Delving

Today was my first day of Residency at Dance City in Newcastle. Once again, I’m developing ‘Fold’, or some iteration of it.

Working solo has become a natural thing for me. As has schlepping around a whole suitcase packed with projector, laptop, computer, tripod, cameras, a lot of postcards and other miscellaneous gadgets. Whilst preparing for this residency, I recalled an idea that Andrew Morrish taught during his solo improvisation workshop: if you build your own architecture in the space, then you’re not alone. By architecture he meant both real and imagined props, prompts, ideas that hang in the space with you. Frames?

So far, ‘Fold’ has been a visual piece. Last year I worked with camera and projector to create three versions of my movement that ‘conversed’ with each other. ‘Hands’ became the most clear image of this. But today things started on a different page. Rather than working with physical ‘frames’ I started by working with words. I created audio scripts to lead me into movement, ending up with a word score.

Score is the S in RSPV, the iterative cycle that I’m working within: collecting Resources, developing Scores, performing them (to camera), evaluating them (without judgement) in order to refine the Resources and Score that feeds into the next cycle etc.

RSVP is a system that I’ve adopted to support the making process. It’s another architecture in the space, and one that I have used for the last year. But this year, wanting to explore movement again, I’ve drawn on a second architecture: Josiah Hinks’ 5 facets process. If RSVP is the meta-structure, then 5 Facets offers different kinds of resources, questions. It’s a supportive, soft structure that feels more pertinent to the creation of movement material.

It begins with Delving.

In Delving the situation is already given and allowed, we enter and play there. We are like a child exploring within givens it would never stop to think about. This is the space, this is the size of the paper, these are the colours we have, this is the body I have and this is the situation I am in. – Josiah Hinks

The Virtuosity of Paying Attention

Have you ever played with a child? I mean spent time with them building castles that are never completed? Repeatedly banged out the same tune, because each turn never stops being highly amusing to them. Children have an innate ability to just play, not to find the meaning of things, but to explore the pleasure, run with it a while and then change, move on, let go. It’s highly frustrating for an adult, because we’re so used to seeing the end game, or seeing the point of it all. I know I am.

The resounding impact of a 3 day workshop with the improvisation performer Andrew Morrish, was this realisation: perhaps I’ve forgotten how to play!

Andrew’s workshop was titled ‘Solo Performance Improvisation Practice’. It involves at least three of the most terrifying propositions anyone could face: performing, solo and improvisation. Imagine entering the space, facing a whole audience, no score, no pre-rehearsed movement, just you and the space and the audience. No props or other performers to lean on. Andrew’s starting point is always to think that the audience likes you, they’re on your side. But I’ve seen audiences walk out of theatres, so I’m less convinced.

As an experienced improviser Andrew admits that there’s a lot of bad improvisation out there. Improvisation is often the fall-back of choreographers and directors when they cannot quite fill a section of their work, or performers when they forget their lines or make a wrong move. “Just improvise” is an often heard comment back stage, “no one will know”.  But when improvisation becomes a practice in its own right, the result is a performance that is skilled, authentic, endearing, humorous, engaging. An improviser over-comes so much of the natural chatter that prevents us from fully revealing who we are, they place themselves in a place of ultimate vulnerability. The experience of being in this space develops new muscles of authentic communicating, which is what gives this work its multi-dimensionality. The good news is that it’s not magic, it’s a practice that takes time to develop. And the key to developing this skill is to pay attention:

improvisation is the virtuosity of paying attention”  – Andrew Morrish

To frame Andrew’s teachings, I’m going to use his own structure of Beginning, Middle and End.

Beginning

Beginning starts with noticing.

Andrew says that having ideas is great while you have them, but what happens when the ideas run out? The key to being present, is to notice what’s here, now. We’re taught to listen in to sensation, and become aware of where that takes us in terms of movement, sounding, talking, imagination. When you attend to what’s there in the room, you never run out of resources.

“Pay attention to the child”

Andrew relates how he worked on a project where his job was to improvise alongside a child. Paying attention to the child was his source material for his own role in the duet. I know that Andrew was talking about a specific event, but I couldn’t help drawing parallels with Julia Cameron’s suggestion that our creative side is a child. Suddenly this idea of tapping in to my inner child just opened up something for me.  I’m here in this workshop because so many years of dance training dulled down any real ‘presence’ in favour of physicality. We were physical beings, but not human beings on stage. And now I just find that presence so stale. I’m here to work out what it might mean for me to be present on stage. If I could cut out all the negative chatter that prevents me from making a fool of myself and notice what my inner child was drawn to, perhaps something more real would come out of me?

Staying in this childish space, Andrew suggests following your pleasure. The game is not to find something that’s “interesting”, it’s to find something that’s fun for us now. It’s function-less, frivolous. But if you find it then developing it is a pleasure too. It sounds like a good life mantra…

Middle: Developing what you’ve noticed

I’m very bad at the middle bit. I find myself wanting to know the outcome right from the get go. Only a few seconds into an improvisation task, I find my mind panicking to know the end point. I find  it so hard just to settle in, notice and develop what’s there, whatever that may be. I sense that Andrew knows this and one of his tools is to get us to move around the space.

“a solo is a journey”

Andrew places groups of people around the space, so that as we improvisaed solo we have to move from one audience to another, shifting ourselves spatially. Each new audience, or new sapce brings a new energy. Somehow, using this structure, we each do a 4 minute solo improvisation on the first day!

“Change!”

If the first job of an improviser is to find something pleasureable, then the second job is to find the next thing that’s pleasureable. It’s so easy to get stuck in what we’re doing, that sometimes we forget to change. Andrew suggests introducing something that prompts us to change, like a change of scenary or a change of focus. I think that my inability to change more frequently comes partly out of feeling very invested in what I’m doing, so that I find it hard to let it go, and partly in the fear of not being able to find the next thing. Andrew suggests the Andrew Morrish App: it follows you around shouting “change!” every 30 seconds. Sadly it doesn’t exist, but it’s not a bad idea.

“you need to feel safe to be creative”

There’s something about this remark that holds so true and yet is so little understood in the arts world. Everyone somehow expects artists to bare their soles, to be really ‘out there’. But that’s not a safe place to work from, and when you’re acting from a place of fear, you cannot really be creative, you can only do what you already know which is the opposite of being present. So how do you create safety when you’re facing an audience with no pre-known moves / score etc?

“supportive architecture”.

Andrew talked about creating supportive architecture. One exercise involved each of us performing with other members of the group sitting / standing around the space. When you’re in relation to another body the space feels less empty. More resources appear. Later Andrew suggested using our imagination to create that supportive architecture, or thinking about the audience as a supportive architecture.

Ending

“Be aware of what’s happened”

Finding an ending involves the ability to be aware of what’s happened and to somehow hold that in our body in a way that will lead us to an ending.

I don’t think I ever really found an ending. It would be safe to say that I’m still trying to find a sense of play. But each time my turn came to an end, I seemed to come out of performance and suddenly I was me. In Andrew’s words: how can I find more of her?

This blog is dedicated to my work as a dance artist and choreographer. If you're looking for my Pilates work, please visitmy Pilates website at www.margueritepilates.com

 

 

On Solo Practice

What are your thoughts, issues, frustrations, ideas around developing your work on your own? When you book yourself into a studio to finally get your ideas out of your head and into your body, or you’re super chuffed about getting a residency, you walk into the studio on your first day, all alone with your music and that bit of text you really liked…. then what? Does this way of working, work for you?

A few weeks ago I decided to take a week off from teaching so that I could get back into the studio and move again, bringing my focus back into my dance work. I’m starting a new piece as well as rehearsing an old one. It’s all solo material, plus quite a lot of tech, literally just me and the machine. Working in a studio is an investment. It costs time and money. Even when it’s free, it comes with some kind of a cost. So one does kind of feel obliged to ‘achieve’ something. Compound that pressure with all the problems that arise from working alone (distraction, boredom, self-doubt) and you have a recipe for the ultimate frustration. Working solo has to be one of the most difficult aspects of a dance maker’s practice. By the end of that week of rolling around on the floor, I put the above question to my fellow dance makers. Here are some of the responses I received:

 “I almost never go into a studio on my own. I always feel lost whenever I try to do that. I’m usually either making group work or if I’m practicing solo improv then I always share the practice with someone so I have an audience.” – Seke Chimutengwende.

“I never go into the studio alone either. No one should. All solos need a director 😉 as not to be left at some point – lying in a shaft of sunlight falling asleep in desperate lonely inadequacy – before then bursting into tears, getting inspired, coming up with something small; it’s hell.” – Sally Marie 

“It’s usually great for the first hour…and then I’m bored, not sure what to do next, messing with documentation and note taking instead of developing material… I’m not good in the studio alone but I also feel like it’s what I’m supposed to do to be a good dance maker, so I tend to make myself do it for a day or two at the beginning of a project.” – Kate Sicchio 

“For me, working on a solo is like learning a foreign language; you need to pass through the point where everything seems impossible, really push yourself and “learn the grammar” to finally let the body speak. And I go to the studio on my own because it is the only moment I feel my body is a subject and not an object. It is honest and a process that lets me connect with myself first.” – Danai Pappa

The bottom line is that working alone in a studio is tough. I’m curious about the combination of reasons that people chose to work in this way: sometimes it’s out of necessity, sometimes it’s just a starting point, sometimes it’s because of a feeling of obligation. I’m grateful to those who expressed that this way of working simply isn’t necessary in their practice at all. Working solo is hard work, so if you can avoid it then by all means do. I think it’s fair to ask ourselves, in the first instance: Why choose to work alone? Is it really necessary?

I started working alone partly for practical reasons: I got tired of asking people to work for free for me, it never felt good. But once I started working alone, I realized that actually working with others was even harder. The reason for this is that developing an idea from scratch puts you in a very vulnerable place to begin with. It’s all very raw and unimpressive and more importantly, it’s easily trampled on. Having another collaborator in the studio with me made me feel like the idea was threatened, partly by the presence of another person’s ego, partly by the fact that another person will bring their own baggage to the room. I’ve also become hyper sensitive to the way that someone else’s movement can take over the aesthetic of the work, and this probably has something to do with the subtle nature of identity in my practice.

After the first two rehearsals, working alone in a studio space, I found myself wondering whether I was really getting anything out of it. I came away and showed some images to my collaborator, who instantly saw the progress and encouraged me to keep working. If I hadn’t had that feedback I think I might have despaired.

What I realized is that some of what we think of as frustrations, may actually be a consequence of the continuous expectation of being productive. But the productivity scale does not reflect the value of what we are doing. Richard Newton puts this so well in “The Little Book of Thinking Big”:

“The cult of busyness requires a certain type of thinking. You could call it instrumental thinking. The consequences of the thinking must be instrumental in achieving value: sales, innovation, cost savings…wealth and power. This is valuable but it is narrow, focused and constrained.” – Richards Newton

In some senses, remaining in the undefined, non-linear space of creative practice is a quiet protest against the dominance of ‘getting somewhere’ in our goal oriented culture. There is something pre-verbal about solo practice (I read that somewhere) and I wonder about allowing it to remain in this space. How can I allow myself to roam in that initial idea without getting trapped in self-absorbed, self-conscious fantasy?

So the question isn’t “How can I get more out of this time?” but “How do we get better at being in this space?” by which I mean both the physical space of the studio and the psychological space of solo creative practice.

And another thing: shouldn’t it be fun? Why does it always feel like such hard work?

I recalled the writing of Mihaly Csikszentmihaly who talks about the state of Flow. Here’s what he says:

 “These are the eight main components people mention when what they do is fun and enjoyable: they have a clear sense of goals, they know how they are doing, their skills are matched to their challenges, their attention is concentrated on what they are doing, they operate in the moment, they are not worried about being out of control, or about how they look in the eyes of other people, time then passes fast and one is glad to be doing whatever it is that provides such an experience.”

The reason that I like this idea is that is suggests that if the first three principles are met (clear aim, feedback and skills matched to the challenge) then all the other frustrations disappear.

So how does all this fit together? I’m just at the very start of my research, but this is what I think we might need, to develop a better solo practice.

a.) The right approach.

I think we need to remember that working solo is a practice that takes time to develop. We need to approach each session with curiosity and kindness. We need to enter into the mental attitude of practice rather than achieving outcomes. We need to be ready to suspend judgment.

b.) Resources

In preparation for my workshop on Sunday, I’ve been spending time walking around hardware stores and stationers. I’ve bought ‘toilet reading books’ and searched through online resources for anything that resonates. Having a box of physical tools (I don’t mean hammers and nails), is a great oblique way of getting the mind focused on making. Resources don’t have to be physical. They can be simple constraints or tasks you give yourself, like using less space or trying to make 10 versions of something. You can tailor them to the ideas you’re exploring. Having small task based goals gives us something smaller than the bigger picture to get our teeth into. I think a lot of the time we’re so devoured by the bigger picture of what we’re trying to do, that we feel paralyzed by it. Finding a way to focus on something small, either related, or unrelated, is a good way to keep the analytical side of the brain engaged, so that the more elusive original ideas can surface.

c.) Preparation

I have this idea that if I’m about to spend 4 hours alone in the studio then I should spend at least 4 hours preparing in some way. Creative practice should be an ongoing process. Admittedly this takes a lot of discipline, but setting time aside in the week to go and look at something, or research ideas that you can take into the studio with you, will massively enhance the quality of that time alone in the space.

d.) RSPV

If you’re not familiar with Anna Halprin’s RSPV cycle, then I’ve written about this here. RSPV stands for Resources, Score, Performance, Value-action. We all know how to structure rehearsals, but what about structuring the process? I like to think of the preparation time before the session as a time to collect resources and set a score for how I want to work in the studio. The time in the studio then becomes the performance, which I film to watch later. I then evaluate what I’ve done by reflecting on my process and the documentation after the rehearsal. This allows me to refine my score and resources so that I can repeat the cycle in the next rehearsal.

e.) An observer

The most effective solo practice sessions I ever had involved working with the dramaturg, Chris Higgins. You can read about my experience here. What I realized from this way of working, was that having an external eye, not directing, but supporting me staying in the space, was the most conducive set up for my own physical practice. On Sunday 18th June I will lead my very first lab on the observed / observing practice. This presents a score for supporting each other’s solo practice by simply being present. I’ll also be exploring some of the resources I’ve been gathering to facilitate solo making. You can find more details on the workshop here.

I’m so grateful to all of my fellow makers who contributed their thoughts and allowed me to share them here. This is just the beginning of these ramblings. In the meantime let me know what you think. Do any of these ideas resonate with you?

On Dramaturgy – Prepare

I wrote this post before the start of my recent project, but never got round to publishing it! So here it is. Just imagine it’s still July 2016 when you read it…

“Excuse my ignorance, but what exactly is a dramaturg?”

The process through which I came to be working with Chris was such a fluid one that I never stopped to pose this question myself. It was obvious to me that I would be working with a dramaturg on my next project. At the beginning of the year I had no idea what a dramaturg was either. I just had a hunch that a workshop being run by South East Dance was exactly what I needed to do. And so, by a series of coincidences, I had landed myself an incredibly generous and patient Chris who had already, in a few sessions, got me back into thinking of myself as a maker again. “He’s like an outside eye who’s also an inside eye” I said. “He listens and teases out what I’m after, suggesting ways of getting there and then suggesting ways of not getting there in case they might actually get us there anyway.” Tom, my collaborator, looked confused.

My first meeting with Chris was at the British Library cafe, or the echoing lobby area where you literally have to pounce like a vulture on a free table. I had no notes from the session. Chris wrote loads. What was I doing? Where was I going with it? What did I want to do? By the end of the two hours Chris pinned me down on one thing: “One of the conversations we need to have is around ‘Everything you hate about dance'”. I had no idea that I’d said that. I guess I was talking about the contemporary dance cliches, but the reference stuck. We now have a number of shorthand references like this.

In a second meeting Chris tried a technique that Lou Cope spoke about: he reeled off a list of words asking me to chose between two similar but different options. “Green or Grey?” he asked, “Grey” I answered. These are our oblique questions. We’re talking about the piece without talking about the piece. The result is a list of words that actually feel very connected to the work: close, lines, restless, shoulder, fact, held, grey, violin, made. There are also a number of words that don’t have anything to do with it, like “toast” and “lemon”.

By this point we were lucky enough to be able to shift our conversation into a studio. On our first day in a studio space, Chris came prepared with stuff: an elasticated string, paper, postcards, objects, wool. It’s kind of a relief, I thought, when someone else has thought about things. We stuck a long piece of blank paper up on the wall of the studio, sharpie at the ready. It’s our key questions board. This has been religiously rolled up and re-posted for each rehearsal. Even now, at the end of the project, it’s remained mostly empty, but then there’s a lot more to come I guess…

I’m making a piece about control and freedom that involves a dancer pulling a string that’s attached to a record player, playing an old relaxation record that’s telling her to relax. So our first question was: What else might it be? We had no sound to work with, which was a good thing. We tied the elasticated string to the ballet barre in the studio and began improvising movement informed by the string. At some point in our earlier discussions we had thought of using a dog leash to replicate the gadget my collaborator had built for me last year, a kind of retractable string. But it just didn’t give me any impetus. Apart from this, Channel 4 had just aired a documentary about adults who dress up as dogs. “Is this about control and freedom, or is it just a piece about dogs?”, Chris asked. Of course he wasn’t just talking about the dog-people, he was talking about seeing what we’re actually doing, rather than what we think we’re doing. We discarded the dog leash, but now Amazon thinks I own one…

We attached one line, then two lines to the Ballet Barre. We worked on facings, different uses of the line/s. My problem is that I often get a bit stuck in my head. I worry about creating movement just for its sake. I need a reason to move. I tried “just moving”. My “Suspending Judgement” sign was hung up on the door handle. To take my mind away from my movement Chris tries to get me to relate a story. He begins and then he says he doesn’t know what happens next, which is my cue to pick up and continue until I decide to hand the story back to him and so on. “He keeps hi-jacking the story!” I think. I bet he thinks my story telling is just as crap. The good news is that I’m so hung up on how terrible this story is that I have absolutely no idea how I’m moving. This is good, because it gives my body time to warm up to the string, to absorb something from it unconsciously.

We then try to give the movement a little more shape. Chris throws out random lines from a collection of poetry. “It never let up until morning”, “I melt for the first time”, ‘A formal line through beach and open ground..” I answer each line through movement, allowing myself to get stuck, to repeat, to try to embody something from that line. It’s not a literal translation (it can never be in movement). At one point I shake my head “everything I hate about dance” I say, referring to something I was doing. Chris gently encourages me to keep going. Just beyond that block something else happens. In our discussion afterwards Chris wonders if my fear of falling into cliche is stopping me from moving, and maybe if I suspend judgement and allow the cliche to happen, maybe just beyond that, there’s the gold.

What I’ve realised about working with Chris in the space is that it’s like having a clearer headed (and kinder) version of me on the outside. Chris is absolutely there with me through each improvisation. He knows what I’m after and luckily has none of my baggage to colour what he sees. So when he says there was something there, I know what he means. My experience is an embodied one, his is a visual one, but we’re still talking the same language.

Our second session in the studio. Chris hangs some postcards up on the wall. I pick three images to work with. Again we use one string attached to the barre. In the next improvisation I work through the images. Again, I’m creating an embodiment rather than mimicking. I feel the license to use the images however I feel. What comes out of this improvisation is the following realisation: “When you create movement with purpose, it has meaning.” (Chris’ words).

Our third studio session is with another dancer Joel. Two strings, two movers, multiple relationships start to unfold. Joel’s physicality is totally different to mine, but his playfulness and attentiveness to the string is exactly why I want to work with him. In a later discussion with Chris we talk about how to work with this difference without flattening it out. I don’t want Joel to move like me. Somehow I feel that if we both attend to the task, the physicality for this work will come out of that.

Our last studio session is with the sound artist Tom. All these sessions have been a preparation for our actual project which starts in August. We talk about the technical aspect of the work and put together some ideas for the string which Tom now needs to find a way to incorporate into the build. Then we start working with sound and movement in the same space. We don’t have any interactive stuff yet, so Tom just improvises via his laptop whilst I attempt to use his sound as a score for my improvisation. This time my movement just isn’t as fluid. It’s been three weeks since the last session, during which time I’ve been to San Francisco for Anna Halprin’s workshop, returned to a Brexit vote and sleep walked through a week of teaching on jet lag. But Chris is supportive and stops me hitting the self destruct button. At the end of the session we walk to Gordon Square to talk about collaboration and brainstorm some ideas about how to structure the process.

At some point in that last rehearsal Chris had brought up a question he had asked me to keep thinking about whilst I was away in California: “What moves you?” I hated the question. When Chris asked me to have this at the back of my mind during my last improv with Tom I dismissed it almost immediately. It doesn’t really fit. I almost wanted to cross it off our “key questions” board. Well I’m not in the business of making sentimental crap, I thought. It wasn’t until a few weeks later, when I was in Malta for a fleeting visit home to celebrate my parents 40th wedding anniversary, that the answer hit me. My mother stands up half way through the meal and gives an unexpected, unprepared little speech, the kind that’s so heartfelt and messy round the edges that its rawness is palpable. She has us all in floods of tears. And then I realise that what moves me isn’t something dressed up to be dramatic. It’s something that’s just so real it hits you in the gut. And this realisation is such a relief, because it means I can make something that might move people and all I have to do is be absolutely real.

I’d like to thank Lou Cope for inspiring us to work like this and for creating the ground work for our discussions to grow from, South East Dance for hosting the Doing Dramaturgy workshop and The Place Artist Development for giving us access to a studio space during this time.

A week with Anna Halprin- Arriving

Gate 1.  As you enter and pass through the gate leaving the driveway and leading to the studio, become aware of descending, of a procession and a change of atmosphere.

It’s Monday 20th June. After 5 hours in airports and 11 hours in the air, I arrived in San Francisco last night. The word ‘gate’ is a loaded one. I think about the gates I passed through to get here: tube gates, departure gates, arrival gates, the invisible policed gate that is border control, the Golden Gate Bridge and now this one. You cannot travel to the US without becoming excruciatingly aware of the politics of gates. Gates as a means of control, St Peter standing at the gate, “do you have your papers?”, “how much money are you carrying on you?”, “do you have proof of a return flight Ma’am?” I thought I’d negotiated my way through passport control quite neatly, but then another officer caught sight of my Maltese passport and sent me over to import control to have my bag scanned in case I was carrying any nasties. Lest you forget, let us make it absolutely clear that you are not welcome to over-stay your stay…oh and welcome to the US.

Anna’s historic Mountain home studio is nestled into a forest of redwood oak trees on the west slope of Mount Tamalpias in California’s Marin County. A long staircase takes you down from the driveway to the lounge area. A sign at the side of the entrance invites you to consciously attend to your descent: “walk slowly, pause periodically, look, listen, breathe, smell, touch.” It’s immediately clear that the users of this space revere the environment as much as they do the history of the studio. When Anna moved here with her architect husband, Larry Halprin, he knew that she needed a space to continue to develop her movement work. Together with Arch Lauterer (Martha Graham’s lighting designer), Larry designed the outdoor studio which was built in 1948 and later the indoor studio in 1950.

Anna and Larry’s work sought to redefine social structures in art and life. Their home studio became a seed bed for postmodern thinking in the 1960’s, attracting artists from all over the US to the West coast. This is how I had placed Anna’s work. Historically she is one of the founding artists of post-modern dance, a title she naturally refutes, along with the idea of choreography altogether. “We’re all choreographers” she says.

By 10am a group of around 30 of us have assembled in the lounge area, a hut space with kitchen and bathroom set on a lower level to the studio. Tomoko, one of Anna’s assistants, leads us up to the studio through a dance. Barefooted we’re invited to hold hands in a long line. We enter the space like a procession, ascending the stairs to the outdoor deck. In the far corner a frail Anna sits in a wheel chair. A minor injury means she’s a little less mobile, but she’s OK, they assure us. As we file passed Anna she asks each of us for our name and where we come from, and “please speak up ’cause I’m a little deaf”.

A leaflet they gave us on arrival spells out the significance of this space. It’s history is not lost on those of us present. A sense of reverence for the environment, for the people who have been a part of it and have literally sweated into the deck, takes over each one of us. As Anna explains:

This place has a long and fascinating history. It is here that the Dancer’s Workshop did its early experimental work..Artists who are now well known started here; dancers like Simone Forti, Trisha Brown, Meredith Monk, Yvonne Rainer, A.A. Leath, John Graham, Norma Leistiko, Shirley Ririe…; Musicians like Terry Riley, LaMonte Young; Ruth Beckford who led one of the first all black dance companies, Merce Cunnigham, Min Tanaka… all performed on this deck… And of even greater importance are all the many talented and wonderful students and teachers who have shared so many creative dances and laughed and cried together here.I believe there is a field of energy that keeps growing, bringing the past into the present, and giving this space its particular beauty and sacredness. I hope you will enjoy being here and that you will be able to experience the power others have invested into the Mountain Home Studio as an addition to your own creativity – Anna Halprin.

Anna’s words spin in my jet lagged head. I have no idea what time zone I’m in. I find the outdoors overpowering and cannot feel my body. Worst of all my feet are so dirty it looks like it will take a month of hardcore scrubbing to get them clean again. But in the back of my head I hear Chris telling to me to just go with the daze, to surrender to the unfamiliarity of it and who cares that you haven’t had a warm up.

As Anna says, life and art are never separate, and here I am on this creative journey negotiating with an unfamiliar space whilst a part of me frets about whether they’ll let me back in when I fly home. The Entry Score provides a welcome direction for my unsettled brain. The rules are clear, inviting engagement, framed/ held together by years of other entrances down those stairs. All gates have entry scores, I think… and then I wonder what airport gates might be like if people were invited to walk slowly, pause periodically, look, listen, breathe, smell, touch….

My trip to Anna Halprin’s Summer Workshop 2016 has been made possible thanks to the support of the Lisa Ullman Travelling Scholarship Fund. 

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