Group rehearsal – week 6
30/06/2021 Zoë, Tara, Helena
Today we started to piece up parts together. The focus seems to have shifted in some ways from research based practice, to how to create a structure that makes sense as a whole. Questions emerge such as selecting what represents best our research and what to leave out.
Looking back – recapping
We first had a look at the brainstorming sheet we created the first week of rehearsal, when collecting and sharing our knowledge about fascia. While some dancers didn’t have much knowledge about it, some dancers were very familiar with it and fascia was already part of their own embodied research and practice (axis syllabus, manual therapy, Contact Improvisation)
Adding-on, what we discovered
We updated the brainstorming sheet and added the knowledge gained during the research.
We moved from there into a solo practice, then into a group practice, having the awareness of this gained knowledge in our minds, and trusting that our bodies would integrate this into a movement practice and make sense out of this, both theoretical and embodied knowledge.
‘This part of the sessions always feels like a self-regulatory and group-regulatory practice. When nothing much is said but the bodymind has space to unwind, reveal, discover. In this sense fascia can also be considered as a regulatory organ.’
Indeed fascia is a shock absorber and has its own memory of trauma because it deforms, adapts, changes viscosity, lays down collagen fibers depending on its use (following Wolff’s law – see week 3, 11/06/21). Fascia shapes our body in the way we use it. O’Connor and Dumit share their hypothesis on fascia and its ability to shape and remodel in The senses and science of fascia (2018, p.23).
‘We are made by use. We can be remade through different use. Our abilities to move, experience of moving, sense of wellness, pain, stiffness, and flexibility, are the ongoing result of how we have moved in the past. Fascia is the shape of certain habits of movement (and attention, and sensation), and can thus be approached as testifying to the life we lead, up to the point when we do not.’
So fascia has also the possibility to unwind. Unwinding is a technique used in myofascial release, where the therapist stays still, and ‘listens or tunes into the fascia’, and lets the fascia guide her or him into the unwinding dance. The therapist is only there as a support, as a facilitator of the fascial unwinding.
Finding a clearer structure enables us to be clearer with the intention of each section we have been working on. Indeed so far it feels like we have been researching individually-together, in the sense that we all went through a personal journey, that sometimes resonated with others in different ways. Sometimes intersections of common felt experiences were taking place, and sometimes they were differing. It was like going on a journey together in a boat, but we all had our own personal journey.
This stage of the process requires a common attunement, a narrowing of intention and a clearer aesthetic.
For example we clarified the ‘compression section’, and I decided to call it ‘remodel section’ instead. Since we all had different interpretation of the task, I could see that some dancers were having what seemed to me a Contact Improvisation duet, without a specific-enough intention in relationship to the research on biotensegrity how forces are transmitted through the body via touch. So we redefined the task and came to the conclusion that the person receiving the touch needed to meet the tone of the partner’s push. Without blocking or preventing the push, but keeping in mind the biotensegrity model and how the forces received spread evenly throughout the structure. This matching tone enables to find the integrity of the structure rather than collapsing or following the impulse without resistance.
Structuring also involves a choreographic eye that composes the space and the relationships, and makes choices. It requires a reading and a stepping back time to observe and be more directive with the dancers.
Hereunder are some sections:
04/07/2021 Zoë, Helena, Josephine, Olivia, Maya
Today we explored the main Myofascial lines inspired by Thomas Myers’ Anatomy Trains.
The idea behind is to deepen our understanding of inner architectures, and further down the line put bring it in relationship with the architecture of the studio.
1) I introduced the superficial front and back lines, the lateral lines and the spiral lines. Two by two, we traced the lines onto our partner’s body with our hands, applying gentle strokes in the direction of the lines.
Zoë added that it is not necessary to think about action or contraction in relationship to fascia, but that fascia involves recoil: the same way we walk, there is a release and recoil before stepping onto the other foot.
2) We then took time for a solo practice based on the lines we explored.
– Olivia could feel the helixes of the body much clearer. She felt more three-dimensional, rather than having a front and a back.
To focus on recoil rather than contraction made her feel more integrated, less jarry.
There is a sense of how the body organizes itself in space.
Drawings by Olivia
– Helena got a stronger sense of volume of the body, and what the front does in relation to the back. She played with only parts of the chain. We then wondered how much involving a part of the track activates the whole track. Zoë emphasized again the importance of recoil that travels through the whole body. She gave the image of the dolphins’ swimming in the sea.
Drawing by Helena
– Josephine talked about the cradling under the foot and the superficial back line continuing underneath the foot.
Drawing by Josephine
– Maya mentioned touch in relationship to releasing and releasing sound and breath. How touch generates heat, the body becoming more energetic and an increased sense of circulation, with the energy dispersing: ‘energy is created and discharged’. This comment reminds me of Tara’s experience in week 5 (23/06/2021), when she experienced the torsion force into the deep fascia as energy generating that needed to be dispersed.
Drawing by Maya
– ‘I feel a sense of elongation and expansion rather than contraction of individual muscles’
3) We then brought the myofascial lines in dialogue with the architecture of the space
– The general feedback was that it was difficult to relate to the flat surfaces of the space and its linear aspects, in contrast with the helixes of the body and muscles. Olivia mentioned it felt less authentic, and the lines of the space related more to our skeletal structures and the bones. Indeed within the biotensegrity model, the bones are considered as the compression elements floating in the tension of the fascial matrix. This metaphor of the bones resonates with the field of architecture, which considers buildings that are not tensegrity structures as compression structures, involving no tensional element that would make them light, adaptable and non-gravity dependent. This once more resonates with our research in week 3 (09/06/2021) of the body being confronted to a world that mirrors its own understanding of mechanics.
Joanne Avison makes the link between our ‘inner-sphere’ in relationship to our ‘kinesphere’: ‘Spatialisation within the body applies to our outer sense of spatial awareness beyond the skin. […] Biotensegrity forces do not just transmit from the bone to the skin and back again. They do not stop at the bark and the outer growth rings of a tree. They relate profoundly to the forces operating around them’ (2015, p.134-135)
Drawing by Zoë
– Josephine in contrast could feel the helixes taking place in her body even though they were not reflected in the space.
4) Structure – part 1
We then carried on meshing parts of exploration together to create a dramaturgy of the piece:
a) exploration with the eyes as volume, a mass, a fascial organ, with the skin of the eye as an interface between our ‘inner-sphere’ and our ‘kinesphere’,
b) evolving and leading into a witnessing and observing practice in trios,
c) leading in turn to creating a fascial matrix between the dancers without touch. This part also relates to findings and explorations we had previously: including others in your proprioceptive awareness, finding a non-homogenous harmony, recreating the spatial dynamics we found when using the elastic bands between bodies.