next big part of the class involved being blindfolded and doing different thing with partners. The first was for one partner to be blindfolded and be very neutral, while their partner hugs them. Then the blindfolded partner would begin to resist the hugging.

Another task that we had to undertake, was for one partner to be led across the room blindfolded. At first the blindfolded person would want to go with their partner, but then resist and try anything to return to the side that they started from.

The final big task using the blindfold, was for half of the group to enter the space and dance on your own to the music. We could interact with other people in the room if we wanted to, or we could remain dancing on our own with the blindfolds on. We were then given the option of taking our blindfolds off when we were dancing. I became quite uncomfortable at this point because i was thinking too much about who was watching me and whether i was making a fool of myself. I think i scared myself and from that point i could not relax enough to just do anything without wondering who would be watching me.

After our lunch break, we started with some breathing and voice exercises. Firstly warming up the muscles in our throat, and breathing into our stomachs. We spoke aloud all of the vowels to warm up our mouth and lips. And then we had to try saying the words louder and when coming into contact with a surface, we had to push against it, in an attempt to push the sounds out in a higher pitch, without straining the voice.

Then we learnt part of the routine which the company use in their performance of 'Still'. This section was really fun to learn, beacuse it gave me an insight into how they developed their own improvisation and came to their final piece. We also got a sneek prevew of the performance, and i am very much looking forward to seeing it next tuesday at the southbank centre!

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