Questions on approach to the rehearsal:
What is the world they have prepared for us? Who are 'we'?
Observation grabbed on the run:
As I enter I watch weight, light, pace
Weight hanging from joints
Invisible intent marked only when positions change
A tummy that drops like mine - but smaller
Gaze quiet and long - no predators (story?) here?
All in one direction; the door
I’m trying different positions in the space trundling bag and jacket
But here's the light, the angle I want, between the panels and with pillar to lean on and the light is fabulous on them; it’s like a painting from here
Ripples of response; flesh moves forward
Little tussle between bodies as they circle
Not 'being' animals but deliberately allowing those resonances
I see bodies
A stack of ribs
Different tension in the backs
They pool onto one another
The last one suggests hesitation, thinking, perhaps - is that the performer I see?
Cameras swarm into the space that is made around the slumped pool of flesh
We have a different space to look into now – their eyes look inward
The cameras become part of the performance
Skin colours pink brown orange yellowish - all in the same body sometimes, even grey. There's an awkward pink elbow in there; is it holding weight? Is it the performer's awkwardness?
Little adjustments like a quiet sea around rocks
This carpet puts us all in one place, laid for this; it’s ‘civilised’ amongst all this flesh; framing it
They flatten out further. Lions become worms.
Sore spots and effort rashes, curled hands waiting for a landing place; two groups now
There's a man with a huge camera and an awful lot of equipment in a very large bag; he has to shift places awkwardly; he doesn't seem to be managing alone
An audient laughs over to my left; shows us how venerating we have been as we watch quietly and sort it all out - where we want to be, how to look, where to look from, if that needs to change, as it does for me until I found my spot.
Toes come up into the air. Then hands.
Legs and arms light, with the toes/fingers at their ends held up by sky hooks; same sense of weight regardless of bendedness of the knees
The legs and arms still seaweed-waving until suddenly all together they are swept down; that sweep down is when I think of seaweed; that they are like
seaweed suddenly; they aren’t ‘being’ seaweed; it's all always what the human body can do/is doing in the present; that’s what holds the attention;
of course - it's always that we don't know what's happening next although they do, and they are giving no clues with these well hidden impulses; we
have to watch closely
And some limbs have dissolved down again
The weight in the limbs cues the time - an extended present
The limbs come down without registering the consciousness of the dancer, no matter how slow; nice; what is their image I wonder? Slightly.
Some knees and wrists start to 'intend' for a moment - pressure and tightness but still no psychology
How does the whole body come back up? Where is the impulse coming from? Sometimes a kind of tension around the back of the neck and the mouth; the gaze
(it's the necks) are sharper, it seems, than before, in Sphinx mode
They move out to audience members, sometimes close, sometimes removed quite a way away, but still gain the attention, make the connection, splitting us into 2 audiences – or three with the cameras, who have already created a second audience from the beginning; now there are three; they were simply moving then they were talking
Which conversations am I drawn to?
Over there a dancer stands up and puts his pants on; another near me undresses; a balance
So we still have something to see – the action doesn’t disappear in the absence/absenting when the clothes come on (that’s interesting that an addition
is an absenting); something new unfolds
One dancer playing with the hair of an audience member; what was that interaction? Too intimate for me; I pull out for a bit
Everyday mode of address in talking in both audience and performer; animation; contrast; seemingly easily achieved
Audience members taking photos - more disturbing than professionals; takes me right out again
More 'lions' appear in the corner
Some audience members have that obliging (best word? automatic-seeming?) smile; many just nattering easily; how is it achieved? possible to frame the action
further to remove those barriers? Is it to do with the pace of approach?
Stops and starts are instantaneous; love that; and suddenly all in the audience go quiet for a second, alert together for some reason, waiting for whatever
it is that is to come next; like the sudden moments of connection and tension between dancers’ bodies sometimes; some dancers watch the others, some
talk; one dancer goes out again to the audience; it's an unfolding
Quick, small impulses. Head turns, to refocus ('triple takes'), also elbows; and wrists; even if lying down;
What exactly makes them 'animal-like'? while still primarily human, just doing what bodies do; can that be made more of?
Adding an arc in the body, a curl, to the twitch (including looking up) and a raising and lowering of the torso; twitching slowly up and down; extends;
both groups have become one again, somehow
There are some beautiful striped boots with solid heels a little further on from where I’m sitting; not much has drawn me to look at the audience, though
I probably would on a second viewing
They have come to sitting; they’re looking around – it shifts the tone strongly; we are seen/ here/ now
Audience is here for them (as far as we can see); another talking dancer enters
Noticing the banality of sitting-bump red spots on the bottom of one dancer
The looking/gaze more intent-ful and a pulse begins; slowly they all move again; some spread and circle back, (a device used often); some clump; like sheep,
The performers’ eyes are seeing; there are words spoken
Dancer moving in this direction – the first to come over here; two cameras move simultaneously into my space, into my quarter of the room; simultaneously
(following him?); can't guess what is happening/ will happen; immediacy; powerful alignment that has me on full alert for a few seconds; immediacy
All the bodies come into line now, the line sweeping across the room down my direct line of vision, lines of limbs and curves of backs; one line; first
line after a series of groupings, curvings; after the moment of consciousness
I’m sharply waiting to see where the next clue will come from; still alert; like the moments when the bodies come into each others’ territories and become
hyper acute and reactive, responsive; the lined-up bodies give no clues, then one leaves – he flops; haven't noticed that movement before; and another
- that sudden almost startled movement out of the clump reminds me of sheep again
One rubs head on wrist animal like - what is it that is animal like about that? That the head is what moves, not the wrist?
Is that choreography or a private/performer need?
Nature of contact - one just happens to be where the other one wants to be? An impediment that simply stops the momentum of the ‘intruder’; no conflict
So what is the larger 'situation'? Questions about ‘where’ this 'community' is.
All focus on the area of the door again.
This time more a sense of alertness - waiting? Not quite - even when 'flopped' - like dogs - guarding?
Then they turn
Do they already know where they are going? No clear signals
One makes himself comfortable on somebody else's body like a cat
All these metaphors of animals; a shifting field of images; consciousness in the audience on different and shifting levels; I am seeing more of the human
– as the source of all this animal? And could see it more I think, somehow
More deliberate placement in this huddle - or is that just what I have been reading after that expansive moment of the conscious gaze?
Again the last one in seems awkward, and the performer (as distinct from the human!) almost appears in the image; again brought into the fold by another performer; reads as 'distressed' and 'rescued'; psychology and story enter with the preformed presence
One of the dancers a long way away from me talking to someone in the audience still and the word 'transformation' floats across; is it a rehearsed idea?
Or did she just say 'dishes'??
After long stillness the last one in moves and slowly it spreads.
I spot someone I know over there talking to one of the dancers, or vice versa; how long has she been there? Just beginning to notice who is here.
There's the question of individuality and the group to think about I suppose; I'm thinking more about a kind of life force, though I hate that phrase,
or life impulse that pops out through different bodies at different times; the place all the movement comes from; something that is going on in and
through all the bodies, and maybe ours too.
Am I imagining more consciousness this time?
When one is apart from the others, rejection or exclusion is not part of the consideration
What are we watching now, (that so much time has passed)?
One approaches another - is it deliberate to contact or just wanting to be in that spot?
A dancer is giving whispered or murmured messages; now all are in a kind of spiral and moving off out of it to the edges where they smoothly dress. It's
the focus they give to each action that enables the transition into the every day to work - no signaling, so anything is possible, so why not that
they dress? But did I wish for more sense of the performers there all the time? No it’s not that, but perhaps the human. Now they are here 'as themselves'.
As they've always been, of course, shaped into different modes.
-Clare Grant, visitor to the open rehearsal 12 November, 2015