Questions for Dancers Inside Action Machines
Below are some questions I have developed for dancers engaged in studio-based processes with external frameworks. These questions have been developed from out of my own independent practice as a solo choreographer/performer across multiple forms and also through my work as a dancer and physical performer for many projects using technology.
1. DESCRIBE THE PRACTICE/PROCESS
Briefly describe the studio-based process and practice you're working in.
Typically, before entering into the practice with the external framework in the studio how do you prepare your body? Do you feel as though this impacts upon how you respond to the tasks for the day?
3. IN THE MOMENT
How do you think about the tasks you are given as a dancer? Are you concerned in the moment just to responding, or do you also reflect on the task and think "wow, that really challenged me, I found something new, I just couldn't come at that, my body hurts it moved in ways I didn't expect and wasn't physically/mentally prepared for" and perhaps come to feel that each new task expands your physical capacity as a dancer?
4. CHANGE OVER TIME
When practicing the technique or movement strategy for a period of time, do you feel as though this alters your body in any way?
5. WHAT IS YOUR ATTENTIONAL SCORE
When tasking or practicing the technique what or to where do you feel your attention is drawn? What do you notice and how does this noticing effect the ways in which you move/work your body?
6. EXTERNAL OR INTERNAL FEEDBACK
While tasking are you looking for cues from the choreographer, other dancers, the eqiupment, technology or other external source of feedback? Is your sense of the experience of working with the equipment, task, score or technology more internally focussed?
7. AGREEMENT OR CONTRACT
Would you describe your work as a dancer as one of collaboration between yourself, the task and the choreographer?
8. OWN METHODS
What strategies do you employ for yourself (undirected) while working with the external framework?
9. TASK PROPERTIES
Does the external framework embed its own morphology, texture, sense of weight, time, articulation on your body?
10. IMPOSSIBLE TASKS
As a dancer do you have a sense that the task you are presented with at first seems to be an impossible task? Does this idea of impossibility create a sense of challenge to test beyond any sense of your own limits?
11. LIMITATION & ADAPTATION
Do the external frameworks you have encountered as a dancer ever feel overwhelming - like you've reached a point that you can go no further? Or, somewhere along the path you've found yourself reaching a sense of limit with what is possible for you or the framework with which you're working? What spurs you on in your own movement investigation/experimentation?
12. INDIVIDUAL SYNTHESIS/TAKE AWAY
Does the work you're involved in as a dancer for someone else spill over into your own independent practice? If so, how, what and why? And, if you're working on projects with other choreographers or have changed choreographers what traces do you feel remain embedded in your body and what impact does this have on the ways in which you are working with new external frameworks and another choreographer's practice, ideas, aesthetics? Similarly, if you were engaged or still do practice, a rigorous technique with its' own principles of the body, does this affect your approach to, ways of managing or coping, and your construction or organisation of your body in space and time?