Day 2 //
Today we were joined by two new dancers (Keir Clyne and Katherine Sweet) as well as most of those from yesterday. It has been so interesting working with the dancers with Tools that Propel. The system has become a choreographic collaborator and with every time the dancers improvise with it we learn more about its potential. Yesterday there were interesting discoveries about what was happening for each of them on their first encounter with it, from some of them wanting to cheat the system, creating new movement to try to ensure that it didn’t recognise them, breaking their own natural movement pathways by exploring new trajectories, and others talking about retracing their steps, getting lost in a maze and moving through the data. As they learnt to play the system or interact with Tools that Propel as a collaborator or dance partner they have become more playful and more sensitive to the potential of their exchange with the ‘decisions’ made by the system. They were developing duets with it, each with a different motivation or task – for example to try to focus on exploring an emotional expression from the encounter, to focus on the incidental or the chance element – what the system deems is an important memory to play back – or to make decisions about how much to engage or reject its offerings/decisions/memories.
Today we explored the idea of feeding it with a choreographic phrase that each dancer had already developed. This felt very different – like playing amongst saturated memories – and suggested the potential of it to make their choreographic decision-making more complex, impacting on the ways they thought about the material, its dynamics, its directions, where it took place in space. They each seemed to have a different relationship with the system, and sometimes that seemed to be formed by a number of variables, for example how much it seemed to be struggling with the tracking of their movement (some movement seemingly being more easily aligned by it), or how closely it tracked it, or the fact that it seemed sometimes to ignore or not respond to a particular type of movement, as well as the motivations of each dancer towards it. There were bugs in the system today too – but this is an enquiry which accepts them too and just allows that to be part of what produces the new movement. Sadly, due to a bug we lost most of the session footage from this task.