Saturday, 17th May '03
Rollin', Rollin', Rollin'...
... or how En Ying bruises like an overipe peach.
Side note: I liked the usage of this paticular title structure so much in Kil'n People (David Brin) I just HAD to try it. Good book. Appeals to me in this "mid science, mid arts, trying to read my Bible regularly, stuck in a pseudo existential quandary" state that I am.
Ah, the movement workshop. I've been wanting to attend one since Gary Tang choreographed a fight scene for "Toxic"...
We started out by being introduced to our instructor for the next month and TNS director Jeff Chen. Or interrogated, really. But it was all in good fun. One point to note: this is the first time I've ever talked to a person who's working in theatre full-time about whether he likes his job. I really was surprised when he urged us all to explore other options and that he wakes up every morning wanting to quit. That's quite a revelation. (Coincidentally he directed Revelations) I always thought people who did this did it for pure love, and not because they couldn't think of anything better to do. Very worth thinking on... it was like a mini career guidance session.
And so we began to mmmoooovvvee. It started out like a tumble tots session, just without nice cushioned mats and keeping in mind the fact that we're all older and adult-sized now. We no longer fall and bounce back up. For the millionth time, I am thankful Mum made me take ballet classes as a kid... and that after skating for three years and cheerleading with Ade for one year, I am semi-immune to the bruises that I get. We must have made a strange sight, 11 teenagers or older, rolling around the unforgiving parquet floor in all manner of contorted positions. Backward roll, falling down from standing position, combine the two and roll from a standing position. Do that starting at a run. Work with a partner and push each other to the floor. Forward roll like a tae-kwa-do expert / power ranger. Ouch. I can roll over my head like they taught us in tumble tots, but this is supposed to gradute to rolling from a standing position and, if all those stunt men are anything to go by, at a run and a jump. Hmm. Right now I'm at the *roll*, *slam*, *oww*, *flat on the floor* stage. Nothing like the soundless, *roll*, *land on the feet* that Jeff demoed. Haul for the day: two bruises on my right shoulder, one on my left butt cheek, left shoulder feels a little wrenched. Mammoth bruise on the right knee, three minor ones on the left. But who's counting? Still better than tripping over a toe-pick or Laoshi's falling steps.
The next part was a little more brainy and less acrobatic. It essentially consisted of using different parts of the body for steering. Head, hand, elbow, knee. Move that and let everything else follow naturally. Discover another version of Newton's third law. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. I don't know about equal, but if you stretch something very far the body counterbalances it with another movement, usually involving a flip of the whole body. And stringing various "leads" together gives a sequence. Ok.
We spent a large part of the session exploring this "leading" thing more, first by moving at a low level back and forth across the studio. Doesn't sound so bad until you try leading yourself in a semi squat / crawl by your knee. Or elbow. It's way more comfortable to hold push-up position all that time. This is Movement! like... (as Huipeng and I decided during the break) YOGA. Ohm. Later on we each came up with our own sequence and had to perform it. Ave than had an unhealthy amount of fun putting us together into a perverse, excrutiating dance.
We also experimented with "puppeteering". Not with regular puppets (why do you think Jeff is known in these circles as l'enfant terrible?) but with ourselves being the puppets. What we did was pair up (me and HP) and had to wordlessly choreograph a sequence. The only means by which to instruct each other was by physically moving the partner in the required manner. When each had a "dance", we had to assimilate the two into a duet. This exercise contributed a couple more blue-blacks and burns to my list. I think we had a pretty credible piece... nice contrasts and resolution, but Chris and Yan's was damn good... two guys somemore. It was very asthetic, nice mix of strong and vulnerable moves and perfect timing! Why can't RDC have guys like this?
That's more or less it for now. Can't wait for next week!
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]