Friday, September 5, 2008

5 September 08

The Final Day:

Good Morning Everyone,

This is Friday September 5. It is the final day of the Solo
Performance Commissioning Project 2008. I suspect more of the same
practicing - alternating solos and group practice sessions beginning
at 9 a.m. and ending at 6. We've all got to have some time for
packing and a party at Deborah's house at the end of the day. But
before thinking about that ....

I hope that I get to solo today. I went early in the last round and
may have used up my solos. My last attempt turned out funny. Not
funny Ha Ha, but funny Odd as an experience. I've been having issues
with focus - which is probably a bad word to use - I should rather
say SEEING. The issue with my seeing has been that it has been too
fixed and too far away. Now this makes me think of something that
happened to me during the running of SITI company's BOB. I remember
Mary Overlie came to see the show and found me afterwards to talk
about it. She enjoyed it I remember, but one of the things which she
said to me, which really changed things for me since then, was that I
had a good close focus and medium focus, but that I had to work on
infinite focus. Well this just blew my mind and I realized that she
was right. One of the 'hooks' I had into doing BOB was the extremely
near focus, and alternating that with a medium focus - or the room in
which I was playing. This would take into account the presence of the
audience, but not allow me to "play" them too much - but play with
them and with their own focus and expectations. And so after this
conversation with Mary I've been working on far and/or infinite focus
every since.

For my first solo attempts here for Deborah she has said to me that my
focus A) is too fixed, and B) is too far away. And so I've been
working on seeing nearer - rather seeing what I'm seeing. Deborah and
I have a laugh about it because I told her the Mary story. Now this
may sound really trivial, or obvious, or you may think, "Well good
grief I'm always seeing what I'm seeing, what else am I seeing?" Ah,
but bring your noticing to that and ask yourself, are you really? I
think you'll quickly find that you are, yes, looking at things which
allows you to navigate your surroundings without tripping or stubbing
your toe, or casually reading warnings and directional signs, purely
superficially and functionally. But there is a difference between
Looking and Seeing as you know. And the seeing remember is what feeds
your work - it is the quality of seeing that keeps you going at all on
the stage - an it is the seeing which feeds the 'what ' you do with
your dance.

Anyway, with the last solo I did, I decided really to work on the
seeing nearer myself and also not to do so much. I thought of Mary's
"do the NOT to do" and remembered Deborah's note that I am reaching
too much for the dance (probably a function of my infinitely far
seeing) and that I am initiating too much with my arms, rather I
should maintain a tension in the legs and hips and initiate from there
and see where the arms might find themselves. So I really reigned in
the dance - or the showing. Consequently the dance seemed very short,
and I wondered that I might have missed some sections. The others
said no that I had not missed anything and that the sections of the
dance were very clear and readable. (In fact a few people said they
enjoyed the dance and thought it my best crack at it so far.)
Deborah, however, looked a little mystified. She thought that I
missed a lot of the dance and couldn't read much of it. She felt that
I had "blown off" the dance a little too much. But she was very happy
that I did because the seeing was better (though far too close to
myself) and the body was too released or relaxed. Brother! I went
too far in the other direction. But she was very clear that she was
glad that I did that. It was movement in the right direction - I just
overshot. Which is my nature anyway. I called it "the dance that
didn't happen" which she thought was very funny and really liked the
idea. But as it was this wasn't quite it.

And so I am hoping to have a crack at it again today. There are some
other dancers who've yet to do their final solo so we'll see if there
is time. Of course I will be able to do group practice, and group
I'LL CRANE FOR YOU. I've been hoping that we can do duo's or trio's
of the dance. It was so beautiful when we did groups of 6 or 7.
Perhaps I'll suggest that we do these smaller groups just to give us
all one more chance and to have the visual stimulus of more intimate
groups. There'll still be the performance pressure, but there will be
the visual information of 1 or 2 others there to help us. We'll see.

Okay, I've been typing this from bed this morning. It's 7:15 a.m. and
I've given myself the gift of a bit of a lie in this morning. I've
been up so early every day to do yoga and meditate and just get my
body moving before going to practice. I'm not getting more limber as
the days go on, but more sore and stiff. So it takes some time to get
going. But today, the last day, I don't want to be tired, so I've
stayed in bed and luxuriated here with you for a few minutes. Now it's
time to get moving, and EAT, my god I'm ravenous all the time here!
From the moving, the exhaustion, the sea air, all of it I'm sure.

Okay, more later, again I hope this is interesting to you and helpful.

More later. In fact I'll write after this final day, but once done
here, there will be the required daily practices for the next 4 months
(I think DH is extending the required practice period) which I think
I'll keep a record of as well ....

ciao, bondo

1 comment:

D said...

The relationship between "seeing" and "focus" is interesting.

We often talk about "finding a focus", right? Speaking/acting in relationship to something outside yourself. And that focus might shift and move and it might be massive or tiny and so on...but it, to me, always connotes IDing a specific thing in a specific space.

Whereas I think with this work with Deborah, it might be that as soon as you've taken long enough to ID a specific point or thing in a specific place and speak to it or "nail it", then you've taken too long and you're fixing. At least you're fixing in a particular direction if not on a particular spot or thing. And that may be what leads to the phenomenon of the seeing being fixed upwards or floorwards or sideways...

Now perhaps I'm being too literal about focus in the sense I've heard it applied with SITI - I know that one's focus - and the possibilities for what constitute it - is/are entirely up to you and that people must use wildly different things to that end.

But why, I am examining, does it seem like "focus" is more aggressive and uni-directional than "seeing"? Seeing, Deborah says, is not passive, but it's not aggressive either. Maybe I could stand to apply this practice with Deborah to my experience of 'focus' in Suzuki work. We'll soon find out.

I am rambling and in public (on the interwebs!) no less, but I want to talk more with you about this...

what time do you leave today? I didn't even say a proper good night to you last night! And it'll probably be next year in another foreign country before I see you again! ;)


Poem of the day (or whenever I change it)

Always the setting forth was the same,
Same sea, same dangers waiting for him
As though he had got nowhere but older.
Behind him on the receding shore
The identical reproaches, and somewhere
Out before him, the unravelling patience
He was wedded to. There were the islands
Each with its woman and twining welcome
To be navigated, and one to call ``home.''
The knowledge of all that he betrayed
Grew till it was the same whether he stayed
Or went. Therefore he went. And what wonder
If sometimes he could not remember
Which was the one who wished on his departure
Perils that he could never sail through,
And which, improbable, remote, and true,
Was the one he kept sailing home to?

By: W.S.Merwin