Tell me who you are…

The impossible question was posed by Dominique Rivoal. The focus of the session was to explore the Authentic Movement dyad relationship, and how this might shift or alter with the presence of a camera. This workshop was presented at the Dance and Somatic Practices Conference, July 2019, in Coventry.

in the creation of a movement or in speaking, the present is already the past. I am resisting the urge to perform for my partner; to make her laugh or smile, or respond in anyway, the contract with our witness in Authentic Movement Technique is to simply be with one another – a silent, non judgemental presence to the activity.

The question posed by our dyad partner was ‘Tell me who you are’

i feel i am so many things, that a list doesn’t cover it. speaking too obvious, movement so unnecessary. sitting still too hard and exposing, so I fidget. I move a lot, I keep moving in the way a child does when they do not know what they want, only that the current situation is not the right fit.

Two filmed solo improvisations, as part of a dyad experience of witnessing a partner. With thanks to my dyad partners

Almost impossible to answer, we were given permission to speak, write, draw, move, or respond in anyway we felt appropriate, provided we were authentically in the moment. I found the task of being authentic incredibly challenging when exploring the question of who I am. Being a performer, I want to perform for my partner, to curate their view, to present something of myself that entertains and enlightens. And yet the task feels not that; I am to just be in the space. This is challenging – so much of who I am is relational.

The construct of the room, activity, conference calls me to dance and move, and it is such a part of my identity. This contradiction does not manifest itself as frustration, but as short, passing thoughts and ideas in voice and movement. Like presenting a collage of ideas rather than organising myself.

This workshop has made me consider how often we present ourselves through meaningless labels. I now know so much about my partners in each dyad – so much about their personalities, the divergent way they connect ideas and movements together. We are so much more than a list of associations and identity markers and this exercise exposed the unnamed, hard to pin down parts of our identities to one another.

 

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