The Devil’s in the Details

We are now three days in, and perhaps I should explain why I am so excited about Steve and Corinne teaching a Corporeal Mime workshop on my side of the Big Pond. As with any physical discipline, you don’t just learn it once and you’ve got it forever. It needs to be practiced and reinforced. That’s why dancers continue to take classes even when they are professionals or teachers themselves. Mime is the same. There’s a thousand little details that can totally change the quality of a movement. The problem is, truly professional mime training that delves into all those details is harder to come by than ballet classes. So it’s been more than 10 years since I’ve had a good class that pushes me both creatively and technically, and I don’t know anyone who can do that better than these former assistants of Etienne Decroux.

That’s also why I wasn’t worried about taking the time to come to this workshop so close to the MN Fringe Festival, in which I have two shows. Already the work in rhythms, articualtions of the body, weight placement, etc., and the improvisations that put all that in service of dramatic expression are helping me to see my own work with fresh eyes. I’m looking at all those little details and seeing places where just adding a bit of torso in contradiction here or a more explosive rhythm there can take the movement from being merely understandable to being truly expressive. Which is what I am always striving to do, so it’s a bit shocking to realize how much I’ve been missing. Especially since it’s all things that I already “know”.

We will also start working a bit with text soon. (For those of you staring at your screen in utter shock right now, breathe. Mimes have often used text, and the sky hasn’t fallen yet. You’ll be fine as long as you keep breathing.) I’m very much looking forward to this because the new solo I am working on for Mime Without A Mask uses text. It’s only the second time I’ve ventured into this area, and this time around it’s in a more difficult style. I’m still struggling with some aspects of it, and I could use a set of fresh eyes. I’ll let you know how it goes.


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