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Creation work

Training of « dancing artists »

Biodynamic Dance was born of therapy, then it developed and spread through classes, workshops and courses, finally asserting itself by a structured teaching and training of dance instructors. Today, it has become an artistic expression in its own right thanks to an art of choreography that has not been fossilized in a technique or a special style but rather integrates them all. As for myself, I never totally stopped performing on stage even during the years when I was only doing therapy. For that matter, this long artistic experience slowly evolved into a unique expression of choreography which I am trying to pass on to those who are talented and mature enough to receive it. The contribution of therapy was to ground and humanize my way of dancing beyond any aesthetic and technical frames of reference and organizing classes popularized it whereas training courses made it transmittable thanks to a practical, efficient teaching method. Creation work is now starting to produce “dance artists” ! Here we are, I have said it… It is the outcome of a long process and a new challenge (all the more so considering most dancers we are talking about are way beyond the official dance retiring age of 40). Moreover my wish is to enable them to be their own creators whereas before, they could only be the dependant performers of a choreographer. Last but not least, to counter the belief that you have to be young, slim and beautiful to dance, I reversed ideas : it is biodynamic dance that serves the body (not the body that serves dance anymore). That is what characterizes it. Even those who do not match the usual requirements can still bring in their genius and originality. Being able to project himself or herself more easily onto the dancer, the spectator is more receptive even thinking “Why couldn’t I ?”

Since the first workshops in Valence in 2000, I encouraged and trained a good number of students in creation work. At the final exam of Biodynamic Dance Instructors, some students got a “stage award” for their already highly developed qualities as “dance artists”. Incidentally, two laureates of my first group of students successfully put on a show in 2006, in Paris. Just granting everyone the possibility to dance alone in front of the group (especially in Paris where we are lucky enough to work in a genuine theatre), makes the workshops feel a little bit like a show. If it fosters narcissism as I am sometimes told, then hurrah ! for narcissism in that it gives people a chance to progress in their personal expression and assertiveness because it increasingly highlights their qualities as dancers. Experimental workshops were especially designed for experienced students and aimed at developing creativity by doing research on choreography.

Creation work within dance saved me from sinking in stifling second rate reproduction, it became my way of life. As far as I’m concerned, I am sure that the only way for an art to stay alive is to give birth to artists, not just to amateurs or educationalists. For me a type of dance that does not generate dancers is like a fruitless pregnancy, like a closed circle.

CREATION WORK IN RELATION WITH BIODYNAMIC DANCE

Body expression goes much further than words. It concentrates language into a tangible, disturbing humanity of an often unspeakable density that is poetized through movement and transcended in dance. Through the fragile transparence of the dancer’s inner nakedness, it may reveal a passionate quest, a wrenching pain, a feeling of emptiness or the secret of a mystery.

Is that why I chose body over language, dance rather than acting ? Maybe. In any case I was urged to discover this basically human language alive with universal truth.

Isn’t it what I am trying to reveal in my dancers by seeking to give birth to their true selves and to bring them to the threshold of a consciousness that goes well beyond appearances ?

In this respect, creation may be compared to a long alchemical process decomposing the artist in convulsions and chaotic outbursts of his/her unconscious ‘shadows (nigredo or darkening). It burns down to ashes the reassuring images of his egotistical mirror, thus freeing his essential deepest truth (albedo or whitening) which may finally be inlaid in the philosopher’s crystal stone (rubedo or reddening)… but let’s stay humble. It is a work-in-progress rather than an end in itself in which we are the mere instruments rather than the music, and our task is to practice our instrument so that the music sounds as beautiful and as pure as possible !

To create, indeed. That’s what we’ve done so far by spontaneously improvising on the elusive feeling of the now. Yet, how to build up a choreography - “a snapshot of life”- which we can be written down, at least partly written, without neutralizing its elusive character ? That’s the problem when you compromise. In fact, the building up occurs through a repetitive process under the judicious eye of a supervisor rather than a choreographer’s since there is, strictly speaking, no real choreography. The supervisor is unbiased, he can recognize a dancer’s particular qualities and help him/her make the best of them. His role is to guide the dancer out of the maze of inspiration towards a clear composition, reconciling choreographic structure and improvisation. That is already at the core of the “experimental workshops” in which students keep experimenting for months to the same music. Repetition slowly creates a light and supple framework. It provides hints for composition on which they can base an already existing dance but also feel free to change it according to their moods without any danger of losing themselves (as when mapping out an itinerary one retains the possibility for short-cuts or detours).

It is better not to listen to the same music too often and work with different tunes trying to stay in the same musical register for fear that repetition make you indifferent and lose your inspiration. This happened to a student who was baffled by the idea of choreography (she could find neither motivation nor inspiration outside the moments in which she was dancing in front of the others). Every time it was performed her dance was structuring itself without her knowing and yet remaining genuine and powerful. It gave her support and mastery without restricting her. It enabled her to deepen the moment’s inspiration. As far as I am concerned I always prepare new creations by improvising. I later keep only meaningful key moments. After some time a natural structure appears on which I can develop my dance. Choreographic structure should never be too tight for creation to retain its unpredictable quality so that it is never the same thing.


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Spirale de vie
Dans la lignée de la psychologie biodynamique(*), Rafael Baile nous raconte la fabuleuse aventure de la danse biodynamique à (...)
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