Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Progress of a Work-in-Progress

Greetings. I’m Selene Colburn, the current N.A.S.A. grant awardee. I’ll be blogging about my experiences developing improvisational movement forms for The History of the Future Suite here over the next few months.

I’m also looking for volunteers. A work-in-progress showing of The History of the Future Suite will take place on June 17th in Flynn Space. You may participate in the development of the work without performing, and you may perform without attending every session. We meet on Sundays from 2 to 4 pm. Email me at if you think you might be interested and I’ll tell you how it works.

I’ve been working on my own between head colds for several weeks now, but I just started experimenting with the improvisational forms I’m developing for groups last Sunday. I worked with Rachel and Susan—two seasoned improvisers—which was a great way of testing the outer limits of what I’m calling the unison form. Basically, dancers are confined to the vocabulary of a short phrase, which they ultimately execute in unison. So we know the end, but how we get there is up for grabs.

After doing it only a couple of times our sense of what constituted an ending (even when the results were predetermined) became more nuanced and muddy. This is completely concurrent with reading I’ve been doing in the field of psychology about how we imagine our futures. As humans, we’re not very good at it. We leave out the messy stuff in our minds, so that by the time we get where we’re going it looks nothing like what we thought it would. Or it fails to make us happy in the ways we expected.

Tonight I’ll be heading into the studio again to work on setting the phrase for the unison form (because I’m a control freak!) in preparation for this Sunday’s group work. I’ll also be working on a solo that layers simple gestures, footwork, and spoken text—a kind of patting your head while rubbing your belly sort of exercise (the only virtuosity that’s left to me at this point!).

Want to know more? Check out this Seven Days article.

1 comment:

spring hills farm said...

there is a picture of you lying on the floor backstage of the flnn from 1986 in the queen city special that looks just like that one.