These past two weeks the idea of ownership of work has really become a topic of interest to me. It started with this week’s Attik Youth Class, when a student commented at the end of the session: ‘I liked that you didn’t tell us what to do, you gave us hints, but we made the work and the dance was ours.’ With credit to Ben as the way he runs the sessions is creatively open, with no right or wrong. A lot of improvisation tasks and choreographic tasks are given so that movement generated is surprising and new. It’s great to see that this style of teaching, has impacted so quickly on the children and that they feel such a strong sense of ownership over their work.
In my own work that I am creating I’m not sure I feel that same sense of ownership yet, though once I have more movement resources I’m sure I will. Two rehearsals in, I feel like I have a mountain to climb. The starting point has proved tricky for me. I have so much information that I want to translate to the audience, and so many different strands of the topic to explore that I am finding it a little overwhelming. At our last rehearsal, however, we worked on the start of a contact duet with the intention of ‘stepping’ into ‘frustration’. The three little ‘scenes’ we created felt beautiful to move through, but I am understanding quickly how hard it is to work without an outside eye. I have no capacity to gage what looks good from the outside yet. The other struggle is of course, do you not perform something simply because it is not aesthetically beautiful on the outside, but feels incredible to do?
I think that the idea of having ownership of your work is essential, and that perhaps this comes from the clarity of the idea you are translating. For the past two rehearsals I have been quite scatty and have over-prepared with ideas and tasks. Too much choice has meant that I cannot focus. So this week, I am trying a new approach, I am only going to prepare one task. This will mean that I am confined to only exploring that idea. Nadjeschda, my duet partner also thought that this would be a better way of working for us. The idea can then be explored, abstracted and collated accordingly through the improvisation process. What I am hoping is that at the end of it, the movement we create has depth and clarity to it.