Saturday, 10 November 2012

Extended Underscore Work Group

Led by Nancy Stark Smith and Mike Vargas

Dance Department

University of Roehampton

London  England

June 27th to July 4th 2012


David Leahy, Lalitaraja, Robert Anderson, Colleen Bartley,  Anna Jussilainen,  Alistair Edmunds, Annie Lok, Caterina Mocciola, Genevieve Cron, Jo Blowers, Joachim Wohnhas, Joane Auber-Warren, John Korajitis, Jonathan Megaw, Juliet Shelley, Kathy Crick, Lucy May Constantini, Mary Pearson, Monique Kroepfli, Nancy Hughes, Saskia Chaplin, Suna Imre, Tamara Ashley, Vanio Papadelli, Walter Weiler, Yanna Papadopoulou, Yeong, Simonetta Alessandri,  Pavlos Kountouriotis

Written notes and documentation by Juliet Shelley

Wednesday June 27th
Day One

Sitting, gathering in a circle in Michaelis theatre
Pow wow
Dance of description by Christie Svane:
Half the group do and half the group see and change over.
Close eyes. Connect in to sensation in the body. Describe that sensation with your hands. Two minutes.
Go round circle and say names and what you like to be called.
We repeat what that person likes to be called.  From where?
Say a fact about yourself. Describe how your body is feeling.
Touch the next person to pass on.

Nancy went over the daily schedule:

8.30am to 9.15am sitting meditation McKelly Studio

9.30am to 10am Pre warm up time in Michaelis theatre,
Pre-arriving, writing etc.

10.05 – 10.10 focussed arriving

12 – 2 lunch period

2 – 7 afternoon session

7 – 9 dinner and discussion

There is always one free open studio available

Wednesday – today
Underscore in Theatrespace in the morning
Underscore in Davis Studio in the afternoon.

Some things to consider over the course of the next eight days:
Underscore seeds – personal/collective
Going into underscore with a theme and seeing, observing how this theme organizes my experience or the collective experience

Suggestions of structural modifications
For example:
Underscore without a pow wow, specific resolutions.
Ways to get hands on the structure
The study of phenomena and dance improvisation that includes contact.
Could do a score with no contact at all.

Underscore Practice – desired outcomes, intentions, wishes
What do we hope to touch on or come away with? 
Helps Nancy to decide what to pull on to shape..

Labs/Practice Study Groups on a topic or a discussion
Underscore issues to address in practice.                                                      Either as a seed or as a focused discussion

Small grains (brains) group – small group interested in planning the next day, synthesising possibilities into an actuality, decided first thing each morning re. a planning group for the next day - small grains/brains group, meet at dinner the next day.

Mike moment. 15 minutes. Mike talks about music. Focus on music, play, relationships, composition, contemplation


Public sharing – if, when what?
Theme of public/private practice (of the Underscore)
The set-up, intentions, voluntary if you want to do it, or not.

Different people facilitating, draw from seeds, modifications – in pairs, collaborations.

Documentation – video, harvesting, scribing,

Blog – can create a blog

That day
Underscore till 1.30pm so starting at around 11/11.30am 
Two hours in duration

1.30 – 3pm Lunch

Group harvest – some notes
Lying in colour
Nonstop jets
Going with what I think I want versus going with what is and really enjoying it
Prescriptive Descriptive forms
Undemanding, radio 4, easy listening
Family of geese – helping to remind of availability of idiot button
So much charge!

Lunch time.

Afternoon session
Davis Studio


Nancy: what are we interested in?
What did we come with?
What did we bring with us to the underscore group?.
Seeds, enquiry, interests…

Jonathan: What is the Underscore for?

Vanio:  What do we do to be present? What do we do be present with someone else who has a different way of moving? Who do we dance for, without an audience? Presence, composition, audience

Pavlos : What has been lost from CI since 1972? Lots of games and trying things out at first and now it is very codified. Why always soft? What kinds of things possible to be experience in dancing Ci, eg pain, horniness, different variations of energies.

Joachim: Breathing, breathing of partner and of the group

Saskia: Identity crisis, grazing/engagement, Solo project/group project, A ‘failure’ laboratory

Tamara: Honesty of sensation
Sensation and compositional mind
Sensation and moment
Leader/facilitator, interface with sensation

Ali: teaching, dancing in the underscore, what leads to these dances? Allowing time, allowing time to engage, dance and somatics

Annie: Just doing it, time for dancing, being physical

Walter: deepen, own descriptions, own words, dancing with others

X – Composition and authenticity choreographically

X – CI – the point of reference in CI and the Underscore (?) supporting other people, holding the space, facilitation, boundaries for person, the practice and the support of the community

X Witnessing, group mind, doing, observing Underscore as created by the people there each time, the framework, the container

Lalitaraja: Receive, engage, experience, being in a big group, socially, dancing, a tribal communal experience.

Jo: Specificity, change

Mike Freedom, collective emancipation, working hard on compositing situations, see how efficiently can choose right words, say right thing to make that situation happen, how to create conditions for that.

John Helped in jams, to meet new people, take underscore into life, behaviour in underscore, how can be translated in life

Jules Integrating contemporary, ballet, practices and working in the professional dance (industry) with my love of CI and improvisation – how does the ‘status’ of CI and improvisation ‘sit’ in the dance industry, professional dance industry as a whole?

Mike Moment
Creating possibility

Plus = 0


Does it create space for my collaborator?

Subtracting something from the situation to create space for something  new to happen

Questions to ask:
Is this closing things down?

Opening things up?

Creating possibilities

Adding potential for someone to take advantage of or shutting down, making it harder for someone to do something

Eg, is playing ‘music’ shutting down the space/action or is it creating an opening?

Luciano Berio
Answering questions with another question, other questions
Opening up, creating more life, opening up possibilities, mystery, the unknown, that is a good thing

Creating the possibility is helping everyone have more options

Having more options equals freedom

Add more possibilities

Don’t prescribe, mention or state the possibilities, create the space for your collaborators to come up with their own options

A playful exchange of challenges

Collaborative creating of space, possibilities, contributing to the game continuing to unfold

‘We prepare each other for surprises’ James Carse
Preparedness to be willing to have surprises
Play with the degrees and classes of surprises

Friendly offerings of unexpected events, friendly challenges
Counting on authenticity to be surprising

Opening space, authentic action, their expectation

Classes of surprise

Strategy overall

Situations within the process

Propositions to add to the mix:

Take an extra moment
Add contrast, include more or less contrast
Change focus, change attention
Inconclusiveness, make it more ambiguous and less conclusive
Indicate connection, you saw, you heard, a way of showing that
Interruption, can you interrupt and create space this way?

Thursday June 28th
Day Two
Michaelis Theatre

Each person counts around circle, one, two, three, four and keeps their number

Make a word up that describes how you feel: say it and make it up at the same time

Sacred Ordinary – Nancy

Contemplative Practice 
McKelly Studio
What is it? 
Nancy describes what it is and then we practice it.

20 minutes sitting meditation – then bell rings
20 minutes personal warm up, whatever you need to do – bell rings
Come back to your spot in circle
30 minutes in open space

Community awareness: entering space, make a short bow before entering
Do what you want to do, stay as long as you want to stay
Don’t assume anyone is taking care of you
Eyes are open or closed
Contact or no contact
In as many times as you like
No limit to numbers, anybody, everybody, no body
End of open space – bell rings
Clear, go to a spot and sit
Physics: similar differences, different similarities

Meditation: sitting
Riding a wild horse that is your mind
Open eyes, soft focus – 45 degrees
Attention on passage of breath in and out
Release sits bones, good seat.
Don’t get caught up in group mind!

Day two p.m 
McKelly Studio

Mike’s Moment
‘Use’ is private
Exchange is public

Those who must play, cannot play

If you feel forced to engage you are not free

Voluntary participation

Choosing to exchange

A playful state of mind

From ‘I tell you’
To - “We find out”

‘Use’ is private

‘Exchange’ is public

A humble, but not faceless voice.
Personality, but ready to drop it.

Integrate your truth with the fact of the moment

Individual ‘spin’ your particular gestures, opinions, truth, put it out without fear, as clearly as you can, with permeability.

Spin, with permeability

Happy to offer something specific, clear, but willing to be permeable with the situation.

How ready are you to change, adapt your contribution given the circumstances?

Spin – individual
Permeability – group

Permeability can happen as you perform, you can also design permeability within what you are doing, permeable by design

Can include holding your line, keeping with what you are physically doing, or changing it completely

Music – changing from “I tell you” to ‘we find out”
Music is participating in this situation
Composer has less responsibility in shaping the moment,
Audience taking more responsibility in how they listen, feel, perceive
More inclusive – includes exchange –

Abstraction is exchange
Money = an invention  eg. cow, pig, cocoa beans, chocolate
Exchange = currency, value of money
Exchange = the unknow-ability of the situation, mystery in the fact of exchange
What is the % of unknowability in the exchange?
Strategies for approaching improvisation:

Exchange & Play
·       to be aware
·       to be available
·       to be responsive
·       to be clear

Tools with which to approach exchange with others:
Over specifying a theory makes it culturally brittle
·       Stay permeable
·       Be permeable

Krishnamurti: love is the absence of fear

Positive frustration
There are antagonisms: If we are being clear and assertive, we risk rejection, we risk alienation, we risk non approval.
Turn the dial down on that fear and see what happens.

James Carse: Finite and Infinite Games
The goal of a finite game is to win
The goal of an infinite game is to keep going

This transitions into next activity on day two p.m.

Mike takes notes on people’s suggestions/wishes/desires
for eight lab sessions for the next day Friday.
Two times 1.5 hour slots in four studios
Eight different groups running over two time slots each
In four studios simultaneously

Davies One: My body, anybody, solo studio, own research while that is happening

Optional aspects over dinner:
·       Nuts and bolts of the Underscore
·       Everything that is wonderful about the Underscore
·       Engagement: what constitutes engagement and what facilitates engagement
·       Content/container
·       Solos
·       Witnessing the Underscore
·       Mini Underscore

After dinner: Notes on the Underscore with Nancy
Outside in the gardens of Roehampton
(we saw a wedding party!)

my notes began with:

Arriving energetically, arriving physically

Focusing physically, sensations in your body

Saying the words out loud “notice how you are arriving” can change a group from talking to non-talking

Describing, prescribing
Dancing between structures/ the score – the score is valuable as a container reference and also do what feels really valid for you at the time

Plant a seed

Stay with yourself

Starts to happen on its own

Use connections to change your state,
Use influence, from the room

How much spin, how much permeability?

“Just do this thing”
Do the underscore as you would do choreography
It can be play, research
Pow wow: Brief check in
Seeds filtering down

From being sitting into moving into the space, arriving into the space
Open up lines of acknowledgement, eye contact, connection in the room, preamble can be any activity, running around, get material from any source, non specific material

Bonding with the earth
Letting weight go to the earth, receiving support from the earth

All contents of the body, fluid, organs, internal body, everything inside the body

stretching, condense, relax, stretch

Skinesphere to low kinesphere
blurred boundaries

Changing states
Hatching, viscosity, a thickness, stretches, oozing, coming in and out from skinesphere to kinesphere and back again. 
There is a containment to the movement

How states change
What makes them change?

This material came from a class called Changing States

What mental, mood, emotional state are you in?

Do you have any way to dialogue with that?

How can you influence that? eg. tone, resistance..

Cycling of weight, moving, rhythm, something shifts, a different readiness, spark, flight, reflexes, different readiness something, an oozing, supports, when it ‘pops’…

You get through the membrane and the viscosity that is established and move into something else.

Muscle tone
Mental tone

States are related to this

Change mental tone, change physical tone

Change emotional tone, change tissue tone, connective tissue

First sound (?) (move?) after Skinesphere – always hard to make

The first sound – new level of engagement

Cultivating it, protecting it, protecting it in the service of having easier access to it.

Low, mid high skinesphere

Expanding, travelling skinesphere

Permeable, include things, moving past, overlapping kinesphere,

As a measure of space and body, using touch as a measure between oneself and someone or something else.

As a regular function, zooming between each, wholistic as well as personal experience - an aspect of the score

Kinaesthetic Absorption
Compositional Awareness
Being Authentic Creates Surprises
Self, local, inter local, global

Ended day: went home
Friday June 28th
Day Three
Michaelis Theatre

Mike Moment: 
What are you perceiving?
How do you experience yourself as a listener?
What do you hear, notice?
How are you feeling about it?

How many different categories of sound are they, how diverse?

Tension – pulling, pushing, how much, between what?

All are working all the time, what kinds of sounds are predominant?

Is the spectrum very diverse or not very diverse?

We all listen for two minutes to all the sounds there are

Next thing:
Four groups: one group each studio
All will start at 10.30am

In the pow wow decide how to end the Underscore  together

Build in a reflection/harvest time
End at 12pm
Start at 10.30am

Who is the facilitator?

One of us will be a rover, gypsy squatter, at one point they will leave and go to another group and someone will enter, there may be an overlap..they join and stay in that group till the end.
Bring a clock/time piece
Short reflection from 12pm to 12.10pm
Three minute replays each group – anything memorable from underscore you can put out
Short group harvest reflection then lunch

Adherence principal
What % of adherence is optional within a lab?
Hungry ghost concept – more, more, more, can’t get full
Intimate engagement

The Law of Two Feet – you can leave whenever you want to..walk away

P.M: Day Three

Different labs in all four studios .
Eight possible labs in all over three hours. 
The lab possibilities were discussed the day before in Mckelly studio the day before.

Lab in McKelly Studio
(I was in this lab so I took notes on this lab – author)
Tamara, Nancy, Jo, Vanio, Juliet

Pre lab chat two minutes each: What is a gap for us personally?

Comfortable with the gap
Gap lover, she likes it!
Comfortable being in a place she doesn’t really know
Comfortable with uncomfortable
Enjoys process
What is a gap?

What is a gap in something that has no set or set structure?
Is it a gap in consciousness?
Gap as a feeling of emptiness, as if she has to fill the gap
A feeling of a sense of responsibility, to fill the gap
What is it to be present?
What is the relationship between presence and the gap?

Becomes more present in the gap
Gap heightens presence
Gap – streaming, shifting states
Strategies: Naming it, experience the transitions and the feelings of the gap

Fifty minutes of going through the Underscore at speed and naming the transitions and the gaps out loud as we find ourselves in it.

Humorous, honest, authentic, vulnerable, revealing, deep, connected, light.

Juliet: A creature of the gap, a woman long neglected, living in the crack in the rock, below the rock, appears. Dripping, covered in slime and gunge, dripping with it, coming out, revealing herself as I touch into the qualities of the gap and what it represents, perhaps the disconnected parts of myself, the rejected parts of myself? The image comes in a duet with Jo where we describe the gap as an embodiment of something. The experience of this is very, very transformative. 
Extraordinary energy is related to this image and how it manifests in my body. Liberating, connecting, opening, energising, among other things.

Afterwards sitting in circle to harvest.

Gap is a gap of consciousness
Loss of memory – shocking
Indecision, everything was possible, potential
Everything tangled
Not belonging not knowing

Bring truth without fear
Often speaking your truth has fear with it
From intellectual to kinaesthetic
Science fiction – quirky, strange, twilight zone
Rock, water, ancient, fertile, goddess

Didn’t feel empty
Loss of sensation
Feeling stuck physically
Maybe looking for the gap?

Idea to show a unison score, starting in stillness

Friday continued…P.M
Three part Underscore – the Underscore in a round.

Three groups: A, B, C

Group A enters space initially and begins Underscore pre ambulation, small dance, skinesphere, kinesphere, grazing, to  engagement, open score. All within a time frame of one hour or so

B’s enter and there is a cross over (of 15 minutes..)

A’s have a three minute bell before resolution..

Resolution ends in stillness, A’s disengage, short rest, reflection and become observing group alongside C group.

B group in the space now on their own, go through score, C group enters.

Cross over time of dancing both groups. Bell at 3 minutes before B’s resolution

B’s resolve with sustained movement, disengage, rest, reflection

C group in the space now on their own. They resolve with combined stillness and sustained movement.
Rest, reflection. 

Groups have ten minutes each for harvest in own groups and then meet all together.


Authors note: I have an amazing experience of watching the dancing from within the space. Just watching from within the space, the physicality, the flow, endlessly engaging, fascinating, engrossing, completely present with it, fascinated and delighted by it. Just the sheer physicality, the honesty of it, the openness and sophistication, playfulness and the physicality of it.

Mike Moment:

Being able to play

And being able to compose play perform

Or just play perform

Compose play perform

Choose play

Compositional performance skills

Open sensation
Open feeling

Feeling and not associating or attaching or owing

Not even naming

Experiencing without holding on to it

Author’s note: In the moment Mike plays or contributes sound, I observe that the visible ‘state’ of everyone changed, they became open, noticing through their ears, open and relational, the quality of their movement completely changed as a result of having this support or relationship to the space, their environment, each other, through their ears.

Saturday June 3oth
Day Four

Mike moment:
Are we practicing getting better choosing who we improvise with?
Or are we getting better improvising with anybody?

Thoughts, principles, suggestions

Sim (ilar) Sim (ultnaneous)

Today, not sim sim, as far as gestures, 
but sim sim as far as process to support each other’s variety and support each other’s freedom, support other’s gestures, not to feel you have to do the same.

Text, movement, music, co-existence, side by side. 

Building trust, playing catch, trust each other to keep the game going, ethics to invite each other to play, playing catch, inviting, generous, courteous, honourable, dignified, by invitation.

Related through our differences, simultaneous things are fine, trust.  

Soften our ideas of like and dislike. This is not about making judgments  fine to have them, don’t need to last very long. 

All birds are flying, they have to flap to stay up, can flap to stay out of something you don’t like. 

Inhabit the habit, if you catch one coming into play that you don’t want to, disengage from the habit.

Perception is something we do. 
You have agency, you decide what comes in and what goes out, that is your freedom, independence, ability to co-exist with what is going on and not be a victim.

Be aware, be available, be responsive, be clear.

The major seed is: anyone can make sound in any way they want, voice, text, instruments. Know what is going on, so that ‘Do under others as you would have them do under you. 

Spin and permeability, stopping, and starting, stop and start.

Playing for the Underscore

When you make a sound everyone can hear it.
Responsibility, consciousness with playfulness
Stopping and starting, amount of playing, how many people are playing, whole ensemble playing, repetition, how much, rate of change, pattern of frequency, re change, noticing how, when, why you change.

“Is this restricting people’s options or is it opening up people’s options?’

Volume: keep track of the volume, Is this demanding? 
Is this front and centre? Blending? Not playing at all – fine.
Variety of styles to play with, variety of styles.
Touch, connect, engage, please.
Something that is a style, or something that is more neutral. Either specificity.
Or something that is true, but neutral, ambiguous, neutral.
Sounds being played well and consciously work much better than music being played badly.

Are you pushing the dancers or are you moving them?

Choosing when and how much to play, is just as important as what you play. 

What to do as a listener if you find it too much? Go to a different studio.
Visually we have a bigger capacity than sound. Can leave the room, expand kinaesphere outside. 
Text as music. Focus on poetry not prose so much.

We did the Underscore with the dancers making the music and or dancing the Underscore

Author’s note: Amazing experience, using sound whilst I moved, breath and sounds and voice while I danced the Underscore. Using sound in this way supported my upper body, presence, connection, intimacy, the energy of the voice and sound and breath supported my body a lot.

PM after dinner:
Nancy: Underscore notes: (continued)

Initially grazing was just about touch - grazing touches, glancing touches, get people used to being touched. Then all other kinds of connections arose and went into group circulation. 

What is the difference between grazing and engagement? 
Grazing is a series of short connections that don’t have a chance to develop. You are streaming, moving through, having tastes along the way. In engagement you have arrived, committed, not on your way. 

It doesn't have to be long, can be short, but you have arrived into something now.


Prescriptive, descriptive
Noticing a path, cutting across it – prescriptive
Noticing someone just crossed my path – descriptive  

Something is at a distance, I feel a connection to it

Penomena where I start to take on something physically, energetically, emotionally, where I am aligned with something.
Can also be in relation to sound or music

Of ideas, convergance of ideas, approaches, not just spatially, can include attitudes

Noticing coincidence is about being able to develop a compositional connection from an improvisational point of view. It is already there to work from, just need to enhance it. Approaching composition from a somatic/streaming awareness, to notice what is already happening, noticing it and then being prescriptive or deliberate.

You don’t have to be passive or purely compositional, you can be compositional from within a somatic awareness.

Time duration
Nancy needs time with the underscore, before the open score. Go moment to moment, play with the patterns, don’t get fixated on vocabularies..

Notice how all of these apply to your day, your daily life.

How you recognise that a form or stage (from the Underscore or not) is coming or emerging, is based on the individuals and what they bring.

Meeting and staying with, engaging and going through many changes and shifts together.
You are in a holographic nonlinear space together – there is development.

The membrane around the development pops and from there you form two individual units again. From its resolution we find our bearings again - who am I? 

Maybe not choose this moment to get water or go out. Feel  your body and allow yourself to inhabit the gap potentially, feeling the continuity of your experience as things change, circumstances change. 

There are things here that are not patterned.

Plant the seed of ends, disengagements, transitions, beginnings. 
Decay – end, transform, change.

Ruth Zaporah – disengagement patterns
Shift, development, transformation

Shift: A ends, B begins
Development: A becomes more ‘A’ like, richer deeper AAAAA
Transformation: Slow mutation from A…a….a.. to b…b…B
Notice different styles of disengagement

Underscore Facilitation issues:
See people, evolve, allow, descriptive…
First time through maybe not observing.

You are supporting the practise of others with your attention, studying, observing, holding of the space.

See the movement, changing dynamics, collections, 
look compositionally

What skills do they need/have to go into an Underscore?

What happened right before the Underscore will determine, influence what happens in the Underscore

Music or no music? 
Practise doing it without music, don’t get dependent on music.

Facilitator can sometimes protect the Underscore too much. 
Have to be willing to risk not getting the precious thing you thought you could have. Shift into Underscore mind, ‘Everything is Delightful”

Observing the phenomena as well as being in it/participating in it..
Intermittent, sometimes zoom out

How is this working? How are we doing? It’s not all about me.

The difficulties are just as valid and interesting to study as ecstatic experiences

With CI there are only re-interpretations, not addition and subtraction.

Final disengagement mental, physical, energetic, rest, warming down, resonating with the experience, reviewing
Harvest like harvesting low hanging fruit, ready to be picked, caught, taken.

So much is not ready.
It is not good to force articulation of something before it is ready, when it is not ready. Can grab a book to make a note of something during the score,

Plant seeds for a particular kind of harvest, can play with the ‘microphone’ pass the stick around..

The Underscore is a study tool, not an ecstatic celebration ritual. 
It can be, but this is not what it is..

Can be so many things..

States of Grace, so many possibilities, it is a frame..      

What if there no Contact skills in a community?
How to introduce the Underscore in this situation?
Have to start somewhere, be specific, give a good base,, let people mess around, allow people to teach.
How to get people engaged without telling them what to do?

Invisible Underscore

Get people to practice the Underscore or aspects of the Underscore without calling it the Underscore..

Invisible underscore – first two days teaching a class and planting some seeds and material into the class so that later you can say.. 
‘like when we did..’ or that can be considered grazing. 

Give them the physical experiences and then refer to them within a score. 

Give them descriptives or experiences, then it can become descriptive in reference to the Underscore.

Some people have simplified the Underscore into five groupings, areas with different phases, not necessarily linear. Give them seeds through the use of your language. Teach them the phases of the Underscore without referring to it as the US and then teach them the actual UnderScore.

Some people know the Under Score within a group of others who don’t  know it. Find out first who has done it.

Simplify the Underscore
Summarise, simplify the complexity of U.S for people.
U.Score can be taught over three weeks.
Underscore is NOT contact improvisation.

Seeds in Pow Wow

Compositional permeability within the Underscore

An activity as a seed for the Underscore

EG: Room tilt, observing a group picture, enter, be in stillness either standing, lying, sitting, and so rearrange the form from what you see.

It is in the challenges of workshops/Underscore where the work is most deeply applied, rigorous, it is not fun and games, not in the books..

How to create a context in which something can arise?
How clear/simple/complex is the facilitation or set up of outer facilitation?
Is there a talk through? Do you charge money?
Create the outer context, the context. This is a structural consideration.
How to engage others? Seeds, context, structures.

Individuals need time for seeds. What are bringing to the Underscore tonight?e Everything has an effect.

There is a permeable and flexible membrane between descriptive and prescriptive.

It it is too literal, someone will create an experience to mess it up.
If too all over the place, give it more guiding.

Between all practises from very subtle to very rough, we are mediating between the points of reference.

Specifics are easier.

Extract one exercise which they may be successful at.

Transitions – frame and references.
Empty in the middle – improvisations
Sometimes the frame is very thick and the improvisation is too choked up.
Frame – what do you put in it? Exercises etc…
How does the frame inflect the empty space?
Artist giving permission.

What is the Underscore for?
Play, socialising, changing humanity?

How as a teacher do you inflect the space in the centre?
In the form, how its messed with, how loose, how tight?
Mystery between descriptive and prescriptive
Empirical research

Embodied research tool
CQ Frame and Empty Space: Article by Nancy Stark Smith:
CQ Volume 32, no. 2, Summer/Fall 2007

Missed notes: Sunday 1st July, Monday 2nd July, Tuesday 3rd July
On Sunday we had a meeting to discuss performing the Underscore
Monday we had the Underscore performance

The Extended Underscore Workgroup invites you to join us in our research by
observing a session of our practice of the Underscore. We hope you can come!
When: Monday July 2, 2012, 3-5pm
Where: Roehampton University, Froebel Campus, Michaelis Theater

Author notes: somewhere I missed out day four, five and six with note taking or have mislaid them – may fill in at a later date.

"The Underscore is a structure for collaborative improvisation involving
movement (including contact improvisation) and sound*. *The Underscore was
developed by Nancy Stark Smith and she has invited a group to research this
material for 10 days at Roehampton University.
The Underscore guides movers through many phases of physical and
metaphorical states, internal and external, from slow and introspective to
energetic and wild. We consider this sharing as a combination of serious play and embodied critical thought. There will be about 32 of us practicing the Underscore between 3pm and 5pm.
You will be free to come and go as you wish, change vantage point, and
write or draw your impressions, observations, insights and questions.
We encourage you to observe this discourse between bodies and sounds in
space and, if you like, to join us at the end for silent reflection and then a brief
discussion to share and compare experiences."
Notes from Monday:
State of body, being with the state of your body, being with what it is.
There is a baseline of peace and neutrality to return to whilst the states of the body change throughout the day.
Ten minute pow wow
Ten minute personal warm up
Double skinesphere, low slow flow, laying on of body parts, mobilising
Engagement - can grow large stretch travel, lighten up, open up
Graze in other engagements
40 minutes - then open into open score
2 minutes - resolve with stillness and sustained movement
sense arrival in either stillness or sustainment
recirculate around room - jog or run
7 minutes in heaven
Missed notes: Sunday 1st July, Monday 2nd July, Tuesday 3rd July
On Sunday we had a meeting to discuss performing the Underscore
Monday we had the Underscore performance

Wednesday 4th July
Day seven
Michaelis Theatre

Plan for day –
Planning and discussion by the small grains (brains) the night before at dinner.

Mike moment
Seeds – Underscore
Emphasis – Grazing
Water the seed of grazing

Ends, resolution, disengagement, streaming

Open Score – Mike dings and we clear the space
Imagining a dance in the empty space, imagine Joanne and Annie dancing in the empty space (from Kirstie Simson) feel a minute and then resume.

Our final resolution – two minutes – swirling and stirring around the space, if there is really an engagement going that you don/t want to leave, don't do it.  A whipping up of energy, and a settling, individual snaps to mark the end for each person. 

Once the whole group has arrived in that, disengage, take a moment, get your stuff and move into the McKelly studio for harvest. 
Then lunch and goodbyes.

Sharing low hanging fruit. 
Reflection, identifying one clear thing, image, memory, metaphor, observation, a fractile, represents a lot but is a little.

Feel somatically
Observe compositionally

Mikes Moment
"We are living and working in a physical and metaphorical ecology.
Like a flywheel in a watch, the old brain and the new brain, we are mediating between two sources of wisdom.
The Underscore is a wonderful place for that to happen."

Gerald Edelman:
‘The brain is embodied’
‘The body is embedded’.

My Brain is in my body, my body is in the world.
All contributes to consciousness in a gazilian ways.
Brain – mind
Embodied, personal real, vehicle, spin
Personal idiosyncracies
Embedded – relational, interactive, social

Slavoj Zizek:
“We are creating a shared framework for the co-existence of incompatible ways of life.”

All the differences, let each other co-exist.

Slavoj Zizek:   ‘holds out hope for a space of selfless action beyond the failed politics of the 19th and 20th century.'

“Civilisation’s greatest achievement is a spontaneous moral sensitivity.”

Creating space for radical change... 

Mike read aloud the poem ‘Neither’ by Samuel Beckett

Neither’ by Samuel Beckett

to and fro in shadow from inner to outer shadow
from impenetrable self to impenetrable unself
by way of neither
as between two lit refuges whose doors once
neared gently close, once away turned from
gently part again
beckoned back and forth and turned away
heedless of the way, intent on the one gleam
or the other
unheard footfalls only sound
till at last halt for good, absent for good
from self and other
then no sound
then gently light unfading on that unheeded
unspeakable home

“He (Samuel Beckett) has subordinated content to formal relationships shifting in time.”

An open mind knows how to sweep away unwanted clutter to make room for new insights.

John Cage:  ‘There is nothing to say and I’m saying it.’

Michael Eigen: "Wordless, imageless faith in an unknowable reality and

wordless, imageless transformations that go on in reality."