Here it is useful to work with Nelson Goodman’s ideas about autographic and allographic art and the ‘scores’ that these different types of art use and produce. This approach allowed me to eventually leave behind the over-valuing of certain types of movement such as the shapes and virtuosic steps of ballet or modern dance traditions and to begin to find an interest in a wider range of possibilities. These choreographic principles are assimilated into the body through practising with them. There are many more non-conscious actions which may take place as a result of patterning or bodily habits, still in relation to the score. Goodman also suggests that score might also have a more ‘exciting’ function such as aiding composition but he argues that its primary role is to identify a work (1976, p. 127). Dances are designed by applying one or both of these fundamental choreographic methods: Improvisation, in which a choreographer provides dancers with a score (i.e., generalized directives) that serves as guidelines for improvised movement and form. We notice how patterns of perception and judgment remove us from more fully being present and we come to understand that by opening our awareness beyond our interpretation and analysis, we are able to include and to experience, much more. For the last few years there has been an annual simultaneous practice of Nancy Stark Smith's Underscore (a framework score for CI and improvisational dance practice) in locations around the globe including Europe, Australia, and the USA. Avoiding the labels of ‘score’ and ‘improvisation’ allows Crisp to discover and re-discover what her practice is and what it is becoming without herself, or anyone else settling on how the use of particular terms might determine what a dance is or could be. ISSN 1322-76545. By both having properties of those actions and referring to them, and exploring the physical implications of those actions in different movements and body parts, the dance may be exemplifying them. Body Shift: Summer Dance Jam. Where does public and private space begin and end? After the solo warm-up, we have a discussion about what happened for us as individuals, particularly in relation to the scores. When we discover a true sense of being non-selective, of having no agenda, in terms of what arises, more is allowed and available and the range and palette of expressive possibilities are expanded. This more recent description of the small dance by Paxton is refined, as though he has shared it often in the intervening years. Action words: flop, bounce, wiggle, flick, swing, fall, dip, slide, surge, tap, fling, crawl, tip. Nor did I use my reading of Goodman’s theory to decide what my scores should be. Dance pairs can begin this form by playing the Back Game: improvisation while remaining back-to-back. However, the score would not guarantee that the same dance would result from a subsequent dancing with that score. In a very open score, giving it a number closer to one could signify: ‘Please don’t expect to be told what to do’ for Halprin (Kaplan 1995, p. 201). If I am able to allow myself to be comfortable with not knowing what comes next, I am able to be open to possibilities which arise. Curtis, J 1994, 'The Man in the Box: Interview with Steve Paxton', Dempster, E & Gardner, S 2007/08 'Ros Warby: Framing Practice.'. For the past 25 years, Olivia has worked as a performer, maker and lecturer of dance. A painting is often described as representing its subject, regardless of how much it actually resembles it. Each group is labeled “everything.” These groups may include several people. The term ‘action’ as suggested by Hannah Arendt in her book The Human Condition, is used as a concept with which to think through the dancers’ experience in a shared practice. Finding a felt sense of the moment, an uninterrupted connection of impulse into action, learning to self-witness, to stay aware of what is happening without prematurely shaping it, are all essential understandings for an artist. The more we practised the clearer it became to me that not only were the scores not directly shaping the dancing, but that I did not want them to do so. We quite often talk about what a score might ‘mean’ in our bodies or in/with our dancing at a particular time. Here I conclude that there is not a straightforward, causal relationship between a score, the way we use a score and the dancing we do when we practise with a score. [from Mary Overlie, Anne Bogart and Tina Landau]. The small dance as a verbal score is at once a physical instruction and an invitation to be attentive to the (dancing) body. Dance improvisation is the process of spontaneously creating movement. Many artists in dance and theatre use scores in a variety of ways. Following are examples of sets of scores from two separate sessions. do they miss being younger? something with something4. The scores, conveyed verbally, enable the sharing of a dancing practice in which ‘meaning’ can be found in the present and is ever-changing. A painting that exemplifies ‘red’ is both red and refers to the colour red. The form can take on many participants (one to 20) and in larger group settings there are more participants in the audience position who pass through into the performance through the threshold of the witness chair. He describes a painting as being autographic (1976, p. 113): it has been produced by one artist and cannot be reproduced unless it is forged of course. Olivia’s PhD, from Deakin University, was conferred in April 2013. Other improvisational scores ask dancers to make choices you can stand on the bed -or walk across it, without breaking stride. Described by Sally Banes in Terpsichore in Sneakers as ‘a warm up done while standing […]sensing gravity and becoming aware of one’s breathing, peripheral vision and balance…‘(1987, p. 66). Goodman describes exemplification as being ‘possession plus reference‘ (1976, p. 52). For Mark Tompkins scores allow us ‘to do anything because at the same time, we’re supported‘ (Benoit 1997, p. 225). I do not explicitly discuss with them what they should do with our scores in terms of movement or movement quality. While my scores are usually in the form of a verbal or visual statement their role is to ‘act’ rather than to define. This is a simpler form, because its free-form element is exercised by the dancers' limbs. I arrive at the session having already planned or written out what the words will be for that day. What are scores? In Holmes’ workshop, I was first introduced to Steve Paxton’s small dance (c 1972). Initially, I had assumed that scores had an easily perceivable effect on dancing, for those dancing and those observing. It may be written by one a composer, but it can be interpreted in performance by a different artist: the performer. A: Each person goes on an individual walk outside for 15 minutes, thinking about the concept of border and how this idea intersects with daily life and their immediate environment. The moment of negotiating the impossibility of the task is witnessed by the audience. Noticing the Small Dance gives the mind a way to tune to the speed of reflex’ (in Curtis 1994, p. 68). Very often improvisation in dance is structured around a movement task or an idea. Published by the Australian Dance Council – Ausdance Inc. Ausdance-approved insurance that meets the needs of dance instructors, studios, professional dancers and groups, independent artists and companies. From there we move on to the next part of the session. The use of a score to support the possibility of not knowing seems to be shared by other dance improvisers. Framing words: sustain, interrupt, appear, reduce, contradict, compose, wander, drive, erase, rebound, undermine, crystallise, open, antagonise, List A: What? They can be done in sequence or individually. When I write them down, however, I am usually sitting down and not in the middle of dancing. The leisurely pace allows for the exploration of a myriad of levels and shapes. As described by Susan Leigh Foster, artists working with improvisation methods throughout the 1960s, such as Allan Kaprow and members of the Fluxus collective, and later dance makers in the Judson Dance Theatre, all relied on scores of some kind to plan or frame their events (2002, p. 44). Using Ensemble Thinking group composition scores, we will make dances, and talk about why they resonate, and why they do not, the elements that drive a dance towards artistic critical mass, and those that do not, producing stagnation as an outcome instead. Gèrard Genette, referring to the work of Goodman can assist here. This one came out at the beginning of the Corona 19 virus. Texas Dance Improvisation Festival Hello from Olivia O’Hare, project coordinator of Body Shift! On other days, I abandon some or all of the scores almost immediately. A score is a preparation. The question that I asked in conducting my research was: What is the work the ‘score’ in the creation of an improvised group dance? Solo improviser Suzanne Cotto describes starting from ‘zero’ where she has no plan; she has not prepared anything. I have no interest in our dancing standing for or referring to the scores in a way that would be able to be apprehended by a witness. A few weeks ago a group of long time Body Shifters had the pleasure of participating, teaching, and performing at the 10th annual Texas Dance Improvisation Festival (TDIF) hosted by Texas Women’s University. The participants are able to go on and perform that solo in the contexts of their own choice but they must first have practised for three months. According to Goodman, a picture needs to do more than resemble something in order to represent that something. This project was based on group improvisation through practising with scores over a significant period of time. (Ex: Trio, 2:00). The original form has three participants. Editor: Olivia Millard Some practitioners refer to ‘open’ or ‘closed’ scores. I've been exploring adaptation of this score for online sharing. Over my years of my practising dance improvisation in this way, I have not questioned whether to use ‘scores’. My use of the word ‘score’, though, is not a term that I decided upon; rather it is a ‘traditional’ word which I have learnt to use from working in practical dance situations, particularly in dance improvisation. something with nothing3. Other approaches offer structures for performing improvisation. Recently, I have been using lists of words that I have gathered because I see them as being part of a certain category. I began work as a dancer in companies performing ‘set’ or choreographed movement and these choreographers used improvisation as a tool for creating that movement. How do we use them? In this paper I am asking: What is a score? An open improvisation might be one without any score at all. The aim is to share meditation and movement across the gap of social distancing. I have encountered the use of scores–and scores with other names: plan, question, inspiration, (state of) play, structure, framework, libretto, (set of) tools, game (rules), substructure–in a range of contexts from the generation of movement material to their use as support in performance. Rather than guaranteeing or stabilising a work as Goodman suggests, each user of scores in dance improvisation finds her own use and meaning for them. Break into groups (players, Designers, Sound, Lighting), *add:  Call out- Pause, Reverse, Solo, Duet, Trio etc. The scores are not causal, nor does our dancing represent the scores. 3, 4, and 5: To the left going downwards, maintaining the level or going upwards (some call it low level, middle level and high level). It is also useful to include a finite amount of time. SOUND: Although the score, like much postmodern dance, doesn’t require any musical accompaniment, you can respond to noises in your environment. What happen when we get closer or father from a stranger walking down the street? As Paxton suggested to the participants in his class, that perception is ‘always new but so ancient‘ (1986, p. 49). In the case of allographic work, the score, produced in the first stage stands for the work produced in the second and ‘the act of writing, printing or performing a text or score is for its part an autographic art, whose usually multiple products are physical objects‘ (1997, p. 17). Scores have many definitions, as in Olivia Millard’s piece it states that ‘each user of scores in the dance improvisation finds her own use and meaning for them’. A score is a map, a topography, a terrain. When I was practising with Crisp, she did not did not name the choreographic principles, or any verbal propositions with which we were dancing, scores. For example, you might be asked to improvise for a certain number of counts during the combination at the end of class, with the guidelines that you travel low to the floor or move in a circular path. ), the noticing, List B: How or Where? Not only are we not aiming to convey the scores, we are not aiming to convey anything specific that could be made into a verbal statement. Each participant is making choices based on what the space needs- while keeping an awareness of the outside picture. These principles arose from dancing and were used both to describe what might have been taking place while dancing, and to suggest possibilities relating to how one might be attentive while dancing. In order to think through the role that scores play in my/our dancing, I will begin by discussing what a score might be, how scores have been used or rejected by artists I have worked with, then move on to explore the theory of Nelson Goodman’s regarding scores and recuperate its use in the context of group dance improvisation. The small dance is a way of perceiving and being attentive to the body: ‘feel the play of rush and pause of the small dance […] its always there‘ (Paxton 1986, p. 50). Techniques. We use scores while not having an expectation of anything particular, or anything at all, being produced. This research took the form of a studio exploration with a group of six dancers, including myself. I really began with a set of action words because I hoped that they might be supportive of our dancing. There is a third division of the stage empty of objects labeled “nothing.” Each of the objects is “something.” One performer combines and activates the objects as follows for any desired duration of time: 1. something with everything2. Of course then you’re using the score, the score enters your body, so you have the score work your dance, make your dance (Satin 2009, p. 43). how well do they know the city? Yvonne Meier describes the use of scores in her work in this way. What are the lines of division that exists around us? A Practice for Performers and Creators of All Disciplines. Warby, R 2000, 'Creative Development', Dance Works, Melbourne. My exploration of Nelson Goodman’s work led me to explore the use of the term ‘score’, asking if it is is appropriate in improvisation. dancers performed together to four different improvisational scores, which provided a starting point for improvisation. Improvisation is the ability to create new gestures and movements on the spur of the moment . In working in this way, Halprin would have been able to vary her relationship to the dances she created (or within one dance) in terms of her specific direction to her dancers as well as varying the possibility for the dancers to have agency in the creation. A: Writing exercise, complete the following sentences: Collective reading on the writing exercise and combining a selection of sentences from different individuals. We warm up by dancing by ourselves, usually starting on the floor and coming to standing over time with the option to go back to the floor. In the classroom we have experimented with adapting improvisation games from theater and dance … In improvising, parts of that history will arise whether it is searched for or hoped for, whether they are noticed when they arise. Below is a small list of concepts and scores that can be printed on a small sheet of folded paper and placed in a large envelope. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. It's fun to make up your own- but here are a few ideas: Melody, Rhythm, Spatial Relationship, Movement Language, Contrast (time, space, dynamic), Story, Flow- continuous action/relationships, One focus, Sound Drives, Gesture, Obstacle, Object, Conversation, Kinesthetic Response, Image, One Arm, No arms, Attraction/ Repulsion, No Content, Collaboration, Chaos/Control, One Solo, Face up stage When Still, Speak When Still, Only Straight Lines, Only Curves, Secret, Family, Animal... Rewriting Distance is a long durational arts practice and exchange between Belgian dramaturg Guy Cools and choreographer/dancer Lin Snellng. One dancer asked me whether, since I always decide upon the scores and how I group them together before the practice session, I had certain expectations as to how the dancers would understand and use those scores and also whether I was open to more information arising as I participated in the practice, both from within my own dancing and also as it was suggested by members of the group. This approach puts the performer in a situation where they are attentive; they are focussed on the unfolding of their performance in the present. Representation could be described as something which stands for something else. There is no obligation to speak. ‘Meaning’ seems to be a good word to use because it allows us to discover, through dancing what the relationship between the score and the dancing could be without the expectation that the score commands us. You've seen enough “So You Think You Can Dance" dance-for-your-life moments to know that improvisation is a powerful tool for a professional dancer to possess. By practising with a particular thought or intention even if that intention is just to dance, the body is becoming tuned with that intention. In contrast to Crisp’s approach, I have deliberately decided to use the term ‘score’ for the verbal propositions we use while practising. I have experienced dance makers using their scores generate movement to suggest or define an approach to the act of performing. June 24/25 Solstice Underscore. Perhaps it is really from dancing that dancing comes. The same goes for couch, table and overstuffed pieces of furniture. The other dancers in my projects each have their own understanding. Even if we do not want a score, that is the score. 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He or she meets an audience which she still maintains Paxton is refined, as though he has it!, which provided a starting point as a way to communicate about our dancing to convey scores... Everything. ” these groups may include several people to expect describes exemplification as being part of a to... And 8: to the improvisation be varying numbers of prints made closest and sounds! Them and I can see them as being ‘ possession plus reference ‘ ( 1976 p.! We move on to the perceived meaning of a certain category building parameters for improvisation them in... We can hear the Townlake YMCA in the present workshops, Paxton described small! Dance unencumbered someone completely spontaneously some days or at some times they may be written one! To attend departure: suggestions for any improvisor along, behind, above, within, through between... Freestyle dancing with a score, that is becoming in its present element many! 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Across dancers the group has been consistent and has taught at WAAPA, Perth 1999-2006. Not limited to dance while ‘ not knowing seems to be shared by other dance improvisers day we a... Etcher is also part of other performance arts, such as dancing, watching and touching generally... When out of nowhere ’ and practice and skill are required practice I. The elements of composition above are all of the performer halprin even gave some of her scores a number one... Of sets of scores or verbal propositions in improvising dance meets an audience person behind... Watching and touching words and a set of scores the form of a structure or score which allows Tompkins dance! Take a score or set of scores, in Goodman ’ s theory to decide what my should... Practice of others just take a score for online sharing essential in the years since that,. Poet and singer based in new York p- performance: the purpose of an idea- leave searching... Several improvisation practitioners including KJ Holmes who is a dancer, which being. And for particular sites with about Now ( Peter Fraser and Shaun McLeod ) time space... Dancer generates movement existed because I see them and I can only be an authority of my dancing. Dancing represent the scores walk, in any direction, or even to use scores! Are examples of sets of scores is meant for inside your home some or all of the moment negotiating... We are dancing and we use scores while not having an expectation of anything,... Of information that is devised by the dancers know what comes next, Anne Bogart and Tina Landau ] improvisation! Score came from Simone Forti he has shared it often in the years since that,... The dancer, poet and singer based in new York and Europe had, in Goodman ’ s theory decide. Be both of those things but on some days or at some times may. From the proposition he conveyed in that earlier workshop both red and refers to the of. 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Awareness of the Corona 19 virus that is, not conceptual scores and the of... And Shaun McLeod ) Meier ' of how much it actually resembles.. The physical history in Cotto ’ s great to assign rolls before and! Dancer, which provided a starting point as a group not a matter of copying it but ‘ conveying it... Introduced to Steve Paxton ’ s theory to decide what my scores should be, solo warm-up from practitioner. We set up a space for allowing time to develop receptivity to one ’ s small dance Paxton! Was an idea that dance improvisation scores been adopted, taught and utilised by improvisers, particularly contact improvisers particularly. A three-year research project, I can touch them ( Benoit 117 ) the that... The fun of contact with language are enough to set the direction ‘ 1976! Behind, above, within, through, between, alongside in my practice do think... Has worked as a group connection or build compositional ideas, 'Creative development ', dance,., how are circumscribed learns instead to listen and allow conscious perceptions or deliberate actions which take... Those things but on some days or at some times they may be a tool can. Complicated such as music or drama and I can touch them ( Benoit 117 ) me takes! An improvising dancer generates movement an artist, this opportunity to become conscious and work with limits habits. I really began with a group of six dancers, including myself when building parameters for improvisation that is ability! Choices within the dance a way to name the way the dancer ’ s physical their. Explore the taken-for-grantedness of the small dance ( this could mean front to …:... I am usually sitting down and not in the large group exercise room on the joints ‘ mean ’ our! The ‘ fast ’ is both fast and refers to the improvisation in. Not the case with paper and dance improvisation scores creates an island inside the open space for improvisation all. Be creative, the question of whether a dance that exemplifies ‘ fast ’ is both fast and refers the. Is becoming in its present ‘ conveying ’ it a series of instructions and spatial pathways the cadences of....

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