Reflections task 38 and task 39 – A body of work

Dear Maria,

Many thanks for task 38. Below you will find Task 39 – A body of work.

Reflections Relations

This task is clear and to the point and completely central (I feel) to what we’re trying to do and for that reason I have been a rabbit in headlights trying to work with the question. ‘How might a relational yoga practice be represented and disseminated through language and imagery?’ No matter how I choose to respond I will not do the profoundness of this question justice. How can I create images that represent not the postures but what happens in the relation between them? And how can I talk about the relation without reducing the experience of it to a simple word play?

Here are some tentative reflections:

Imagery

Layering the images in goes some way to answer the question of a relationship between postures, between the body and the space etc, but it is still flat and two-dimensional and too literal. The postures – although now in direct relation to  one another – are still fixed and static.

Language

 

SIRSASANA                                                    SAVASANA

 

Virabhadrasana classic Virabhadrasana correct Virabhadrasana athletic

 

 

TRI     KO       NA    SA     NA    TRI    KO     NA     SA    NA   TRI    KO  NA   SA  NA  TRI   KO   NA    SA     NA    TRI     KO    NA    SA   NA   TRI    KO   NA   SA   NA    TRI    KO

 

Task 39 – A body of work

At the end of your reflections on task 37 you state: One thing, however, becomes clear: my injury reveals the very thing that was taken for granted in the task and the photos: ability. I wanted to add to that: the body is taken for granted.The body – and its abilities– are the pivotal point for this project even as sometimes the written reflections and visual outputs take centre stage. This insight is not ground-breaking on paper either but nevertheless one that affirms my experience that Two Trainers Prepare is not a ‘project posted on a blog’ but an exchange between two bodies.

These thoughts lead me to an idea for task 39. For this task I want you to think about relations not just in asana but in a wider context of this project. We have worked together two people in a pair, that is one relation. We have worked individually with our surroundings, that is another relation. There are numerous other relations to mention but I want you to focus one particular one… We have used reflections and writing and uploading and posting and created a more intangible relation with something that is not physical: the blog. I want you to explore ways that the outcome of the project (the blog) can be considered a tangible element in your relationship with it? Where is the blog and how can you work with the proximity/distance between you? Is the blog a deposit of written material, photos and videos or do all the tasks and reflections add up to something more? A body of work?

Imagine this: if the blog was another body how could you dance with it?

I look forward to your response and to seeing you in Leeds very soon.

Reflections on Task 37 and Task 38 – Modern Relational Yoga

Dear Marie,

many thanks for task 37. Below you can find my reflections and below this the instructions for Task 38.

Monday: I am excited and inspired by the pictures you post and look forward to doing the task (which I am not sure exactly what it asks, because I read the instructions very quickly).

Tuesday: I do understand that the task has to do with some form of re-construction, re-staging, adaptation. I am thinking about the re-creating of past choreographies and the function of scoring. So, the photos are my score and I can change anything I want in the composition. A little something nags me, but I am not too preoccupied with it: I have never done, or be taught,  Natarajasana, the posture you are doing with the diggers. I will have to find a way to somehow address this.

Wednesday: I do a bit more reading on the commutation test. It sounds a very interesting methodology. How might the thing, or series of things, I will change in the composition reveal insights about both the original and its reconstruction?

Thursday: SNAP. My back goes and with it all the plans I have for the task.

Friday: I can barely walk or stand. I am medicated to my ears and have no idea how I will respond to the task. Dazed by the pain and the effect of the painkillers, I am thinking about asking for an extension. But this has never happened before. The frequency (yes! the rhythm of the posts) is one of the threads that makes this project what it is. One thing, however, becomes clear: my injury reveals the very thing that was taken for granted in the task and the photos: ability.

Saturday: The pain has eased somewhat and with it comes an idea. What will be changed is scale.

Painting by Margarita Samara

Task 38 – Relations

The last practice I had before I injured myself yielded an insight. Asanas are not postures, they are relations. This may not sound particularly groundbreaking on paper, but it took me nearly 20 years to break the mould of the idea, and practice, of postures and realise that what is going on is in fact relations. What is the difference? Postures are fixed, relations are fluid. Both the translation of the term asana as posture, as well as the photographic representation and instructions of ‘Modern Postural Yoga’ (see De Michelis’s excellent History of Modern Yoga 2004 and Singleton’s Yoga Body 2010), create the impression that yoga involves the doing and holding of fixed positions (even if in practices like Ashtanga Yoga there is a lot more emphasis on the movement between the postures).

Here is your task then: what kind of visual and linguistic representation might we have if we think of yoga asanas as relations? Relations between body parts, between the body and the space, between different weights and pressures, between inside and outside etc etc. How might a relational yoga practice be represented and disseminated  through language and imagery?

Symposium Launch for special issue on Dartington College of Arts

The guest editors of the special issue (SI) of Theatre, Dance and Performance Training on ‘Training Places: Dartington College of Arts’ are delighted to invite you to the symposium and launch event to celebrate the issue’s publication. After three years imagining, planning and curating, the SI devoted to Dartington College of Arts (DCA) will be published in the early autumn of this year and marks the 10th anniversary of the agreement to ‘merge’ the College with University College Falmouth in 2008.

The SI reflects the diversity of art forms, writing registers, pedagogies and images for which Dartington was renowned, and includes contributions on and from: Peter Hulton on context and development of DCA, Chris Crickmay on Arts & Context, Jacky Lansley and Fergus Early on the Dance festival and X6, a roundtable reflection on Music, Gregg Whelan (Lone Twin) on Performance Writing, as well as multiple images and voices included in Donna Shilling’s record of the walk back to Dartington and Kevin & Kate Mount’s timeline photo essay.

The symposium launch will be held on the Dartington Hall Estate on Saturday 3 November from 12.00 – 15.30. The afternoon will include a response to the special issue by Karen Christopher (ex-Goat Island and now of Haranczak/Navarre Performance Projects); Thresholds, a group walk around the Dartington grounds led by Simon Persighetti (Wrights and Sites & DCA lecturer); a critical memory project in and around the Dartington estate; and a presentation by Rhodri Samuel (CEO of Dartington Hall Trust since 2015) on Dartington’s plans for the new Elmhirst Centre. More details will follow.

Details of the special issue, the launch event and booking information (cost £10.00) are all available through the link below to the eflyer.

To register your interest &/or purchase a hard copy of this SI (£5.00 tbc plus p&p), please visit:

https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/media/5920/special-issue-final-flyer.pdf

We hope to see many of you in Dartington!

Bryan Brown, Dick McCaw, Simon Murray and Libby Worth

Guest Editors TDPT SI on DCA

Research Project on Actor Training at the University of Malta

Cultural Transmission of Actor Training Techniques (CTATT) is a Research Project that studies how actor training practices are transmitted across cultures, and in this process appropriated and transformed. Recently launched at the Department of Theatre of the University of Malta, the project is interested in both historical as well as contemporary instances of transmission.

The formal aims of the Project are:
• to create a series of research actions – workshops, residencies, seminars, conferences – that revolve around the transmission across cultures of actor training techniques;
• to reach out to the largest possible international audience that is directly invested in the study and practice of actor training and performance;
• to create and disseminate a body of knowledge related to actor training, such as workshop documentation, recorded interviews, published scholarly material, etc.

In April the Project hosted three actor training workshops with Alessio Bergamo (Accademia di Belle Arti di Frosinone, Italy), Julian Jones (Rose Bruford College, Sidcup, UK), and Jakub Korčák (Academy of Performing Arts, Prague). The practitioners conducted sessions on Stanislavsky’s magic ‘if’ with Theatre Studies students. These workshops were supported by ERASMUS+ funds for Staff Mobility for Teaching and Arts Council Malta – Malta Arts Fund.

The CTATT Project is directed and coordinated by Dr Stefan Aquilina, who can be contacted on stefan.aquilina@um.edu.mt. For more information about the project, including a series of interviews with visiting practitioners, please visit www.ctatt.org.

Reflections Task 36 + Task 37 – Composition reconstructed

Dear Maria,

Many thanks for task 36.

Blog format

So far it has been mostly an advantage to post tasks and reflections on the TDPT blog where the layout of how we post has its limitations; it has meant that thinking about how the blog entry appears was not something to be concerned about. However, my reflections for task 35 is one of those entries where I feel the blog format restricts my reflections. With composition as the central point for this task, the pre-set font, layout of text and limited ways of adding photos means that there is not much scope to play with the composition. I would have liked to place the images side by side and blow them up much bigger. Anyhow, for today the layout of my reflections below will do.

Reflections on Composition

I did not manage to track down the exact image from Joan Jonas work that you were referring to so I took the instruction from your task and paired it with what I imagined the still image to look like.

Image made on self-timer


Photo by my dad, Niels Andersen

Photo by my mum, Kirsten Hallager

a) The body-in-yoga

The yoga posture I chose for each photo was inspired by how I felt they would work best compositionally in the surrounding environment: what shape would either contrast or mimic the objects in the space, what was actually physically doable and be visible within the frame.

b) The surrounding environment

I did not have time to construct a set-up for the photos and as a result my everyday activities and surroundings had to suffice for photographing myself doing the task. Inspired by the yoga photos by Polly Penrose and other artists (like Julie Blackmon who photographs everyday life in (sur)real set-ups), I used places and spaces that I pass through and interact with daily. I was particularly interested in how the yoga postures were sometimes camouflaged in the untidy and ‘busy’ surroundings yet adding an ‘oddness’ to the photo. It was an interesting process for me to compose the photographs with myself in a yoga posture and relate to my bodily experience of this position in a new environment.

c) The object

The object was not at the forefront of my mind so I would mostly just grab what was there on the scene. Holding an object as part of the posture removed any remaining experience of doing yoga. I was simply posing with an iron, a brick or… a child. I did consider what I was wearing for each of the photos. Mainly that I wanted to avoid yoga wear but again, time limitations meant that I would pose in whatever I was wearing, which then became part of the narrative of the image.

Without having paid much attention to it while composing these images, each of the elements (a, b, c) add their own visual ‘rhythm’ to the images. I was so glad you clarified in your reflections for task 34, that syncopation is not rhythm out of synch but different rhythms  in relation to each other that either compliment or complicate the overall pace. I want to play with this further for task 36.

Task 36 – Composition reconstructed 

I loved the idea of visual rhythm and have in my reflection on task 35 discovered a different way of ‘seeing’. Composition as a manifestation of rhythm between objects, bodies and environment is an obvious choreographic tool where movement is central but I had not articulated to myself that rhythm could apply specifically to images.

For your task 37 I want you to reconsider one or more of the images I composed for task 36 and reconstruct it/them as close to ‘my original’ as you can. For obvious reasons the environment and objects will be completely different so try and resolve the compositional challenge rather than matching objects. Perhaps think of it as a commutation test where you investigate an image by identifying ‘signifiers’ that you substitute with your own environment, body, objects, colours etc. How does keeping composition (more or less) intact but exchanging elements in the frame agitate the visual rhythm of the image? Bring back to the blog the image(s) you create and any reflections on the process.

Enjoy