Last week we shared a personal story with the group which led to each of us creating a sequence of gestures to represent the story.
On Monday I decided that I would choreograph, on the spot, a sequence that combined some of the gestures that were shown. I then taught this new sequence to the group. At first we learned the choreography using counts which is generally how I teach. This became a problem because we weren't using any music and I realized that in order for us all to stay together one of us would have to be counting out loud. We then decided that it might be easier to go through the moves and establish, as a group, where the inhalations and exhalations occured. So we went through the sequence one move at a time and decided how we were breathing and for how long. Suddenly we could do the choreo all together without anyone counting aloud because our breath was synced.
As the leader of this particular exercise, I then asked the others (Sam, Genevieve, and Sarah) if they would do the sequence facing me in a tight formation. I noticed that the first half of the sequence was much cleaner than the second, so I temporarily cut the second half and asked them to do the first half over and over again. I wasn't happy with the three of them doing it together, so I asked Sarah to come and join me as the audience. I then asked Sam and Genevieve to start at the opposite end of the room, and repeat the sequence side by side as they travelled across the room. I asked them to never look at one another, and to use the word hunt as their point of concentration. I also gave them permission to repeat any part of the choreo if they wanted to. Here is what they did:
Since then I have continued to shape this piece by taking the moments that I liked from the improv and rehearsing them into a scene that could be performed (in the sense that the actors aren't improvising anymore).
I thought it would be interesting for you, the reader, to see how this improvisation develops over the next few weeks. Stay tuned for more.
- Jessica Hickman