Is online changing rehearsal structure/flow/setup/time? How?What interpersonal interactions do you encourage, nurture, discourage, need? How?
In general, I accept the notion that dance is a performance art, and if it is not for someone else who is in the room, it is a film. So the idea of online dance performances that are neither documents nor films is conceptually alarming to me to say the least. The most terrifying thing, however, about watching a performance online was realizing that one could skip the boring parts.
Confession: I have been bored before in a (live, in- person) performance (I assume I was in some way part of the problem), but, in that context, I had no thought other than to remain at least physically present. It is part of the social context I uphold in the theatre.
But, I was startled to realize that, when no one can see HOW one interacts with the performance, one becomes free to respond more authentically. For example, no one knows if one skips ahead. No one knows if one does something else at the same time. No one knows whether one is really paying attention.
This realization was deeply unsettling for me. It challenges my very notion of what I seek for performance to be: a communication entered into with integrity by both parties. The assumption that I can trust my audience to attend in good faith is fundamental to my practice as a performer/creator.
I am still processing what it means that one's engagement can be so different in the "solitary" context of attending virtually.
The end of a session is a shock. It's so 'final'. There's no slow dissipation of energy as people chat, pack up there things, and leave the studio... It's like a slow emptying of energy within the space vs. a sudden disappearance... For me it's like "oh, ok. I guess we're done here"... feels unsatisfying to disengage abruptly (given the reality of these platforms). I suppose I want these virtual platforms to do things they can't do at this point in time, with current technology ie: physical/personal connection... could be my resistance rearing it's head.
Changes in flow of work time: I intentionally ask everyone to start close to their camera so we can "check-in" at the beginning of a session. (in studio people may be all over the room warming up, some chatting with each other, and I'd go up to each one to say hello). I can't sense when people are tired (mentally or physically) so I now pre-schedule breaks into my plan and I remind people to ask if they need a break (sometimes the pre-scheduled in not at a good time). The end of the session is always a shock. Even after a year and a half I have not gotten used to the sudden black screen and immediately being alone in my own room. (from Conversations 2021)
a practical response: It is very useful to be able to see people at a distance and switch to closeup (e.g. on zoom- gallery view, speaker view, pin several to see just a few simultaneously. This is similar to standing in the front/back of a room/theatre to get a wide view, walking close to someone for details, and narrowing my focus to see just a few at a time (or dividing them into groups). however the closeup is different online- I can see detail without intruding on the person's personal space. (from Conversations 2021)
It's so different from the way I usually work in close contact with others. It’s in my body but out of our bodies; very intellectual, very demanding. Developing trust on the screen process is a big part of it, and trust with the collaborators that are on screen with me and with the director’s approach. It takes time which we don't always have so in the future I hope to be in processes that allow for that time. (from Conversations 2021)
As a dancer on Zoom it’s all been tasked-base, and experiment based in given time to walk away from Zoom; think about something and what I’m going to bring back to offer... in a four hour rehearsal there’s tasks that are delivered; they either happen very shortly after the task is delivered, or I’m given time to go away in that 4-hour chunk – I turn my camera off; go and turn my home into a playground – the things that happen in the different rooms are amazing memories and them bring that back to share – everyone of those collaborators delivers their project in real time on Zoom
(from Conversations 2021)
Rehearsing online> The necessity to work at this time was to stay engaged with the ideas but also not lose our connection to each other, to our way of dancing-thinking thinking-dancing. It was not about what we are losing but about staying connected. The first bit of every rehearsal was always about checking in and seeing where people are at and not rushing. Anything I had planned or anything we were going to be doing that day, the priority was being with what everyone was doing and what they were coming into the rehearsal with because everyone’s experience during this time have been vastly different, all very challenging and all very different. (from Conversations 2021)
for me live is when you are performing in the moment the camera is on and what the audience sees is that unedited version. we are all together in the moment of anything-can-happen. if you see the documentation of a live performance, that is lovely, but you have missed sharing the moment the performer was in. I don't value one over the other, but i feel there is an extra charge of togetherness and an extra charge of independence in being able to witness the documentation of the live event at my own time, without being seen, without being a consideration in the live moment.
Digital places ARE performance places.
What is or isn’t “live”? Audience with performers in shared real time? Director with interpreter in shared real time? Must people be sharing the same screen at the same time for it to be live? Must physical proximity exist for performance to be live? (from Conversations 2021)