Following the research focus on sensing, exploring, and feeling places, the intention behind designing the research method was to facilitate movement exploration of places and emphasise the use of various senses and variety of movement possibilities in relation to them.
In creation of the score the scale of sense of place proposed by Shmuel Shamai (look at the pdf file in the end of this text) was used as a tool for constructing the score course and its dramaturgy. The intention of the Shmuel Shamai to create such scale was to “cover” multidimensional aspects of sense of place people in ... - from “not having any sense of place” towards identification and commitment to place. This dramaturgy is acknowledged and respected in the score.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF BORROWINGS
from Underscore* made by Nancy Stark-Smith***
Concerning the practice ethics the score is based on three general principles such as all “in” all the time, no talking during the session, and can’t do it wrong.
Following the first principle, all “in” all the time, performing the score the participants are in it all the time because “no matter what [they] do, [they] are never out”. Intended as an invitation to the score, this formula encourages the participants regardless of physical and mental states in which they come to each session, and dismisses any potential form of disengagement or hesitation by saying that “[e]verything is part of it”.
The principle of not talking during the session intends to bring all the focus to performing the what is felt and itt encourages the participants to observe each others’ performances.
According to the can’t do it wrong formula, “as long as [their] intention is to do the [score], [they] can relax and assume that [their] actions and interpretations won’t be ‘wrong’”. Each session ends with a talk in which the participants share about their experiences.**
OTHER IMPORTANT STUFF
Effortless increases sensation
The notions of relaxation and being present in the body are of primary relevance for this study. Acknowledging and maybe also letting go of the unnecessary tensions - mental, physical is here of a great importance as the work demands high level of concentration on what is felt and how it manifests itself in us.
Relaxation, rest is understood as surrendering weight and tone of the body to the ground. It can also be searching for “a deep sense of security and a foundation from which to draw strength when pushing and extending the support through the body”*. This action further encourages the inhabitation of the body as a place of its own. Inhabiting is understood as “feeling the actual sensations of my exact body in this exact moment – for example, expansion and release of the chest with breathing (…)”*.
Role of the guide
Positioned within the research environment guide leads through the score. The guidance happens orally but can be also can manifested by the physical engagement into the score. The verbal character of the guidance supports the participants’ receptiveness to sensations and processes of understanding place by minimising potential stress related to memorising the progression of the score. Guide has to also navigate how much time to spend on each action.
Description of the content of the score
The score activities are divided into four categories: individual exploration of the surroundings, choreographic tasks, investment, and open score.
Within the first category the participants observe what is present in the session area, learn its topography and structures of materials it is made of. With their thoughts they travel in time, and answer questions about its past, future and functional use. Consequently, they begin to share weight with different spots in that site. The intention of these activities is to become familiar with the place and objects in this place, get accustomed to it and begin to engage bodily with the site. Moreover, these actions give time to the individuals to find the places of their preference and dwell in them for a while. The participants are invited to experience such states as being connected, feeling safe, and resting.
The second category, called choreographic possibilities, consists of various tasks for the whole group initially led by the guide and later by the participants. The tasks reflect the ideas that the places offer- among others, one by one rolling over a tree(if the place has one), swarm game, group following one person, or playing with the rhythm of steps as a group. They all aim to increase the participants’ interest in playfulness with which they can move through the space, and expose the tools such as copying, noticing and responding, playing with space levels and dynamics. Later the very tools can be explored during the open score. Additionally, these tasks intend to create a shared experience of the group in the site.
The third category refers to all the activities that aim to build connections with other people in the place. They include suggesting actions, investing ideas into group actions, becoming provocative, and initiating exploration. From the perspective of Shamai’s scale, this category can be seen as enhancement of the participants to build responsibility and commitment to the explored place as well as to the people that constitute it.
In the open score, the fourth category, the researcher offers no new task. Instead, the participants are invited to spend time according to their wishes and desires, and to play with the propositions suggested in the previous parts of the score.
*"The Underscore is a framework for practicing and researching dance improvisation that I’ve been developing since the early 1990s. It is a score that guides dancers through a series of ‘changing states’, from solo deepening/releasing and sensitising to gravity and support; through group circulation and interaction. Contact Improvisation engagements, opening out to full group improvisation with compositional awareness, and back to rest and reflection.” David Koteen and Nancy Stark Smith, Caught Falling: The Confluence of Contact Improvisation, Nancy Stark Smith, and Other Moving Ideas. (Holyoke: Marcus Printing, 2008), 90.
**David Koteen and Nancy Stark Smith, Caught Falling: The Confluence of Contact Improvisation, Nancy Stark Smith, and Other Moving Ideas. (Holyoke: Marcus Printing, 2008), 49-50.
*** “In 1972 Nancy Stark Smith danced in the first performances of Contact Improvisation in NYC and has since been central to its development as a dancer, teacher, performer, organiser, and writer/publisher. (…) Throughout all her activities, she continues to explore the body-mind states that are generated while dancing, the life cycle of form as it manifests in improvisation, and how any of this research can be communicated in performance and in print.”, http://nancystarksmith.com/biography, (accessed 10 July 2015).