Thursday, 27 June 2013

Four ladies

Four ladies moving, two stoic yet soft - a paradox. Two bending and folding like leaves. Then interventions, some laughing, twitching. A sense of peace. Then also a splitz challenge. An opening. When the louds got sounder the bodies began to listen.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Beginning of a Choreographic Process

Beginning of a Choreographic Process 29/4/13 Air Fahlb leis na h-èoin /Away with the Birds Hopefully before beginning a journey there is preparation. Packing your bag with all the necessary things needed for the road. As an artist, I feel departure is the starting point for each new creative process or journey. Journey is a process of discovery and in this case a choreographic process of discovery through Hanna Tuulikki’s project Air Fahlb leis na h-èoin. The process began with material and ideas that sprung from talking to Hanna, Suzy Glass and Daniel Warren. I watched documentation of a field trip to the Isle of Canna and preliminary concerts from Hanna and her vocalists. I referred to Daniel’s footage as a way of mapping the territory, seeing what had come before to get an idea of where we might be going collectively. The essence of the work existed within the performance of Hanna’s vocal composition for three women. The compositional elements were deconstructed and shared with me via files and discussions. The sonic qualities were wrapped up in the voices of Hanna and her vocalists Nerea and Lucy. It was their voices in this first composition, the song that had inevitably called me to begin explorations in connecting movement and sound. With this material I could begin to find a way in to the work with movement. The pathway I found was through breath: breath as a meeting point between movement and sound. I began improvisational tasks with another dancer, giving ourselves ways to connect our breathing and movement by first becoming aware of the breath that moves us. As a vehicle for flight, up currents of air rushing through feathered wings I initiated explorations of movement through the connection of arms into our centre into the floor. How the way that a limb cuts through space can define a quality, direction and form. How can it be functional and useful? These explorations are only just beginning, simultaneously trying to find a sense of oneness – awareness as a group questioning just how does the body as a resonating chamber effect movement? What information can we take from studying animal and specifically bird behaviour that can be useful in relation to this sonic material? As breathing, sound and movement emitting beings, what are our behavioural patterns and can they be defined or redefine a choreographic/thematic task? Questions like these presented themselves but were thankfully grounded in Hanna’s composition. The sounds of Hanna’s score which later I learned belonged to particular types of birds and specific Gaelic words had meaning that brought new connotations to the musical score. These stories, words and meanings intrinsic to the material, the land and the stories of peoples of hundreds of years ago are finding their ways into the work. So far choreographically we are only just touching the surface but these stories are there. Waiting to be uncovered. Upon getting together at Tramway for five days Hanna and I took some of the movement connections I was finding and defined them as choreographic content. We called them fragments, with associated sound fragments that belonged together and were components within the larger composition. With limited access to rehearsals with the vocalists we focussed on teaching them the score and began to gently introduce these possible connections between sound production and movement production. The interesting discovery was that most of the time, opening the body up for moving also opened up the voice for singing and once the performers felt comfortable with the material then the delivery of the score was enhanced not just visually but sonically. This might be an obivious statement but to feel the result was quite remarkable. For me there is this beautiful place that the breath enables us to access whereby a meaning can take formation in the voice, in the body or in both simultaneously. And within the context of this stage of our research, it feels we were looking and touched upon this possibility for a visual music to exist as well as an audible music. Daniel documented the movement connections, fragments and group experiments we tried, echoing and engaging in this process through video. The result was an interaction of sound, bodies and image that became an assemblage of the explorations discussed in this piece of writing and grounded compositionally in Hanna’s score but now expanded into a work for six vocalists, one film maker and one dancer. Suddenly the boundaries between these mediums became more expandable. An example of a task from the initial choreographic research can be found below. More choreographic research can be read about on my blog: www.rosalindmasson.blogspot.com and the choreography will hopefully be developed and supported with Dance House and Creative Scotland in July this year. In standing, feel how breathing - the actions of inhaling and exhaling animates the body. The lungs expand and as they expand they also move the ribcage. Since the shoulder blades are resting on the ribcage they go for a ride on the breath. They are attached via the collar bone and sternum to the ribcage but free to glide across the back, moved by the breath. You can initiate movement from any part of the, try different points of initiation and pathways. One of the things I found most interesting was the potential energy connecting right down to the floor as I lift my arm perhaps above my head. It made sense at first to work with the restriction of having my feet in one place. By Rosalind Masson

Air falbh leis na h-eòin - Away with the Birds. Choreographic Research week 2

Flocking This score takes listening to one another's breath as a starting point for 'flocking'. Being just two, Maria- Guilia and I were able to listen quite intently to one another. We had given ourselves the challenge of inserting particular elements into the improvisation that had been connected to our vocal explorations: awareness of pathway of the arms, transfer of weight, isolated use of the head. You could make the score much more simple, beginning just by walking. The most challenging thing about this exercise is to let go of your own free will and take on a group consciousness. This requires staying alert and using all the faculties you have move together as one. Not easy! http://vimeo.com/62146268

Air Falbh leis na h-eòin, Away with the birds - Choreographic Research

Choreographic Research - week 1 Posted by Rosalind Masson on Feb 16 [Rosalind Masson] Dear collaborators, Usually I keep my notes in one of my diaries but I thought in the run up to our residency I might share them online. Feel free to comment. 6.00 - 7.00pm Voice and Body work 7.00 - 8.00pm Choreographic Ideas Connecting specific sounds with specific movements diving, swooping, gliding - images of flight sound in connection with arms Fall and catch/balance connection of eyes to arms walking and stopping in relation to calling: do you walk after you make the sound? before or simultaneously? sliding sounds/vowels sounds oooooooooo slide fingertips hmmmmmm rock transfer of weight ayayayayay call walk/stop Flocking with specific movements Flocking with specific movements and associated sound Development Sound connecting to body - connection to space/spatial score- creating suggestion/image of bird(s) Considerations : Birds not having any extraneous movement - every movement with behavioral logic. Action generated from sound/generated from movement? e.g. calling and walking exercise Identify a spatial plan for four movements Some reflections : In the gap between sound making and movement there is breath. This gap creates space. I have been connecting or thinking about the movement of the arms - particular movements of the arms in space and how they create a shift of weight down into the feet. How details like the opening of the fingers or the direction of the finger tips create a reaction felt throughout the whole body. I haven't played with rotation as much - more often swing and suspend. I played with calling and moving the head, turning the head in isolation and then calling. I also played with rocking/swaying/shifting the weight from foot to foot so the tranfer of weight moves through the pelvis and shifting the weight from foot to foot transferring the weight in a way through the whole body. Then I thought about how this rocking motion could travel in space connected to the sound either by pivoting or by stepping one foot after another. Looking down at my feet was a form of recognition to know I'd been walking. Discuss this message [Rosalind Masson] Rosalind Masson – Reflections contd... This also allowed me to realise that sound I was making connected to each foot fall so when I stopped the sound naturally stopped. With the transfer of weight also came a more direct push into the floor which made me begin to throw my voice into space connecting questioning how are sound and voice one? The movement from throwing my voice naturally connected into my spine where there was an opening and closing beginning to happen. Making a warbling call opened up my throat and face to the space above. Function of the arms: In her class Rafaella Galdi said the breath is the bridge between the body and mind. Breath then is also the meeting point between movement and sound. Breathing Meditation for the arms: In standing, feel how breathing - the actions of inhaling and exhaling animates the body. The lungs expand and as they expand they also move the ribcage. Since the shoulder blades are resting on the ribcage they go for a ride on the breath. They are attached via the collar bone and sternum to the ribcage but free to glide across the back, moved by the breath. You can initiate movement from any part of the arms/body so it's interesting to make choices, try different points of initiation and pathways. One of the things I found most interesting was the potential energy connecting right down to the floor as I lift my arm perhaps above my head. It made sense at first to work with the restriction of having my feet in one place. I had a strange sensation when transferring weight on to my hands, maybe my feet could become wings. Thinking about the connection of the feet and shoulder blades in reflexology. I straight away felt a different weight or concept of weight from my body into the floor and more detail in the fingers and wrists - isolating them in motion. In kneeling this isolation/bending and flexing of the wrist became gesturally like a signal and I wondered about bird behaviour. How they use visual signals. Finally I thought about and questioned the function of the wings/arms and how in flight the wings function symmetrically but at rest can be moved independently. Repetition of wings flapping is cyclical like breathing. An action that is by nature functional and yet expressive. Walking score: Walking and balancing on one leg. Tucking your head, tucking your leg Tucking head and leg together Walking on tiptoes Walking with bent knees Walking on tiptoes with bent knees Walking backwards on tiptoes Walking backwards with bent knees Walking backwards on tiptoes with bent knees.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

My friend and Improvising performer Seke Chimutengwende asked on facebook today: Is it important that audiences know that improvised performances are improvised? There were many responses, this was mine: I don't think it necessarily needs to be billed as improvisation. I think it depends on the performers involved, how explicit they want to be. Improvisation used as a blanket term defeats it's own meaning. As an audience member I'm not concerned whether a work is improvised or not ,in first instance it's how it touches me. If it touches me or I'm curious, then I might look for descriptions of working process of the artist (s) involved. It just so happens that a lot of the work that touches me is either partly or wholly improvised. I think improvisation can be a state of mind of a performer, if the choreography creates a space to experience the unknown.