Oprimido Development

Stage 2

During this rehearsal I focused on the dynamics and feeling the piece portrayed. After watching the piece back from the last rehearsal, this was the one thing that really stood out. There wasn’t enough feeling of frustration, confinement, of feeling out of control.

Concentrating on the first section of the solo, I thought more of the experience and the feeling whilst going through the solo rather than the movement I had already created. I found it interesting to see how, although kept to a similar structure, the movement changed. This change in the dynamics and thought developed the movement considerably, connecting more to the emotion and experience. What really struck me was how much more authentic the movement felt. This feeling links to Carol M Press’s thought on self-empathy.

When I first came across the idea of empathy and how it related to my work I was very excited but also a bit wary. I wasn’t sure whether self-empathy would become another way of disassociating, a mental health condition I have struggled with in the past. However, when I read more in to this and started to explore the idea in my rehearsal, it felt right. I was doing the opposite of disassociating.

“We establish a relationship with movement, and in doing so we establish a self-empathetic relationship with ourselves, for we (or our dancers) create the movement” [Press, C M, page 223]

I found it became almost a self-therapy to go back on this traumatic experience and explore it though movement. I found I was being more compassionate towards myself and the experience I had. I was relating to it in a completely different way to when I was in the situation, which as I said earlier was also when I was initially creating the work. I discovered that because I have had more time and distance, and have started talking about the actual experience in a narrative form outside this process, I am really able to explore how I felt and what was going on internally as well which helps the healing process.

Press also talks about empathy in regards to an audience. This is something I really want to consider moving forwards with the development process. I don’t want to the piece to become so self-indulgent it is all about me and my experience. I want the audience to be able to relate to what I went through, what I experienced, what I felt. Whether that is because they have been through a similar feeling or experience or whether it will help them relate to someone else they know who has felt like this.

Another thing I introduced was music. I went away and spent some time looking for a piece that would work choreographically with the structure I had but would also represent the emotive aspect. The piece I am working with is November by Trentemoller. This piece has helped with the dynamics of the work whilst still being able to use the breath as a major part.

I can see there is still more to work on in this section but this a first step in that development process. I can now see how I am going to press forward with this line of thinking.


Press, C. M. (2009). Self psychology and the modern dance choreographer. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1159(1), 218-228. doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.04354.x

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