Frankenphrase and whisper down the dancer

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  • March 30, 2012

I’ve been slowly accumulating a phrase. Well accumulating may be the wrong word because it hasn’t been growing in sequence. Certain movements and moments have been traveling with me since august, determined to remain. Some disappear and resurface. Some things tag along for a while and then drop off for good. Some slowly morph into a new shape

The phrase as a whole is a concise response of sorts, born of my time alone in the studio. At times it is a comfort for me to return to. At other times its a bear I wrestle with. Why are you here? What do you mean? Why don’t you feel the way you did before?

As I spiral off into improvisational exercises, writing assignments and movement tasks, I occasionally check in with my phrase. I bring it new material, gifts for it to reject or absorb.

What am I saying with this phrase? I dare not attempt a summary as its purpose is continually shifting.

Here is a video of the phrase in its current state.

Untitled from Nichole Blog on Vimeo.

(the battery runs out at the end and it cuts off…but the phrase was almost over so its okay…)

I recently used this Franken-phrase as the starting point for a group experiment: I performed it only once for dancer #1 while the others left the room. Her task was to recreate that phrase from memory: to build a repeatable phrase of the same length coming as close to that original phrase as she could come. But instead of simplifying what she could not recall her task was to lie and fabricate the missing details. and to precisely set this new phrase.
Dancer #1 then shows Dancer #2 this new phrase. Only once.
Repeat process for Dancers 3, 4, 5, 6 in a whisper-down-the-lane type process.

In then end we have a 7 fully developed phrases. I am fascinated by: what changes, what persists, what gets dropped immediately and what replaces it. The six phrases sit together like a family portrait of sorts.

Here is a video of the six dancers performing these phrases all together: (they begin in the order in which they saw/created their phrases)

Untitled from Nichole Blog on Vimeo.