2/12/2015: Nancy Stark Smith’s Underscore

Today’s session was the last of our ongoing assessments. I was initially very apprehensive as I was very unsure of what may happen within the session, I never usually get as nervous as I felt today. I think the reason for this could be because contact improvisation is not particularly one of my strengths and I found adapting my body to this style of dance very challenging.

We began the session showing our choreographed improvisation duets in order to be assessed. We have been working on our duets for a few weeks to show as part of the assessment. Again, I found myself very nervous about choreographing an improvised duet. I think that this was because I did not know what to expect but after researching and collaborating different ideas with Becca we both started to slowly feel more comfortable to achieve the objectives. I found that the hardest part of creating the duets was finding an interesting start however once we started to improvise and create movements which we though worked well the process became easier. We experimented to find different explorations and sensations within the body and used different kinespsheres to help influence movement. After contacting with Becca over the last few weeks I feel that my body has begun to slowly develop ways of trust and finding efficient ways to contact during improvisations. I enjoyed working with Becca as our movement quality is very similar so incorporating movements into the choreography was relatively easy. However we both found that making smooth transitions in and out of lifts very difficult. Initiating ways of moving efficiently on and off the floor began to create habitual patterns which we didn’t want to happen. Also, changing the dynamics throughout was becoming habitual to our specific dance backgrounds. The feedback which we received from Kirsty (our tutor) was extremely helpful. We put all of our feedback into practice and incorporated and developed efficient ways of smoother transitions. I felt very pleased after we performed the duets. All of our transitions happened smoother than we expected and we worked together to create the best demonstration and understanding of the objectives. We were both happy with the outcome of the performance of our duets. We both discussed our improvement from starting the duets a few weeks ago. Although overall I was happy with my performance I felt that I could have made all of my movements more fluid to show continuity. I also feel that I could have distinctly used the initiation of my breath to influence movements and to create ease.

The Nancy Stark Smith score was very confusing and difficult for me to understand as I have never even discussed or looked at a score before. After researching and learning the different parts to the score it all began to start making sense. Once we discussed the different definitions and terminology I began to understand how this can influence improvisation in a contact jam. It is an efficient way to create a jam situation with the influences from the score. In our research lab groups we had 3 connections which we had to discuss and develop, these were;

  • Touch
  • Contrast
  • Confluence

The last part of the assessment was being led through the score to create a jam. I thoroughly enjoyed the new experience of working with a score however I sometimes felt very restricted and lost with my internal and external movements. I only established a connection with a few people in the jam, I think this happened because it was dependant on who I made a strong connection with right at the beginning. These are the people which I felt the most confident contacting with throughout the jam. I started to create habitual patterns especially when we were directed to use either the upper or lower kinesphere. As a class we all generally seem the most comfortable improvising using the lower kinesphere and I always naturally find myself stuck on the floor. Although I find it challenging to change my dynamics in the lower kinesphere rather than my upper kinesphere. When we were being directed through different sections of the underscore, I found it particularly hard to differentiate between the different instructions. This might be because of what my body naturally wanted to do. The movement began to become very bitty as the jam developed. It re assured me during the feedback during the sharing at the end of the session that we all would find our movement very bitty as we don’t experience jam situations on a weekly basis for a long period of time. When I had a strong connection with someone and we were applying one of the connections such as; attraction whilst someone was trying to initiate repulsion with me was very difficult to engage with the partner to differentiate between the two.

I am very impressed with my own development and knowledge of what I have learnt throughout the module. The progress I feel that I have achieved is not only in the body physically but with the connections which I have established with my peers. At first, I found it very difficult to contact with the people in my class as I felt uncomfortable as I was new and hadn’t met any of them before. The improvement in my contact improvisation has essentially helped build my confidence and influenced the development of my skills. I have thoroughly enjoyed the module and feel accomplished with the level of my self-achievement. I have discovered the limits and boundaries of my body and will take away the practice which I have learnt and hopefully carry on developing my skills to push myself further.

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