U9 – Task 2 

My Workshop – Jerome Robbins

The practitioner that I focused on was Jerome Robbins. He was the first dance choreographer that looked at the music and the impact it has on people’s emotions and they way they perform a dance piece.

The purpose of the exercise it to interact with the dancers and teach them some dance choreography without music, then do the dance piece with the music and see how it makes them feel. Jerome had the music prepared first before coming up with dance choreography and therefore I wanted to show the impact of dancing to music rather than silence. Personally, when I don’t feel motivated to dance when there is nothing to dance to. On the other hand, when I dance to music with dynamics and energy it motivates me and I feel the emotions through the music as well as the dance moves.

The slower the dance music, raw emotion is shown. The slow music allows time for the dancer to straighten their arms to their full potential and show movements with control. On the other hand, with dramatic fast paced music I feel like there is more short and staccato moves that show the energy from inside. No matter what time of music, it will always give the dancer that extra energy push and the audience benefit from this.

Overall, I think that the teaching part of this workshop was my strongest element. Due to teaching little children every weekend at gymnastics I think this has really helped me to interact with the actors and I simplified the dance steps so they could understand what I meant. I originally wanted to do my workshop with dancers and musical theatre students but because of the time slot that I had, I was put into a group of actors. This was challenging because they don’t study dance and so the techniques and movements/choreography were harder to explain. However, I think they did really well considering they don’t do dance usually.

The videos above show how they interacted with the music whilst dancing. Whilst Erica was recording, the camera must have cut out because it hasn’t shown my teaching and them performing the dance choreography without the music which is a shame because that was the whole point in the exercise, to look back and see the difference between working with music and working without. Here are the comments that I got from the Actors once I asked them whether or not they felt or saw any difference between dancing with and without music.

  • “I could definitely tell the difference between dancing with the music and without the music because the music gives the dance the extra energy needed to interact with the audience and it was easier to pick up when we were dancing with the music rather than doing the choreography without the music.”
  • Hannah said – “Well considering I’m not a dancer, you made the steps very clear and I was able to pick most of it up quickly. I was relieved that you kept repeating it because then I could keep drilling it in and I felt more confident with it when you was in front doing the moves with us. Learning the moves without the music is helpful at first but then when you get used to it being slow, sometimes it can be a shock and a bit confusing when the music comes on and all of a sudden you have to do it quicker. But since the music wasn’t as fast as I imagined and I knew the song it made it easier and more enjoyable. Overall I really enjoyed it”
  • Emma said – “I really enjoyed it because I obviously love dance and I couldn’t help but smile through out the whole of the session, it felt different without the music because like I wasn’t sure what beats in the music fit with which moves so when we performed it with the music and I could here the beats and the style of the music, for me it made it so much more fun because then I could be as precise as possible with the moves to give the full impact! I loved the style and I think that you taught the session brilliantly! After I just wanted to learn more and Finnish the dance”
  • Jack said – “Jess, I think hannah has summed it up perfectly from a non dancer point of view. I’m glad you went through the dance multiple times so that we could fully get into the motions and feeling of the piece. And then when we put the music to it. It was really easy to see how the choreography matched the stages in the music. Overall, I loved the workshop!!! “

I am really pleased with the feedback I have been given. I am privileged to have done a workshop which people enjoyed. If I could have done it again I would have got the piece recorded from both angles to make sure that you could see the difference between using music and not using any. It would have shown a clear difference between them both.

Overall, I think that the workshop went really well and ultimately I enjoyed teaching them the dance that I choreographed and for them to have enjoyed it is really encouraging.

James Ingram’s Workshop – Stanislavski – motivation / inner monologue

I think that James did a really good job taking control of a big class. Stanislavski had many methods and I think the inner monologue technique that James chose to look into was a great decision. The workshop was well thought out and he was prepared.

On the other hand, I was a little confused as to why we had to pick a setting and phrases. We created a scene based on these settings and phrases that we picked out. We were given 5 minutes to look at our setting and phrase to make a scene, however once we did this I was confused as to why. I don’t quite understand the reasoning behind it.

I was really embarrassed because I clapped over Harry’s line because I thought we had finished and he actually hadn’t said his line. So what I learnt over all whilst doing this workshop was that I need to listen to those around me to make sure I don’t overlap or cut someone’s line which is nothing to do with what James was trying to teach.

If I was to do the workshop instead I would have made sure that the whole class understood what we were doing and why. I felt a little confused throughout and I didn’t benefit from the workshop as much as I could if I understood what was going on.

Leah Smith’s Workshop – Berkoff – script physicalisation

In my opinion I think that Leah did a really good job with the workshop. She explained things clearly and was a good teacher. I really enjoyed doing this, it was fun and I learnt about how Berkoff chose to look at physicalizing a script which is really clever. With the little time that we had to do it I think it helped me understand how difficult it was.

We worked well in a group and it was something that was putting everyone out of their comfort zone. I felt a little uncomfortable due to the little time that we had to prepare this. The script was really random which is something that I liked about the workshop.

If I was to do this workshop I would have given the groups a little longer to go through the script and direct what they have because I felt rushed and if we had a little longer we could have looked more into the script and picked things out that others may have missed.

Zoe Mills’ Workshop – Duncan I. – initiation of movement from diaphragm to express the soul

I really enjoyed Zoe’s workshop. It was the one workshop which was really relaxing and coping her made sure that I was embarrassed and everyone else was doing the same thing so it wasn’t awkward in any way at all. She explained everything we were doing and it was interesting to see what Duncan I. thought about the soul and dancing from the soul, which was thought to be in the diaphragm.

If I was to do this workshop I would have done the same thing, I think she did a really good job. The music was slow and controlled and the movements were also slow and controlled.

Fays Radford’s Workshop – Bob Fosse – style

I really liked this workshop that Faye had rehearsed and done for us. I didn’t really know anything about Bob Fosse, I had heard about him but I never looked at the moves and executed them.

Learning the separate movements was really fun and at the end when we were asked to go in pairs and put them in our own order and come up with Bob Fosse inspired movement was really fun. Looking back, I could have gone for it a bit more. Overall, Faye did a really good job of teaching and the intension she set out to teach people came across and she executed it well.

Hannah King’s Workshop – Augusto Boal – technique -senses – listening – noises exercise

This senses technique is something I have never really thought about. The workshop about enhancing the senses was really interesting. She seemed calm and prepared for her session and it was fun to do. We were paired and one of us was ‘blind’ and the other one were the sounds. The sound made for the partner to listen to who was blind was strengthening their listening senses. Sian and I’s animal noise was moo. We thought about it so that I would be easy to pick up and its not too quiet.

The instructions was clear and she made sure that we all understood what we were doing without being intimidating.

If I was to give constructive criticism I would make sure that it was dark and we were blindfolded rather than just closing our eyes because the light could awake other senses when all you are trying to think about is sound. Also, I’d do it so that it would be other noises, not just animal noises because it may be easier to listen to rather than picking something that you would have to really listen to.

Looking back at the video, I felt really intimidated and worried about going into one another when we were walking to our partners and so I was reluctant whether or not I should walk at a fast pace or slow pace. I think as soon as you start listening to the other noises and not focusing on your noise I became confused and didn’t know where I was aiming for. I think this helps for everyday activities, I hadn’t really thought about it before and I will continue to think about it throughout other techniques and assignments that we have to do.

Scott Truin’s Workshop – Michael Chekhov – creating positive connections

I really enjoyed Scott’s workshop, I think he did really well to take control of such a big group and he was prepared with what he was going to do. He knew what he was setting out to achieve and he understood and explained a lot about his practitioners background which was great for when we wanted to ask questions because he knew the answers.

I think after the ‘imaginary ball activity’ we all became a little more relaxed and felt happy and had a positive energy towards each other. When we were first asked to stand in a circle and hold hands it was a little uncomfortable so people felt a little paranoid which indicates a negative attitude, however when we did it the second time we knew what to expect and so it was easier for us to just do it without feeling uncomfortable, also the activities in between this helped us relax with each other.

I don’t think I would have done anything differently, he did a really good job and managed to complete the task efficiently and it was beneficial for the whole class.

Chloe Gilbert’s Workshop – Lucas MacFarlane –  use of individual improvisation to develop material for group

 

I loved Chloe’s workshop, it was really interactive and everyone seemed to take everything she said on board and did what she said. She took control without being bossy or intimidating and it was a generally fun workshop to do. As I am a dancer I think I found it easier for other people in the class. As Chloe was going to be doing the workshop with the dancers and Musical Theatre students but ended up with MT’s and actors it was a little harder but she took control of the situation and did her best with who she had. So in comparison to the actors and MT’s they would have struggled a little more because they are not used to dancing, like my workshop for example.

I think if I was to change what she did, I would have given the class more time to listen to the track so recognise more about the piece before going straight into improvised dance. However, time was short and she dealt well with the time she had. She was really encouraging and so those in the group who were less experienced felt comfortable.

Tom Barber’s Workshop – Uta Hagen – 9 Questions

I liked Tom’s workshop, I think he researched Uta precisely and it was really interesting to see how her technique effected how we looked at monologues. He really talked about each question in detail and I think it helped everyone in the class to think about their characters in more depth.

If I was to criticize Tom’s workshop I think I would change it so it would be shorter. For me, the talk was just too long and I started to lose interest. Also, I think it would have been better if he gave out the list of questions and we would apply them to our pieces and have some time to ourselves to look at it and then we would come back to him and check everything is alright. I don’t feel like it was a workshop, more like a lecture. However, he knew a lot about his practitioner and I could tell he was motivated by her techniques and was passionate to tell us all about what he had found out.

Daytona Florian’s Workshop – Stanislavski – Emotional Recall

I think that Daytona’s workshop, technique that she focused on worked really well. However, I do think it worked better for me because of the mood I was previously in. On the other hand if I was to change it, I would make the changing of emotion time longer so that people can really switch emotions and think about the happiest moment and the saddest moment. I also think if we started with the happiest moment and then went to the saddest it would have been easier to do.

Beth Easdown’s Workshop – Frederick Alexander – intro to the technique and its relevance to performers

I think Beth did a really good job with her practitioner presentation overall. However, I think that to change it I would make sure that I could interact the group more so that they don’t lost interest. Also, I think it would have been better if she picked someone who’s technique that she could actually show us how to do rather than just introducing the technique and then not explaining through using examples and people to ‘practise’ the technique on.

Sian Davis’ Workshop – Peter Brooks – Experimental Theatre – Immediate Reaction

Sian’s workshop was really interesting. I liked how she was engaging everyone and she seemed laid back and professional when she was teaching those in the class. The only thing I would change about the workshop is for her to understand a lot more of the background information of Peter Brooks. Also, knowing what she has written down is key for the class and because she didn’t know what she wrote it was a little unbelievable that she knew what she was doing. However, the workshop was enjoyable and I would do it again.

I found the section of the workshop were we were in groups of four and we had to communicate with each other without speaking or moving our hands, just using facial expressions  was harder than we thought. Our groups object was a birthday card and so I was feeling ‘excited’, ‘happy’ and I feel like I  showed that emotion through my facial expressions but I found it harder to receive the emotion through other people, for me, understanding peoples emotions is hard and its something I need to keep working on.

 

Which techniques do I think that we could use for our T.I.E Project we are working on?

I think that there are many of the techniques that have been introduced to us that we could all use to help us structure our pieces.

My thoughts on the workshop about Stanislavski and Berkoff from James and Leah are pretty similar and I think that they both highlight that the script when finally perfected, needs to come alive. Considering that we are performing to over 1,000 little children we need to make the script exciting and as Berkoff demonstrates, the physical movement is what is important. I have done a little research already about how children on average learn best and the outcome is that they learn more on average when they are seeing visual things like pictures, performances, colours, words, seeing and participating…etc.

There are 7 different types of learning including, Visual, Aural, Verbal, Physical, Logical, Social, Solitary. I found a really interesting article about the 7 different ways  of learning and I will link the website below.

Advanogy (2016) Overview of learning styles. Available at: http://www.learning-styles-online.com/overview/ (Accessed: 29 December 2016).

(Advanogy, 2016)

I found a diagram on the internet which I thought was quite intriguing to see what on average people learn from after 2 weeks.

 

 

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Dale, E. (1969) How to children learn best on average. Available at: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=how+to+children+learn+best+on+average&biw=1188&bih=566&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjLrrv1xpnRAhXUYFAKHboCBs44FBD8BQgJKAQ#tbm=isch&q=how+do+to+children+learn+best+&imgrc=dvNBc90Hyj0huM%3A (Accessed: 29 December 2016).

(Dale, 1969)

Focusing on the techniques that I could use for the  T.I.E project, I think that the most efficient technique that we could use as a group would in fact be the technique that Hannah King focused on which was from Augusto Boal. The senses technique. When Hannah did her workshop she emphasised what Boal had discovered, using blind senses. She decided that not being able to see would enhance our other senses including smell, listening, touch, taste. The one that I was using for the activity most was listening because we had to call one another in pairs with our eyes closed. I think we could use this in our group in a much simpler way so that we use it by listening to one another’s ideas and be cautious of not overruling each other and if we all do this efficiently I believe that we will work better as a team and we will have a structure to look upon and think about.

Another technique that was taught that I believe could help us when we start looking into ideas of our project and subjecting our piece together would be Michael Checkov’s technique of creating positive connections. Typically I believe that people who accept one another and have no tension between themselves will be able to create and speak aloud ideas without feeling as though they are being judged. This therefore gives the group a better atmosphere to work in and I suggest that we do this in our group so we respect each other’s ideas and thoughts.

Looking at the performance side of things there are many techniques that we could include from those that we have recently been learning about. This may consume of:

  • Uta Hagen – 9 Questions

This technique has helped me personally when I have been performing as other characters in shows. To have the in depth knowledge about your character is something I believe will enhance the performance. Even though the audience won’t have a clue that ‘the children had a granddad that died a week ago that were influenced by him’ unless they are told. But the character knows and this could influence how they react about a certain topic or person. For example, if the mum and dad say a joke that is similar to what their Grandad used to say they would react either happy to remember him or sad because they remember that he’s gone.

  • Lucas Macfarlane – Individual improvisation

Considering we are doing a piece without dance I feel that we should look at this technique in a slightly different angle and adapt it for a visual view for a songwriter or a musical theatre group who are looking to write songs for their performance like us. For example, we could improvise some chords on the piano or guitar and sing a melody over the top improvised. This could then show the type of tune we are thinking of. Then another person could then sing a different melody and we can compare which we think is best. After deciding the melody we could then improvise the words for the melody, however they will have to include certain phrases or words that interlink with the chosen topic and atmosphere.

  • Peter Brooks – Experimental Theatre

This interlinks with the technique above. Experimenting and improvising with different emotions for different scenes will be something that we need to look into when writing the script. This technique also brings in the idea of involving the audience into the piece. This means that Brooks still believed that there was a fourth wall but there were necessary times where the audience should feel as if they are involved and feel the same way as the actor(s) do in that precise moment in the scene.

  • Stanislavski – Emotional Recall

I think that this technique can be used to enhance the performance values and develop them. Recalling different emotions is something that will connect you to the character and the way they are feeling and so therefore I think if we use this technique we can connect with the story and feel the way that the character would without straining the emotion. Also, when recalling an emotion many a time it begins to feel easier when put on the spot so practising this technique is not only useful for a group performance and show but also for my own practise and monologues.

 

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One thought on “U9 – Task 2 ”

  1. Jess, good reflection and insight into the workshops you participated in and into your own also. It would have been helpful if you could have examined how any of these techniques might have been useful for the T.i.E. project you are starting to work on. Perhaps some of these techniques could be used to devise / create material where others could be used to develop material once it has been created? Perhaps some techniques are more useful to enhance the performance values of the piece being developed? Perhaps some are useful for your own work as a performer but, at the moment you can’t see how they might work with this particular commission? Also, consider whether a variation of a particular exercise or technique could work rather than doing it exactly as it was taught so, it might be, that a dance technique could be adapted and used as non verbal physicality for an actor. Could you see any overlap between different practitioners ideas as to what they were aiming for as an outcome? e.g. greater truth and authenticity in performance?

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