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 Post subject: Improvisation: "First hour is worthless"?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2004 11:57 am 
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Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2003 12:01 am
Posts: 77
Location: Gangsterdam
This is a question for those of you who are experienced in improvisation, either contact improvisation or any other type of improvisation-based dance - for example, people who dance Flamenco Puro can also take a shot at this question.

I saw a documentary about the choreographer Akram Khan who uses "islands of improvisation" in some of his choreographies.

He said that the first hour of improvisation is basically worthless, because people are just regurgitating what they already know. They are just running through their "inventory" of tried-and-true movements.

He claimed that its only after an hour of solid improvisation, when people have gone through their inventory, that the truly exciting movements begin to show up, on the spot. These are movements that the dancers would have never danced had they relied on their inventory.

Has anyone here had a similar experience?
Does anyone agree with Khan that the truly interesting movements will show up only after an hour of ongoing improvisation?

Tex.

PS. As for my own experiences, I used to improvise when I went to junior drama school as a kid and I always hated it. I've never had the experience of improvising for a solid hour, let alone for more than an hour. Hence the question.

<small>[ 30 August 2004, 02:03 PM: Message edited by: Maria Technosux ]</small>

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 Post subject: Re: Improvisation: "First hour is worthless"?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 30, 2004 2:43 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 20, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 3000
Location: San Francisco
I don't agree with Akram Khan's blanket statement. That may his experience. I studied for a couple of years at the Louis-Nikolais Dance Lab in NYC in the '70s, where improvisation was practiced just as technique was. Most of the members of the Nikolais Dance Theater and the Murray Louis Dance Company were excellent improvisers who could knock out great stuff as soon as they started.

As for my own experience improvising, I was never terribly good at it, but I'd say I was most inventive at the beginning. The longer I went on, probably the more I'd rely on familiar repertory.

<small>[ 30 August 2004, 04:47 PM: Message edited by: djb ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Improvisation: "First hour is worthless"?
PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2004 10:30 am 
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Joined: Sat May 24, 2003 11:01 pm
Posts: 270
Location: Birmingham Uni / UWM Milwaukee
i agree with Khan's statement, as when a group of us where choreographing a piece for our A level i would always try and fit in movements that i had seen in another dance piece, and it was only after that that we really started experimenting and improvising our own movements. i can't comment on the part about it being an hour though, i think it all depends on the dancer and their experience.


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