The Loop of Integrity
Photos by Sally Cohn Photography
We spent three weeks as Schonberg Fellows at The Yard on Martha’s Vineyard. We came with nothing, intent on emerging ourselves quickly into a deep investigative process. A clean slate and full commitment. We were mentored by David Brick. We were accompanied by our vocal sound guru Mike Kiley who was with us in most every rehearsal, giving feedback giving love and sitting in the corner being grandma.
What emerged was a sweaty baby screaming with vital energy- that had gestated during our past three years of collaboration and was born during a three week labor. WAY TOO INTENSE.
Literally, what we made was a series of improvisational scores. I’m going to try to explain them succinctly here, but the panache may interfere.
The Loop of Integrity
This score incorporates vocal sound, movement, and extreme facial expressions to illuminate the current emotional experience of the performer. It can be performed as a solo, in which case it follows the individual’s emotional trajectory. Or it can be performed as a duet, in which case the “loop of relationship” is introduced. The loop of relationship functions on a moment by moment principle of integrity as well. So the two performers are illustrating their emotional reactions to each other for the audience and also paying attention to their own trajectory. Sound complicated? Yes, and fun.
Originally this score was about working through our baggage around modern dance technique and choreography tropes. Our work had become increasingly still over the years because we were constantly saying no to movement habits. So this score was a way to move fully and then talk about all of our associations with the movement. To put our arms around it all. So if I do a big ole leap, a grand jete, and then I feel shame and remember all the classes I’ve taken in college, and wonder about the role of earnest dance etc.. then I can say all that. Simply, the score is to wait for a movement impulse, perform the movement impulse, and then talk it all out.
The child body score is equally a child song score. It consists of making an improvisational song and dance that follows the rabbit-hole logic of a child. The subject of the song can be literal: “I am standing in front of you standing and singing without even knowing what I’m going to say…” or it can be imaginative. The body language of the child is based on unrestrained pleasure. The movements I choose during this score are solely based on what feels good. I have to work through all of my shame around being a ham, around seeming silly, around loving myself unabashedly in order to move from this place.
Chelsea you should describe this hehehe
Gargoyle of Female Protection (an improvised song)
We are beginning to explore the depiction of female friendship onstage. Even at the beginning of this journey we have felt the need to protect ourselves from the outside world. This was hard for us because most of our performance presence has as its foundation a generosity of presence and vulnerability with the audience. This is the first time we have put up a boundary. People respond complicatedly. This score starts as a solo vocalization that is passed from one female to another and gains words with time. The theme of the words is always about protection. Protecting our female spaces so they can grow and blossom. Yay women and flower metaphors.
Here is a link to a review from our performance at the yard.
Some Pics of our process at The Yard: