JULY 2018

KiranChandra_Atelier © The Chimney.jpg

Text by Kiran Chandra.

A dance movement workshop open to all abilities of movement and bodies.

Walking in lines, circles, forwards, backwards, movement, new possibilities present themselves.

Drawing in lines, circles, forwards, backwards, movement, marks made in relation to other marks, shifting ofscales, possibly of hierarchies.

Moving in lines, in circles, backwards and forwards, discover.

Dialogue with walking drawing movement lines circles, forwards, backwards and through.

'Dialogue' comes from the Greek word dialogos. Logos means 'the word' or in our case we would think of the 'meaning of the word'. And dia means 'through' - it doesn't mean two. A dialogue can be among any number of people, not just two. Even one person can have a sense of dialogue within himself, if the spirit of the dialogue is present. The picture or image that this derivation suggests is of a stream of meaning flowing among and through us and between us. This will make possible a flow of meaning in the whole group, out of which will emerge some new understanding. It's something new, which may not have been in the starting point at all. It's something creative. And this shared meaning is the 'glue' or 'cement' that holds people and societies together (1).

Stepping into this stream of meaning that flows among and through us, while never the same for everyone, is nonetheless a shared experience. Dialogue becomes a process, a means of connecting, within and without- inter and intra states of being. It becomes about understanding, not for clarity or perfect communication. More for communion. It has then, the political potential.

On a fellowship in Moscow earlier this year I was sent to a dance class, where the teacher, Elena Ermak informed by Butoh practices made me do a series of exercises which ended in us both making simple 10 step choreographed movements. We walked, we moved, we connected with our own body’s ability and range of movement, we then embodied and described a phrase through the body. We let the body and its manner of moving guide the choreography, that we then glued via repetition into memory. And then we moved, together.I with her movements, she then, with mine.

I walked out of this class with was a new set of possibilities, I felt optimistic and empowered. I felt I had been handed something, when all I had brought to it was myself, my body, my attention and an open spirit.And I felt, everyone should be able to feel like this. This something. This class spoke to my interest in language, dance, experimental expression, and my love of process.

So, in a Ranciereian (2) move of teaching as the ignorant school master, I concluded that I would facilitate this experience- with no expertise- no actual training as a dancer- but in complete assurance of the process to empower. The first opportunity to conduct this experiment came with the summer series of performances that closed the year (2017-18) at The Chimney in Bushwick.

Keeping to the sensibilities of the class I had in Moscow, and what it provoked in me I developed a set of movements that participants could do on their own, and later in pairs. Simple exercises to warm up the body, to bring attention to small movements, to listen, to notice. In an attempt to be, rather than be seen, all movements were made together, with no spectator, no witness other than ourselves as participants.

(1): Bohm, David. Nichol, Lee. Senge, Peter. On Dialogue, Routledge, New York 1996.
(2): 2 Referring to Jacques Rancière, specifically his lessons on intellectual emancipation in the Ignorant Schoolmaster



participant testimonials

I’ll try my best to recall some of this. I was collaborating with someone I didn’t know, which I liked. Bonds forge in making, and the repetition of our dance even started to feel like a ritual in of itself. Instead of the open/closed schism (and here I am lifting from your statement), I felt rather it was a tuning and cooperating. The corporeal of bodying a space. Also, body reciprocity. In that sense, the project inverted the speech act for me - no longer declarative but interstitial and somatic. I am reminded by Lygia Clark, her insistence on the work not being performance, but rather a transgression that was possible despite the speech act. What missing bonds then emerge into site?
— Jake Davidson
Kiran’s movement workshop was an experience in getting close to language, in a way that feels similar to my experience with drawing as language. Given a phrase— something strange, with peculiar words, or that produces a feeling— how do I give it form in my body?I can take each word, one by one. Turn each word into a picture. I can use the emotive power inherent in my body to portray the sensibility of the word. I can begin to replicate the markings of the word itself. For example, my partner at one point drew out the number “1000” with her arms, using large, sweeping motions to simultaneously convey the poetic weight of the number “1000.” This experience— “how in the world do I express this word, idea, concept?”— is very present for me in drawing, where I can use tools of contour, gesture, color, etc. As I taught my partner my translation, I had to better know the form I had created. This became a subsequent layer and process of seeing, situating, settling on form. There was a relief in moving past that earlier stage of— “does this motion, this line of my body, convey this idea?”— into the embrace of motion itself. We played with language and content to turn the impossibility of translation into meaningful experience. This experience loosened me to the process of expression and creativity. Process is central in my experience of what this work is. What we brought to the time and space, then shared in collaboration, became the unique work. Our action, attention, risk, communication, and reception became the work. The experience was memorable, fun, and opened possibility for the social structure of art making, art viewing, content creation, and production.
— Amy Lee
Your movement workshop at the Chimney was really open and wonderful. The first exercises were really great in opening me up to freeform movement which was helpful for the later interpretive sections. It was really interesting thinking about directly expressing phrases through movement. This section had an improvisational feeling to it, but when practiced again and again began to have a different flow especially when performing with a partner. We interpreted our phrases quite literally with charades like motions, but other groups seemed to choreograph with even more poetics. There was also a really wonderful exercise in the beginning I believe with maintaining points of connection if I’m remembering correctly or some other physical limitation? That exercise revealed the ways in which the body can move outside the way we use it regularly for everyday functions. The workshop made me think about how I always think about how I cannot dance mostly in comparison to others and the underlying irony in that as we all move functionally and communicatively (body language). While I may not have mastery in dance as an art form and a language, I do move to communicate on a very primal and affectual level, and I understand movement in the same way.
— Christopher Lin