speaking bodies and neutral masks

Two days of workshops as part of a research project: ‘Ancient Dance in Modern Dancers’ (ADMD).  What a treat!  Thank you to researchers Helen Slaney, Caroline Potter and Sophie Bocksberger for organising and sharing (support of TORCH and DANSOX).

The first day with Yael Karavan we grappled with the elements, told stories without words and produced words from movement.  On the second day with Marie-Louise Crawley we strove to become neutral and aware bodies ready to wear ‘neutral mask’ and inhabit the moment in a variety of physical and emotional landscapes.  Both workshops emphasised quality of movement and economy of gesture.

Drawing on her experience in butoh and other trainings Yael introduced us to the ‘tools’ our body has to create, inhabit and communicate personality and character.  Leading us to explore and embody different elemental qualities – water, air, earth, fire, oil, wood Yael also drew our attention to the ‘volume’ at which these were playing.  How would gesture be used to communicate clearly and effectively in a huge ampitheatre or auditorium?  How to amplify movement without unnecessary extra ‘noise’.  How effective clarity and conciseness of gesture and form.  The title of this workshop was ‘physical storytelling’ .

In ‘Neutral mask’  with Marie-Louise a series of preparatory exercises brought us into a relaxed and aware state before we were introduced to our masks.  Here there was also physical storytelling and we were all amazed to see the effect of the mask and the way each body conveyed so much information with so little movement and how each imparted character to the mask.  The role of the elements played again in this workshop both through embodiment and as part of an imaginary landscape through which we travelled.

Lots of great practice, lots of thoughts and questions and plenty of tips which all of us can use in our differing projects. Thank you.


Comments are closed.