Bungee Jumping, the Dance

Alta Miller, December 03, 2018

One of my favorite courses at Trinity Laban is Choreography, which invites our independent artistic and creative endeavors. I look forward to it everyday Tuesday evening because it’s a chance to play with movement ideas and occupy the position of teacher and director.

In one of the projects I’m working on now focuses on how two people, when connected with literal or imaginative string, can manipulate and influence one another. I’ve been interested in the negative space between them and how I, as the choreographer, can produce a visual tension between them.

A lot of my research actually involves watching videos of bungee jumpers, observing how their cord moves through space, and taking note of what happens after the rebound of of their body. This sensation of spatial distance and reconnecting is where my creative process seems to be leading me. With enough visual, literary, and auditory research, I then took my ideas into the studio. Our choreography class here is three hours. At first I thought this would be painfully long, but once I get deep into a creative process, the three hours can go by fast.

I was randomly paired up with two dancers who I had no prior experience working with and hardly knew. I told them what I was interested in and what kind of movement concepts I wanted to try. They seemed interested and eager to work, focused and capable. I knew I wanted them to first find a common rhythm between them, maybe it’d be a swing, a walk, or just their breath. This rhythm was going to be our base to build movement on top of so I knew I wanted them to be honest in this investigation and find something that was genuine to their bodies and personalities. From there, I introduced particular imageries, sounds, and sensations to them as part of an improvisational score to interact with.

What was so exciting for me in these rehearsals was that my dancers knew exactly what I wanted. I was using Laban notation terminology (from a course that we study here) to describe the movement. With this shared language, they were able to pick it up instantly and visualize my ideas in real time.

I still have a couple of more rehearsals to polish my work before presenting it to my class and professor for feedback, but regardless of how the end product my look, I know that I have learned tons working with these two dancers. I’ve learned how to professionally conduct rehearsals, teach my choreography using a universal language among leading dancers today, and most importantly how to trust my creative process.

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