These workshops deal with two distinct yet concurrent issues as regards performance improvisation – we are making a piece at the same time as we are performing in that piece.  This requires the performer to have:

The skills to compose in performance
and the skills to perform that composition.

Thus the performer need an knowledge and understanding of both composition and performance.  In the real time of performance, these skills are constantly overlapping.  Some are in use all of the time, and some of time, all are in use.  Yet it is important to distinguish these skills so that the performer/composer is aware of the choices he or she is making.  That awareness is key.  It is the ability to make informed choices that is the hallmark of a good performer.  Yet awareness alone is not enough.  The performer must also have presence – that almost magical ability to expand in performance.  This requires that the performer let go of self-conciousness and self-judgement while performing, both of which inhibit presence.  More than any other performance medium,  improvisation requires an understanding of this paradox:  How do we use our skills and awareness without allowing that to lessen our performance?

The workshops are a constant dialogue about these skills:  the use of the eye and ear;  the use of touch and sensation; physical and emotional memories and their effects;  inhibition and freedom.  They are as well a course in composition:  what is it – what are its forms – how do we use it?  These questions about composition can often be very subjective but are yet equally important to the development of the artist.  Through this knowledge, the artist can begin to make their own choices about the art itself.

Each workshop day begins with a physical warm-up intended to release tension and develop an inner awareness of one’s body and patterning.  Each day has a theme – i.e. chance versus choice; range and space; theme and variations; entrance and exit;  (the list is quite exhaustive).  The working process balances between generating movement  – i.e. positive and negative space; working in planes; triggering in the body – and composing with that material.  Yet as with improvisation itself, each workshop develops a unique structure and focus because each workshop is composed of unique individuals who can and do contribute to the eventual result.

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