day one, workshop one

The first day of the first workshop. The day after the Big Storm which caused significant transport delays and cancellations in London. Nevertheless, twelve young people made it to Tate to meet Sara Wookey and take part in our choreography and film project.

The research-project team had met at 9 am to sort out last minute logistics – we were very excited to finally get to the actual event. The workshop was based in the Clore Studio at Tate Modern and Camilla Robinson, the film-maker, and her assistant Orlando had to get there well before the young people arrived to set up the camera which will continuously record all of the workshop proceedings.

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We began the day with formalities – explanations about the research, the filming, signing of ethics and video release forms, getting to know each other’s names. There was a name game followed by a walking activity. This exercise established right at the outset some key choreographic concepts – space, speed (fast , slow), movement/stopping, levels ( seated, lying down upright), relating to other people/being separate.

An energetic warm up was followed by learning the very beginning sequence of Trio A. This wasn’t easy and some of us (Pat, Emily) found it harder than others!

Participants were then asked to record the movements they had learnt using words and images.  Individuals then took turns to read out their notations while other participants interpreted in movement what they heard. This was pretty interesting, as it revealed the difficulty of translating movements into another symbolic form. The group then divided into pairs, and each pair worked with their notations and their interpretations to produce a negotiated collaborative ‘dance’. These were performed, one of the pairs worked with the film of Yvonne Rainer performing Trio A in the background. Further choreographic terms were introduced – mirroring, juxtaposition, sequence.

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Next there was some discussion about: Yvonne Rainer’s “No Manifesto”, the idea of Sara as a living archive and some of the principles that underpin Trio A –  movements that don’t repeat, the dancer doesn’t look at the audience, upper and lower body often move differently, two and three movements are combined together at the same time, the dance is ongoing and there are no long pauses, there is no story, the dance doesn’t aim to produce emotion, the body is busy the whole time, every movement is equal to every other movement.

The day concluded with further introductions – participants talked about how they came to the workshop and what they hoped to get from it. And the researchers and filmmakers were asked some questions about what we were trying to achieve.

Tomorrow will have a focus on choreographing participant’s own movements, using some of the tools introduced today.

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