more neurotic twitching

This Sunday I’m having another workshop doing more of the improvisation stuff I started a couple of weeks ago. Since then I’ve been teaching it at ADT, and gradually coerced myself out of teaching contemporary dance at all and substituting it with this, which is far more interesting for me, and I have so much more to say about than trying to find something meaningful while teaching pliés and tendus. So possibilities of partnering and I feel a need to jump and let my bones rattle and skin melt like Emio Greco too. You can get all the information here.

“If the rest of us did that it would be a neurotic twitch.”

This Sunday I’m running a workshop based on what I’ve picked up from doing stuff with some dancers from Frankfurt Ballet over the last few years, and I guess also how I’ve imagined what I’ve learnt in my own work. When I saw Frankfurt Ballet in Wellington so long ago, I was still quite ambivalent about dance, it seemed an impenetrable story that the purpose was in the obfuscation of the telling, and really that bored me, along with movement that had no real commonality from one step to another.

So I’m sitting in the Regent Theatre in Wellington, the noise is a shrieking inferno even in the gods, the stage a gaping maw, like the open door of a blast furnace, people around me are – in their gentile balletomane fashion – close to rioting, huffing far too loudly, “This is not ballet!”, and I’m shaking, having an epiphany that is the cause of my life since. I didn’t decide right then to be a dancer, though you could say that, it was more that I saw in Forsythe’s work everything I was imagining in art made already real, and so it was obvious then what I was doing.

The movement, the dance is what snared me, to sense there was some formal system at work here, that the coherence in the apparently undisciplined structure was as precise and conscious as any architecture or musical system. This is what always draws me back to Forsythe’s work. He once described the fascination in rain splattering on a window, the endless repetition yet also the endless difference. Something you either get or you don’t.

I was really lucky in my first year of studies to meet former Frankfurt dancer Alida Chase who ran a workshop covering a large proportion of the original Improvisation Technologies dvd, and then to purloin my very own copy, that has now in various forms been pirated across several continents. Then also in Vienna at DanceWEB I had fun with Tony Rizzi and Elizabeth Colbert, more of the same and always the single underlying foundation of what I do when I make movement.

Amidst this, making my own work, occasionally doing workshops with the company dancers, I’ve assembled something that is I suppose derived from the original idea, mostly it’s my understanding of what is in fact a very clearly explained system, but it is also my appropriation of what is useful to me. My interests have shifted from the strictly geometric stuff to currently the processes that really disrupt, throwing yourself off-balance, getting entangled disasters in movement …

“You don’t start dancing. You dance.”

“If the rest of us did that it would be a neurotic twitch.”

Spatial analysis, geometric folding and unfolding, disequilibrium, falling over getting back up, deconstruction of movement and talking about it while it happens, the probabilities of dancing to make something we don’t know, and bits and pieces of William Forsythe’s Improvisation Technologies.

This workshop will explore some of the systems of improvising and generating movement and maybe even choreography that look at dance as a pure geometrical inscription. Simple methods of understanding your body in space as it falls and analysing the possibilities that can unfold from anywhere on your body, switching as rapidly and as fluidly as possible from one part to another.

The aim is to get beyond yourself, what you know and what is comfortable, to understand exactly what is happening while you’re moving and know what the infinite choices in what comes next.

When: Sunday June 3, 1pm till 4pm

Where: Gravity Studios, 41 Gilles St, In the city

How much: $10

Questions answered: 0419 586 227 or

— improvisation workshop