As part of my PhD (completed in 2013 at the University of Huddersfield) I developed a collection of polyrhythmic movement patterns named Orbits. This work grew from a question of how to train awareness of simultaneity and polyrhythm in performers. While researching the application of traditional dance forms within actor training with the Taller de Investigación Teatral in Mexico City, I was inspired to develop a training form in which dancers moved within concentric circles. Exploring this work with a number of groups in the UK, Greece and France, I found that these practices opened up many new potentials for performers, helping cultivate greater awareness of the relationship between the performers’ own actions and those of the ensemble, and their capacities to bring together multiple performance elements into their experience of the present moment.
Reflecting on a series of Orbits workshops with masters students at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama Karen Christopher commented:
He was able to take our students through polyrhythmic patterns that found them experiencing themselves as individual parts of a greater whole. They found themselves experiencing different modes of thought and action and they experienced a kind of body intelligence only theorized before this.The rhythm work in Eilon Morris’s workshops offers a basis for structural strategies and can promote climates of attention that provide disciplined working environments. Through his rhythm work we find strategies to unify and support productive ensemble dynamics.
–Karen Christopher, Haranczak/Navarre
A participant in another workshop commented:
Polyrhythms which would have appeared terrifying written in score form were eased out of us as simple things. Or even unconscious things.
–Alex Kyle, Musician and Choir Leader
Following on from this intensive research into actor training, I am now focusing my attention on the ways the skills and principles encountered in my earlier research can be further applied within performance practices. Creating new work and performing with OBRA Theatre Co. (since 2011) and Duende (since 2010), I have been exploring the application of principles including simultaneity and pulse as well as processes for devising rhythmic choreographies. In this work I have further explored the role of rhythm as both a structural/compositional device and as quality of flow and vitality in performance.