I have been thinking a lot about the direction I wanted to go with this solo. After seeking some advice I was looking at going down the route of Somatic Practices. I wasn’t wholly convinced it was quite the right direction but at least it was a direction that I didn’t have.
I did some research in to somatic practices and found that a lot of it was relevant to dance in education and dance training rather than in a choreographic process. Although I didn’t think this would connect I pursued this and found some interesting thoughts.
“Feldenkrais believed that movement was the ‘language’ of the brain” [Somatic Studies and Dance (2009)]
This is an interesting concept that I will take in to my next rehearsal. My understanding is that the movement will come and through studying the movement we might be able to better understand the mind. Linking this to the experience and emotions I want to explore in the solo it may be a good idea to do a short improvisation just thinking about the experience and see what comes out. From this I will be able to study and develop the movement fitting it in or changing sections of the solo.
Another idea bought up during my research was that somatic practices are about breaking the habitual movement, noticing what is repeated. I find this a lot in my own choreography so is something I would like to challenge.
At this point, although these thoughts I had are relevant, and they will be used, it wasn’t what I was wanting from this solo. It has taken me a while to sit with this discomfort of not really knowing what it is but absolutely knowing what it isn’t. Upon further research and discussion it became apparent that what I want to look at is the theme of identity. This is something I will be able to do further research in to looking at practitioners such as Miranda Tufnall, Carol M. Press and Soili Hamalainen.
This rehearsal was really a re-cap of the original solo.
The solo I want to look at is one I first created during my residency in Peru in 2016. I was initially looking at the question ‘What is beauty?’. During my training I was told many times that I dance too beautifully so I wanted to challenge this. It was a piece that was aesthetically driven.
During the initial process the feelings then came up from past experiences that brought up the wider concept of what beauty is and who tells us what beauty is. It brought up feelings of when I was back in school and feeling ugly or different and being bullied for it. The feeling of oppression and not being allowed to be who you really are.
Interestingly, during this time I was also going through a difficult experience. One of feeling trapped and becoming something someone else wanted me to be. It wasn’t until this rehearsal and a lot of personal reflection on this period that I realised the solo isn’t just reflecting and exploring the experiences of a teenager but directly being influenced by the experience I was living.
During this first rehearsal I went over the material I had already created. I didn’t really want to change a lot at this point as I wanted to have the framework before I started the development. I also wanted to do some reading and research in to what this could be about that I knew would heavily influence this solo. What I did do though was take away the original music the solo was choreographed to. Although I liked the music a lot, it contained lyrics that didn’t really like to the piece. Instead I focused on using breath.
I did adapt some sections a) because of memory and b) to make the movement flow.
Whilst going over this movement there were many sections that I knew would change over the process. I was developing more of an idea about what I wanted to express and how it would come across.