For the fourth volume of ABOUT DANCE — Forming Futures we gathered in Lake Studios Garden to reflect, discuss, dance and meditate about the preceding one and a half years of pandemic life. Guided by moderators Lea Martini and Noha Ramadan — with remote contributions from Antje Pfundtner and Johan Forsman — participants explored themes both philosophical and mundane, danced between reality and fantasy, and conversed on matters both personal and universal.
Volume 4 of the ABOUT DANCE forum used a series of scores as frameworks for movement and conversation. Each score guided the group deeper into the Forum’s theme of “collective retrospection on heterogenous impacts of pandemia”. We worked solo, in pairs, and as a group to examine the past and predict the future. It was funny, emotional and revelatory. A few impressions from the weekend from participants:
“I never felt so comfortable telling secrets to strangers.”
“I thought I was done thinking about the effects of the pandemic, but after this weekend I am not sure I ever even started to really think about it.”
“Sometimes I wanted more time with each score, but then I saw value in every new task.”
“I want to use these scores in my regular life, not just for artistic purposes, not just for pandemic purposes, but for general life purposes. I can imagine doing these with my partner or family … or my cat … or just with myself …”
Perhaps we would all do well to visit and revisit these scores on a regular basis! To keep them alive and useful, below is a record of what the Volume 4 moderators offered the forum participants. Each score will be presented with instructions and in the order in which it appeared at the forum. Grab a group of friends, a lover, a pet — or just yourself — and dive on in. If doing the scores in a group, change partners regularly, if you are on your own, don’t be afraid to talk to yourself out loud!
The Introduction Score:
First, strike a pose! Hold the pose throughout your introduction.
Next, introduce yourself and include in your intro each of the following elements:
~ 1-2 things about yourself.
~ Where you are coming from on this day.
~ Where you will go after this day.
~ Why you are here.
~ Include somewhere in the above points one thing about yourself that is not true!
The Stop Dance Score:
This score alternates between movement/dance explorations (with music) and guided conversations (no music). The movement explorations last for the duration of whatever song is being played (some song suggestions below). Each conversation is guided by a specific question and lasts 5 minutes. There are six rounds.
Movement Guide: Shake (music suggestion: The Knife- a tooth for an eye)
Conversation Question: What has changed for you in the last 1.5 years?
Movement Guide: Circles
Conversation Question: How did the pandemic affect your relationship to physicality, sensation and touch?
Movement Guide: Pump/get the fire going (music suggestion: Gijensu-Raveheart)
Conversation Question: What places and spaces have you visited in the last 1.5 years?
Movement Guide: Stretch (music suggestion: Rihanna- Love on the brain)
Conversation Question: What do you need more of?
Movement Guide: Connect with your surrounding landscape
Conversation Question: What do you need less of?
Movement Guide: Connect with the space and people
Conversation Question: What question do you want to ask?
The Mental Map Score:
This exercise goes with The Stop Dance Score. Write single words or short phrases that came up during the “Stop Dance” conversations on post it notes. Lay all the notes out on the floor, or stick on a wall, so that you have an overview. Spend about 15 minutes doing this, then move on to “The Body Research Score”.
The Body Research Score:
Choose 2 mental map words and explore them physically. How can the words be embodied?
The Cloud Gazing Conversation Score:
This score is done in pairs. Partners lay side by side, on their backs, gazing up at the sky if possible, otherwise, simply gazing upwards.
Partner 1 will speak for 30 minutes, uninterrupted. Partner 2 listens but makes no response. After the 30 minutes, partner 2 has 10 minutes to respond/reflect on what they heard. During the response, partner 1 listens and does not speak. Switch roles.
Talking points: What is your practice / work at the moment? How is it changing, is it changing? What are you questioning? Are there problems, are there things to zoom in or affirm or enhance? What is / has been going on? What is bothering you?
In a nutshell:
30 minutes of uninterrupted talk.
10 minutes of uninterrupted response.
The Warm-up Ping Pong Score:
(suggested by Antje Pfundtner who knows it from Jenny Beyer)
This one gets the blood flowing!
One person offers any physical warm-up exercise, the group follows along. When the person leading the exercise is ready to pass the guiding on to another person they shout “Ping” … anyone in the group can pick up the imaginary ball by shouting “Pong” and thus become the new warm up leader! Continue to ping and pong for 15 to 20 minutes, or until good and warm and centered in the body.
The Mental Map Development Score:
Returning to the words written down in “The Mental Map Score”, start arranging the notes into groups of likeness. What notes go with each other? If doing this score in a group, no need to take turns, but do work in silence. Each person can continue to rearrange the notes into different groups as they see fit. Once a series of groupings are made, stand back and observe.
The next phase of this score is to re-arrange a note or set of notes one person at a time. After moving a note (or several), the person making the arrangement should explain to the rest of the group why they chose the new grouping. A chance to shed light on the internal decisions that guide the mental map groupings!
All of the scores recorded above carried the forum towards a grand finale. After moving, conversing and reflecting on the past, the forum launched into the future with the help of a very unique guest …
Johan from the Future:
We were visited via Zoom by “Johan from the Future” who gave a short talk on cultural perceptions of time, followed by a guided meditation in which participant’s imaginations were invited to envision far into the future. On the heels of the meditation, the group began creating a collective timeline that ran from point zero (a moment from the preceding year and a half that represented a point of change) to 100,000 years into the future.
While working on the timeline, participants were able to consult (via Zoom) with Johan From the Future, asking questions that ranged from what is the largest volcano in the world to what year the first theater will open on Mars.
The Letter score:
If you have made it this far in the scores, then it is time to write your future self a letter. Reflect on what you want to remember from the above exercises and write it down in a letter to yourself. Seal the letter in an envelope, add your address, and then give it to a trusted friend who will mail it to you at some unknown future date. Now carry on with life and forget about the letter!
The Final score:
The final action is a group hug … pandemic style.
Stand in a circle with friends and sweep your arms out to the side to energetically encompass the whole group. Then wrap your arms around your own chest and squeeze tight. Hug yourself to hug the whole.
>> Point of Reference:
Sick Woman Theory, a manifesto by artist Johanna Hedva
Artistic Direction: Marcela Geische
Assistance & Documentation: Maria Kousi, Jessy Tuddenham
Camera: Mariel Baquiero
Editing: Noam Gorbat
The ABOUT DANCE, Vol 4 participants included the following artists:
Ana Laura Lozza, Patricia Woltman, Giovanni Di Lauro, Anne Brüning, John Maccallum, Teoma Naccarato, Max Blax, Dina Nurpeissova, Denny Fiorino.