There was an opening party Saturday, so I had a chance to meet some of the students, scope out the White Church studio (and make sure I could find it), and welcome the Londonians to the US heartland. About seven students and company members from London came with Corinne and Steve, representing as many countries. They hail from France, Iceland, Finland, and Colombia, among others. The rest of the students have come from both US coasts and fly over country.
When I arrived this morning, there was an expectant, curious atmosphere and a lot of black tights. During the welcome/introduction Steve gave us some history about how they have ended up in Spring Green, and explained that the idea for this workshop is to lead towards actual creation and performance. So technique will always be taught with it’s dramatic potential in mind (though honestly, I don’t recall them ever teaching technique divorced from dramatic intention in my previous experience). This focus was evident throughout the day, as we would start with a simple intention, such as pushing something or being distracted, done in a relatively natural way, and then “complicate” it – which meant adding more technique and more precision. This basically insures that we know what we’re doing and why we’re doing it, even as we’re trying to keep our right-right-forwards and right-left-backs from getting tangled up. At the end of the program, there will be a presentation by the students of work they have created during the workshop. Unfortunately, I can’t stay for the whole three weeks, so won’t be able to see the creative process through to the end. *sigh* Next year.
For the two weeks I can be here, I am both learning for my own performances and paying close attention to the teaching method. I won’t talk too much about the latter here in this blog, but one interesting point for me in particular was the way Corinne introduced triple designs* in a more intuitive way than how I learned them back at Marceau’s school. This is food for thought and may very well influence the way I teach in the future.
I could write a lot more about this first day back at school, but I think that’s sufficient to give a general idea. Plus, the library closed so I’m sitting outside to use their wifi, and the bugs are starting to get nibbly.
* triple designs, put very simply, are a technique for creating 3 dimensional, and thus highly dynamic, statuary and movement.