Movement – A Response to the MA Workshop

I took part in the MA ‘Choreography for Non-dancers’ Workshop on Tuesday 26th November, which deconstructed the perceptions surrounding movement, and explored the awareness of each individual movement that we make as performers. Personally, the workshop aroused an enquiry into what shapes societies perception of choreography and the limitations that affect body movement in general. Similarly, Peter Merriman has raised the question of “how (and to what extent) are human agents’ actions and movements choreographed, codified, entrained or constrained by ‘outside’ agents, structures, architectures and discursive regimes?” (2010, p. 428). I feel that this question is central to our understanding of choreography and its relation to contemporary performance.

Our performance of 33 Minutes will be sound-driven. However, in order to emphasise our theme of entrapment further, we are limiting our ability to move naturally, by tangling our bodies in the ‘dog lead sculpture’ installation. Therefore, our inability to move freely has caused us to think more abstractly about physicality, and how to present movement in a distorted state. For example, jerking hand or arm movements might help to indicate that our bodies, in the performance, are seeking freedom. In the warm-up, during the workshop, Hannah taught us to stretch every inch of our bodies and work every muscle to its limit. The restraints that we will have during the performance will, in effect, set us a challenge physically. We will be using our strength to push the boundaries that are caused by us being tied up, and help us to perform as rigorously as possible.

Libby Soper exploring small spaces

Libby Soper exploring small spaces

During the Contemporary Experimental Performance workshops, led by Dan Hunt, we have experimented with the use of our bodies, and how we are faced with limitations in particular spaces or settings. As a group, we have explored the different ways of responding to these spaces and the new choreography that they create. In a recent workshop, based on one-to-one performance, a number of class members inhabited small spaces around the LPAC. For example, the space underneath a table was occupied by Libby Soper, who invited a single audience member under the table, for a discussion. The work of Richard Schechner “overcame a sense of place in order to create a malleable space that the actors and audience could share” (Govan et al, 2007, p. 107), suggesting a need for intimacy in the audience-performer relationship. The workshop based on one-to-one performances also highlighted how the solo audience member and the performer can feel at one with the space, since there is a genuine closeness that develops within that setting.

By Sophie Bullivant


Works Cited:

Govan, Emma, Nicholson, Helen and Katie Normington (2007) Making a Performance: Devising Histories and Contemporary Practices, Oxon: Routledge.

Merriman, Peter (2010) Architecture/dance: choreographing and inhabiting spaces with Anna and Lawrence Halprin. Cultural Geographies, 17 (4) pp. 427-449.


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