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Wayne McGregor Studio


I was exploring ideas around the power dynamics and the oppression through choreography and performance. I have joined I Dance the Other project at Studio Wayne McGregor. The project was consisting of workshops introducing us to methods of creating choreography and visual art works, and sessions to develop our own ideas. We were looking at how methods used by choreographers could apply to visual artists’ practices and vice versa. The workshops have provided me with certain methodological tools that I utilized in the development of my ideas involving dance and movement.

In one of the etudes I was using a thick red thread as a symbol referring to knowledge and power on micro and macro levels, with its manifestations in geopolitics and structures in a society that have a control over individuals. In the process of rehearsing and giving instructing to participants I realized that the process itself contained these power dynamics. In the context of this work, as an author I had the most power, by giving instructions and coordinating the process I was exercising this power, yet an interesting twist happens when the power is being delegated to performers to «control» and «restrict» myself with the line.

This observation made me consider not only ways the power could be embodied in performance but also how performance (art, theatre or dance) as a process and within a context of, for instance, theatre, contains power and hierarchy in relationship of performer vs audience, performer vs choreographer and choreographer vs institution. This example also shows how each individual may hold different roles at the same time - of the oppressor and the oppressed in their professional or daily lives. I am intending to take ideas to study further via research and practical work.

As these videos are documentation of tests, but still considered as final pieces for a certain stage, I’ve kept the parts of preparations and instructing.

Use a physical object as a starting point – memorize and imagine its material qualities, placement in the space, it’s relation to a body, and leave it behind.

These video and photographs are documentation of a trial version of the performance. Sound - as it was in studio. In and out of the frame, which seemed like an unwanted issue yet gives a brief impression of the line’s autonomy or hidden and de-personalized power which controls its motion.

The process of making me think about power relations and struggle beyond performance itself - in staging and rehearsing stage. For the boundary piece I was the one in charge, giving instructions, holding power, but then I voluntarily delegated the power to my participants and instructed to impose that power on me. In theatre there are many hidden layers of power. Power in theatre's administration hierarchy, but also audience and performer. Performer is vulnerable, being judged, watched, examined, admired by the viewer. At the same time, performer is in control of a viewer's time, they could attack, manipulate, seduce and shock an audience.

As for the process, I was setting a conceptual framework at the first place, working with pre-conceived ideas and often making sketches and texts and deciding on structure before starting the actual process of realization through experimentation. Although, I was allowing myself to have an unpredictable outcome and the choreography was usually improvised. Learning about Wayne McGregor’s methods and Laban efforts have provided me with some starting points for developing moves and working with sound.

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