How to use a dance performance as a source for poetical observations and insights?
The idea of this orientation is to suggest tools for observing the performance consciously. It means active inner participation through the act of observation, thinking, and if you wish, note making.
I think that the acts of thinking and observing in themselves (also) without goals are important. Not everything needs to be useful immediately or prominently or at all. Thinking, observing and note making are already acts. They can be clearly articulated or they can move in a boundariless humming area. Not all writing needs to have a clear purpose or use outside of itself. Those can also be found later.
The ability to focus the attention: to surrender, to have an inner dialog, porousness, to undress assumptions. The skill of exclusion: note making requires concentration, while writing your notes exclude the surroundings, let it become background noise. Accept that you miss something while writing.
It doesen’t matter if your notes are related to the actual piece or to some other things that came to your mind. Your innerness is anyway part of the performance. This is not about accomplishing something but about being with the piece and yourself.
Make notes generated by the stream of thoughts, observations and associations during the performance and after it. You can also just think about these. (But I encourage to make notes because your experience becomes more visible to yourself this way. The immaterial stream also vanihses and passes out of mind easily.) You can choose to concentrate on either one or several aspects.
Your notes can be poetic, outspoken, contemplative, in vain, concrete, philosophical etc. You can continue writing on other side of the paper. You can also draw.
Some typical means of poetry:
- uncommon associations, words, connection between verses
- the meaning can stay open, ambiguous, contradictory, impossible to give
- multiplicity of the forms: prose poem, verse poem, aphorism-style poem, poetry prose fragment, essay poem, visual poem
- fast transitions, compact expression
- repetition, multi-layerd
- to simplify, to complicate
- History: Does something in the piece bring to your mind a detail from you private history or the collective history?
- Source for art: If your task were to write a play, for example a relationshio drama, on the basis of this performance, what would your notes be?
- Deviation/breaking down: Does something arrest your flow of experience? Does the piece break down at some point? Grasp it. What menings and interpretations do you give to it? Where does it lead?
- Reflection of the inner landscape: What if the performance were a reflection of your own
consciousness or inner landscape or dream? What does the performance tell about ourself?
- Taste: If the piece would have a taste, what would it be? Does something in the space and in the performance bring a certain taste? Where does it lead to think about the taste?
- ”Manual”/guidelines for future: If you had to compile for yourself a list of guidelines for future on the basis of this work, what would your notes be?
- Quality of the movements: What kind of qualities of movements do you observe and how would
you describe them? What do they inform to you? How does the movement feel in your body?
- Give yourself a task: If all the aspects mentioned here feel familiar, try to figure out what are your usual orientations and challenge yourself to figure out somehow new spectator position. How is it and what it generates?
By poet and prosaist Maria Matinmikko. These materials have been created especially to Forecasting by Giuseppe Chico & Barbara Matijević, but you are free to use these principles also for other performances.