LES ATELIERS C DE LA B - 2018
Observation by Joris Bruneel
Words from the body – Nicolas Vladyslav
The need to sustain
In that beautiful space that is the Antiekzaal at the Vooruit I observed the dancers. Together they started a long movement phrase with an isolated, continuous, rotating movement of one arm. Synchronously, a bugle played the beginning - the adagio - of the 'Concierto de Aranjuez' by Joaquin Rodrigo ...! I immediately felt that the beauty of this introspective but determined music formed an entangled unity with the intentionality of that initial clear, gestual dance action.
Nicolas' dance language is strongly influenced by 'the acrobatic floorwork' .... The variations in rolling, falling and hand / head stands alternate with 'modern dance language' (especially varied forms of jumps and pirouettes). In that one arm movement, orbiting the body from high to low and vice versa, some spatial orientation of the upcoming actions was indicated. Raise up high and then lay down fervently. In the constant repetitive wave, the complete 'choreography' took place. Within that wave some appropriate accents that gave a swing to the whole, eg: a fall, or an impulse from the 'center of gravity' when standing up, or a jump combined with a pirouette ... Those moments of increasing dynamics and speed arose organicly (deepened and intensified by the sound of inhaling and exhaling).
There was also the unavoidable influence of the subtle variations in music, that cautious crescendo. Nicolas watched that these momentary emotional flare-ups never became explicit, or slightly more outrageous, or too expressive. The 'sustained' intentionality remained fully recognizable, in its controlled performance... The supple flexibility of the dancers in connection with their fresh, physical preparedness, ensured that there were hardly any 'hitches' in the implementation of the precise form tension in the dance actions, in the intentionality and phrasing. Just as the precision with which the bugler played every note of the score!
The intrinsic 'care' and 'respect' of Nicolas' dance language, which illuminates every dancer, completed the beauty of this experience for me, as a privileged spectator!
The heart is muscle that i like to work out – Lisi Estaras –
The need to breath
Ethology tells us that in the beginning there was this microscopically small moving –and thus living- creature called the amoeba, from which from an evolutionary point of view ‘man’ was created. Moving as in ‘inflating and deflating’, ‘going up and going down’, ‘to widen and to shrink’, ‘to open and to close’ … : the non-stop impulse of the heart that makes the lungs breathe!
Lisi started the workshop with merely ‘breathing’, being an amoeba! The need to move (dance) had to grow. Each evolutionary phase to get us finally ‘on our feet’ has always taken time to be explored, lived and experienced while the breathing never stopped.
Bodies rocking to and fro, rolling in all kinds of directions, sometimes crampy, hesitating, withdrawn, exuberant, dynamic. Limbs that first moved as uncontrolled tentacles, grew more steady on the ground: they looked for and found stability! The changing and varied music (sound-rhythm), differentiated this evolutionary process in alternating intentionality, in degrees of surrender! The genesis of mankind (the process from foetus to autonomous standing, walking, etc…) is being repeated here.
After that, the surroundings and the Other(s) had to be discovered. Accidental or willing encounters that were defined by a high level of direct or indirect ‘mirroring’, to the extent in which people could relate in the variety of the movement language (on the spot or while moving together through the space). While standing up or lying on the floor, falling, sneaking, crawling… The movement (dance) language lavished with a variety of body initiations and remarkably many simultaneously executed isolated gestures (arms/hands, legs/feet, the face (eyes/mouth)). Spasms, tics, uncontrollable shaking, repetitive clapping of hands and feet. The funny faces, the awes and the fearful looks. The grimacing now and again accompanied by raw shouting. The open mouths, the bulging and turning eyes, the blurry gaze, often disconnected from the rest of the body… The animality in each dancer became gradually tangible. In skin-on-skin contacts, there was sniffing, crawling over one another, embracing tightly, rubbing, tearing, clinging, dragging, carrying, caring… It was the mere bliss of being a just a body, without restriction, free from control, … For the spectator it was an exciting, surprising and sometimes funny experience. I did not know where to look first.
The confidence and safety provided by Lisi’s constant presence and guidance, her calm , her understanding and flexibility facilitated without any doubt this dance experience!
‘ Blood, sweat and talk ‘ - Bérengère Bodin -
The need to be seen
More than the act of looking at each other – which is more instantly and randomly – the mere exclusive fact of ‘being seen’, is a fulfillment of an essential and basic ‘human need’. The fact of being noticed in ‘a group of people’ who stop doing whatever they are doing, to give you their time and space, is rather charming/flattering! The group’s continuous, unrelenting exclusive attention to your exposing your unicity, makes you feel grand. During the improvised mis-en-scènes, one could see how each person embodies their ‘standing up’. There is nothing you can do than ‘to be in that moment’!: the balance between living the inside and outside, shining and beaming, firm and guileless. And yet, this was not easy for all…
But then there was for each and everyone the instantly following individual care as a way to define/to stress each person’s inimitability. Other people’s hands/fingers touching you, caressing you, holding you, bearing you, lifting you up, pushing you forward, holding you back,… Those hands, distal parts of the body, conveying in the most direct way, the complete range of human contacts a body can express consciously or spontaneously.
What kept coming back was the ‘mirroring’ of poses, movement, gaze, intentionality, tension…, sometimes through imitation, sometimes through empathy, reflection, sometimes remotely and sometimes close.
Movement and sound, music and dance, two sides of the same medal. The organic interaction between both became completely obvious during the individual improvisations. One could see a lot of ‘passion’: a high power investment, a controlled and directed movement language in alternation with sudden movement impulses and ongoing corollaries of the created movements. ‘J’y suis et j’y reste’ (I am here to stay), the possessiveness in the intention, the sometimes ecstatic self-awareness ! For sure, the choice of music was a determining factor in that.
Determining is not necessarily confining, as was proven during the creation and showing of the subgroups. What a variety and diversity! I was especially thrilled by what happened in the subgroup with the ‘basic dance’: a functional rhythmic dance experience! Form and symbolism grew organically in complete harmony with the polyphonic music. I was so excited and I kept thinking: how playful and clever… but I would like to see it on ‘Fireworks’ by First Aid Kit, or on ‘The wind’ by Alela Diane!!
I would like to thank Bérengère and all the dancers for having me witness and ‘see’ such beauty!
‘ This isn’t real ! ‘ – Ido Batash –
The need to move primitive
There was a young woman who freely and cheerfully frolicked on the dancefloor. You could not not see her, her compliance to what can be called ‘feminin’ was omnipresent in the way she expressed her dance. Loose, open dance actions within her own body space, graceful elegance that seemed to emerge from an inner drive to live to the full a delicate and tender sensitivity. One could see how the perfect efficacy of her body’s ‘center of gravity’ and ‘center of levity’ flooded spontaneously and successively through to the utter fibres of her beautiful body. Her dance was up tempo, sometimes slowed down, silent, then again wide open to be narrowed down, closed down and more intimate again. She fluctuated guilelessly from one to the other and therefore her timing was just perfect all the time. There was no theatrical showing-off. Only serenity and dignity in ‘being splendid’.
But my attention to what she was doing was even intensified when she suddenly interrupted her high quality dance expression with an energetically executed ‘javelin’ move. She repeatedly showed us the ‘Nafi Thiam-routine’, putting down a sculptured image of a javelin thrower: all her ‘strength’, ‘aggression’ was channeled in this single, well-chosen action of power!
I do not have the time nor the space to write about some of the other very interesting solo and duo dance improvisations by other dancers I witnessed. Although conceived and expressed differently, latent and suddenly emerging forms of aggression or temperament, were present. But I would like to add a fragment of a text by D.W. Winnicott, the author of ‘Play and reality’ from ‘Aggression in relation to emotional development’, in which he describes and explains the concept of ‘Primitive motility’. He clarifies from a biological and a psychological point of view how important and necessary dance is as a tool to ‘humanize’ as a human being over and over again, in general. And hence –and more particularly- in what I was privileged to witness in the basal-original, unfolding dance creations of the people in Ido’s workshop!
‘Prior to the integration of the personality there is aggression. A baby kicks and pushes in the womb. One cannot presume that it is trying to kick its way out. A baby aged a few weeks peddles around with hands and feet. One cannot presume that it means to hit. A baby chews on the nipple with his gum. One cannot presume that it has the intention to destroy or hurt. In the very beginning of life aggressiveness is almost a synonym of activity. It is about a partial function. It becomes gradually more organized as the baby becomes a person.
There is no doubt that all individual fetuses have a more or less equal potential of life instinct (aggression): as well as erotic potential. In health, the fetal impulses, the fetal motility or in other words the primitive motility assure the exploration of the environment. That is more particularly the opposition that is experienced and felt during motility. As a result the not-self world is recognized at an early stage as well as an early identification of the ‘ego’. In practice this process is gradual, it repeatedly comes and goes, is accomplished and then lost again.
In short, motility originates from life in the womb, continuous after birth and for the duration of the life to come. This way primitive motility is a fusion of aggressive and erotic components. One must acknowledge that this fusion’s task is serious, even ‘in health’, never finishes and that it is quite normal to find in each person large quantities of unbounded aggressive and erotic elements.’