Posts Tagged ‘embodied practice’

Movement Research Studies Project Podcast Published: Reflexive Association: Keying from Symbol, Archetype, and Faith.

“Reflexive Association: Keying from Symbol, Archetype, and Faith.” Presented by Jef Johnson as part of the Movement Research Studies Project: Symposium on Masculinity and Embodied Practice


Listen to the Podcast here: http://traffic.libsyn.com/movementresearch/Jef_Johnson-Reflexive_Association_FINAL.mp3

Envisioned and Moderated by Ben Spatz
July 29, 2010
Medicine Show Theatre

The symposium included several paper presentations, speakers, and performances. This paper is “Reflexive Association: Keying from Symbol, Archetype, and Faith.” and was presented by Jef Johnson.

Studies Project is an artist-curated series of panel discussions, performances and/or other formats that focus on provocative and timely issues of aesthetics and philosophy in the intersection of dance and social politics, confronting and instigated by the dance and performance community.

Movement Research Studies Project Podcast Published: Symposium on Masculinity and Embodied Practice.

“The Bully and the Bitch: Pro Wrestling and Drag as Spectacles for Gendering the Audience.” Presented by John Stoltenberg as part of the Movement Research Studies Project: Symposium on Masculinity and Embodied Practice

Listen to the Podcast here: http://traffic.libsyn.com/movementresearch/John_Stoltenberg-The_Bully_and_the_Bitch_FINAL.mp3

Symposium Envisioned and Moderated by Ben Spatz
July 29, 2010
Medicine Show Theatre

The symposium included several paper presentations, speakers, and performances. This paper is “The Bully and the Bitch: Pro Wrestling and Drag as Spectacles for Gendering the Audience.” and was presented by John Stoltenberg.

Studies Project is an artist-curated series of panel discussions, performances and/or other formats that focus on provocative and timely issues of aesthetics and philosophy in the intersection of dance and social politics, confronting and instigated by the dance and performance community.

To view program of the symposium visit:

http://www.urbanresearchtheater.com/pdf/m&ep_pgm.pdf

Movement Research Studies Project Podcast Published: Symposium on Masculinity and Embodied Practice.

Excerpts and documentation of Making Men, a series of videos and installations presented by Susan Mar Landau as part of the Movement Research Studies Project: Symposium on Masculinity and Embodied Practice

http://traffic.libsyn.com/movementresearch/Susan_MarLandau_-_Making_Men_FINAL.mp3


Moderated by Ben Spatz
July 29, 2010
Medicine Show Theatre

The symposium included several paper presentations, speakers, and performances. Excerpts and documentation of Making Men, a series of videos and installations was presented by Susan Mar Landau.

Studies Project is an artist-curated series of panel discussions, performances and/or other formats that focus on provocative and timely issues of aesthetics and philosophy in the intersection of dance and social politics, confronting and instigated by the dance and performance community.

To view program from the symposium visit:

http://www.urbanresearchtheater.com/pdf/m&ep_pgm.pdf

Scholar’s Corner: YOGA BODY

singleton

Today’s book is Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice by Mark Singleton (Oxford University Press, 2010). This is one of the first scholarly works on yoga in its modern “postural” form, as distinct from studies of Hindu religions and yoga more broadly conceived. In coining the phrase “modern postural yoga,” Singleton points to the current focus on asanas that dominates discussions of yoga in the United States. He traces the development of this focus to the early twentieth century and shows how the what is now called “yoga” may owe as much to modern European physical culture as it does to ancient Indian religious practice.

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Scholar’s Corner: POLITICS OF PIETY

As a doctoral student at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, I am currently preparing to take the long-awaited “Second Examination” in August. This consists of a rigorous set of written and oral exams on three scholarly fields that I myself have defined. In this way it is unlike the much broader “First Examination,” which covered all of theatre history and theory in the widest possible scope.

My three fields are as follows:

1) “Approaches to Embodied Practice” (30 books)

2) “Actor Training in the U.S. since 1930” (25 books)

3) “Affect, Politics, and Performance” (25 books)

With the idea that these topics could be of interest to the Movement Research community, I will be posting brief discussions of some of my favorite books here throughout the month of July. Each of the books I will address was published in the past ten years, and each is excellent overall. They are all scholarly works, although some are more accessible in tone and language than others. I hope that these blog entries will point theory-minded practitioners towards some new ideas in emerging scholarship — and perhaps tempt some scholars to the website of Movement Research.

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masculinity as a lineage of technique

Tomorrow is the symposium on Masculinity and Embodied Practice. Apart from a problem with the digital projector, everything is going smoothly, and I am looking forward to an extremely interesting set of paper, presentations, and performances.

In my academic work, I am trying to re-theorize “technique” as something much deeper and more complicated than is usually assumed. Given how fundamental technique is in the performing arts, it is surprising how little it has been theorized. As far as I know, Foucault is the only major theorist to have written extensively on bodily techniques, and that from a perspective of domination and social networks of power rather than on the craft developed by practitioners of embodied forms.

A word, then, about masculinity as technique.

Let us compare masculinity with ballet. There are many iconic images of ballet, but ballet is not fundamentally an image. Nor is it fundamentally a language, even though some aspects of ballet seem to work like semiotics. Once upon a time, in Euro culture, ballet was dance and dance was ballet. Ballet, then, is the name for what people used to do when they danced. It also names a complex legacy of teachers and students, performers and choreographers, painters and royalty.

What if masculinity is not a single role or image, not a biological category, and not a universal signifier… but rather, like ballet, a powerful historical and formerly hegemonic lineage of embodied technique?

Ben Spatz
Artistic Director
Urban Research Theater
MR-AIR 2010-2012

intensity & transparency

intensity
that the body on stage is a different body. that rhythm on stage is a different rhythm. basic principle of performance: that it must be of interest, it must entertain. always something more, something different. not real life. not the mundane. not boring.

transparency
that the body on stage is the performer’s body. that rhythm on stage is the rhythm of that individual in that moment. the performance is life. it may be of interest, it may entertain, it may be mundane, it may be boring. honesty. truth. performance as an embodied practice. done simply in order to do.

This is a question we are working on now in Play/War. Is there a baseline of energetic intensity or hyper-presence below which the performer onstage must not fall? Or are there moments within a virtuosic performance structure when the actual mundane body of the performer can be allowed to appear?

In the past few days we have been exploring a kind of middle zone: Avoiding both the hyper-contrast of “show mode” (almost cinematic in its cuts and edits and discontinuities) and the hypo-kinetics of “plain old Ben and Max” (not cinema, not even theater, just a kind of blink, stop, and we-are-just-a-group-of-people-in-a-room, and then, simply, “the artists are present“).

In this middle zone, a new level of genuine contact suddenly seems possible between the two of us in the act of performing. I wonder if, as time goes by, this contact may extend further into the extremes of intensity and transparency, risking boredom and overstimulation, but perhaps making possible an even more full event to be seen…

Ben Spatz
Artistic Director
Urban Research Theater
MR-AIR 2010-2012

Teaching as a Primary Practice

Imagine if teaching were a central value, a touchstone of our culture. Imagine if pedagogy were considered a core practice, perhaps even the most central practice, and the achievements of art and science were understood as secondary to the transmission of knowledge, including embodied knowledge.

Focusing on teaching as a primary practice puts the emphasis on the long term. It also tends to deemphasize what individuals may be capable of through talent or luck, and points instead to what remains possible over time (from generation to generation) because of the care invested in hundreds or thousands of unique teacher-student relationships.

That teaching is not currently valued in this way  is everywhere apparent, not only in the continual encroachment of standardized tests on primary education but also in the lack of financial support for projects of teaching and transmission. Grants for performance have been steadily shrinking Read the rest of this entry »

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