Below I will present how I adapted my research and various choreographic methods, which I used during phase 2 of my research. Notably, most of the described practices and tools emerged during the lockdown period caused by the coronavirus pandemic and are therefore developed in order for my dancers to keep two meters apart. Most of the practices described emerged while my collaborators and I couldn’t physically meet in a studio and developed as practices at home.

They will give an insight into how we shifted our practice to accommodate the new government guidelines, while still focusing on touch and closer proximities as a tool for connection. 

For all tasks and improvisations we used the memory image to recall and recreate past events and experiences. As some of the performers have never been in actual physical contact before they had to also access the imagination image, which is created from something that has not had an experience beforehand (Udow, 2004). Through associations, they had to imagine what it might be like to touch that person.

I invite you to read through the following tasks or to take some time to do them yourself at home.

When preparing for each task at home, please make sure that you have enough space to move in without any hazards.

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The sensation of your room:

 

Experience your home through the use of touch and senses differently in order to become more aware of your surroundings. Touch, here is a way to explore, receive and discover new information.

 

Score 1:

 

  1. Choose a room in your flat/house that you enjoy being in the most

  2. Sit down somewhere in this room and close your eyes

  3. Listen to what sounds you can hear close to you and which ones are further away

  4. Start to feel the area around you with your hands 

  5. Continue exploring the whole space while having the eyes closed. What textures can you feel? What is the temperature like? What surfaces are around  you?

  6. Start including your other body parts to feel and explore the space. How does a surface feel when touching it with your face or feet?

  7. Make a journey around the space, finding nieces and gaps your body might fit  in.

  8. Choose to rest whenever you feel like it. While resting realise what body parts are in contact with another surface.

  9. Find a place in the room that you enjoy to rest in for a longer while

  10. Map your journey with your eyes closed one more time

  11. Open your eyes and start drawing this map on a piece of paper. It can be very abstract. You can choose to use different colours. What areas did you enjoy exploring the most and why? Highlight these areas in your drawings.

Score 2:

 

  1. Take your drawings of the map you just created and place it infront of you. Take one finger and pass along the lines. 

  2.  Now use your drawing together with your experience from Score1 as an offering to create some movement within your body and around the space.

  3. You can be inspired only by your drawing or also from your physical exploration before. I invite you to close your eyes sometimes.

 

Score 3:

 

After having embodied and remembered your own movement score repeat it and say  words that describe feelings, movements, directions descriptions, textures, forms, materials or anything else that might come up for you while moving. Speak them out loud. They can be words or sentences and they don’t need to make any sense. 

 For example: sliding- wood- up-inside-rolling-sand-breath-soft

 You can repeat this many times and your movement score might evolve and change over time, this is fine!

 

Score 4: 

 

  1. Take some time in your starting position of the space and close your eyes again

  2.  Map out the journey you have just been through with eyes closed and try to remember some details of the space again. What do you remember specifically? Why do you think you remember it in such detail?You can choose to open your eyes and write some of your experience or thoughts on a piece of paper or just remain in your chosen spot however long you want.

The sensation of your room
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Imaginatively be with someone

I hope this exercise allows you to be with someone imaginatively for a while, during a time where physical contact is not possible for everyone. It can be repeated while thinking of different people and can be very fast and physical or slow and quite. The memory of touch can often transfer us back to moments we felt connected to another person and allows us to remember things in much more detail.

 

Find a space in your flat/house where you can easily rest and move at the same time. Wear comfortable clothes, ideally floaty gowns:

  •  Close your eyes and take some deep breaths in and out.

  •  Try to remember a situation when someone affectively touched your body. Whether this was when  spooning in bed, a hug from your friends or family member, someone holding your hand when walking, a  friend stroking your hair or when taking a bath with your partner, cuddling with your children or playing  with them with a lot of body contact.

  •  Choose only one of these memories. Think back to this moment in time. Where were you, what did you  wear, what did you smell or hear? Really try to remember as much detail as possible.

  •  Than try to remember how you felt during that moment. What sensations did you experience? How did  the physical encounter make you feel? Can you still imagine this touch on your body? What body-parts  were involved in the contact? If it helps you can also move into the same position you see yourself in  during your memory.

  •  From this position move towards the touch, you just imagined. Move into it. Imagine how the touch of the  other person glides down your limbs and body while moving with it. Can you feel the weight of the touch?  Is it light or heavy? Really focus on where and how your imaginative physical contact is happening on your  body and decide where it will move next. Play with different rythms and timings as well. Can you find  stillness together? Where are your bodies touching now? 

  • I invite you to use self-touch in order to re-create touch-like sensations for yourself. How can your clothes affect you and remind you of touch?

  • You can also choose to play with different body-parts and imagine how and where your two bodies  are meeting.

  •  Slowly come to an end and find some stillness. Again, really try to imagine the body of your partner  around your own. What body parts would now be touching? How does this feel? Do you have a different  sensation in your body than before? 

Imaginatively be with someone
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Awareness through touch

 

There are so many things we are doing every day without really giving it our full attention. We are in contact with many objects and other people without reflecting about how this impacts our understanding of our surroundings. This exercise is designed to allow ourselves to live more in the present by tuning in with our sensory experience and to become more aware of every-day actions and sensations.

 

 

  • You can do this task anywhere inside of your flat/house or in your garden or park.

  • This exercise can span over 2-3 hours a day.

  • Choose these 2-3 hours according to your own time management, but it will require some attention and focus.

  • During these 2-3 hours try to really be aware of any object or body you are touching.

  • Always explore the object when realizing that you are in contact with it. Feel it’s weight, the texture, the density or surface. For example when cutting some vegetables really be aware of the sensation of the knife in your hands. How does it move? What is it’s temperature like? How does it feel to slice something with it? 

  • When washing your hands be aware of the different sensations and steps you are going through. The cold water touching your hands. Hands rubbing each other. The soft, sticky soap between your hands. The smell of the soap touching your nose. The feeling of the towel when drying your hands. 

  • At the end of your chosen time take a few minutes to reflect about your different encounters with objects that day and write down some of the things you might have noticed. 

  • Try to repeat this exercise every day. You might realise that you become more aware of your sense of touch over time.

Awareness Through Touch