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Saturday, 3 December 2016

On 25th, 26th and 27th October 2016, the 3 Elements was shared with children and young adults connected to Sense (www.sense.org.uk/)

During the sessions I swapped round the 1st two elements. In the first element we witnessed others' creative movements. We did round robins introducing ourselves. We took it in turns to say and sign our names, involving both vision, sound and touch… and we took it in turns to create movements which the rest of the group responded to.

The responses were diverse and interesting, and doing this activity created a sense of togetherness within the group.

In the 2nd element we explored how we felt, giving time to connect to our own bodies

This element was the most difficult to separate out. It is a calming element, which may not suit all the people at any given time; requiring flexibility from me as an artist/facilitator and from the support workers present.

With some of the scores we explored sensory objects, such as balloons and soft balls to bring attention to people’s feet, knees, backs and head

I also noticed the mirror played an important role, with people observing themselves relaxing, and during movement.

In the 3rd Element we explored how we interact and dance with each other.

I developed open scores. I found it useful to spend some time dancing with each young person and developing scores accordingly.

There were some challenges negotiating the different scores for the different people in the group - e.g. some people found upbeat music as a way into creative movement; whilst others preferred calmer, relaxing music to move with.
This requires alternating the music we listen to / feel the vibrations from, between different kinds of upbeat and relaxing music… I also noticed however, the importance to go with the flow as much as possible - e.g. - if a particular style of music was working for most of the group, to continue with that style of music, though perhaps within that having different songs to try to engage the others in the group.

The young dancers

One young person attended the 1st and 2nd sessions. He enjoyed upbeat music and really engaged with a score where he was swirled around the room on his back (legs being held by support staff). I noticed there were some times he would do this score by himself, though mainly he liked working in pairs. This young person did engage with the relaxing balloon score, for short periods. With the young person, I along with 2 support staff, created a score - we were all either lying or sitting on the floor, connected by either hands or legs - we moved together, whereby the young person was a ‘boat’ and the others were ‘water’ - this is a score I would like to develop in future sessions.

There was a young person who attended the 2nd and 3rd sessions. She liked to dance and fill the space on her own. She especially liked dancing to upbeat pop music. I felt some connection when holding out my forearm for her to grip (experienced by myself and 2 support staff) and she would move away, and reconnect as and when she wished, enjoying dancing to the music... it would have been great to have a different space with her kind of music… and for others to come back and forth into her space too. I would like to explore multiple spaces in future sessions

One young person attended the 3rd session. She engaged with the 3 Elements through Classical Western and Eastern music. With a support worker we did a score using the parachute rolled up on the ground, the young person navigated her way over this different surface. She did this several times, moving around the room. I would like to develop this score in future sessions.

Another young person attended the 1st and 3rd sessions. We created a new score, which we repeated on both days using different music. The score was sitting back to back - on the 1st day this was a relaxing activity. On the 2nd day of this score, we were listening to African drumming; we incorporated this in how we moved together. It was really interesting to feel how we connected and how we both created rhythms for the other to respond to. I would like to develop this score in future sessions.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

The 4th 3 Elements session took place on 21st March 2016. The session was hosted by Decoda at Coventry University. This session was also part of 'Scratching the Surface' Mental Health Arts Festival, Coventry.

After each element there was a discussion and in this session we recorded the 2nd and 3rd elements.

1st Element

This element had a new component, whereby after the body scan, we did a shaking / free forming exercise to bring our attention back to the room. Usually there is no music in this element, however this time we had a musician playing live during the free forming component. This raised issues of how/when to transition between dancer and musician, how and who can introduce music, and what expressions and releases can occur moving through this element

2nd Element 

3rd Element 


Friday, 18 March 2016

The third 3 Elements session took place on 14th December 2015.

There was no recording during this session. 

It followed the format of a discussion after each element.

I will say a little of how I felt each element went, and will ask the other group members to add how they felt during / about the session.

I was really eager to be immersed in the first element - to sink into the floor. I moved gently, rolling and rocking, finding various body parts connecting with my breathing... to my diaphragm. 

In the second element, i was pleasantly surprised by how well it went. We were testing a new way of doing this element - we went in round robins, which increased in duration. It was wonderful to witness people's new and developing movements. 

In the 3rd element, we listened to recorded music. I was aware how this affected the flow of connections; especially when Love Man by Otis Redding came on. There was a lovely moment of laughter and going with the flow. During this element I felt there was a wealth of experimentation in how people connected, utilising different heights and how we gave and supported weight.   

Monday, 14 March 2016

The second session of 3 Elements of Difference took place on 17th August 2015.

The group did some writing about the 3 Elements:

Element one

"Breathing, noises, awareness of room... focus back on my body."

"Taking time, shake it off. Hold pose, feel a strain
Release, release, release
the strain - a different kind.
It's okay, you're tired.
Gently rolling shoulders
Release - find tension - release - find tension
let it be - tension - let it be"

Element three 

“The presence of [recorded] music was interesting – it took me a long time to stop moving with the obvious beat, and make/find my own beat around and within it. Once I had, I felt much more comfortable. Attempting contact of initially just fingers, then arms, then the back, felt much more fun and less pressured than I have previously found it. I still move quite slowly though :)

"Projections - reflections.
Get swept into - rhythm in space"

Separate feet - moving in time
Right hand still holds

"It's the same as talking to someone for the 1st/20th/1000th time
- You're possibly testing new ground
- You're testing familiar
You're trusting to be experimental 
Diving in at the deep end"

We also did some drawings:-

Sunday, 13 March 2016

The first 3 Elements session took place on 18th May 2015 at a Decoda Ground Work session - http://www.decoda-uk.org/ground-work/. In this session the group members did some writing about the first 2 Elements. We were joined by live musicans.

Element one

“noticing, finding.  Its interesting to touch, to feel, to find.  I am aware.  I know that there are places I haven’t been to in a while.
New sensations well borrowed from another time.
Wanting to feel something.  Now feel something.
Pushing, stretching shake reach extremes feel good.  Needing the extremes losing control.  There has been too much control
Noticing my flexible shoulders again.  Playing, looking
I don’t want to sit too close to the mirror.  If you don’t look into my eyes then it’s not real so it’s OK.
My heels are connected to my sits bones.
 I am more anxious about my mind’s journey.  My thoughts desires stream of consciousness is out of control.  I follow my mind and challenge it.
Limits, extremes at push
Elbows too
Pat, hit feeling the sound of slaps.
 Suddenly the bass sound of the bass clarinet perfectly sums up my feelings.
Thank you body.”

“In the first element I felt looking in the mirror wasn’t always difficult (I kind of find looking in a mirror difficult in general, and know that dancers use the mirror as a tool) I wanted to look at and explore the soles of my feet and how different they are to each other.
Sometimes it was difficult to be aware of just one body part…  I noticed how much I use my knees.  I became acutely aware of the differences in each side of my back.  I found myself wanting to do moves that need more practice.  Though I did go with the flow…  In my case hips and toes
Sometimes I got tired.  So tried to go back to my feet. 
I wanted to explore the different movements of my stomach, chest and hips as rolling motions.  I found that if I was lower to gravity, with one knee bent, it was easier to keep my right heel on the floor.”

“Different positioning, finding different sensations – difference and changes in where the weight was pouring.  A sense of finding lightness from this pouring in other areas of the body. 
An enabling of release
Heavy and light
Support from the floor
Could only notice elements of difference if I really slowed down, tuned in and listened to a specific body part.
Really had to engage with the internal in order to find this”

“I found it very difficult to experience parts of my body that hadn’t experienced some kind of pain or discomfort in the past.  Joints where I had previously experienced pain were familiar - even if I hadn’t thought about them for many years –but things like toes I was aware of as present logically, I found it hard to have any awareness of.  Stretching various parts could bring discomfort became the means by which I was able to register and concentrate on them.  I forgot about my lungs, and then regretted their omission.
When we started moving, I was very conscious critically of shifting the weight of my body on the floor, which was a wonderful and novel feeling, but I tended to forget the more time I spent moving.  I only started looking in the mirror at the end, which was interesting.  My overall tendency throughout was to move from one pose or position to another.  Focusing more on the movement between (the dance) would be something I would like to try to do more of in future.”

Element two

"Solo surrounded by group
So limited in what we can do
Music seemed to help this time – did not feel anxious – starting (being the first focal dancer) might help
In group, forgot – felt more like solo outside wondered how to copy – take a quality rather than doing the same movement.
Different qualities for everyone
What is the movement and feeling the movement
Seeing/doing/watching the movement?  Freely"

"In the second element, I was interested to explore group cohesion. 
My tiredness levels were quite high when I was the last focal dancer.
I could tell that this was different for the other people dancing, and there was enjoyment.
It was interesting to experience how music was affected by movement, as well as the other way around
The music offered really nice pauses and stilted movements.  
Some people didn’t really go with the focal dancer.  [or is this about interpretation?? ] others did and there was a clear sense of circle and focal dancer.  I was interested to find that I was thinking that to follow was a kind of copying
There wasn’t too much movement around the space (we pretty much kept in a circle), which may have created different scenarios for the group to move as a whole."  

"Move with energy that changes and arises
Negotiated through group as opposed to when roles have already been decided.
A settling into something when I don’t know what is going to happen next --> allowing the energy to take the body as opposed to attempting body to find the energy."

“element two: an exercise in playing with individual dancers movements, and at the same time in sympathy with the other dancers.  Attempting to it interpret the dancers sense of direction and flow.  For me a wonderful exercise in empathy.  Just wonderful to experience such inventive dancing.  It was hard to keep up with such inventiveness."