Background and Motivation
ESSENCE is a pilot programme for dancers and art makers interested in exploring
environmental, interactive and immersive performance.
I have been a dancer all my life though I never knew it. I entered the professional
dance world in 1974 through a series of happy accidents and since then have been
searching to reclaim the essence of the dancer in me.
This search has led me on many paths; professional performance, various dance techniques, choreography, teaching, body mind connections, Somatics, body mind centering, trauma work,
psychological processes, the discipline of authentic movement, the nature of
creativity, deep listening and most recently the extraordinary freshness of the
present moment when Essence, stripped temporarily away from all history and
conditioning, can express itself purely, directly and simply as it is right now.
To do this in the presence of another, be it audience and/or colleagues is an act of
co-creation. All parties present collaborate, engage and co-create to invite a
receptive field of energy that can allow this to happen. There is an invitation to all
aspects present - the environment especially that of being out in nature, all the
natural contents of the environment, the audience and the other dancers - all are
equally important. The full richness of the exchange cannot take place without any
single component. Because of life’s natural flow of impermanence, the offering or
event or sharing is unique each time.
As I reach the end of my dancing life, I have a strong desire to share the journey with
any dancers and/or indeed any art maker who feels drawn to explore this approach.
Musicians, singers and visual artists would also be welcome.
Running alongside the programme for dancers would be a programme which would allow early career dancers interested in this approach to be present, witness, engage with and explore the
process. Our bodies are the ground. Each participant will learn to deeply engage with their
ESSENCE, Programme Content
Module One and Two: Two weeks in April 2023
Getting to know your environment, inside and outside
The methods used will be guided somatizations, hands on work in partners which
develops sensitivity and attunement, working outdoors with installations and earth,
processing your experiences, learning about self-care and nourishment.
Body Mind Centering® principles and explorations of the various systems of muscle,
bone, fluids, organs, nerves and how they are reflected in our environment. Some
anatomy and physiology. Psychological processes in each system.
Some of the ideas we will explore are:
- Setting the space and clarifying intentions.
- Getting to know each other and an inquiry into relationships.
- Learning to be with Nature; hanging out with outdoors
- Co creating with the land; creating an environment from which to offer interactive
and immersive performances
- Nourishment. What is quality nourishment? What foods does your body function
best on? Some kitchen basics.
- As a dancer, what is nourishment for you? What is embodiment for you?
Module Three - a week long session in July 2023
Time, Timing and Timelessness
Human time - Natures time - Present time
Rhythm and sound - Voice - Awareness and Attention, space, body, density, fluid, flow, following, engagement and evolution of movement. Whole body support -
Module Four - a week long session July 2023
The observer - The observed
Deepening into interdependency
Impact physically, emotionally, cognitively, making and moving -
Performance and Audience interaction
Module Five - a week long session in August 2023
Performer and Audience
Performer interacting with audience and installation/environment -
Audience interacting with performer/installation/environment
Seer and seen, witness,
Quantum, the Field, intention, presence, roles and identity
Invitation - Performance in inviting the world in.
Module Six - a week long session September 2023
What have we learnt?
What else is needed?
What else needs developing?
What needs more attention?
What needs more time?
Audience with performers’ dialogue and inquiry alongside final performance offerings
in the Gorse Hill Gardens