10/19/2022 0 Comments
October 19th, 2022
“I am sure there is magic in everything.” Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden
This is an account of the Choreographic lab conducted 11/10/2022 to investigate and explore the potential of fabric as a prop to serve as a metaphor for living with grief as an underlying layer in every day life. This has been a prominent thought since the pandemic, in which I personally lost loved ones, I said final words over the phone, attended live streamed funerals, I experienced bereavement to suicide. I have come to know the various stages, and feelings associated with grief, and a deep appreciation for connection with my friends, loved ones and my support network. These are personal experiences, and to keep myself and the dancers I work with safe, and not too absorbed in the theme, I have highlighted a framework to work within that considers ethics of safe practice. I decided not to share my grief stories as I did not feel that this context was required or conducive to the session. One of the ways to show grief as an undertone is through play and exploration with a military parachute. It was my objective to allow dancers to start to embody a felt sense of interconnectedness.
I have already started to explore the military parachute with tow themes of ‘transcendence and freedom’ with dancer Natasha Gooden. Please follow the link to see some of our documented investigations: http://www.tuckshopdancetheatre.org/freedom.html
In my participatory dance practice, last year I found myself facilitating an outdoor creative learning workshop for key stage one and two children at Delamere Forest. I took my parachute a long there. The children were invited to help me, ‘the forest explorer’ to find my magic key to the Secret Garden of Make Believe’. To find the key, we visited different areas of the forest to dance in various challenge and reward tasks, to unlock the code to the wooden birdhouse, with a Robin who is minding the key to ‘The Secret Garden’ We danced, we moved, we used our imagination and we uncovered new possibilities for my choreographic thinking. At the end of the session we created the ‘garden’ with a military parachute, and when we laid the parachute on the ground, we mindfully used a visual mediation to imagine our own secret garden, we lay looking at the clouds drifting back through the overhanging beaches and leaves in the forest.
I am in the middle of something. An idea is taking shape. It is my objective to keep exploring the potential of this military parachute in order to co- create an immersive storytelling experience, that explores adventure. I will continue to work with people to form my ideas and develop my creative practice to enable the development of a new outdoor placemaking project.
The lab session focussed on my creative practice which is both person, and process focussed. To generate creative thinking, I need to get to know the dancers in the group, and to understand myself better. How do I motivate, inspire divergent thinking and openness to experience to enable a flourishing creative investigation to take shape. I have been exploring this for some time: https://padlet.com/tuckshopdancetheatre/mxkwj30cic02xpap I am interested in digging deeper, at this stage in my research.
In my choreographic lab, I wanted to explore the duality of opposing truths living in your body. I have experienced wonderful moments in my own grief journey. So I looked at opposite ideas. For dancer to begin to explore a language of their own that will explore a visceral feeling, rather than a literal interpretation of their own grief. Words we looked at:
Each dancer selected fabric. Either a handkerchief, a foil marathon safety blanket, or military parachute. The played and moved. I used a playlist that had a range of emotive music, that I felt set the tone for the session. I observed a real interesting mix of interactions with their fabric prop. Each dancer offered me so many gems of ideas to explore further. It became clear that it would have been more helpful for me to film the session, however I did capture some moments. Filming for me is helpful as I am extremely instinctive in my way of working and I struggle to remember everything that happens. I am sure opportunities for choreographic developments, would have presented themselves in my post session reflections and future lab session planning. In future, I will film my labs in full. I did get some footage- please see here:
As I observed and processed my feelings, I started to think about how we all have collectively, been trying to survive in the storm, that the pandemic offered.
I explained in this session that I work in a process orientated way, and that there was no objective to create anything within the 20 minutes of allocated time. I think this allowed people to explore free from expectation to create. I have found if dancers are asked to edit and select material at an early stage they will skip the exploration stage. Exploration is essential for this process. I am slowly working towards something. From this lab, it became clear that we can do so much with a military parachute, including projection, storytelling, improvised scores for audiences to actively participate in the creation of the work. The dancer’s responses fed my thinking and ideas. I use Play to open up possibilities for divergent thinking and created space for dialogue. I asked the dancers to share their experiences in a none judgemental way. I was looking for honesty and authenticity in the dialogue and I believe I held space for shared power and conversation.
Two particular points have stuck with me over the time. One participant highlighted that it was highly sensory stimulating and this helped me to understand that not all audience members might find the experience pleasurable. This is something I will consider in more depth. Accessibility and inclusion are values, and I will continue to research how to design immersive worlds that are accessible to neurodivergent audiences, particularly in areas of sensory processing, tactile, proprioceptive, vestibular systems. Not only did the session open up possibilities for divergent thinking, it led to a new mode of enquiry.
‘How can the choreographer facilitate a collaborative process to enable audiences to experience and perceive the sensory dimensions of the parachute, to mediate positive relationships with audiences engage with the work to account for greater neurodiversity in the co-creation of an immersive experience.’
Another group member highlighted the notion of the parachute to be perceived as cells. This prompted a lot of thinking, and the recollection of two books came to mind. Van der Kolk, B. A. (2014). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. I will go back to this book and dig deeper.
“Your body is a finely tuned social and emotional sense organ shaped by your life experience. And that shaping affects both the possibilities you see and the actions you take. Your results in almost every area of life are subtly but in escapably influenced by the characteristics you have come to embody.” Viking and Blake, A. (2019) Your Body is Your Brain, Leverage Your Somatic Intelligence to Find Purpose, Build Resilience, Deepen Relationships and Lead More Powerfully. Embright, LLC.
This is very much a starting point of this MA journey, however it has prompted many divergent thoughts about what could be, to co create a new collective experience for audiences with a view to stimulate senses, become present, and to move audiences in a story of adventure, healing and joy. I will continue to experiment with dancers in outdoor settings to engage in experiential and embodied practice, to develop a creative manifesto for our creative practice, to align with our current values framework.
For context my current creative values have been articulated as:
We recognise that all of our values are iterative, active and creative processes. These values are subject to review at the end of 2022.
Leave a Reply.
This section of the website will include reflections for Lauren's MA Study. This page is linked to Lauren Tucker's studies and creative practice which is broader than the work of Tuckshop Dance Theatre. Please enjoy my reflections in this learning journey.
For Tour Bookings/ Partnership Development
For Learning, Participation and Engagement Enquiries
Proudly powered by Weebly