Echo Echo CI Festival Teachers
A workshop about dance, and the things which are visible and invisible in it. Vision is our way of seeing things. We will experiment with vision and stretch our ability to see with regard to everything, from safety to aesthetic pleasure. We will also look at what happens if vision is not our only way of looking and seeing. We will learn to trust this knowledge with our eyes open and closed.
We will practice Contact Improvisation and its relationship with the composition of space, time and place. We will work with time and understand movement principles. We will discipline the capacity to stay focused in the chaos and spontaneous in the clear boundaries of the form. I am interested in seeing dance from the point of view of time, quantity, space, dimensions, pressure, gravity, temperature. Like baking a cake... Or calculating the weather... Or telling a fortune in the coffee grounds.
We’ll research the questions:
What is visible, predictable, teachable?
What is hidden, unpredictable, unteachable?
Can we see a jam as an art work in progress?
How does a witness influence a dancer? And how does a dancer influence a witness?
We will always start with ourselves and return to ourselves through dance, awareness, attention, silence.
Contact Improvisation is a perfect way to research different questions about dance, creativity and living through whatever is present.
We invite you to walk the ladder from “real” to “magical” and back :-)
Our rivers will climb mountains.
Life will surely become clearer!
About Anjelika Doniy
I have studied to be a choreographer. I´ve been taught various skills of training and means of teaching the body of another person. In my “archive” there are many stage pieces from folk dance to ballet miniatures. My work in the Theatre has been the tastiest. The actors, direction and dramaturgy broadened my mind and my image of the dance art form. I began to see how the art of charming the audience is created.
Since I´ve met contact improvisation and the first CI teachers, I practice the art of de-educating the body of another person and disentangling the illusions about movement and dance.
I think that the human being is already perfect the way it is created, and I believe in nature and it´s laws. I dance, investigate and live in accordance with this vision.
I´m prompted in life by the ability to fall in love unconditionally and undoubtedly with people, movement, mountains, journey, ideas. This ability has helped me to learn everything that forms me right now. This is what teaches the others.
CI is the only dance that helps me leave the limits of personality and transform my consciousness. In this sense I´m the student, not the teacher. The better I learn, the more chances the others have to learn something near by me.
My special interest in contact improvisation is clarity. Clarity towards the practice. Honesty towards how do I move my weight in the space of Gravity. Attention towards clearing the dance from the personal. Letting things happen as they do.
I´m grateful for meeting such teachers as Steve Paxton, Nancy Stark Smith, Danny Lepkoff, Benno Voorham, Lisa Nelson, Esther Gal, Alexander Girshon, Yaniv Mintzer, Joerg Hassman, Martin Keogh and many others.
Approaching Contact Improvisation through the principles of The Alexander Technique
The workshop will approach Contact Improvisation from the point of view of the Alexander Technique. The workshop will introduce the main concepts of the Alexander Technique including, “Inhibition”, “Direction” and “The Primary Control Mechanism”. These concepts and their practical exploration will be used as a way to deepen the sense of detail in both the physical movement and the improvisatory aspects of Contact Improvisation. The Contact Improvisation practice will at the same time offer a context for refining understanding the principles of the Alexander Technique. This will produce a virtuous cycle in which each practice enables a deeper connection with the other.
At the physical level the sessions will focus on the subtlety and importance of the relationship of the head to the spine (Primary Control Mechanism) and the way that this relationship can be strongly determining of the organisation of total patterns of movement. We will bring attention to ways of leaving this relationship more free to adapt and to change its form and tonus to enable an increased movement range and greater responsive adaptability to outside influences caused by dancing with a partner.
At the conceptual level we will use “Inhibition” and “Direction” to gain insight into the reflexive relationship, in improvisation, between making committed and clear proposals, and remaining available to adapt to proposals from partners and to changing circumstances.
Of course, in reality these physical and conceptual levels are never separated so the workshop will be more a process of looking at, thinking about and practicing dancing with the attention favouring particular perspectives.
The intensive is open to anyone who is interested to think in movement and to think about movement as they dance.
About Steve Batts
I have been practicing and teaching Contact Improvisation for around thirty five years and a certified teacher of The Alexander Technique for thirty. The practice of and ideas around these disciplines have been, and remain, central to my artistic, teaching and organising work. I perform, create and teach internationally. I work with professional dancers, performers and musicians and with non-professionals. My practice includes work with people of all ages and all abilities.
Since 1991 I have been Artistic Director of Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company.
In recent years I have been developing, with the support of the dancers of the Echo Echo Ensemble, an approach to dance which I term “Poetic Movement”. This attempts to offer an alternative perspective to the hyper-objectivising of dancers in mainstream contemporary dance and the hyper-subjectivising of the dancer in the somatically based alternatives.
I use a broad definition of Contact Improvisation which I hope respects the tradition, and current and historical stylistic variations, without losing the roots in open-minded experiment, investigation and exploration:
Contact Improvisation is the practical exploration of the limits and opportunities of moving, without rigid plans for particular outcomes, in close proximity and in physical contact, and the observation of the ways in which this exploration changes the doing of and perception of solo movement and movement at a distance.
Generally speaking, when I teach, create and perform I like to embrace the idea of “dance” with all its poetic, musical, formal and expressive connotations. I feel that attention to “movement” should enrich rather than negate dancing and not promote the idea that good function is something separate from feeling, expression, communication and meaning. I don’t think that young, healthy, strong physicalities have, inherently, more poetic potential than others. So if you sign-up your body (whatever its limitations and abilities) for this intensive please don’t leave your metaphoric heart, your imagined soul and your inquisitive mind behind.