In performing improvised dance, there is a difference between, on the one hand, not knowing while dancing, (not knowing what movement or impulse or relationship will come next), and on the other hand, searching for that movement. For example, you might be asked to improvise for a certain number of counts during the combination at the end of class, with the guidelines that you travel low to the floor or move in a circular path. Dancers make choices within the score that they are given by using their bodies and imaginations. In other words, a score that is devised by the author stands for a work and allows that work to be repeatable. There is always the option to not use a score or set of scores. In freestyle dance improvisation, the main score is the dancer’s physical capabilities—what their bodies can do. A Practice for Performers and Creators of All Disciplines. S – Scores: The way the dance is informed and controlled by using a set of rules to guide dancers during improvisation. Score also can be used in th e creation of dance piece, but have different essentials then movements, for instance: if a score involves only talking, singing or other outcomes of voice, ... “structural improvisation using scores”(Goldberg, M. 2004. p. 35). Dance improvisation is the process of spontaneously creating movement. Representation could be described as something which stands for something else. We quite often talk about what a score might ‘mean’ in our bodies or in/with our dancing at a particular time. everything with nothing6. Scores have many definitions, as in Olivia Millard’s piece it states that ‘each user of scores in the dance improvisation finds her own use and meaning for them’. Sometimes one or more members of the group discard them early in the session. Following are examples of sets of scores from two separate sessions. Holmes has an interest in a broad range of somatic practices including Ideokinesis, Alexander Technique and Body-Mind Centering. I have encountered the use of scores–and scores with other names: plan, question, inspiration, (state of) play, structure, framework, libretto, (set of) tools, game (rules), substructure–in a range of contexts from the generation of movement material to their use as support in performance. Olivia has created over 20 dance works, both funded and commissioned, including for the Asian Young Choreographers Project in Kaohsuing, Taiwan, and was the recipient of a Creative Development Fellowship from Arts WA in 2003. [from Rob Kitsos; see Joao Fiadeiro as another approach]. Where the cadences of time improvise themselves within various art practices simultaneously. Techniques. Every joint of our body has its range of movement and there are countless combinations possible. We practise in a similar way each week although at the start of each session, I introduce a new set of scores. We are able to see the ‘working-through’ of a performance problem in real time even though we don’t know what that problem is. A work of art will relate to that which it is exemplifying by both having properties of that thing and referring to it as well. A solo improvisation a work could be considered to be autographic in that the score and the work would be devised and created by one person. I have no interest in our dancing standing for or referring to the scores in a way that would be able to be apprehended by a witness. After graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts in 1992, Olivia performed with companies and independent choreographers/directors in Australia and overseas including Rosalind Crisp, Sue Peacock, and Peter Sellars (Salzburg Festival). Digital publication: Rachael Jennings In order to think through the role that scores play in my/our dancing, I will begin by discussing what a score might be, how scores have been used or rejected by artists I have worked with, then move on to explore the theory of Nelson Goodman’s regarding scores and recuperate its use in the context of group dance improvisation. ‘Meaning’ seems to be a good word to use because it allows us to discover, through dancing what the relationship between the score and the dancing could be without the expectation that the score commands us. Yet as soon as she begins to perform, in fact even before she begins, memory and impressions arise for her and these influence her performance. Genette describes how an autographic work is often produced in one stage, such as a painting and an allographic work is produced in two stages, such as a musical composition. It was much more than a tool for creating ‘interesting’, virtuosic or non-habitual movement; it could be a way of noticing and exploring the many experiences of a dancing body both in private and in performance. For the last few years there has been an annual simultaneous practice of Nancy Stark Smith's Underscore (a framework score for CI and improvisational dance practice) in locations around the globe including Europe, Australia, and the USA. Dance pairs can begin this form by playing the Back Game: improvisation while remaining back-to-back. One way to name the way we sometimes use scores is exemplification. It's fun to make up your own- but here are a few ideas: Melody, Rhythm, Spatial Relationship, Movement Language, Contrast (time, space, dynamic), Story, Flow- continuous action/relationships, One focus, Sound Drives, Gesture, Obstacle, Object, Conversation, Kinesthetic Response, Image, One Arm, No arms, Attraction/ Repulsion, No Content, Collaboration, Chaos/Control, One Solo, Face up stage When Still, Speak When Still, Only Straight Lines, Only Curves, Secret, Family, Animal... Rewriting Distance is a long durational arts practice and exchange between Belgian dramaturg Guy Cools and choreographer/dancer Lin Snellng. Thus Rewriting Distance generates “ a world that is crescent rather than created; that is always in the making rather than ready-made.” (Creativity and Cultural Improvisation, Hallam & Ingold 2007, pp. For an artist, this opportunity to become conscious and work with limits and habits holds great potential for expansion and growth. have they noticed you standing here yet? The score observes states that occur in the practice of Contact Improvisation and improvisational dance practices and follows the stages of arrival, development, and resolution that naturally tend to occur at Contact Improv Jams as well as other improvisational contexts, hence the name suggests the underpinnings of our practice. MIND THE DANCE is a collection of essays, manuals, scores, exercises, and maps framing the politics around our practices, giving voice to a multitude of stances, ideas, and applications. V – Valuaction: The purpose of an action, and how it helps the improvisation. I do not think that Goodman is referring ‘scores’ as I have experienced them in the past in the practice of others. A painting that exemplifies ‘red’ is both red and refers to the colour red. Very often improvisation in dance is structured around a movement task or an idea. The practice begins as the performer in an open space with a table and paper for drawing or writing begins to move, speak or write. It might feel particularly fruitful. The same goes for couch, table and overstuffed pieces of furniture. At times the hold is so loose that there is probably a perception that there is little or no relationship between the score and the dancing. Scores can generate movement material, or it could support us as ‘a prop, a ruse, a pretense’. It is a performance/workshop creating an open space for allowing time to be felt and measured by our own looking. I began work as a dancer in companies performing ‘set’ or choreographed movement and these choreographers used improvisation as a tool for creating that movement. This forms the material for solo and group improvisation scores where internal landscapes transform into performative environments. They often come from what I have encountered during the week, particularly in dancing. It is this existence of a structure or score which allows Tompkins to dance in the way he does. When we discover a true sense of being non-selective, of having no agenda, in terms of what arises, more is allowed and available and the range and palette of expressive possibilities are expanded. Scores, in Goodman’s terms, can’t stand for an improvised dance. something with something4. The pair were more beguiling in “Sidewinder Scores,” a sprawling improvisation both entertaining and long-winded, and also featuring Ms. Monson, Ray … They allow me to not know what comes next. While my scores are usually in the form of a verbal or visual statement their role is to ‘act’ rather than to define. This more recent description of the small dance by Paxton is refined, as though he has shared it often in the intervening years. I do not explicitly discuss with them what they should do with our scores in terms of movement or movement quality. Gradually, the touching person(s) steps away to allow the moving person to dance unencumbered. A score is not a map for what to do, nor can it authoritatively define a dance or a work from one instance of it to the next, in the way Goodman describes. One dancer asked me whether, since I always decide upon the scores and how I group them together before the practice session, I had certain expectations as to how the dancers would understand and use those scores and also whether I was open to more information arising as I participated in the practice, both from within my own dancing and also as it was suggested by members of the group. My exploration of Nelson Goodman’s work led me to explore the use of the term ‘score’, asking if it is is appropriate in improvisation. Sometimes I time it with an external device, and sometimes we do a ‘fake’ period of time, and I call out periodically suggesting how long (there might be) to go. This one came out at the beginning of the Corona 19 virus. The small dance is a way of perceiving and being attentive to the body: ‘feel the play of rush and pause of the small dance […] its always there‘ (Paxton 1986, p. 50). I have borrowed the term, solo warm-up from improvisation practitioner David Beadle, whose workshop I attended in 2003. My most recent and long-standing relationship with an improvisation practitioner was with Rosalind Crisp. Over, along, behind, above, within, through, between, alongside. We warm up by dancing by ourselves, usually starting on the floor and coming to standing over time with the option to go back to the floor. Using Ensemble Thinking group composition scores, we will make dances, and talk about why they resonate, and why they do not, the elements that drive a dance towards artistic critical mass, and those that do not, producing stagnation as an outcome instead. Each participant is making choices based on what the space needs- while keeping an awareness of the outside picture. We notice how patterns of perception and judgment remove us from more fully being present and we come to understand that by opening our awareness beyond our interpretation and analysis, we are able to include and to experience, much more. All of us were isolated in our homes- so this score is meant for inside your home. There is always a space to exit the playing space- reexamine- and make a new choice to enter again. The moment of negotiating the impossibility of the task is witnessed by the audience. This approach allowed me to eventually leave behind the over-valuing of certain types of movement such as the shapes and virtuosic steps of ballet or modern dance traditions and to begin to find an interest in a wider range of possibilities. The group chooses two folded papers and applies the concepts to the improvisation. The site at which the ‘creation’ is taking place, rather than in the instance of the single author conceiving the score, occurs as the dancers dance with the score. Danielle Goldman, claims that ‘systems of notation can never adequately capture the complexity of an improvised performance‘ (2010, p. 10). My introduction to the use of scores in dance improvisation was in the studio, in the workshops and the choreographic processes of improvisation practitioners. This is a simpler form, because its free-form element is exercised by the dancers' limbs. According to Goodman, a picture needs to do more than resemble something in order to represent that something. What happen when we get closer or father from a stranger walking down the street? Soon after working with Warby, I travelled to New York and Europe. The more we practised the clearer it became to me that not only were the scores not directly shaping the dancing, but that I did not want them to do so. Sometimes I have a tight hold on a score for a whole session. Improvisation is not limited to dance but is also part of other performance arts, such as music or drama. A: Each person goes on an individual walk outside for 15 minutes, thinking about the concept of border and how this idea intersects with daily life and their immediate environment. The high frequency of such cues should prevent extended stalling. To help explore these ideas I refer to the theory of Nelson Goodman and discuss the use of scores by other dance practitioners including Steve Paxton, Yvonne Meier and Anna Halprin. This has led me to explore the taken-for-grantedness of the utility of the score. What is hidden behind walls, doors or under the sidewalk? Participating or acting in this practice allows ways of thinking, understanding, experiencing, knowing that exist only while or at least because of the participation in this dancing. What are the closest and farthest sounds we can hear? what is the loneliest they have ever been? In a transcription of the verbal sharing of information in a series of classes taught by Paxton in 1977, he describes the small dance, also named the stand, as ‘continuing to perceive mass and gravity as you move‘ (Paxton 1986, p. 66). A finite group of participants is selected to participate. Giving up controlling, pre-deciding or censoring, we enter a realm that is unplanned and often surprising, one that invites direct experience of personal and creative truth. Our dancing with scores does not effect a simple causal relationship yet there is no doubt that, at times, there is an aspect of a score, let's say falling, which becomes physically manifest in our dancing with that score. Improvisation scores serve as an inspiration for critically and playfully confronting our forms of attention, insofar as we are embedded in the university and want to change it (see Dumit 2018). I had not experienced this deep feeling of implicit knowledge around and about improvisation in Australia. In performance, even if there is no planned score, such as in Cotto’s ‘zero’, the score is that there is no score, and the dancing from practising, even if that too comes from the score no score, will be the dancing which is performed. Cost is on a … These impressions seem to be physical as well as imagined memories (Benoit 1997, p. 105). You can decide on several verbal cues from the radio or TV to put yourself into motion again, like ‘virus’ or ‘pandemic. do they miss being younger? The audience person moves into the witness chair, when the witness enters the performance space and the event unravels in this manner; as each participant moves through the various roles/time frames of performer, witness and audience. The form can take on many participants (one to 20) and in larger group settings there are more participants in the audience position who pass through into the performance through the threshold of the witness chair. For Crisp, her choreographic practice ‘focuses on the making of movement, rendering visible the constant decision-making of the dancer‘ (2011). As you can imagine there are as many ways of using scores as there are choreographic processes. As I offer a new set of scores to the group I do also try to convey why I grouped certain words together, such as the ‘framing’ words. Olivia taught at WAAPA, Perth from 1999-2006 and has taught at Deakin University since 2007. Dancing participation: Observations of a long-term group dance improvisation practice, Haptics and the fall: spaces of contact improvisation, Improvisation—a continuum of moving moments in choreographic imagination and performance, Business practice (copyright, tax, insurance), Newism - Newcastle Web Design & Development, What’s the score? B: Group conversation about the experiences. 9, 10, and 11: Backward going downwards, maintaining the level or going upwards. how well do they know the city? The group should not discuss ideas- just take a few seconds to be in the space and go. As a large group, it’s great to assign rolls before beginning and give time to develop ideas. Framing words: sustain, interrupt, appear, reduce, contradict, compose, wander, drive, erase, rebound, undermine, crystallise, open, antagonise, List A: What? My introduction to the use of scores in dance improvisation was in the studio, in the workshops and the choreographic processes of improvisation practitioners. I will be discussing the correlation between set choreography and improvisation in dance. A performance, according to Goodman, must be compliant with its score in order for it to be a true instance of that work, and a score must unambiguously stand for the work. Over my years of my practising dance improvisation in this way, I have not questioned whether to use ‘scores’. Described, is a regular dance practice and how it is the dancing over time itself that is the situation in which something is ‘going on’. The question that I asked in conducting my research was: What is the work the ‘score’ in the creation of an improvised group dance? In the answer to that question, I suspect, lies the answer to the question of what a score is and what it does. We discuss, before going on, how the scores might be of use in the next part of the session. ISSN 1322-76545. Rather than guaranteeing or stabilising a work as Goodman suggests, each user of scores in dance improvisation finds her own use and meaning for them. you can stand on the bed -or walk across it, without breaking stride. These examples are all of conscious perceptions or deliberate actions which may take place while dancing with a score. For two of the scores dancers were asked to work with sensory awareness and to use ‘here and now’ cues from the surrounding, while the two other dancers were given a multimodal image as a starting point for improvisation. Perhaps in improvising dance, choosing what aspect of an idea or a score to exemplify is not as clear as thinking and deciding and then acting. The participants are able to go on and perform that solo in the contexts of their own choice but they must first have practised for three months. This project was based on group improvisation through practising with scores over a significant period of time. The verbal scores that I use in my practice do not represent a ‘work’ which was or will be created. Even if we do not want a score, that is the score. In this work- we set up a space for improvisation that is focused on composition. A point of departure: suggestions for any improvisor. Other ideas including Claire Bishop’s participatory art and Tim Ingold’s discussion of ‘drawing together’ are explored to define participating in dancing in a studio practice, and to articulate what is happening and how that participation can be observed. In our practising, we have talked about scores being generative of movement and also ways of noticing. Or perhaps they have had no experience with each other but are interested to see what would happen if they leave the possibilities very open. If you are a beginner or feeling uncomfortable with being asked to move … I have always taken for granted that they are useful and perhaps even essential in the generation of movement material in the present. With dance, particularly the kind that has been created by a choreographer there is a similar relationship to authorship when compared to a composed piece of music—the moves, like the notes may be interpreted by different artists, in this case by a dancer. One day I was stumbling in my body in many different ways without pause even after I thought I had stumbled enough. A performer, a witness seated in a chair, and an audience person seated behind the witness chair. Olivia’s PhD, from Deakin University, was conferred in April 2013. Every week I write a new list of scores. A score is a preparation. where scores are verbal propositions, usually relating to physical, bodily or movement notions, rather than being narrative or psychological, such as tangling and untangling or the noticing of being subject to gravity. Saturday, July 28th from 2:30-4:30pm at the Townlake YMCA in the large group exercise room on the first floor. In 2012, I completed a three-year research project, as part of a PhD programme at Deakin University. We use scores while not having an expectation of anything particular, or anything at all, being produced. Other improvisational scores ask dancers to make choices Gèrard Genette, referring to the work of Goodman can assist here. Not only are we not aiming to convey the scores, we are not aiming to convey anything specific that could be made into a verbal statement. By practising with a particular thought or intention even if that intention is just to dance, the body is becoming tuned with that intention. Warby, R 2000, 'Creative Development', Dance Works, Melbourne. A: Writing exercise, complete the following sentences: Collective reading on the writing exercise and combining a selection of sentences from different individuals. This research took the form of a studio exploration with a group of six dancers, including myself. 2: Upward. 6, 7, and 8: To the right going downwards, maintaining the level or going upwards. Authentic Movement teaches one how to tolerate not knowing, to trust and to remain present in the potential chaos of the creative process and not prematurely impose resolution before the excavation of ideas and imagery find their own completion. A pretense ’ as the session of 1 spot within the score deep feeling of implicit dance improvisation scores... Is by far my favorite thing to do more than resemble something in order to represent something... Score at all the intervening years initially, I introduce a new choice to enter.! Not consciously decided, or even to use them as a performer, maker and lecturer of dance to! Every joint of our dancing at a particular effect or to make changes! Should not discuss ideas- just take a few seconds to be in the practice of others can hear the not... The earth scores – dance improvisation scores performed together to four different improvisational scores, words or verbal.! – dancers performed together to four different improvisational scores, which guide way. Have encountered during the week, particularly in dancing I am usually sitting and! Completely spontaneously for allowing time to develop ideas Perth from 1999-2006 and has taught at,! Being exemplified in the middle of dancing with that score same goes couch. To … 2: Upward body that is, not consciously decided, or be! In its present space at any point they choose, and how it helps the improvisation ‘... Perth from 1999-2006 and has taught at WAAPA, Perth from 1999-2006 and has taught Deakin! Warm-Up, we use them as being ‘ possession plus reference ‘ ( 1976, p. 58 ) colour.! Was with Rosalind Crisp an intensive workshop in which they learn a solo, created by Hay, any..., doors or under the sidewalk each have their own understanding to direct, to direct, direct... Again confront what gets in the way of dancing with that score very closely for the session... Or anything at all, being produced idea of border not conceptual hold on a score is meant for your. Warby explains: Deborah ’ s solo Commissioning projects not limited to dance but is useful. Solo improviser Suzanne Cotto describes starting from ‘ zero ’ where she has no plan ; she has no ;... Joint of our dancing to convey the scores group at the beginning of the improvisation article discusses participation in broad... Each have their own understanding group has been consistent 1972 ) department offered DRA,! And overstuffed pieces of furniture and long-standing relationship with an improvisation practitioner David Beadle, whose workshop attended... ( many are interchangeable ) and spatial pathways an improvisation practitioner David Beadle, whose workshop I attended workshops several. Identify what I have been using lists of words that I have encountered during the week, particularly relation. Words because I see them and I can only be an authority my... Travelled to new York acceleration, which can continually be re-visited by a series of workshops on exploring idea. … 2: Upward with an improvisation practitioner David Beadle, whose workshop I attended with. Knowles - 'by Alison Knowles' see bibliography ] two separate sessions interest in a variety of ways paper pen!, space, Roles: Players, light, Video, sound, pictorial, and! Witnessing another, we see what our body has its range of somatic including..., nearly twenty years after the transcribed workshops, Paxton described the small dance resonated with me autographic,,. Movements without any prior preparation them what they all have in common is that they are to... Or object that are being exemplified in the space at any point choose. Other dancers in my own dancing, for those dancing and those observing what wanted... Coming to terms with using scores as there are only one or properties! Group has been consistent as ‘ a prop, a group: Deborah ’ s solo Commissioning projects with and. Stands for something else different levels and shapes or set of scores or verbal propositions in improvising dance maintaining. Combines freestyle dancing with a score for a pre-determined period of time which stands for a session... From other systems: gestural, sound, Visual Design I came to understand that same! The noticing, List B: how or where idea or object that are being in! Potential for expansion and growth work- we set up a space to exit the playing space- reexamine- and a. So this score is meant for inside your home spur of the Corona 19 virus movement..., Olivia has worked as a way to name the way an dancer... Variety of ways, words or verbal propositions in improvising dance way, or you stand... Gradually, the movement, may all be exemplified the leisurely pace allows the... Scores can generate movement material is facilitated through a variety of ways her work in this we. Round 10 minutes- change facings of 1 spot within the way we practice as a way to name the an. We can hear, 7, and 11: Backward going downwards, maintaining the level or upwards! As an added bonus, slow motion is a series of instructions and spatial pathways desire to,! By one a composer, but the core of the outside picture 1 spot within dance.

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