For info and bookings please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Click this link to download a PDF of the programme or continue reading for details
Rhythm in Acting and Performance is an International Conference held under the auspices of The Makings of the Actor, the Michael Cacoyiannis Foundation, the Labanarium, Leeds Conservatoire and Hellinoekdotiki, organized by Dr Eilon Morris, from Leeds Conservatoire and OBRA Theatre, with the support of Post-doctoral Researcher Dr Kiki Selioni, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London. This event is part of a series of conferences organised by The Makings of the Actor based on books from international research practitioners discussing in theory and presenting in practice their works. The mission of The Makings of the Actor project is to gather international practitioners and researchers, from diverse fields of performance practice and scholarship, to develop and disseminate (through conferences and workshops) an evolving performance pedagogy that addresses the needs of present and future actors.
*Please note, all the timings are based on local time in Athens, Greece. For example, the conference begins at 13.00 in Athens, 12.00 in Paris, 11.00 in London etc….
**On Sunday 28 March the clocks in Europe will be moving forward an hour. Please double check your local time in relation to this change to avoid being late for sessions on the Sunday.
13.00 (GMT+2*) – Kiki Selioni and Eilon Morris Welcome
13.25 – 15.45 PART 1 Defining Rhythms
13.25 – 14.05 Carla Fonseca (keynote) Ρυθμοί, Ritmicidades,….Rhyth-Me?
14.10 – 14.30 Paola Crespi (pre-recorded paper) Rhythm and Critique
14.40 – 15.10 Jonas Rutgeerts (paper) Unbecoming Rhythms
15.15- 15.45 Irene Fiordilino (paper) The affordances of absence in the construction of embodied rhythms
16.30 – Part 2 Inner and Outer Rhythms
16.35 – 17.05 Andrew Davidson (paper) Dalcroze Eurhythmics and Actor Training
17.05 – 17.25 Unai Lopez de Armentia (snapshot) FOTO
17.30 – 18.00 Heidi Feldman (paper) From Afro-Peruvian to Cosmic
18.00 – 18.25 Fran Vergara (paper) Becoming One. An Andean perspective of rhythm
18.40 -20.10 Eilon Morris (keynote/workshop) Between inside and outside, tempo and rhythm
20.10 – 20.40 Reflections – All presenters and Attendees
12.00 – (GMT+2*) Part 3 Structure and Spontaneity
12.10 – 12.40 Mariko Anno (paper) Expressive Freedom Within Set Patterns: The “Pulse” of Noh
12.45 – 13.05 Maxwell Sly (snapshot) A Presentations of Walking Rhythms in European Mime Theatre
13.10 – 13.40 Cass Fleming (paper) Suzanne Bing: The Interior Rhythm and Musicality of Play
13.50 – 15.05 Juliet Chambers-Coe (workshop) How do we live together? How do we train together, but apart?
16.00– Part 4 Ecology and Consciousness
16.05 – 16.35 Elvira Crois (paper) Attending to Dissatunement: a Performer’s Craft in Participatory Performing Arts
16.40- 17.10 Christopher Staley (paper) Asymptotic Time
17.15 – 17.45 Vanio Papadelli (paper) Ripples, cliffs, spheres and strings
17.55 – 18.25 Sinéad O’Connor, Mia DiChiaro and Katherine Hall (paper) Plant dramas
18.30 – 19.00 Andromachi Salacha (paper) Timing and Concepts of Rhythm in Human Systems Organisation
19.05 – 19.35 Steve Donnelly (paper) Rhythm Beyond the Studio
19.35 – 20.05 Reflections – All presenters and Attendees
20.05 – 20.20 Performance
11.30 – (BST+2** clocks go forward an hour) Part 5 Words, Text, Meaning and Form
11.30 – 12.00 Christina Fulcher (workshop/paper) Inclusive Yoga Flow meets Inner Rhythm
12.05 – 13.00 Zoe Katsilerou (workshop/paper) Is it slowing down?
13.05 – 13.30 Nathan Thomas (paper) Rhythms of language, character change, and episodes
13.45 – 14.05 Andy Cryer (snapshot) Discovering and Exploring the Rhythms in Shakespeare’s Verse
14.10 – 14.40 Kate and Oliviero Papi (presentation) Methodologies of language and physicality in relation to rhythm
14.45 – 15.05 Judith Adams and Karen Christopher (snapshot) The lost art of losing our way/A message not delivered through words
16.00 – Part 6 Technology and Contemporary Rhythm
16.05 – 16.45 Paul Allain (keynote) Moving times
16.50- 17.05 Stephanie Arsoska (snapshot) Shifts in Time: Training the Digital Ensemble
17.10 – 17.40 Konstantinos Bakogiannis and Anastasia Georgaki (paper) The development of a model enabling dance and music interaction with the use of machine learning techniques
18.00 – 19.30 Olu Taiwo (workshop) Urban Butoh: Dancing to the melody and rhythm of thought
19.35-19.55 Judita Vivas (snapshot) Inner Rhythms of the Digitised Performer
20.00– 20.30 Closing Remarks and Reflections – – All presenters and Attendees
Abstracts and Biographies
Friday 26th March 2021
13.00 (GMT+2) Kiki Selioni, Artistic Director of The Makings of the Actor
Eilon Morris, author of Rhythm in Acting and Performance
In my book, Rhythm in Acting and Performance: Embodied Approaches and Understandings, I wrote, ‘Under scrutiny, the subject of rhythm reveals a nature that is both evasive and porous’. As such, the ways we approach and research this subject require particular attention and consideration. Published in 2017, Rhythm in Acting and Performance was written as a direct response to what I viewed as the absence of attention as well as the general confusion around rhythm within the fields of acting and performance. In the introduction to this book I wrote:
Instead of viewing rhythm as a fixed concept which we can point at and examine, rhythm might be better understood as a constellation of associations, understandings and embodied practices, of which we can enquire and explore (Morris 2017, p.5).
In researching rhythm in acting and performance, my goal has never been to pin rhythm down, nor was my book intended as the final word on the subject. Rather my hope has been to carry this conversation forward, to open it up – to (re)discover the depth, life and play contained within rhythm.
With these sentiments as inspiration, I am thrilled to be able to welcome you to this rich and diverse programme of events. Over these three days practitioners and scholars will come together online to share, discuss, engage and play with the questions and possibilities arising from rhythm in acting and performance. This discourse seeks to reflect on and celebrate the commonalities that bind us together as well as the differences, variations and unique viewpoints each of us brings to this vast theme and body of work.
PART 1: DEFINING RHYTHM
13.25 – 15.45 (GMT+2)
13.25 – 14.05 Carla Fonseca
From perception towards the creation of meaning in artistic practices
Rhythm is the listening that reveals the name-body among the alliterations of the poem, of the lines and forms of the painting, of the gestures and movements of the scene. -Víctor Fuenmayor Ruiz
Throughout the last century, artists have produced rhythmic intuitions that have pushed the limits of the definition of rhythm. We will take a look at the theoretical and phenomenological knowledge of rhythm in the performing arts strained towards the rhythm proposed to us by the present time. Which of the adopted meanings of the term rhythm will be the most useful for our artistic practice? In this presentation I propose to go through approaches, uses and poetics as ways to think about our work and to find an original narrative mode of our own.
There is an endless universe of potentialities of the body that do not depend on processes of signification and make rhythm the signifier itself. From the approach of the rhythmic sense enunciated by Emile Jaques-Dalcroze, in my pedagogical and artistic practice, I investigate the feeling and sense of rhythm as a way of constant actualization of our being-in-the-world. To perceive (it) and to be in it, to be co-creators, to find hidden meanings, with it, from it, thanks to it. To experience the adventure of what comes to me from it.
How does rhythmic training re-signify the modifications of space and physical distance imposed by the pandemic? Together with the actors of the Universidad Nacional de las Artes de Buenos Aires, we try to provoke an intimate subversive act, taking what was found in the scene inside our homes to the public space, leaving the screen and sharing it in the outdoors. The event of the expressive act that implies the return to a forgotten body. As part of this presentation, I will share footage of this work in progress.
We start from an imposed measure, the rhythms of distancing, a silenced and rhythmically homogeneous exterior – the deserted square – to re-inhabit it affectively, so that relationships and rhythms are produced. Does physical distance necessarily imply social distancing?
Because, if, as the poet says, there is an inside that does not fit inside, rhythmic practice is a force capable of manifesting the passage from interiority to the act of presence of bodies.
Carla Fonseca is a musician and actress based in Buenos Aires. She has a degree in Music and Dalcroze Eurhythmics and has presented her work as an actress and musician in Argentina and Germany. Since 2002 she is Professor of Eurhythmics Dalcroze at the Department of Dramatic Arts of the National University of Buenos Aires and the University El Salvador. As an actress she has participated in plays, films and site-specific productions. With the aim of having a space for interdisciplinary practice around rhythm, in 2015 she creates JIRA, Jornadas Internacionales el Ritmo en las Artes www.ritmoenlasartes.com. She publishes in 2020 the book Ritmicidades- cuerpos en Jira-, a repertoire of critical resources that collaborate in our understanding of how other disciplines think about rhythm, from epistemology, musical research, neurosciences, theater, psychoanalysis, semiology, literature, dance, cinema, heuristics, in a continuum between practices and their reflection. She is invited to give seminars and workshops of Dalcroze eurhythmics in different contexts, institutions and universities in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil (UNB), Costa Rica (UNA), Austria (MVD), Italy (DIRE), Spain (EHME), Germany (Remscheid), Holland (ICK) and Portugal (NOVA).
14.10 – 14.30 Paola Crespi (guest artist)
Rhythm and Critique
This presentation focuses on the concept of rhythm itself, unpacking its potential in various fields of analysis. Often taken as synonymous to meter or flow, rhythm’s complexity is here analysed as ‘rhuthmos’, i.e as ‘form of flowing’. Looking at texts contained in the recently published edited collection Rhythm and Critique (EUP, 2020), I will conclude with remarks on Rudolf Laban’s own approach to rhythm as documented in his unpublished writings held at the NRDC archive in Surrey.
Paola Crespi is an independent researcher and previously she was a Visiting Research Fellow at the Topology Research Unit at Goldsmiths. She holds an AHRC-funded PhD in Media Studies (Goldsmiths), a MRes in Humanities and Cultural Studies (London Consortium) and a BA (Hons) in Philosophy (University of Padua).
Her research covers continental philosophy, media theory, cultural studies and performance studies. Her work has been published in international peer-reviewed journals such as Theory, Culture&Society, Body&Society, Subjectivity and Theatre, Dance&Performance Training. Her edited collection ‘Rhythm and Critique: Technics, Modalities, Practices’ was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2020.
She is a member of the editorial board of Evental Aesthetics: An Independent Journal of Philosophy and she is section editor for Cultural Studies & Critical Theory for the Open Journal of the Humanities.
14.40 – 15.10 Jonas Rutgeerts
Unbecoming Rhythms: The performance of Temporality in Contemporary European Dance
Unbecoming Rhythms explores the temporal regime that is produced by the so-called ‘conceptual’ choreographies that emerged from the 1990s onwards. As different theoreticians have observed, these choreographic experiments were not bound together by specific aesthetics or thematics, but by a shared resistance against the modernist definition of dance as continuous movement, or flow (Lepecki, 2006; Laermans, 2015). By questioning “dance as being-in flow” (Lepecki, 2006, p. 1), however, these choreographers were not only rethinking their relation to movement, but also their connection to time. They set out to deconstruct the seemingly organic temporal movement propelled by modern dance, in which the present automatically replaced the past only to be replaced by the future. As a result, the present no longer appears as a continuation of the past, or an anticipation of the future, but as a site of temporal experimentation that breaks away from the past and breaks open the future. Combining an in-depth analysis of the choreographic practice of Jonathan Burrows & Matteo Fargion with a close study of the philosophical work of Bergson, Deleuze, and Bachelard, this presentation will coin ‘rhythm’ as a crucial concept to understand how these temporal experiments are performed.
Jonas Rutgeerts is a dramaturge and performance theorist based in Belgium. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the Institute of Philosophy (KU Leuven) and is currently affiliated as a doctoral assistant with the research unit Literary Theory and Cultural Studies (KU Leuven). As a dramaturge and researcher, he collaborated amongst others with Needcompany, Ivana Müller, David Weber-Krebs, Clément Layes, and Arkadi Zaides. His book Unbecoming Rhythms is currently due to be published by Intellect Books.
15.15- 15.45 Irene Fiordilino
The affordances of absence in the construction of embodied rhythms
This work revolves around an elemental definition of rhythm as the articulation of presence and absence. The aim of this research is to demonstrate that the concept of absence – which is a purely mental construct – possesses certain affordances of ‘presence’ which Performance Arts are capable to exemplify, enhancing a valuable experience of the human condition of perpetual presence.
Informed by Deleuze’s notion of virtuality (“virtual is not actual, but as such possesses a reality”1), I further analyse the notion of absence from a phenomenological perspective, framing our perception of absence as a reversed process of selection which potentiate the as yet unselected material. Tensing between retentions of the just-past and protentions of the possible becoming we achieve, rather than an ideal now, an ideal absence, necessary for the construction of the rhythmic meaning.
Live performance allows the intersection of spatial and temporal rhythms, generating a dialectic tension between the durational and the simultaneous: borrowing Gumbrecht’s terminology2, presence effects transform into meaning effects in the formation of embodied rhythms (visual, auditory, kinaesthetic).
In this paper, I question the methodological value of ‘attending in absence’, claiming its impact both as a creative device and a tool to enhance performative skills.
Irene Fiordilino is a freelance Choreographer and Performer based in London, she is also the Director of Scirocco Dance Theatre Company, co-founded in 2020 with Sound Designer Aidan Good. Their research sits in between choreography and architecture, meant both as a source of mutual information on our cognitive and aesthetic experience of space (as individual and as members of sociocultural communities), and inspiration for the creation of performative artworks which span from dance pieces, to site specific works, installations, and dance films. Irene is currently a PhD student in Creative Practice at Trinity Laban, where she previously graduated with Distinction (MFA Choreography, 2018). In 2016 she graduated with Honours at Accademia Nazionale di Danza di Roma (BAhons). Irene is also Associate Fellow of Higher Education Academy, and she works as a guest teacher and lecturer internationally. Irene has presented her work at many international festivals and venues, such as: 2020-Parallax 14 (London), Nou Wave Gallery (2019, London), FIND (2019, Italy), Unit Motives: GRM (2019, Greece), ViDEOSKiN (2018, Canada), Play Practice (2018, Bangalore). She won several prises such as Premio Anghiari Dance Hub at Festival Presente Futuro (2019) and Premio Residanza 2018. Irene has been collaborating with interdisciplinary artists such as Peter Nagle (composer), Virna Koutla (architect), Ronita Mookerji (dancer and choreographer), Cristopher Hussey (composer) and many others. As a performer, Irene has had the occasion to work and study with choreographers such as Simona Argentieri, Tony Thatcher, Adriana Borriello, Michele di Stefano and Stian Danielsen who positively enriched her artistic path.
PART TWO INNER AND OUTER RHYTHM
16.30 – 20.20 (GMT+2)
16.35 – 17.05 Andrew Davidson
Dalcroze Eurhythmics and Actor Training: Reflections and Connections
“Rhythm is a force analogous to electricity and the great chemical and physical elements – an energy, an agent – radio-active, radio-creative – conducing to self-knowledge and to a consciousness not only of our powers but of those of others, of humanity itself.” – Emile Jaques-Dalcroze. This paper provides my reflections on rhythm in the fields of Actor Training and Dalcroze Eurhythmics as a teacher at a university conservatoire. I outline the philosophy and principles of Dalcroze Eurhythmics, an embodied approach to the acquisition of professional musicianship skills, knowledge, and experience. I propose that two prominent approaches to Actor Training that form part of my own teaching practice contain pedagogical influences from Dalcroze Eurhythmics. Viewpoints Training, with its exploration of time and space through rhythmic movement, has distinct parallels with the faculties, abilities, and qualities developed in a Rhythmics class. Meisner Technique, with its concern for listening, responding, and repetition, complements the methods of learning and teaching undertaken in a Solfège class. Both these approaches to Actor Training make considerable use of Improvisation, the fundamental mode of communication in Dalcroze Eurhythmics. This paper provides insight into my own perceptions and understandings of what and why specific approaches to Actor Training appear to be “Dalcrozian”. The themes presented are transferable to artists and educators engaged in continuing professional development.
Andrew Davidson is an Australian theatre practitioner and musician based in London, UK. He is a Teaching Fellow in Acting & Musical Theatre at Guildford School of Acting (GSA), University of Surrey. Andrew is a graduate of Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA). He has directed text-based theatre, opera, musicals, and cabaret. Andrew studied composition at the University of Sydney and has written scores for plays, musical theatre, and dance. As Head of Dramatic Arts at the Australian Institute of Music (AIM), Andrew established the Bachelor of Performance degree. As a music educator, he is a qualified teacher of Dalcroze Eurhythmics and Kodály Musicianship. As a freelance musician, Andrew plays piano for ballet and contemporary dance. As a researcher, he has presented at conferences and workshops internationally
17.05 – 17.25 Unai Lopez de Armentia
Parasite Kolektiboa share extracts from their production Foto with commentary by Unai Lopez de Armentia. After the good reception of Bizi, Foto is the second project in which the Vitoria Theater Festival and the Sala Baratza collaborate as part of the enREDados framework.
This creation evokes the theatrical realism of two centuries ago and contrasts it with the particular storytelling of Parasite Kolektiboa. A physically expressionist language that the participants of the Sala Baratza Theater Research Laboratory embody and interpret, under the artistic direction of Hannah Whelan.
Foto opens the door of the old house of a bourgeois family from the late 19th century. Walls talk and servants whisper about masters, in a house where secrets have been buried too long. The arrival of a photographer to this remote world unmasks its mysterious inhabitants and allows us to witness the disintegration of the adult order and the establishment of the kingdom of childhood.
Unai Lopez de Armentia is a founding member of Parasite Kolektiboa (Spain) a dance-theatre company from Vitoria-Gasteiz the Basque Country (Spain) and co-directer of the cultural centre Sala Baratza Aretoa in the same city. He has a degree in European Theatre Arts from Rose Bruford College in London. A degree focused on devised theatre practice touching the main contemporary theatre practices of Europe. He has worked professionally as a director, actor and theatre pedagogue internationally for the last 20 years. He collaborates with companies like NIE (UK-Norway), Zecora Ura (UK-Brazil), Unfinished Business (UK), OBRA Theatre Co (France), Metrokoadroka (Basque Country) and others. He has also acted in several films and tv series including HBO’s Patria. Unai has a wide range of skills and knowledge of the performing arts raging from visual performance art, street theatre, physical theatre, text theatre and clowning. His main focuses in the arts are the concepts of musicality, listening and sensibility.
17.30. – 18.00 Heidi Feldman
From Afro-Peruvian to Cosmic:
Victoria Santa Cruz’s Technique for the Discovery and Development of Interior Rhythm
This paper explores Afro-Peruvian cultural icon Victoria Santa Cruz’s teachings based on her concept of rhythm as “the eternal organizer,” a cosmic force, and the key to human well-being. With her brother, Nicomedes Santa Cruz, Victoria launched an Afro-Peruvian theatre arts revival beginning in 1959. After studying in Paris at the University of Theatre of Nations and Higher School of Choreographic Studies in the 1960s, Victoria created the technique that she called “Discovery and Development of Interior Rhythm,” based on rhythmic exercises that she designed to guide young Afro-Peruvian artists to reconnect with their embodied “ancestral memory.” She subsequently adapted her technique for increasingly broader populations in workshops, classes, and training sessions across four continents from the 1960s to 1990s. These include her work as founding director of Peru’s first National Folklore Ensemble, her worldwide teaching residencies, and her legendary rhythm classes as a professor at Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama and Moscow Art Theatre. Drawing upon my archival research and interviews toward a biography of Victoria Santa Cruz, I will present a critical overview of her under-researched rhythmic education technique, its conceptual underpinnings, and its relationship to other interdisciplinary rhythm approaches and to Victoria’s own global mobility.
Heidi Carolyn Feldman is a Visiting Scholar in the Center for Iberian and Latin American Studies at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), an affiliated researcher at the Institute of Ethnomusicology of the Catholic University of Peru, and a past lecturer at UCSD, San Diego State University, Tulane University, and Soka University of America. She also works as a freelance writer and arts management consultant and author of young-adult nonfiection books, and she is a past choral singer. Her first book, Black Rhythms of Peru: Reviving African Musical Heritage in the Black Pacific (Wesleyan University Press, 2006) was awarded the Woody Guthrie Book Prize of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM-US) and published in Spanish translation in Peru in 2009. The book was the basis for an hour-long documentary on Afro-Peruvian music on Public Radio International’s Afropop Worldwide program that aired in September, 2008, featuring interviews with Feldman, who served as a consultant for the program. She is currently at work on a biography of Afro-Peruvian theatre arts icon Victoria Santa Cruz. Feldman has given talks about her research at universities, arts venues, and community-based organizations in the United States, Peru, and Colombia. She has published her scholarly work in Theatre Survey, Ethnomusicology, Journal of Popular Music Studies, e-misférica, and a number of edited books, and she served as Volume Editor for two volumes of the Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World. She received her Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from UCLA in 2001.
18:00 – 18:25 Fran Vergara
Becoming One. An Andean perspective of rhythm
For the last twenty years, rhythm has attracted more and more interest in contemporary academic debates. Today, the idea of rhythm extends beyond philosophy, dance, performance and drama, including other disciplines such as cultural geography, anthropology, archaeology, and sociology. Consequently, the last two decades have witnessed significant contributions in understanding and problematizing the idea of rhythm. However, little has been done regarding how people and societies understand and use rhythm. This paper offers an anthropological approach to rhythm. Specifically, it addresses how Andean traditional dancers conceive and use rhythm. To them, rhythm is part of a process that they refer to as “Becoming One”. This process is imperative in constructing their cultural identity, and therefore, bridges rhythm and society.
Fran Vergara is a research student in the Department of Anthropology, University College of London and a Teaching Associate at the Department of Archaeology, Universidad Austral de Chile
18.20- 19.50 Eilon Morris
Between inside and outside, tempo and rhythm: drawing a line and smudging it
This session will take the form of a hybrid paper/workshop/collective research process focused on exploring ways of approaching inner and outer Tempo-rhythm.The term Tempo-rhythm and its associated principles can be credited to director Konstantin Stanislavski (1863-1938). From my research over the last ten years, it seems clear that of all those who have written about rhythm in acting, it is Stanislavski who has left the most detailed legacy, both in terms of theory and practical examples. These can be found in his own writings as well as in the numerous accounts of his work given by students and collaborators, ranging in scope from principles of rhythmic cosmic unity, to musical analogies, as well as observations of the rhythms of emotion, mental health and daily human behaviour. Yet despite (and perhaps because of) the breadth and depth of this material, much confusion and many contradictory teachings remain in play, not least of which is the lack of any coherent or consistent definitions of inner or outer Tempo-rhythm. Attempting to unpick these conundrums can prove difficult and often counterproductive (Morris 2017, p.54-59). As scholars and practitioners faced with this challenge it may be wise to Stanislavski’s own advice on this subject “It would be harmful for you to try to squeeze Tempo-rhythm out of yourselves, or nit your brow and calculate all its complex combinations, like a mind bending mathematical problem. So lets forget scientific understanding and simply play with rhythm” (Stanislavski, 2008, An Actor’s Work, p. 465). In this spirit of inquisitive play I invite you to join me to explore and reflect on ways of approaching inner and outer Tempo-rhythm, drawing on practical examples from the works of Stanislavski, Grotowski, Bogart and approaches I have developed through my own practices working with actors, dancers and musicians.
Eilon Morris is a senior lecturer at Leeds Conservatoire, a member OBRA Theatre Co, ICEBERG and associate artists at Whitestone Arts. In 2017, Eilon published his first book, Rhythm in Acting and Performance: Embodied Approaches and Understandings (Bloomsbury, Methuen Drama), building on his PhD research completed in 2013 at the University of Huddersfield, following on from a Masters in Ensemble Physical Theatre completed in 2008. Eilon has also had chapters published in Ritmicidades: Cuerpos en jira. [2015-2019] (2020) and Encountering Ensemble (2013) as well as articles in Total Theatre Magazine and Stanislavski Studies. While living in Melbourne, Australia, Eilon was a founding member of the Quiddity Ensemble (2001-2004) and the Butterfly Club Pocket Theatre (1998-2002), and since relocating to the UK in 2004, has worked on productions including Day of the Living (Royal Shakespeare Company), Lord of the Flies (BBC Radio Drama), These Trees are Made of Blood (Southwark Playhouse and Arcola), Ibidem, Gaudete (OBRA), Le Voyage dans la Lune (BFI), Wicker Husband (Watermill), Electric Field (IOU), Shattering Man (DUENDE), and Rhein (Royal Festival Hall), as well as touring and recording with music groups including project mάzoksi, Stems and Kelter. In recent years Eilon has also taught and presented research at cultural and educational centers including Central School of Speech and Drama, (UK) the Duende School of Ensemble Physical Theatre (Greece, India), Au Brana Cultural Centre (France), Baratza Aretoa (Basque Country), Université Laval, Québec City (Canada), ArtEz (Netherlands), Teateralliansen and Dansalliansen (Sweden), Taller de Investigación Teatral (Mexico) and Universidad Nacional de las Artes (Argentina).
19.50 – 20.20 All Presenters and Attendees
Saturday 27thMarch 2021
PART 3: STRUCTURE AND SPONTANEITY
12.00 – 15.05 (GMT+2)
12.10 – 12.40 Mariko Anno (guest artist)
Expressive Freedom Within Set Patterns: The “Pulse” of Noh
What are the rhythmic structures and patterns of Noh drama? How much expressive freedom do performers have within them? In this presentation, I analyze ōnori, chūnori, and hiranori, three rhythms found in the utaigoto (chant) shōdan (building blocks of a Noh play), and examine how text is distributed over an eight-beat system. My primary example is hiranori, a rhythm that conveys the uniqueness of Noh, where the chorus chants 12 syllables across eight beats as the Noh musical ensemble plays its prescribed patterns. I argue that within the fixed structure of such rhythms in Noh, performers find freedom of expression, resulting in an expansion and contraction of the “pulse” of the ensemble as a whole that can only be created through extensive listening by all performers involved. When the drummers’ komi (an inner moment to prepare oneself for the succeeding action), kakegoe (calls), and patterns interlock—with the attentive head of the chorus (jigashira) listening to the drums and leading the chorus—the pulse moves slightly forward at the end of the phrase, showing the concept of jo-ha-kyū (introduction-breaking apart-denouement) at play. Finally, the nohkan (Noh flute) adds another layer of timbre, and a truly unique performance is created.
Mariko Anno is Associate Professor at Tokyo Institute of Technology and a former Toyota Visiting Professor (2018–19) at the University of Michigan, Center for Japanese Studies. Anno holds a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from Tokyo University of the Arts (Tokyo Geijutsu Daigaku) and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Flute Performance and Literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is a company member of Theatre Nohgaku, an international troupe committed to performing Noh in both English and Japanese. In addition, she is a certified Alexander Technique teacher who trained under Joan and Alexander Murray at the Urbana Center for the Alexander Technique. She recently published a book entitled Piercing the Structure of Tradition: Flute Performance, Continuity, and Freedom in the Music of Noh Drama (Cornell University Press, 2020). This first English-language monograph on the nohkan investigates flute performance in Noh as a space for exploring the relationship between tradition and innovation.
12.45 – 13.05 Maxwell Sly
A Presentations of Walking Rhythms in European Mime Theatre
The rhythm of a walk is the first indication of story, setting, time, and character within the world of mime-based-theatre. The rhythm of steps can signpost the most objective character information, such as the ground on which they walk, to the most subjective information, such as the social position of the character within their own world. The steps taken and the rhythmic patterns of a walk can also be read as stories within themselves, and by contrasting these rhythms we can give a chronological journey of emotions, experiences, and intentions. This presentation will example the foundational use of walking rhythms in mime-based-theatres; from the extremities of Commedia Dell’Arte, which push walking rhythms into the boundaries of stock characters and broad stroke performances, to the minutia of detail in the realistic walks of Lecoq’s mime theatre. Considering these as either end of a rhythmic spectrum, the presentation will reverse from the grand walks of Arlecchino, to the clown walks of John Wright, and finally to the detailed stories told within the rhythms of Maxwell Sly’s own mime walks.
Maxwell Sly is a mime-based movement practitioner currently based in Leeds. He trained in the practice of Physical Theatre at Drama St Mary’s in London, where he specialised in mime, clown and devising. During and since graduating he has gone on to work for companies across the UK and Europe, before setting up his own theatre company ‘The Ordinary People’ in 2017. The company focuses on creating puppet, mime and clown based interactive theatre, working both nationally and internationally with a particular focus on rural audiences. Maxwell Sly is currently reading for an MA Creative Practice at Leeds Arts University where he is researching the relationship between puppetry, mask, mime and the ordinary. He currently lectures in Movement Technique at Leeds Conservatoire.
13.10 – 13.40 Cass Fleming
Suzanne Bing: The Interior Rhythm and Musicality of Play
This paper addresses the work of Suzanne Bing in relation to the development of her methodology of embodied play that was inextricably bound to a specific development of inner rhythm and sense of musicality.
I have argued elsewhere (2013, 2014, 2018, 2020) that Bing’s technique was not simply about a use of games, but became a complex methodology of embodied play. Play is a fully embodied activity that enables body-mind integration, described by Caillois as a ‘total activity’ (1961: 175). Bing’s form of creative play was rooted in movement, but this was always inseparably connected to what she defined as ‘the inner feeing of rhythm’ and a specific form of ‘hidden musical feeling’ (Bing, JCA/KC/46, circa summer 1920:102). Bing sought to develop ‘the free improvisation created, suggested, by a child’s play (le jeu d’enfant)’ and ‘the interior music of this play, as one could put it’ (Bing in Copeau/Sicard 2000: 114).
This article considers the development of this radical approach by Bing, and a number of her female collaborators, and what this gave the actor, the play-enabler (teacher or director), and devised theatre-maker in the early decades of the twentieth century and continues to offer today.
Dr Cass Fleming is a director and a teacher of acting, directing and theatre making. She is the Co-Director of The Chekhov Collective and works with the department of Theatre and Performance at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her practice and research centres on the use of play in the actor training and theatre making processes developed by Suzanne Bing and Michael Chekhov and her PhD addressed this topic (2013). Her research into the work of Suzanne Bing began in 1998 and since that time she has shared her research through various outputs (1998, 2013, 2014) and in studio practice and public workshops (1998-ongoing). She has written an article on the work of Bing and her female collaborators ‘Playing outside the frame: revealing the hidden contributions of the women in the French tradition of actor training’ in Theatre, Dance and Performance Training (Routledge, 2020) and has also written a book section with Mark Evans on the director Jacques Copeau, and the contribution of Suzanne Bing to his practice, in The Great European Stage Directors, Vol. 3 (Bloomsbury, 2018). Cass also has a long-standing interest in developing non-canonical actor training genealogies and co-edited a special edition of the Theatre, Dance and Performance Training journal entitled ‘Against the Canon’ (11:3) with Mark Evans (Routledge, 2020) and co-wrote the editorial. Cass is also the Founder and Co-Director of The Chekhov Collective UK an organisation that fosters collaborative exchange between practitioners and practice-based researchers across arts disciplines and stages of their career that are drawing on Chekhov’s techniques in different ways. The Collective has run over 50 accessible practice research workshops, projects, talks and presentations. Cass was Co-Lead Researcher (with Dr Tom Cornford) on the long term, muti-institutional practice research project (2013-2016) that involved over 20 practitioners/researchers from different parts of the world that led to a book: Michael Chekhov in the Twenty-First Century: New Pathways, which she edited with Cornford (Bloomsbury, 2020). In 2020/2021 she is Scholar in Residence, with Dr Roanna Mitchell, at MICHA (Michael Chekhov Association) in the USA. Cass is also a Senior Associate of Michael Chekhov UK and a Director on the board of MICHA.
The Chekhov Collective: https://chekhovcollectiveuk.co.uk/
13.50 – 15.05 Juliet Chambers-Coe
How do we live together? How do we train together, but apart? An exploration of Laban’s Effort and Recovery as rhythms of exertion and recuperation for creative practice and wellbeing
This short workshop aims to offer actors and their teachers ways to explore personal and creative rhythms of Rudolf Laban’s Effort and Recovery which serve to expand the artist’s reach into life beyond the training studio and to harness their skills for effective and harmonic communication and wellbeing in their communities and in their creative work.
In this practice session, I draw on Rudolf Laban’s unpublished writings on Effort and Recovery (circa 1953) as a way to explore the rhythms we live in, interact with in our communities and with the environments in which we work and live. Effort and Recovery will also be explored as a route to fostering wellbeing for actors in training, especially during the restrictions placed upon them in the Covid19 UK lockdown. Whilst Laban’s Effort theory is well-known and used in practice in varying degrees in almost all UK drama training conservatoires, his theory of Effort and Recovery has received little to no attention.
I will approach this teaching demonstration in mixed modes of somatic movement practice, expressive movement-thinking, and methods of creative reflexivity (drawing, writing, speaking, listening, witnessing/observing) which focus on an approach to Laban’s Effort and Recovery based on material drawn directly from the Rudolf Laban Archive at the National Resource Centre for Dance at the University of Surrey. Participants in the studio as well as those participating remotely online will be asked to participate in the practice since the material being examined is of relevance for all – actors, teachers, movers, non-movers, performance practitioners of all kinds, and witness / observers.
Juliet Chambers-Coe (BA [hons]; MA; FHEA; GL-CMA) is a PhD researcher GSA at the University of Surrey. Juliet is Director of the Labanarium Resource and Network Centre (www.labanarium.com) and is Associate Artistic Director of The Makings of the Actor, an international practice research centre. She is movement for actors teacher at Rose Bruford College and Drama Studio London and her research focuses on the recuperation of the spiritual foundation in Laban’s work and its significance for contemporary actor training.
PART 4: ECOLOGY AND CONSCIOUSNESS
Saturday 16.00 – 20.20 (GMT+2)
16.05 – 16.35 Elvira Crois
Attending to Dissatunement: a Performer’s Craft in Participatory Performing Arts
What is it to occupy and move through zones of disattunement? Wandering between attunement and misattunement, I conceive of disattunement as a zone where individuals momentarily communicate at different frequencies. This paper discusses the craft of the performer in participatory practice in terms of engaging with this zone. I argue that the performer’s tactics are essential for the aesthetic of ‘audience participation’, which I consider the central medium of participatory performance. Not only the strategy of participation, devised by the theatre maker, but also how a performer moves the audience and moves along with them has a significant impact on how the medium of audience participation is negotiated and moulded into an aesthetic form. Through the work of theatre maker Sarah John (AU/DK) and performance artist Katrien Oosterlinck (BE) I demonstrate how tacit knowledge influences their attitudes towards and skills to guide an audience in participatory settings. I argue that when a performer has developed the capacity to oscillate with an audience in and out of attunement and is able to attend to them in disattunement, they will more easily be able to generate the aesthetic of audience participation that they desire to invoke.
Elvira Crois (1992) is a doctoral researcher in theatre studies at University of Antwerp and in educational sciences at Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium. Through a participatory approach, I carry out research into performer training for participatory performing arts in order to provide an analysis of an aesthetics of audience participation. The research is affiliated with the practices of Katrien Oosterlinck (BE), Sarah John (AU/DK) and Seppe Baeyens (BE). Before entering academia, Elvira worked as a socio-cultural worker at GC De Kriekelaar in Schaarbeek, Brussels. Since 2012 Elvira has been involved in several international theatre exchanges, most notably through an organising role in Apaya Network, a European network of young artists and researchers exploring the senses and interaction.
16.40- 17.10 Christopher J Staley
Asymptotic Time: Multipodal Rhythms in the Suzuki Method of Actor Training
This paper owes a great debt to Paul Allain’s longstanding studies of the Suzuki Company of Toga. Moreover, I incorporate ideas about “orbital pedagogy” relative to the work of Eilon Morris and his embodied approaches to polyrhythmic timespaces, or orbits. In doing so, I argue that these discourses ask of us to rethink the geographic scales – or rhythms – that such performance practices can utopically enact. I build off the idea of “antipodal reading” as explored by Gordon McMullan, Philip Mead, and others (Antipodal Shakespeare, 2018). I take literally the idea that our mappings of Suzuki’s cultural reach should begin with the feet. Beyond the post/colonial dichotomy of the antipode, however, I argue Suzuki’s plays and Method are exemplary of “multipodal performance.” This terminological intervention is not just a simplistic play on words with a change of prefix: rather, multi-podal – literally, many-footed – is an analytic that helps to re-read or re-map Suzuki’s overt globalism as seen, or felt, through his “Grammar of the Feet” (Culture is the Body). I incorporate and critique rhizomatic (Deleuze and Guattari) and actor-network (Latour) mapping strategies, and question how they might serve to define the intercultural processes that interweave together (Fischer-Lichte) into a kind of social fabric that Suzuki has referred to as a “Suzuki Culture.”
Christopher J Staley is an actor, director, and teaching artist. Currently a fourth year PhD Student at the University of Pittsburgh, his dissertation project, “What’s the Point? Multipodal Orbits in the Suzuki Method of Actor Training,” interweaves cognitive science, actor training pedagogy, psycholinguistics, and mobility studies. Forthcoming publication includes the chapter “Fear of Death and Lyrical Flight: Mortality Salience Mediation in Fun Home” (in Theatre and the Macabre, University of Wales Press). MFA in Acting from the American Repertory Theatre/Moscow Art Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University. B.S. in Theatre and Psychology from Skidmore College. Proud member of Actors’ Equity Association. Staley continues to train with Suzuki Tadashi and the Suzuki Company of Toga, SITI Company, and Theatre Nohgaku, and has trained multiple times with Pacific Performance Project and the Moscow Art Theatre, along with projects under Robert Wilson, John Tiffany, Janos Szasz, and others. Conference participation includes Association for Theatre in Higher Education, Mid-America Theatre Conference, Kristeva Circle, and the American Association for Teachers of Japanese (forthcoming).
17.15 – 17.45 Vanio Papadelli
Ripples, cliffs, spheres and strings: Applications of Laban’s effort phrasing
This paper intends to untangle how metaphorical and technical registers of language are combined in teaching Rudolf Laban’s effort phrasing including impulse, impact, continuous and rebound. These taxonomies are determined according to where the emphasis or accent is placed within a short movement phrase (Fernandes, 2015, pp. 176-177), which in turn marks how effort intensity is condensed and released. Impulse in particular will be questioned through multiple lenses and definitions, i.e. Post-Grotowskian terminology, notion of ‘nudging’ in dance, Lorna Marshall (2008) and imagery inspired by water and wind. Various ensemble and partnering ‘manipulation’ scores will be unpicked with regards to how more impact-like, percussive and assertive expressions can be trained – like sharp cliff drops. Continuous (even) will cover notions of spherical movement as proposed by Contact Improvisation; equanimity in yoga and Buddhist philosophy; cyclical dances; and inspiration from spirals and round shapes. Rebound will be associated with qualities of elasticity, buoyancy and tensegrity that can be found in the human skin and fascial tissues and can be sustained through images of strings, hammocks, or membranous webs. By extending beyond Laban’s definitions into the fields of Post-Grotowskian training, Skinner releasing dance, yoga, outdoors movement practice and Contact Improvisation, I will discuss how such rhythmic qualities are perceived as ‘immersive’ flow states through imagery that aligns with the human body’s inner rhythms and ‘punctuation’ found in nature.
Vanio Papadelli is a London-based independent movement and performance artist. She teaches movement, body-based composition, ensemble theatre and embodied approaches to writing as a regular lecturer in various HE Institutions (Goldsmiths, Rose Bruford College and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance). Her practice merges elements from yoga, Laban/Bartenieff fundamentals, somatic movement, Contact Improvisation, Eastern European Laboratory theatre and dance-theatre. She holds a Practice-based PhD in movement training for theatre performers (Goldsmiths/Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, 2013).
Vanio works as a freelance performer, maker, workshop facilitator and event organiser. Her performances deal with memory, intimacy and vulnerability and have travelled to Greece, the UK, Germany, Egypt and Lebanon. She also collaborates and performs with an eclectic mix of theatre and dance practitioners (Song of the Goat, Angela Woodhouse, aswespeakproject, Alex Crowe, Nesreen Nabil Hussein). Since 2013, Vanio has been developing with Tania Batzoglou the interdisciplinary life-long performance ritual CANDID, that explores female friendships as they evolve over time and repeats itself at least once a year in different iterations – including live performance, installation and film.
17.55 – 18.25 Sinéad O’Connor, Mia DiChiaro and Katherine Hall
Plant dramas – A day in the life of the in-hail and ex-hail of home bound women and plants
Attenuating from our environmental agentic poetics in “human body-plant pot experiment 1” as part of the “Laban for Actors and in Acting” phase, we turn with the impromptu raising of a Laban plant kinesphere drawing that was offered to us as conference feedback. We are curious about how human states are hailed in Laban’s movement analysis? At a time of escalating climatic and earth rhythmic asymmetries, we would like to explore our capacity to modulate caring rhythms via the plant kinesphere.
Our presentation will reveal what unfolds as we circadia into a second iteration – oscillating a third wave of homebound, sensing our bodies stripped back to plant tipping points, whilst concerting wider climate change and ecological dramas that spasm efforts to move and flow innately. The notion of a 24 hour experiment will see us as three female movers, each sensing biological access to a plant contraction, nesting our activities via embodied line drawings. The collective linear outputs will be discussed as divergent elements of flow entanglements, ethics of care, womanhood and domesticity- not as a means to “revisit” known constraints—but as potential phloem material for synchronizing our innate place in nature, and our capacity for empathy with ecosystemic flux itself.
Dr Sinéad O’Connor is a lecturer (Open University) and independent researcher in environmental management, sustainable trails (including walking practice) and transdisciplinary methodologies. As a facilitator, she has trained as an artist, Sufi-whirler and Kunda-dancer. Her intervention work creates space for communities to re-imagine and re-engage in sustainable decision-making processes. This ranges from visioning and behavioural change dialogue with UNFCCC staff, environmental designers in Schumacher College and professional Commonwealth Students in Kenya and Uganda, through to serving as national development officer in the launch of the Countryside Recreation Council in Ireland – for sustainable use of the Irish trail landscape, amid a legacy of conflicting land access rights and user responsibilities. Presently, she is bringing her experience into a specific body-landscape collective experience, as a gardener and accredited facilitator of social and therapeutic horticulture in a victorian walled garden.
Mia DiChiaro (she/her) is a contemporary dancer and artivist whose ideas circulate around joyful embodiment, climate justice, and participatory art. Originally from New York, she holds an interdisciplinary B.A. in ‘Performance and Arts Activism’ from New York University and after relocating to Ireland, received a First-class Honours M.A. in ‘Contemporary Dance Performance’ from University of Limerick (2019) under the direction of Dr. Jenny Roche. From there, she performed choreography by Liz Roche, Jack Webb, Ursula Robb, Paul White, Dina Abu Hamdan, Theo Clinkard, and her own site-specific work. Her passion for making dance accessible to broader audiences has led to work with non-professional dancers and she is currently training with Mark Morris Dance Group to be a Dance for PD (Parkinsons) teacher— experiencing firsthand how dance breaks isolation, sparks creativity, allows us to tell stories, and unites through joy. In 2020, she began developing embodied environmental research with support by Dance Ireland’s Emerging Artist HATCH Award alongside fellow eco-mobilizer Dr. Sinead O’Connor.
Katherine Hall is a dancer, choreographer and independent producer based in Bristol. Most notable in her process to date has been her work that led to Movements of Care, a book that invites the reader to think about their idea of care, to notice the shifting of power in caring relations and to notice how they choreograph care in their daily life. The book was created alongside the making of a solo dance performance, You sit there which has been performed at afon Festival, Exeter Phoenix, Chisenhale Dance Space, Attenborough Arts Centre and Dance4. Since graduating in 2014 from De Montfort University with a BA Hons Dance and Masters in Performance Practices, Katherine has been creating choreographic works that explore connections between the movement of people in different forms of live performance, workshops and writing. Katherine has worked as a dance performer with various choreographers including Jo Fong, Jo Bannon, Priya Mistry and Rosemary Lee. She is currently working as a lead dancer for Move Dance Feel, delivering dance sessions for women affected by cancer. Alongside Laila Diallo and Lisa May Thomas, Katherine is co-leading GATHER UP, an artist-led programme for professional dancers in Bristol. She is a recipient of the 2019 fellowship with Action Hero, and a proud member of INTERVAL, an artist-led support network in Bristol.
18.30 – 19.00 Andromachi Salacha
Timing and Concepts of Rhythm in Human Systems Organisation
Timing and rhythm are experienced subjectively. “Time emerges in the brain, but there is no evidence that subjective time as a whole runs in a slow or a fast motion during different events,” (Eagleman). Rather, it is our own recollection of the event that makes it appear longer.
Timing and rhythm, is categorically amodal information, (like synchrony, tempo and intensity) detected in all sense modalities. When amodal information is being perceived though two or more sensory channels simultaneously, a match might be made supporting the unification of both streams of information into a seamless whole” (Bahrick & Lickliter, 2004). A “Supramodal perception (Nikbakht, 2018), the abstract multimodal association objects.
Etymologically, ‘rhythm’ from ‘rhein’ (ρέω), meaning ‘to flow’ ‘rhythmos’, was initially used to describe a specific category of form or ‘schema’ (‘σχήμα’) more transient than a fixed or static form (Eilon Morris, 2017). Rrhythm characterizes dynamic physical systems, i.e, systems with changing behavior in time. We humans, are unique in that we can change purposefully our rhythms by seeking novelty (David Eagelman), so that we don’t react reflexively, but have choices of action, praxis and poiesis. Quoting our mentor and philosopher St. Ramfos: ‘Timing is the purpose of our kinesis. Living time differently, means differently living in the world. Creation, is time otherwise.”
Andromachi Salacha holds a medical degree from Medical School of Patras University. She is currently working as a Rehabilitation Physician at General Hospital of Elefsis «THIRIASIO» in Athens, Greece. As a Rehab physician Andromachi’s interests through these years followed her work at Electrophysiology Studies of Peripheral nerves, pain and spasticity. Currently, since 2008, after attending the two years course of “European Master in Stroke” at Krems, Austria, she focused on therapeutic movement in rehabilitation after Nervous System lesions. More precisely, she is interested in the development of a theoretically embedded systematic articulation of approaching methods, procedures and techniques of human organism movement and action, in order to facilitate an effective, scientifically grounded therapeutic movement algorithm approach. So, this paper is part of a project of her own systematic study of neuroscience evidence along with continuous philosophical studies for the last eleven years now. It is a time consuming, hard and ever-evolving process, which apart from the ongoing pleasures and the joy of the new knowledge, has totally reformed the way she perceives and articulates and models her everyday practice in rehab therapeutics.
19.05 – 19.35 Steve Donnelly
Rhythm Beyond the Studio – Rhythms, Training and Social Justice
Following John Mathews’ conception of performance training as a meta-disciplinary tool (2011), this paper will act as a playful provocation to reflect on the relevance of our approaches and conceptions of Rhythm to the task of creating a more equitable world, our willingness to apply our experiences and skills to provide appropriate accompaniments to our peers, communities and equity seeking groups – to engender change that is as pervasive and transformative as the pandemic itself.
Shunning the privilege of returning to the relative comfort and safety of the rehearsal space to explore, compose, and improvise through rhythm, we have a unique opportunity to learn from the porousness of the pandemic, and the global communities’ ability to improvise new, radical life-spaces into being. How might we encourage a ‘more immediate and playful relationship with rhythm’ (Morris 235) beyond the confines of the studio, to provide accompaniment to equity seeking peers, communities, and social movements? And how do we collaborate within our newly forged public spheres to support sustainable social change, using the pan-cultural experience and entrainment to rhythm to develop practices beyond the limited performance-ecologies of our own disciplines (Mathews 176)?
Steve Donnelly’s work explores and combines his interests in improvised play, performance studies, contemporary and historical uses of social space, popular culture, belief, and the commons.
Originally training as a devising performer, Steve’s work has grown to incorporate divergent approaches to exploring public space and the commons, including; devising, producing, and performing live art; touring site-responsive theatre and pervasive games; and organising grass-root campaigns and community spaces.
Through playful research, interactive performance, place-making, and protest, Steve has collaborated with diverse audiences, communities and creative partners throughout the UK.His research interests include Infinite Play as Improvisation; critical walking, psychogeography, and vernacular speculative practices; and the use of humor in art.
Steve is a Graduate Student in Critical Studies in Improvisation at University of Guelph, Ontario.
19.35 – 20.05 All presenters and Attendees
Performance 20.05 – 20.20
Sunday 28thMarch 202
PART 5: WORDS, TEXT, MEANING AND FORM
11.30 – 15.05 (GMT+2)
11.30 – 12.00 Christina Fulcher
Inclusive Yoga Flow meets Inner Rhythm
This work demonstration will present and focus on a selection of specific exercises within yoga practice in actor training. This work demonstration is a snapshot into my practice as a movement practitioner andyoga teacher. This 20-minute demonstration will be run live with one of my students, an actor in training, working through reflection, meditation, and specific part of the yoga flow. My movement practice and teaching will look at the intersection of yoga with actor training a way into self, practice, and moving freely to find the inner rhythm to propel the actor to the next posture. In examining through the lens of inclusive practice with the social model of disability for the actor in training to access the practice from and with their body. Reflective practice will be a part of the demonstration as a check-in and out tool through the lens of ‘your body is not an apology’ (Sonya Renee Taylor) and ‘belonging’ (Brene Brown research). I will examine the principle of prana as a form of ‘vital energy’ as discussed by Eilon Morris (2017) in chapter three of his book. As Morris identifies, prana was an aspect of yoga adopted by Stanislavski, seen to be generated by a performer’s inner rhythm and could be directed into the space around the performer in the form of pranic rays’ (2017, p. 51). In developing curriculum for actors in training so the actor can develop their yoga practice and then take away so this ‘vital energy’ to developed, fostered, grow, and shine out when performing. This demonstration will be followed by a brief discussion of the use of these exercises and principles in actor training, as well as time for questions and reflections from other participants.
Christina Fulcher is a London based yoga teacher, movement director, choreographer and lecturer who makes work across theatre, opera, dance, musical theatre and new writing with experience in delivering programmes in nationally and internationally. She is the Co-Founder of Inclusion Collective, and recipient of research grant from Society for Dance Research with collaborator Ruth Anna Phillips. She trained at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama with MFA Movement Directing and Teaching. Credits as Movement Director include: WHEN WE DIED, STAGES and DON’T TALK TO STRANGERS (Vault Festival); INTO THE WOODS and COMPANY (RCCSD); CUNNING LITTLE VIXEN (Royal Academy Opera); THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA (Trinity Laban Conservatoire). Associate/Assistant Movement Director credits include: Olivier Award Winning EMILIA (Vaudeville Theatre, West End); OUR HOUSE IS YOUR HOME (Royal Opera House, Open Up Festival); BEYOND THE DEEPENING SHADOW (Tower of London);WASTED (Southwark Playhouse).
https://linktr.ee/fulchermovement | @FulcherMovement
12.05 – 13.00 Zoe Katsilerou (guest artist)
Is it slowing down?
– shifting tempos
– attention on what is and isn’t
Deep listening – balance between listening and responding –
Imagining as doing
Doing – being
Exploring thresholds between movement and stillness, sound and silence
Altering qualities of attention and deepening/expanding my listening have been central to my training, teaching and performance practices over the last few months. Working with the body and the voice, I have consciously focused on doing less, notice and listen more as a way of shifting habitual training and making tempos, as well as offering myself and my students alternative thinking and learning environments.
How is my performance practice altered through shifting the tempo and attention of my training? Where is the threshold between words and silence? Movement and stillness?
The more I practice, the more I ask. The more I ask, the more words fail me. Yet, a clearer, stronger connection between my words and my body emerges. One that feels different. In the thresholds I find clearer listening and there my imagination flourishes. This deep listening and imagining, have created a new perception of learning, tuning in and growing my artistic practice, which counter (and complement) established skill-based practices, and raise questions around the significance of shifting tempos.
This moving paper will offer an insight into the beginnings of this research. Through a phenomenological listening, I will invite you to ask with me, to do and not do with me, to listen and to imagine.
Zoe Katsilerou is a performer and maker with background in dance-theatre, devised theatre, voice coaching, polyphonic song and improvisation. Her research and work specialise on relationships between the moving body and voice, with a particular interest in the entanglement of choreography and language. Originally from Greece, she is currently based in the UK and works with theatre companies and institutions in England, Scotland, Holland and Greece. Zoe is an associate artist with SBC Theatre and Sura Medura, member of Vonnegut Collective, The Work Room (Independent Dance Organisation), and a co-founder of international improvisation collective ICEBERG. Her work includes dance-theatre duets, screen-dance projects, theatre pieces and song/music videos. Zoe is currently a Senior Lecturer in Performing Arts at Leeds School of Arts (Leeds Beckett University) and has been a visiting lecturer at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, University of Glasgow, University of Arnhem, Rose Bruford College, University of Huddersfield and Oldham University. Zoe has also taught in organisation such as DUENDE School of Ensemble Physical Theatre and Animikii Theatre. Her research includes:“What lies beneath language?” (2016) University of Glasgow and “In between the harmonies” (2020) Spheres of Singing – University of Glasgow
13.05 – 13.30 Nathan Thomas
Rhythms of language, character change, and episodes
Rhythm in art is the perception of the relationship of constituent part to part and part to whole in the work of art. This presentation will include an investigation of three rhythmic strata in theatrical art: the rhythms of language, character change, and episodes. The presentation relies upon research and analogues in musicology, linguistics, and neuropsychology. Practical examples from Pinter’s Landscape and Feydeau’s A Flea in Her Ear, as well as other plays, illustrate the process of analysis.
Nathan Thomas serves as program director for Alvernia University Theatre. His background includes extensive work as a professional actor and director as well as international study. As an actor, Nathan has given more than 500 performances in national tours of such plays as: “Barefoot in the Park”, “I Ought To Be In Pictures”, “Same Time, Next Year”, “Chapter Two”, “Plaza Suite”, “Educating Rita”. He also performed with the National Theatre for Children. As a director, Nathan has mounted a variety of plays and musicals and worked as Artistic Director of Repertory Theatre of America. One of Nathan’s specialty areas is Russian theatre history. He studied at the Vakhtangov Theatre in Moscow under Arkady Katz, People’s Artist of the Soviet Union. Nathan has taught at the University of Central Oklahoma, the University of Iowa, Michigan State University, and Centenary College of Louisiana. Currently, Professor Thomas enjoys being a company member of the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company — an innovative, professional company based in Baltimore. With CSC Thomas has played Prospero (Tempest), Dogberry (Much Ado About Nothing), Peter Quince (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and Argan (The Imaginary Invalid).
13.45 – 14.05 Andy Cryer
Discovering and Exploring the Rhythms in Shakespeare’s Verse
Although the heartbeat of Shakespeare’s verse is iambic pentameter, like any great artist he set the rules to break them.
There are many other rhythms and choices to be discovered within Shakespeare’s verse.
Through a selection of exercises, we will discover where these choices and different rhythms may be.
Shakespeare was an actor as well as one of our greatest playwrights – he truly wrote plays ‘right’ and I believe through taking the time to examine the structure and choices of his verse, he is giving us the actor the clues and choices we need to speak his lines and play his characters.
In this work demonstration, actor and director, Andy Cryer will share some initial steps taken with students new to the Bard’s work, but which can also be used as a springboard for the actor approaching a new play or character.
Andy Cryer is from Scarborough, North Yorkshire. He studied at Harrogate College of Arts and Guildhall School of Music & Drama. He was one of the founding teachers of the Actors Workshop in Bristol where he still tutors regularly as well being a senior lecturer at Leeds Conservatoire. He has been a professional Actor for over 30 years, performing seasons for the RSC, The Globe, National Theatre, Royal Court & the country’s leading Repertory Theatres. He has worked regularly in Film, TV & Radio. Andy has been associated with Northern Broadsides Theatre Company for most of their 25 Year history. Starting as a young actor playing the role of Puck in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, to becoming an Associate Artist & working as Assistant Director alongside Barrie Rutter (founder & Artistic Director) and with Conrad Nelson (Associate Director). Andy was part of the company’s award-winning production of ‘Othello’. A joint production with the West Yorkshire Playhouse, starring Lenny Henry in the title role. The production toured nationally before transferring to the West End. Other career highlights include playing the role of Eric Morecambe in the National tour of the Olivier award winning best comedy ‘The Play What I Wrote’. Playing Caesar in ‘Antony & Cleopatra’ at the International Theatre of Ideas in the USA, as well as a Royal Performance of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ in Thailand. Andy has worked regularly at his hometown theatre in Scarborough, The Stephen Joseph Theatre. He has been part of Sir Alan Ayckbourn’s Company performing in Alan’s revivals of ‘Season’s Greetings’ & ‘Henceforward’ and the World Premieres of ‘The Karaoke Theatre Company’, ‘Consuming Passions’ & ‘The Divide’.
14.10 – 14.40 Kate and Oliviero Papi: OBRA Theatre Co (guest artists)
Methodologies of language and physicality in relation to rhythm
Kate and Oliviero Papi, co-founders of OBRA theatre and the Au Brana Centre for artistic practices, propose a detailed discourse regarding OBRA’s methodologies of working with language and physicality in relation to rhythm. Kate and Oliviero will present an overview of the research and approaches engaged in by the company over the last 15 years with a greater focus upon their most recent creative process developed for the production Ibidem. In chapter 14 of Eilon’s book, Kate outlines the technical approach the company developed in relation to work with two very different pieces of written language, that of discourse and poetic prose. For the purposes of the conference they propose to share where their current research has developed, in relation to language sourced from interview, verbatim and their original writing.
The lecture will focus upon how the company harness the rhythmic qualities innate in verbatim language and the musicality and rhythmicity of multi-lingual speech in their performance. They will give specific examples of how this has manifested and the stages taken throughout their process. The pair will then be available for discussion and questions with conference participants.
OBRA is an international ensemble of artists based in S.W. France. The company devise multi-disciplinary performances, films and socio-cultural projects on a local, national and international level. OBRA’s practice is founded in an ongoing and extensive research into the relationship between the physical life of the performer and language. The work created is shared through live performance, exhibitions, audio creations, films and pedagogical projects.
OBRA’s physical work is rigorous and dynamic and the company devise new approaches to developing physical actions through ongoing research into performance practice and through collaboration. OBRA’s work is at the threshold between theatre and dance and members lead the technical training for performers through workshops for professionals and students at the company’s residential centre, Au Brana and as guest practitioners in schools and universities.
14.45 – 15.05 Judith Adams and Karen Christopher
The lost art of losing our way/A message not delivered through words
This 12-minute audio presentation contains texts written and spoken by Judith Adams and Karen Christopher. Interviews with each of these practitioners feature in the book Rhythm in Acting and Performance within the chapter “Creating Spaces”. As a response to this chapter each has contributed a short piece of recorded text, with spaces. These two recordings will be presented here simultaneously, at times creating dialogue, cacophony, silence, between two autonomous voices.
Karen Christopher is a collaborative performance maker, performer and teacher. Her company, Haranczak/Navarre Performance Projects, is engaged in creating a series of duet performances, each jointly made, directed and performed by Karen and another artist. She was a member of Chicago-based Goat Island performance group for 20 years until the group disbanded in 2009. She now lives in the UK, working to refine a practice which continues in a collaborative mode. Her focus is on artistic negotiation in the making process and finding non-traditional structures for working and composing live performance works. She is listening for the unnoticed, the almost invisible, and the very quiet. She is paying attention as a practice of social cooperation. Her essays on performance and related topics have appeared in ‘TDR’, ‘Frakcija’, ‘Theatre, Dance, and Performance Training’, ‘Green Letters’, and in Small Acts of Repair: Performance, Ecology and Goat Island (Routledge), DIY and DIY too (University of Chichester), Imagined Theatres: Writing for a theoretical stage (Routledge); The Creative Critic: Writing as/about practice (Routledge) and The Routledge Companion to Performance Philosophy (Routledge). Forthcoming: co-edited with Mary Paterson, Entanglements of Two: A Series of Duets is a book of essays extending ideas from her performance duets focused on the form and practice of working in pairs.
Judith Adams read English at Cambridge and trained as drama teacher at Bretton Hall, West Yorkshire. First Education Officer, Brontë Parsonage Museum, working with University of Leeds and local schools. 1999-present: award-winning playwright & dramatist for theatre, visual arts & BBC R3/4/4E. Over 40 scripts include original plays The Bone Room (Young Vic), Burdalane (Battersea Festival and R4 Monday Play) Sweet Fanny Adams in Eden (Edinburgh Festival / Pitlochry Gardens with 59 Productions and Stellar Quines) and Arashi no Ie / Stormy House/嵐の家, 2017-2021 project first performed at Brontê Parsonage Museum. Writer in Residence, Sheffield Theatres & University of Sheffield. University of Huddersfield teaching on MA Writing for Performance course. Recent: Earthsea & Left Hand of Darkness (BBC R4/4E) based on 7 books by Ursula Le Guin. (‘She’s just about unerring’ Ursula le Guin, 2016), audio published Penguin 2016-17. ‘Drift’ (Vision Mechanics): song cycle touring outdoor beach installation in Scotland and Norway. Concert version Tron Theatre, Glasgow. Project scenarios for 59 Productions include The Baroque Story (video/sound installation) and Rewind 500, both for Hampton Court Palace and Shakespeare All Around Us (Shakespeare Birthplace Trust). Co-founder and co-director of Whitestone Arts with 59 Productions, to explore cross-art form, collaborative projects, host community workshops and support emerging artists in the north
PART 6: TECHNOLOGY AND CONTEMPORARY RHYTHMS
16.00 – 20.30(GMT+2)
16.05 – 16.45 Paul Allain
Moving times: rhythm live and on screen
Polish group Gardzienice Theatre Association was one of the key prompts for Janet Goodridge to write her seminal work on rhythm and timing in performance. Whilst some of Gardzienice’s pieces still stand as rhythmical masterpieces, times have changed, and aspects of director Włodzimierz Staniewski’s process are now seriously questioned. Even Jerzy Grotowski, with whom Staniewski previously collaborated, required an extended passage of time to understand what he had himself created: ‘And now when I look at these old materials, I see that they are sung.’ Rhythm, music and song have been a constant thread in ‘anthropological theatre’, specifically the Polish variant, drawing from rural cultures. Departing from song, these explorations extended into ways of moving, scenography and dramaturgy, impacting even on the temporality of training, rehearsals and performance presentations.
Anthropological theatre looked back to progress forward. That rural culture may be no more, but time still moves on. Whilst such rhythmical explorations in live performance might help create in the spectator Vsevelod Meyerhold’s ‘excitation’, can such dynamics be experienced on screen? Does it have an equivalence? And if so, how does it operate temporally? Paul will discuss how his project ‘Physical Actor Training – an online A-Z’, a collection of 66 films created pre-COVID-19, attempted to understand attention spans, digital embodiment, the shift from live to recorded practice and other aspects of participant, presenter and viewer rhythms. He also wonders if the A-Z was prescient, or just a next natural step.
As time moves on, these are moving times indeed. With so many of us now unable to travel or move freely and with our sense of time radically altered as we increasingly live online, Paul will strive to understand the movement of time as it moves in us today.
The presentation will be supported by short film extracts including from Allain’s own A-Z.
Paul Allain has been Professor of Theatre and Performance since 2003 and Dean of the Graduate and Researcher College at the University of Kent, Canterbury, UK since 2016. He collaborated with the Gardzienice Theatre Association of Poland from 1989 to 1993, leading to his book Gardzienice: Polish Theatre in Transition (1997). His book The Art of Stillness: The Theatre Practice of Tadashi Suzuki was published by Methuen (2002) and Palgrave Macmillan, USA (2003). Routledge published his Companion to Theatre and Performance, co-written with Jen Harvie, in early 2006 (second edition, 2014). Paul’s research has focused on actor training and Polish theatre, particularly the legacy of Jerzy Grotowski through the AHRC-funded British Grotowski Project. This culminated in an international conference and a series of publications, including Ludwik Flaszen’s Grotowski and Company (as editor) and Zbigniew Cynkutis’s Acting with Grotowski (Routledge, 2015). In 2009 he received an award for services to Polish culture from the Polish government. In 2015 he was appointed Research Mentor for the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama for 4 years. His most recent project was for Methuen Drama Bloomsbury’s Drama Online platform, titled ‘Physical Actor Training – an online A-Z’. It contains over 50 films of training and is supported by the Open Access website The Digital Performer.
16.50- 17.05 Stephanie Arsoska
Shifts in Time: Training the Digital Ensemble
Third Thread is a Dundee based theatre company with an on-going commitment to the exploration of ensemble theatre practice. Open to dancers, actors, musicians and artists aged 18-25 the ensemble both regularly trains and performs together. Prior to lockdown, the training we engaged in was very dependent on durational practices with exercises normally lasting forty minutes to an hour. In keeping with the work of Theatre Research Workshop the purpose of these exercises was “the sustaining of attention and action over extended periods of time” (Morris, p.117, 2017.)
Lockdown raised important questions for us about how we could sustain a sense of shared training in ways that did not require long periods online. Had the reliance on longer processes become habitual tool of our training together? Was the assumption that long, shared practices were essential to sustaining a sense of ensemble accurate, or could other ways of continuing to train together yield useful results?
In this short filmed discussion of practice I will explore our move from durational training exercises towards micro-practices of two to five minutes, as a way of sustaining a shared training in a digital format.
Stephanie Arsoska is a performer, maker and facilitator from Kirriemuir, Scotland. She trained as an actor with Cygnet Theatre Company and completed a post-graduate in physical theatre with Jasmin Vardimon at Royal Holloway University. She has a degree in Drama, Applied Theatre and Education from the Central School of Speech and Drama and a Masters in Teaching and Learning in the Performing Arts from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She is Artistic Director of Third Thread, a Dundee based theatre company, and currently lectures in performing arts for Dundee and Angus College, Rose Bruford and Queen Margaret University.
17.10 – 17.40 Konstantinos Bakogiannis and Anastasia Georgaki (guest artist)
The development of a model enabling dance and music interaction with the use of machine learning techniques
Technology can retransform the dialogue between dance and music, providing new creative perspectives. In this work we present the design and development of an interactive model which composes in real time automated, structurally related to dance, music. A sensor provides the model with data of human motion (input), which are used to gather information regarding motion parameters (e.g., relative distance, speed, direction of movement etc.). The model, trained with a real dataset of human motions and by machine learning techniques, becomes capable of recognizing these parameters. Then, the motion parameters are mapped to sonic parameters (e.g., pitch, duration, audio samples, filters etc.), aiming to create an interactive dance performance.
Dr Konstantinos Bakogiannis is a researcher in the field of sound and music computing. He received the B.S. degree in electrical and computer engineering from the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), Greece, the B.S. degree in musicology from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA), Greece and the PhD degree in the field of music informatics from the school of Electrical and Computer Engineering (NTUA), Greece. He is a classical-trained musician, holding degrees in piano performance, classical music theory and composition issued by the Greek Ministry of Culture. He is currently a Research Fellow with the Department of Informatics and Telecommunications, NKUA. His research interests include computational musicology, computer music, interactive dance and physical modelling of musical instruments. Besides research, he is an active musician and music composer for performing arts and contemporary dance.
18.00 – 19.30 Olu Taiwo
Urban Butoh – Dancing to the melody and rhythm of thought
A performance philosophy in an age of digital acceleration
This workshop demonstration will introduce participants to the concept of Urban Butoh as a performance praxis, where the nature of deceleration, with regards to performative actions, can be considered progress, when we consider the rhythms and melodies of our internal thinking processes.
Urban Butoh facilitates, a process of critical reflexivity, while we are both in the flux of movement and being cognisant that we are living in an age of digital acceleration at this current phase in the Anthropocene.
An important implication concerning this praxis, is learning to give ourselves permission to take back ownership concerning our personal narratives and discourses by engaging in post-traditional research, vis-à-vis knowledge systems not included in dominant westernised academic or artistic cannons; thereby enabling a process of researching untold stories, melodies and rhythms, to re-evaluate the effects of the dominant cultural assumptions that underpin the current state of the Anthropocene.
We will unpack some transcultural aspects with regards to ‘being’ and ‘practice’ as well as hybridised rhythms that transcend their original heritages. The idea is to reflect on the dynamic rhythms that supports personal efforts through the holistic paths of our limbs in dramaturgical space, with respect to our specific socio-cultural context.
Dr Olu Taiwo teaches in Acting, immersive and digital performance as well as physical theatre at the University of Winchester. He has a background in Fine Art, Street Dance, African percussion, physical theatre, martial arts, T’ai Chi Ch’uan and Animal spirit movement. He’s performed in national and international contexts pioneering concepts surrounding practice as research. This includes how practice can explore the relationships between ‘effort’, ‘performance’ and ‘performative actions’. Consequently, his aim is to propagate issues concerning the interaction between the body, identity, audience, street and technology in the digital age. His interests include: Visual design, Movement, Theatre, Street Arts, New technology, Trans-cultural studies, Geometry, and Philosophy. He is currently finishing a Spoken word tour with double Grammy award winning percussionist Lekan Babalola and his Jazz ensemble. He is currently Director of Transcultural studied as part of the newly created institute of the Making of the Actor based in Athens. His publications range from, The Return Beat in Wood (Ed.): The Virtual Embodied. Routledge. Music, Art and Movement among the Yoruba: in Harvey (Ed.): Indigenous Religions Cassell (2000), to Art as Eudaimonia: Embodied identities and the Return beat in Susan Broadhurst and Josephine Machon (ed.), Identity, performance and technology: practices of empowerment, embodiment and technicity. Palgrave Macmillan (2012).
19.35-19.55 Judita Vivas
Inner Rhythms of the Digitised Performer
I would like to share a pre-filmed performative meditation that reflects on the inner rhythms of the performer at work, and how these rhythms change when, as a performer, I transition from my daily to extra-daily and now also to a digitised presence. What transformations occur just before and during training, creative exploration/devising, improvisation and in performance? My belief is that our sense of, ability to listen to and even manipulate rhythm play a key role here.
I will attempt to make sense of our current situation. For nearly a year, most of us have not been able to train and teach in studios or perform in theatres or other performance spaces. Instead, we transferred practical courses online and began streaming virtual performances. I will ask if and how our internal perception of rhythm changes when creative processes become digitised.
Judita Vivas is an independent performer, physical theatre artist and educator. She is Founder and Co-Director of a theatre company Foxtale Ensemble and Associate Artist of an international collaboration of performance artists DUENDE. Judita trained in the UK, Malta and Greece, and for the past 10 years has worked on performance projects and interdisciplinary collaborations in the UK and Europe. She has a PhD from the University of Kent and regularly leads physical theatre sessions and communication masterclasses for actors and non-actors.
Closing Remarks and Reflections
20.00– 20.30 All presenters and Attendees
For info and bookings please email: email@example.com
Attendants fees: 75€
Student & unwaged fees: 50€