Posts Tagged ‘Spatz’

intensity & transparency

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.

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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