I am recently back from Maastricht, the Netherlands where I was invited to lead a workshop The Sense of Movement as part Marres House for Contemporary Art’s programme Training the Senses. Director Valentijn Byvanck’s vision for the programme is to offer non-traditional (i.e. non-lectures) events on the topics of the senses in relation to cultural spaces and experiences.
It was a challenge and a delight to move with a group of 17 participants through a 2-hour workshop. I approached the theme of movement as a sense by prompting subtle ways we, as individuals and as a group, can come to sense our body(ies) in a shared space. After an hour of structured improvisations and collective dancing we gathered for a discussion out of which emerged thoughts on communication and socio-spatial relations; the wish for and difficulty of silence and pausing in verbal dialogues; notions of togetherness and non-togetherness; and is dance in the museum a good thing?
Engaging two ways of connecting: through movement and through talking. These two aspects of experience: on one hand the looking, talking and sharing and, on the other the creating, quiet moving and exploring space, time, body.
The coming together of people from different ages (from early 20s to a couple in their late 80s) and experiences (including dance artists, students, researchers and museum staff) is a reflection back to me of a desire I had in my work at TATE Modern – to open up a movement practice to anyone who turns up…to experience what it might mean to move together and to let our everyday roles (or performed identities) shed and let go a bit.
It was interesting to note, as well, how the shift from moving to talking was also a move from collective action to more fragmented exchanges. I am curious how to move between dancing together and talking together.
More on that to come….
Photo by Rob van Hoorn