Last week I attended an intensive course in Bodily Movement and Sound Arts Therapy. It was taught by prof. PhD Vladimir Nikitin from the Psychological and Pedagogical Institute, Moscow and Eastern European Arts Therapy Association.

The main aspects that we discussed were Psychology of Bodily Consciousness and Plastic Drama, Therapeutic Aspects of Stage Movement and Psychodrama: Basic Concepts and Principles.

The way we move reflects the way we approach life. Our posture, the way we carry our body, contains information that often we are not aware of . When there are not enough words to describe a certain experience or feeling we can use the language of the body. In Body Movement Therapy, using spontaneous movement we are able to explore our essence. Spontaneity allows us to get our mind out of the way and reconnect with our body and explore what is stored there.

The main points of Bodily Movement Therapy are:

  1. Intentionality- the ability of the mind to form representations.
  2. Personalization- to feel , to see, to understand the protagonist (from the Greek πρωταγωνιστής protaganistes, “one who plays the first part, chief actor”).
  3. Positivism- even when we represent negative play you have to be able to translate it into a positive matter.
  4. Transmodality- the skill to use grotesque, vivid image. To be able through expression to lift the energy level of the protagonist.
  5. Spontaneity – to find solution in the moment, to find a new situation of old decision.

What I found particularly interesting was the difference between Eastern and Western performance art. Prof. Nikitin gave as an example of a Butoh performer who told him that the artist should not take the audience into consideration. Where as in Eastern Performance Practices the artists pay attention to how they influence it.

Western dance begins with its feet planted firmly on the ground where as butoh begins with a dance wherein the dancer tries in vain to find his feet (Tatsumi Hijikata in Viala and Masson-Sekine 1988: 189).

As we discussed how sound, pictures and movement influence the observer I became interested in how we interact with the audience subconsciously. Do we ask ourselves as performers how we make people feel both during and after seeing us on stage.  How would our work change if we take this into consideration.

I plan on exploring these questions in a project I am about to work on. I look forward to reporting my discoveries.

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