Dance Engaging Science Workshop No. 2

Dance Engaging Science

Workshop No.2

For the second meeting 17-19 February 2012, three aims were proposed: 1. engage more with the questions coming from practice; 2. review the five topics identified at the first meeting; 3. develop a shared concept for a project that could inform education, policy makers and public. The meeting was again held in the rehearsal spaces of The Forsythe Company, this time making use of the studios more as the Company was not in rehearsal.

Riley Watts guiding the group through 'active meditation'. Photo: Jessica Schäfer

Feedback from the first meeting had shown that the “Questions From Practice” collated by Dana Caspersen from interviews with The Forsythe Company (TFC) could be addressed differently. The solution was to begin the second meeting with a session aiming at exposing the source of these questions coming in the experience of the performers. TFC performers Esther Balfe, Fabrice Mazliah and Riley Watts were invited to conduct movement body-based exercises for the whole workgroup (exercise descriptions).

Esther Balfe setting up creative thinking/ moving tasks. Photo: Jessica Schäfer

Saturday morning, the group reconvened in the same conference space as in May. The wall/ card installation from May was reconstructed and all were invited at any point in the meeting to address or return to this installation. For the rest of the Saturday the group was divided in thirds and given two tasks. The first task for the smaller groups was to find a way to address the "Questions From Practice" revisiting them through the lens of Friday's experience & to consider the challenges the study of dance presents science.

Scott deLahunta explaining history/ culture/ science diagram. Photo: Jessica Schäfer

The second Saturday task was to develop ideas for ways to inform education and policy makers, this might take the shape of a pilot curriculum or a set of guidelines for policy makers. Sunday morning, all were invited to share the results of their thinking about 'individual collaborative research' ideas based on all previous discussion. The results of both Saturday tasks and the list of individual projects were documented in writing and mailed back out to the group soon after the meeting.

James Leach, Scott deLahunta, Kate Stevens, David Kirsh, Sandra Parker, Freya Vass-Rhee. Photo: Jessica Schäfer

Getting at "Questions from Practice":

"The second part of the exercise was aimed at creative thinking by building a construction from hand held wooden blocks and then transferring what was seen externally and applied to the body. Four tables were placed together in the centre of the studio and for each table a different number of colour building blocks. I asked four people to come forward and arrange the blocks to their own preference. The outcome was different for each individual so we had four very different looking constructions upon the tables. Group members were invited then to choose a table and recreate what was on the table onto their own bodies." (Esther Balfe, The Forsythe Company)

Kate Stevens exploring Esther Balfe's exercise. Photo: Jessica Schäfer

For more details on the meeting, see the Interim Report (November 2012) prepared for the Volkswagen Foundation covering Dance Engaging Science Interdisciplinary Research Workshops Meetings 1-3. Additional documentation: 1) News Report on the Volkswagen Foundation website; 2) A four-page story from IMPULSE 13, the Foundation's regular periodical (in German only).