Contact Improv, Artistic Discoveries and Interesting Toilettes: Current students share their breakthrough stories
by admin • April 1, 2014 • Dance Program, Student Life, Uncategorized, Undergraduate Physical Theatre • 0 Comments
I don’t know that I have a break through story. I often think of my journey as the peeling away of unnecessary layers and discovering the gold that can lay beneath. The most important lesson that I’ve learned as an artist began at BU and has definitely come to fruition here as well: sacrifice the ego in art.
I think it is essential to be selfless as an artist. I think that when I’m creating art my last thought should be about how I’ll look or what typecast I want to be, but to think about the kind of art I can create for the world around me that will help people to grow, to feel, to be moved. In a society that has begun to live behind screens, I want to be an artist that encourages people to feel what it’s like to be in a room. To be with each other, and how amazing that can feel.
Recently I was able to take a contact improv class in which I essentially touched and was touched for two hours. It was an incredibly moving experience, both physically and spiritually. At the end of the session, I realized how seldomly people allow themselves to be touched, particularly by people they don’t really know. Especially in the US, where the proper greeting is a handshake, there seems to be a phobia of close contact.
I have realized here that I want to give. I want to give joy, I want to give connection, I want to be apart of a person’s experience in realizing what a crazy, amazing, heartbreaking and inspiring world we live in.
Kaela Shaw, Physical Theatre
During an open discussion in our Philosophy class a couple weeks ago, Emilija asked us, “Why are you an Artist?” – for those out there reading this (and understand the reaction this question solicits), let’s all share in a collective groan. WHY? : One of the most seemingly difficult questions to answer as an artist. It is a crucial question to consider; however, because artists are constantly asked this. Why would you choose to torture yourself in a career that will most likely consist of constant rejection, a lack of lucrative projects, and never knowing what you will do the next month or year?
The “answer” is that there, of course, is no “answer”. One part of art that makes it so worthwhile and exciting is the fact that there is no answer. There is only the process. The acceptance of the unknown is what allows a person to be alive in the now – in this moment. Being abroad has showed me the expansiveness of the world, and made me realize how I am a small, but crucial part of this world. I am learning how to become part of it all, and through theatre I can interact with this world.
Through art I will speak to whoever will listen. I will challenge the identities, ideas, truths, personalities, and fears of others by encouraging others to view the process of life. I will welcome the unknown because I have the capacity to learn. Art teaches all those who are willing to interact, whether that be through creating or witnessing.
Being at the Accademia has reminded to me always interact with my world. To see, hear, taste, feel, smell and imagine all that I can. The future will be bright if I truly allow myself to enjoy each moment, because I will always be in the process of enjoying life.
Ivy Elwell, Physical Theatre – Design
Contact Improvisation with Thomas this past week was amazing. He shared practices of life, and helped guide us to physicalize them with ourselves and each other. What really affected me was when he said that when you have fun you learn faster. He was always making us laugh, allowing us to enjoy ourselves. Sometimes I get so focused in dance class that I end up gripping and blocking off parts and pieces of my being instead of acknowledging the whole of the self, which opens you up to let others in for connection and communication. Through breathing, laughing, walking, moving our hips and opening up our “puppy dog” ribs he got us ready for contact improv.
Contact improv has always been a subject of hesitation and nervous energy for me. I’m used to going into a room of people and someone initiating the jam and lots of awkward too much weight, then not enough weight, falling, embarrassment, seizing up, negative cycle. But, Thomas completely washed that away. He generates this positive cycle of good feeling, love, and support. I am so thankful to him and to all of the people at ADA for being so open. We worked for three days with him, learning how to be aware of our amazing “fleshy selves” and how they can interact with the fleshy selves of others.
I am thankful to all of my partners; we really had the opportunity of discovery and we had fun playing and practicing shared weight. It is so magical to explore what two bodies filled with two beautiful minds and spirits can create together. And it’s all about feeling; really feeling. The jam just became this absolute flow of energies. Supporting hands and bodies would come out of nowhere and everywhere and sometimes you would be those invisible appearing constructions. We learned how to cultivate ourselves as plants with roots (like Rita says) and interact with the surrounding environment. By “grazing” I think we all made meaningful contact and I experienced and participated in something I never conceived fathomably possible for me to do. Sharing weight with 2, 3, 4, sometimes 5 people participating is so beautiful, real, and centering. It’s amazing! Being open and sharing trust opens up channels and faucets I never knew existed. Living, movement, and dance is magical and I am thankful.
Therese Ronco, Dance
What changed my view of myself and my world? Well, I don’t think it was one defining moment. Everything has been changing since the moment I stepped off the plane at London Heathrow Airport in Janurary. I remember the first moment it started. Pretty much everything looked the same in the London airport. Just like any airport I’d been in. Then I went to the bathroom. I walked in and froze. What was this contraption? Of all the things I’ve read about Europe I was not expecting the toilets to look so different. Thats when I knew my adventure had started. Ever since then it’s been two months of seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and feeling things I have never felt before in my life. All of these experiences have added up to a completely new way of thinking. I don’t feel as if I have changed so much as a person but I feel that I’ve simply grown up a lot since Janurary. I feel differently about the world and about people. I realized how much in America I take for granted and how much of the world I haven’t seen. Although I’ve already started my journey towards exploring as much of this world as possible I still have a long way to go. And I am so excited for this journey.
Kat Sweeney, Physical Theatre