Workshop with Alise Piebalga

Today we had a workshop with Alise, a dancer, performer and artist, whose work primarily seems to be based on movement, and the effects your movement has on your surrounding; being self aware of this aswell. She spoke of the ways we are thrown into self-awareness, such as her experience with being a trapeze artist – the moment where she lets go of the apparatus to reclaim touch with it or to join another part: she said she has a sense of loss of self which may be a result of having holes in her sense of reality. However, other people have felt an incredible sense of self whilst in the air, unaware of which way is up or down.

In personal experience, I have felt a massive sense of self-awareness when doing extreme activities such as ski jumping or sky diving. I like the way things like this throw you into the realization that you’re alive and how wonderful that is, possibly because there is an element of danger that can confront you with the possibility of not being alive – as horrible as that is to contemplate!

In the workshop, Alise asked us to create a performance of movements that we feel incorporate the idea of self-awareness and how our movements effect other movements. Firstly we did a mirroring task whereby we had a partner who, facing us, followed every movement we made, and vice versa. We also tried this out in a group of 4 with 3 of us mirroring the person diagonally behind us, with one member of the group filming, and we found that the camera rotating around what was going on was a really effective way of capturing the mirroring concept. In the group of 4 we then worked together to develop the movements and thinking about balance and stability, with a go pro camera to capture what we did. We ended up creating a form where we formed 4 chairs in a way in which we could lean on the next persons lap, in a circular sort of way. Then, after removing the chairs from underneath us, we were able to balance and be stable because our weights were distributed onto one another. In retrospect, and if we had had longer to work on our ideas, we could have conducted quite a contemporary performance, portraying the effects of the consequences of our movements.

The exercise did make me feel quite self-aware because I knew that without me in the activity, it wouldn’t have worked, much as with any one of our group. Hopefully our idea was something that if it were just watched rather that partaken, the feeling would be expressed!

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