From the first day of iLab, I had great respect for the investigative, supportive, and creative environment Michelle and Hope established. It was evident that you respect each other as artists/collaborators and trusted yourselves as well as the group of people invited to work with you. The collaborative/open energy was wonderful and allowed for what I thought were a lot of engaging and rich explorations. In the leading of the residency, I appreciated that Michelle and Hope took turns leading within each session, rather that switching off as leaders from one whole session to the next. It gave balance to each session and served to remind me that the exploration wasn’t just about sound or dance, but was always an interweaving of the two – even when that wasn’t a simple task. I definitely felt that we were finding our way in exploring both. And I definitely felt the looming question of how does movement work here…in the context of soundwalk? In what context can we move? And what parameters with movement exist in relationship to the environment in which we’re moving. Who is watching? Who else is moving? The soundwalks made me think a lot about the parameters society sets for when/how we move. The way the residency was set up allowed for a lot of questions to enter the process. I loved that Michelle and Hope allowed the questions to continue to shape the residency. It allowed the group to keep discovering what was really happening in each moment or task, rather than approaching the work in a predetermined way. What is staying with me from the 2 weeks of exploring sound and the language of the listening body is the gift of awareness. Awareness of sound – The heightened ability to be conscious of when I choose to shut down my hearing. Noticing when it helps me to do this, and when I could allow myself to open my ears more to the world around me. Awareness of body – Noticing how the quality in which I approach listening or hearing affects the tone of my body. If I listen directly there is a readiness and higher tonus in my body. If I listen at the periphery, I feel a softness and sense the volume of myself as I take in sound from the edges in every direction. Listening or Looking directly, softly, peripherally, in between… This is a wonderful game-like experiment that I find myself using in rehearsal and in simply walking on the street. Not changing the way things (cars, people, dancers, etc.) are, but having the choice to change my relationship thru eyes and ears. All of these aspects of awareness have tied into what I’m studying in Feldenkrais. In Feldenkrais, there is a lot of looking at relationships, and the idea that we’re looking at a movement of one part of the body in relationship to another. So nothing is in isolation. For instance, how are the ears hearing in relationship to the whole body – just as we explored with how do we hear when standing still v. running, for example. I will continue to absorb and relate the experience of the workshop time and soundwalks….
iLAND, Laura Hymers