1000 gestures palindrome dance company website
When I rehearse in the park people stare at me. I can see them in the distance, wondering what I am doing.
What is interesting is that they watch for quite a long time.
So I'm thinking it must look not only strange, but evocative... a good sign I would say.
Sometimes someone gets brave enough to come over and ask me what the f_ck I'm doing!
Ideas from Delphine include, doing it in canon.
Not bad... I like it, but my concern is that it may distract. Anyway, it might be worth trying.
sometimes canon, sometimes unison? I've made pieces like this before, where people come in and out of unison.
This means though that the parts would not all be the same. Well, I hate to say it, but a nice thing about unison is that if you get lost, you can copy your neighbor!
I would like 5-7 NORMAL people. completely normal.
of course, actors are the best at looking normal on stage.
they are also disciplined (haha! yes, in their way).
As are dancers. plus dancers can remember counts.
as can musicians. And they both perform...
The problem with dancers is that they tend to put too much energy in their movements. Also, they don't tend to look natural. Most.
And the problem with musicians, is that, except opera singers, they dont have much body-sense. The are not good at sensing what they look like. They are good at remember counts though.
Basically anyone could do it.... with enough rehearsal time.
+ + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
I saw the piece "Aphasia" by Mark Applebaum last nigth. great! a similar idea -- and very funny. I would like to learn it and perform it. Good exercise for me.
and im sure it would help me understand my own project...
he, primarily a composer, probably started with the music. but obviously it could be built from both sides. (though I do need a composer. him?)
So, picture this: hmmm.... 5 people (im not sure if it matters dancers, non-dancers,... actors. .. probably professionals are good just beause they will be more able to relax on stage!) standing on the edge of the stage (like trisha brown's accumulation. so each will be responsible for the part of the audience closest them.
or spread around in the audience space. possibly then, an open space.
attach it to the new "not-moving" piece (for 7-9 non-dancers). so after they finish "not-moving", they ... disseminate into audience (?) and begin to gesture with music...
STAGING: Identical material except the "small" things: glances to each other and so on. peformers may be dancers as well as non. Keep it dry, alive, human, but dry. focus on it. build an awareness of it.
* * * * *
I have not done it in almost a year. well , not quite true, i perform the first 100 or from time to time, at parties.
I do very often go over different parts in my mind
did it in Spain for the therapists workshop. I kept going until the third person 's eyes drifted somewhere else. then i stopped.
it is rather monotone ... for a piece! is music the solution?
up to 617.
we performed the first 476 last weekin birmingham
with daniel bisig.
up to 508. new video (wi slo mo) soon. time to start researching foreign cultures (languages).
talked to pablo about musik for it...
up to 361. No more music. Metronome .. suits the conceptual nature of this thing better.
this is work....
trying to hack at it (its like hiking through a jungle) 30 minutes a day. but 30 minutes is generally only about 20 new counts! This is because of the clearning and correcting that goes on. Thinking up the gestures is not the hard part!
I guess it will get quicker. fucking better.
Tomorrow we go again, soldier.
up 341. well, it may seem like not a lot of progress for 2 1/2 months.... um. what can I say? I did a few other thinngs.but now Im back. a little bit every day...
got up to 313 today. did a few very cool, understated run throughs. ill video it again soon.
im up to count 227! i dont mean making movement. i mean setting counts. this actually takes more time. i guess because because you have to run through each section so many times to be sure it has the optimum timing.
but ok. immerhin. almost a fourth-
im setting counts. takes time. you have to do each part over and over again to analyze what has made it interesting (or not), as far as the timing is concerned. then fix it. once its fixed (i.e. written down), not supposed to change it again.
Im up to 162.
should reach 1000 by christmas.
they have a conversation as they gesture. The content is unrelated to the gestures.
mixture of concrete, practical, relevant (like explaining the system, or the gesture number, and then
slips sometimes into non sequitor, non--sensical, poetic. Lists of things? animal sounds?
unison. or sequential, word by word, syllable for syllable, but then also all syllables simulateous. deconstructed language.
regularly returning to gesture number.
Might need to be miked if the music is too loud. music builds incredibly slowly though...
fixed counts up to 100. i could probably continue this to 400 no problem. but,,, i need to re-think this a bit. which parts work best, and why.
add some body to 1000 -duck, look back, shiver, shake, chop inward arm, lurch body from side to side, straight-jacket-like, circle body, circle head larry-hahn-like
Projections. little icons, one for each gesture, accumulate on the screen, starting out big, but getting smaller. so at the end there are 1000 of them.
or see what J. somes up with. there are more comments somewhere below..
Gesture Counter in the corner. Counting up, or down the 1000.
working with larry by internet and phone. he says counts are unclear. good comment! fixed them up to 50.
i had my first "public showing". my students pulled it out of me after the workshop today. they applauded at the end! hey, that is somethihng. for a conceptual piece, and for normal people off the street.
of course, it was only the first 200. beginning is always interesting. my belief is the other elements -- the music and projection -- will support the longer journey.
I talked to Alexandras, the Greek guy, about the music during a long walk we took. I think about layering, and guitars... which layer well. The building I mentioned earlier. but With periodic motion-tracked breaks. Either full stops, or instantaneous stripping away of numerous layers. Like the energy drops way down, with a tiny push of the hands (as I seem to like to do these days).
This means that music, by the time it reaches that highest level, should become ... well, probably needs to be, a-rhythmic. needs to _feel_ at least, uncountable. otherwise it will be assumed to have been simply rehearsed. as you know, i love the impossibly tight timing.
I could imagine it sort of losing its way, under the thickness and multitude of the layers. then, with a certain simple gesture, strips it down again. the dancers stay frozen a moment before joining in and continuing on their jouney.
if we are two performers, then each of us strips down another group of sounds.
I.e., here, dancer 1 gestures at bar 18 and dancer 2 at ca. barre 21. Together, stripping the music down to only the first track. (important point for the dancer, is that the gesture comes at _ca._ 18 -- it may not be exactly on the beat! and i would probably prefer if the second dancer did her thing actually shortly the first. . just a second or so afterwards)
i made a program to keep track of the gesture numbers for
me. or a patch. a script. whatever.
normally, dancers would not work like this. that is, we would keep the original counts and simply insert something. its easier on the brain.
my thought, though, was that only the 1's really matter. that is, they are preserved. So if you insert something, or take something away, then either:
1) you stuff them in. or rarify what is already there, or
2) you have to add a whole 8, or take away a whole 8.
palindromic date -- you notice?
im getting happier with its style again. im learning to keep it dryer . that is the trick. everthing almost bored. the best gestures are gestures of boredom, sarcasm and cynicism anyway.
assigning counts to the individual gestures is a tedious job since there are so many. but also because it matters.
Just so you understand.. I could just give every one a count; e.g. one gesture per beat. In fact this is how I started out working. The problem there is that gestures have meaning -- they are not just movements. The meaning changes according to the phrasing, the timing. By allowing myself a range of timings I am able to parse out more different colorations and meanings from a given movement. This is important to keep the gesture meaningful. Meaningful is important to keep the dance interesting to watch.
That these meanings are not connected, that I am not telling a story, that there is no narrative running through the thing, is a
major weakness in the overall concept. Not that I need a meaning or a story, but only that without one,,, I think it may really be hard to watch (after the first few minutes).
One option is to challenge people. 20 minutes, by european standards, is not long at all. But to me it is! My goal is that ht epiece should be gripping. Stange, and yet again and again new and interesting.
When you count out a phrase, and then run it a few times, the counts evolve. Indeed, so do the movements. Partly this is good of course, because this represent the development of subtlety and expression.
The trick is obviously to catch the point when you start going in circles -- and catch it soon! -- so you can say JUST FIX IT NOW and move on to new matieral.
There are three criteria I am working with:
1 varying the timing, to keep it interesting. I.e. its based one gesture per beat, but then it is broken up. Assymetricalized.
2 using retards and holds, and then rushing to catch up. This is a form of emphasis. Like the phrasing of speech. Or life.
3 respecting the 8's, to make it "dancy" and fun to watch
There are a lot of ways to do it. But the main thing is to do it, and not to sit here typing.
Inherent conflict or dichotomy. I want it dry. as a theoretical exercise. Letting the movements be the expression, not, for example my face. And yet there is a point where an eye here or there, a smirk, whatever, is exactly the point -- to reveal that I am aware of how STRANGE this is.
When I was rehearsing in the abondened parking lot behind the grocery store, a car pulled over to watch. He could not figure out WHAT IN THE WORLD I was doing. Perfect!
But , once there are pseudo-interactive projections * and a really good music , that builds, and gets louder and louder, and richer and richer.... once everything is ready.,., maybe its _good_ that the movements are a little dry..,.,, .., ,,, better drier... pretty sure...
* -hmm. dangerous of course. idea is that each gesture sends a little logo, or symbol on the screen, that stays there so there are 1000 of them by the end. they move slowly around, or fade in and out,,,, something. you probably can come up with something.
Began counting it out yesterday. m=127.
Setting it to a rhythm will take a while... I am only up to count 24 and it took me an hour! But ok. Its a life project.
The HARD PART now... i mean, what I still worry about is
FINDING fucking 400 more fucking gestures.
Couting beats is much more intricate than counting gestures. The reason is simple: every gesture does not take one beat. Some do, but some do not. and there are pauses. This is all very important for choreographic reasons, and f it is going to be a duet or larger,, which is my intent, then it is critical. No cheating!
I added 16 more gestures today.
Sometimes I think I have run out. But,
Patience, Neo, the answers are coming.
Ok, Never combine showings and rehearsals. A wizard should know better. Next time: show people always only a tiny sample. never the whole thing. it was not nice.
1. sophisticated and complex timing (work wi metronome, video, and then count it out - probably in 8s, but not necessarily. it could be meterless with simply arbitrary phrasings.
2. analyse it. score it.
3. generate a click track with accents to rehearse.
4. teach s.o. else
3. composer synchs up by:
dont think ive given up or something. not a bit. i just need to do a show in budapest. and this... doesnt fit.
but one quick comment:
not long pauses you understand, but enough to make following a pulse impossible.
and i wonder if that should or needs to be fixed. .... even if it is a duet.
what a weird , full, scary
565. not much further, i know. OK, tomorrow.
I discovered something about dancing today. i know its not rocket science, but its real. and it is also really important.
It makes a difference how you do it.
and suddenly i was sore! i mean i feel my body, and i feel the intensity of what I do and
feel excited about it. I'm doing the exact same movements I did before, just now I am trying to be FULLY there when i do them.
I am also reahearsing Virus Dance these days for my show in Budapest next week. so i am only doing 1000 gestures once a day or so.
btw. I am also making progress on the class piece for 8 or 16 dancers. I need 4 x 4 x 8. not a lot i know -- but i want it to be VERY cool. so they fit together well. and,,, are completely fun to watch. every second.
i have 3. i think. i made the 3rd today... i think. Im so curious how it will read. hardly wait for studio tomorrow!
560. i spent a few days at 540, to let it settle in. now its time to more forward again.
it only takes 9 minutes now. i can do it faster, or slower, like you want.
i think the mix is the best. no rhythm. i stopped counting out loud. or at all i guess. it just kind of flows. i mean, i _can_ count it, but i dont need to.
i also think the gestures should sometimes be almost understated and sometimes almost overstated.
im still imagining a conversation going on between two people. the conversation is sometimes in unison -like the movts-, sometimes abstract (non-literal, like just words, or poetry) and sometimes literal like a real conversation.
parts maybe so loose that it can involve audience. a bit of straight man , like i do sometimes.
also, music s.t. very weird. rhythmic maybe, but bulding VERY slowly.
A groove that keeps coming back.
and something interactive.
Layers of guitar.
i have to admit, it is slowing down a little, but I am up 540.
so what? i am thinking about perfromance situations of course. text i think is good (also, it helps). and a partner. so sometimes we are conversing and sometimes speaking in unison -- but always moving in unison.
music that sloooowly builds. visuals the same.
we probably spend more time expressing than doing. or some of us. i could imagine... speaking in tongues during this thing. part of the time. see, i want to say, "look at us", this is what we do! express. we push air out of ourselves, form it into vibrations which contain the code. language. like hacking. like sitting at terminals.
vocabulary. syntax. prosody. synesthesia.
420. Now listen: i want to think about raison d'etre. ou bien,
raison à faire. ou bien encore...
i will say though, i like being here on sunday morning, and knowing that this is neither my past time, nor my profession, but my passion. and that there is not a soul around me that can make the slightest sense out what I am doing.
even i explained it.
which i can't.
384. i got up to 384 today! but i think im going to have to slow down a little in the next days. this is blowing my little brain away.
i changed some of the "dancey" and abstract gestures like 23 and 24. i dont like the ones that don't say anything.
there is still this tendency to connect the gestures into little stories -- and i am still not sure what i think of this fact.
on the one side, it makes it more fun to do and watch. on the other side... maybe its a cop out.
it is the question again: if this should be a conceptual piece (ie. based on the task, with distractions reduced to a minimum), or something else.
this relates other unanswered questions concerning cast (how many people). audience particpation? costume? music? do we or i talk (converse) as we dance? or speak non-speak?
and i am reminded of delphs idea to go around a city with a camera recording random gestures, then string them together in .. perhaps a random order. or in the order they are seen.
also a fun idea. i guess what im saying is that i am still not sure WHAT THE FUCK i am doing.
Anyway, im over a third of the way there now!
yesterday i practiced behind the rewe grocery store in abtsgmünd.
one of those forgotten places where grass grows up through the
the trick with tasks like this is structure.
this means rules:
1 never change key frames.
of course i just made a change to the basic precept:
legs and body movt. are included, and come in freely but on the average every ca. 10 gestures.
so i had to go back and change things.
back to work.
230 upper, 85 lower
the video is a new video...
it seems like im slowing down, but the project is on track. ive just been traveling a lot -- paris, now basel, next lausanne. don't worry.
New plan though -- fuck the separate lower and upper thing. at till i reach a thousand.
its not that i fear not to find 1000. i will. its more simply to maximize the level of choreographic interest, still within the nonchelant, open, ark and non-athletic framework.
Also, its a principle of democracy. All movements, in this sense, are human eypression. none are more or less important than others. eyes, tongue...?
So i want to insert (trying to keep current Keyframes):
arms can _hold_ their previous shape, but... generally at least, not gesture within a leg gesture.
200 upper, 85 lower
the video is only 160... i made the rest after i filmed. tempo is not bad.
160 upper 80 lower
oops -- im slowing down. but i think this is not the issue. memory is. body memory.
its important to do a thorough training before working. this is hard toexplain if you're not a dancer -- even if you are! the movements are not athletic -- and yet it makes a different to how the body "thinks". trust me on this.
Ok, listen up.
the tempo of Upper112 in the video is around 65. It should however be 89 -- this is fine though. start slow... we're all beginners here.
Shit, there is a mistake in the counts in Upper! i will fix it tomorrow.
Its wrong by one count for a while, then it gets fixed by itself --- the TABLE of COUNTS is correct.
Now there are:
UPPER 10x8 = 80 LOWER 8x8 = 64
im starting to have trouble remembering them,,. i videod again, but the real solution is just doing doing doing. i mean its only the third day,,,
its exciting, because it seems so impossible!
but i have a feeling its not. im pretty good at long phrases, i always was. maybe you are too.
a REALLY interesting day.
worked on the 1000 gestures, which i will come back to. first, however, the quickening.
did a very strong and clear training. I used everything i've learned in my whole life about technique and dance !
my hand stands were steady and smooth, my presentation clear and unaffected (honest, calm, direct) my leg extensions were high.
i do very strange extensions, by the way, these days. i raise the leg in conjunction with bowing the head and body. the weight of head cantilevers the leg, as it were (an idea i got from frey faust). the higher the leg, the lower the head. my head almost touches my standing knee sometimes!
but then i fall over. but you get the idea. ill put a picture up.
then i went over the two sets of 28 movements from above. i added a metronome, which i set to 89. and i worked, i avoided looking at the clock saying, probably outloud, you start timing only when you begin to make _new_ gestures. the old ones dont count.
and after the old ones were clear, and fit the counts, i looked up and said how long i was going to work. don't laugh, but i said 20 minutes! i often do that; give me a fixed, if short, period in which to create new material.
then i invariably go beyond it, but i like that imparative to get started. you will create for 20 minutes. sometimes it ends up being 3 hours, but more likely 28 or something.
it is, as you may or may not know, as exhausting as it is exhilerating and requires TONS of concentration.
so i came home, so fucking happy. i thought, wow. interesting feeling. and it was time for zen, and then food and then i met the landlord who made me feel like shit. oh well.
its hard to live in this world, i'Ve noticed. its those other people... i love some of them SO much, but.,.,. the ordinary guys on the farms here (i live way out there in country) around these campfires, i feel alien. maybe i am.
now to the 1000. i keep thinking about modifications and structures.
and more, these things can be either peppered in as needed (which is my tendency at the moment)
or handled as coded elements themselves
and performed either concurrently with an upper, a lower, or both;
or, they can be inserted.
in any case, they EITHER elements, or are red herrings,
independent and irrelevant to the structure (though obviously not to the dance).
now there are 54 lower
i woke up with the idea in my head to make 1000 gestures for the upper body, and 1000 for the lower.
Then to ... well im not that far yet, but obviously combining them in some way would seem ... logical.
i came up with 28 upper, and 32 lower.
what is interesting, and really quite tricky in this, is discerning WHAT A GESTURE IS. when, for example does it become a movement? some ambiguity is good. keeps it alive. but then i have to ask
what are the rules? what defines the dance? something has to.
a gesture _means_ something. its like you speak a word, you say, "coffee". your energy takes this form for a moment. you send something out from yourself. whether you end up drinking coffee, or say tea, is not the point. maybe the phone rings and you never get back to drinking anything at all.
The act of itself. The fact of human action is what this is about. not the action of doing, but the action of expressing. like laurie anderson says there is the time, and there is the record of the time. thre is the thing or action -- in this case "coffee" -- and the expression of the thing -- pushing air out of yourself and shaping it with your mouth so that it sounds like "coffee".
pure, intention. without the doing of the intention. without accomplishment.