• Learning How to Be Free

    by  • October 30, 2019 • Student Life, Uncategorized, Undergraduate Physical Theatre, Undergraduate Programs • 0 Comments

    Daliah Bernstein, Muhlenberg College

    Semester Physical Theatre Program

    Last week, we had the amazing opportunity to work with sound artist, Tomaž Grom. We first met him in Ljubljana when he performed an intriguing concert. On the first day, we worked with tempo and rhythm. He gave us a sheet of paper with numbers and we had to count the rhythm at a select speed. We would at first say the numbers, then we would clap the rhythm, then stomp it. We also dealt with how text can be interpreted. One person sang it, another rapped it, another whispered it, and so on. There were infinite possibilities on how you could interpret and present it. We spent the next two days preparing for our final presentation.  We worked with different, unconventional tools and instruments in order to create music. For example, a student played the banjo by moving a big rock up and down and Tomaž would play his bass by rubbing the side of the instrument with his bow as opposed to the strings. Other instruments included maracas, drums, voice, a trampoline, microphones and a pencil and paper. We also positioned our laptops around the room and would play a short, personal video. At one point, someone went up and muted all of the laptops so that the videos were playing in complete silence, which was a nice break from all of the noise. The main question we proposed to the audience was “how loud is a silent memory?” It was a wonderful experience and it was so much fun to have artistic liberty with sound.

    Hannah Mahr, Gustavus Adolphus College

    Semester Physical Theatre Program

    Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to participate in a workshop with Peeping Tom, a Brussels-based physical theatre company that I absolutely adore. You could even say that I’m a Peeping Tom super fan. When I found out they were holding a workshop in Italy, I immediately decided that I had to go. I sent an inquiry email entirely in Italian (thanks ADA Italian class!) and before I knew it, I was submitting audition tapes and buying train tickets. The workshop was in Torino, which is about 5 hours away from Arezzo, so I decided to turn the whole affair into a weekend trip. It was my first time traveling alone in Italy. Though I was a little nervous about navigating a new city and figuring out public transit, I was beyond excited.

    When I first arrived at Balletto Teatro di Torino, I was intimidated. All of the workshop participants were professional dancers with years of ballet and modern dance under their belts. As I looked around the studio during the warm-up period, I kept thinking, “do these dancers have a single bone in their bodies?” I was in awe of their flexibility and strength, and I was also feeling incredibly out of place. Then, the workshop began, and all of my worries melted away. I was happy to discover that the methods used by Yi-Chun Liu (Peeping Tom company member and workshop leader) were similar to methods I’d studied in the past. The more we worked through the exercises, the more comfortable I became and the more I felt like I belonged in the space. And it was so engaging to collaborate with such phenomenal dancers! I learned so much just by watching them move, and a few of them mentioned that they enjoyed watching me improvise because of my theatre background. We all brought different experiences to the table, but those varied perspectives were what made the workshop so thrilling and fulfilling.

    Yi-Chun Liu was a stellar, kind, funny, down-to-earth teacher. I wish I could take class with her every week. Her words have been echoing in my mind ever since the workshop. Here are a few of my favorite insights:

    • “Being open” isn’t an external action. It’s actually internal. It’s all about being in contact with yourself.
    • You can’t have freedom, and you can’t go find it either. It’s not something you can possess. It’s simply a state of being. If you’re trying to possess something, you’re not free.
    • Developing an idea doesn’t mean changing the idea. It means developing it.
    • When you improvise, follow your desire.

    Over the last few weeks, I’ve applied these bits of wisdom to my work here at ADA. I’m thinking more and more about what it means to be an open, free, committed, desire-filled artist, and I can see the growth it inspires in my work.




    Bennett Sullivan, Coastal Carolina University

    Semester Physical Theatre Program








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