This week I started attending the rehearsals of the dance performance. At this point, the rehearsals are mainly exercises to come up with strings of movement to explore and use as a framework for the full piece, when its [narrative] structure is determined.
Adam and I had conceptualized last week that it is truly important that, for the piece to work as a whole, we consider the dancers performers AS WELL AS the video. The piece itself would be a “performance” of sorts, not dance nor video/film. We had seen Chunky Move and some other video/dance pieces over the past few weeks and my biggest complaint was that I could remove one part of the performance (dance or video) and the opposite would seem to really not be effected by its disappearance. This meant that neither performance had been woven into each other, both im medium and in narrative/plot. In my opinion, this probably happened at the earliest stages of conception. One of the media was used as a tool,crutch, or vehicle for the other medium (like the saltine – the cracker is just a vehicle for the taste of salt). The piece could still be effective as a narrative or emotional piece, however one of the performances was being eclipsed by the others.
In an effort to head this off at the pass, I am determined to create two simultaneous, intertwining paths of development for both the dance and the video. The dance and video need to be created, simultaneously, around the theme and narrative – they have to come from one another.
I decided that I would come to the rehearsal with a flashlight and use the “beam” of light as a stand in for the video piece. Video and film, at its core, is an image based medium that is meant to effect the audience by light. Since I know no dance (and nor is that my job), I wanted to interject myself into the dance exercises as an simplistic version of any sort of projection, media, or image, in order to get a grasp on what its like to interact with a performer through 2 dimensional light.
The typical exercise for the dancers is to dance, eyes shut, for a few minutes, displaying any emotion or feeling. Then, the next dancer, calls “time” and takes the place of the previous dancer. They then respond to the dancer, eyes shut, introducing new movement and emotion to the piece. This improvisation goes back and forth several times. I jumped in at one point with my flash light, and started to see how much I could interact with the dancers and how much they would interact with the light. After the exercise, we discussed that there was a feeling of “invasion” about the flash light as well as a physical feeling of heat. The dancers could tell when the light was flashed on their face and could also gleam emotion from it.