Week 9 – Rehearsal with audience and performance

This section serves to create the connective tissues between the audience and the performance/research project.

Please feel free to leave your comments at the bottom of this page.

Hereunder is a brief of the piece given out to the audience on the performance day

Striking chords

Striking chords intends to weave the fabric between the poetic, the somatic and the performative by exploring the physiological properties of the connective tissues and what Dr Stephen M Levin calls ‘the new biomechanics’.

This group research focuses on fascial awareness and biotensegrity in dance via touch and non-touch practices inspired by Contact Improvisation and experiential anatomy. In particular, we attend to the body and inter-bodies’ relationships as living architectures following the laws of tensegrity structures, such as seeing the body and the composition of bodies in space as compression elements floating in continuous tension.

As well as re-creating a fascial matrix amongst the dancers, we develop a non-touch practice experiencing the eyes as a fascial organ, a voluminous mass, a skin organ that can act as an interface between our ‘innersphere’ (Joanne Avison) and our ‘kinesphere’.

By pursuing this research I propose to use the tensegrity system as a model to apprehend the relational realm and to shift the relationships’ dynamic within a group. Through redefining our understanding of biomechanics as a holistic interdependent system able to adapt and differentiate depending on its use, we redefine and question our position in the world, our roles and identities amongst a group of individuals.

Choreographer/researcher: Marie Chabert

Performers/researchers: Josephine Dyer, Olivia Walton, Maya Takeda, Helena Clark, Tara Pollitt, Jan-Ming Lee, Zoë Solomons, Pete Guy Spencer (online research)

Composer: Michael Picknett

Special Thanks: Many thanks to the dancers/researchers for their great contribution. Thanks to Mike for stepping in, and to Henrietta for her support. Thanks to the project Bunny Rabbit for letting us play and help building their tensegrity structure ‘All along the watchtower’.


  • Pete Guy Spencer

    July 24, 2021 at 1:27 pm

    Having accompanied Marie’s research on fascia over the last two years and from the very beginning having been an on- and off-line part on the research that led to ‘Striking Chords’ when observing the last two dress including tech rehearsals plus the showing on July 21st I was first of all struck by the determination how Marie put loose ends into a group piece with its own logic. To me it felt like much more than just an intermediate state while at the same time seeing the potential for future expansions.
    In all of ‘Striking Chords’ but of course most of all in the first part ‘Fascial gaze’ I felt the dancers were most beautiful to observe and witness (which role do I take as an audience member? – but this is another part of Marie’s life-long research [to me the core part though]) when they were in the listening and purely being mode rather than in the ‘doing’ as dancers. The less they were ‘producing’ (or reproducing) movements that might be ‘interesting’ or ‘aesthetically pleasing’ and the more they were listening – also and especially to their own momentary inner experiences – the more this experiencing became palpable and made me being involved. The concept of the dancers emerging from and returning to a circle shared with the audience made complete sense to me.
    While I felt it was important that the witnesses in the trio/quartet part were at least in the beginning facing their moving partners to make the role definitions clear to the audience, the possibility of the witnesses to travel through space onstage, even through the other group made me as an audience-witness travel through space more than usual – the witnesses posed as my ‘stand-in’s.
    The part filled with the most surprises every time for me is the ‘Living matrix’ when movements are rippling through the whole group, facilitated by individual group members – just as if the rehearsals’ elastic bands between them were still present: in every performance completely new pictures occur, the listening within the group is beautiful and shows their ability to expand their awareness beyond their bodies through the space and – who knows – even to the architecture (this might be a field of further exploration though: which kind of architecture supports the ‘Living matrix’ even more in itself?).
    The ‘Remodel/compression’ part rounded this stage of the research off with beautifully intimate duets. The side lights (thanks to the tech team – with minimal options they created the atmospheres Marie was seeking for) supported them perfectly. And the slower the dancers’ movements, the more breath they left inbetween, the more I could relate and feel the pushs/pulls and bends in my own body.

    And? Mike Picknett’s composition / sound scape to me does both: serve as a counterpose and make audible how moving bending stretching compressed fascia might microscopically sound.. In this way Mike’s composition to me serves as the true architecture around the dancers/audience space.
    I’m still thrilled.
    [And I’m thrilled by Marie’s suggestion that we perform ‘Striking Chords’ as a duet in Germany in two weeks.]

  • Sandra Barefoot

    July 26, 2021 at 10:11 am

    In witness to the performance of ‘Striking Chords’ I was very affected – unexpectedly – by my own visceral empathetic response to parts of this piece. There were three distinct parts that particularly reached me; the very opening, I call the place of the gaze – a line of performers simply standing in parallel to one another across the space, their gaze seamlessly in motion internally and externally – and moments where their gaze arrived in me – interlocking in softness of recognition I was there, with them, weaving connection to my own bodily fascia. As small subtle, slow somatic movements unfolded I was transported into the poetics of being – the intimacy of each person gently unfolding, unfurling to reveal different forms that led to a choral sense of connection. I was moved in the silence of all this gave. Secondly I call – the unexpected ‘knowing’ of threads connecting across the space – there were moments in movement toward and away from one another, in partnership and yet not in physical contact that revealed an openness for I to imagine myself walking through the dancers – feeling as if they would be looking through me to reach another – simply threading themselves in contact with movements that mirrored images of relationship, as if at times they were in direct physical contact yet were not. I felt captured in this space and realised I was in two places as witness – one outside watching in, and one inside between the dancers. Lastly – the tender threads of touch and contact – as two dancers arrived into the empty space and made the first direct physical contact to one another I took a breath in for I had no expected this to be possible. I was transported immediately to a place I could call grief where touch has been so devoid of our time this last year, and I have known a personal aloneness. As they continued to gently shift from one to the other in contact I was mesmorised and felt my own empathetic sensing body take hold of me – I could not unfix my gaze, I wanted to stay in this space for a long time – the simplicity of just two beautiful dancers tenderly and perceptively receiving the other in their hold was just so capturing and vital in awakening what my own sensing of being needed. I was reminded of how the simplest score, often the hardest to allow to be, brings such resonance for us in witness. ‘Striking Chords’ evokes so much potential ahead for development and exploration in so many different ways and I congratulate Marie for her tenacity, integrity and responsiveness to follow these fascinating threads of fascia research. I am so grateful to have been in witness to this journey held by Marie.

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