Day 7 30 minute marathon

sun rui & weifeng day 7

marathon trio: working it out day 7

Kerry's teachings methods day 7

Kerry has listed the methods she uses when teaching and transferring knowledge of her movement language to students and dancers.  This also represents the qualities that are important to her. I attach an image here.

Task (new material):

Insertion into the quartet.

All four dancers working together.

Choose moments of stop in the quartet. Insert a ‘fall’, ‘rotation’, ‘flight’ and ‘catch’.

Then continue with the material.

Three stops, three insertions.

Kerry describes the difference between ‘flight’ and ‘lift’.  In a lift, you stay in contact, in flight you come out of contact, travel through space and then you are caught.

They begin to work, they have 10 minutes, while Kerry shapes Weifeng’s solo and his duet with Sun rui. Yes Weifeng is back so the full cast is present. Kerry choreographs Weifeng to walk in from upstage, Sun rui to catch him in a lift before he stops.

Kerry uses the term exquisite to describe Sun rui’s movement quality. Attempting to explain the term to the translator takes me to the dictionary definition

ex·qui·site adj

1.            very beautiful and delicate or intricate

2.            perfect and delightful

3.            sensitive and capable of detecting subtle differences

4.            felt with a sharp intensity

Encarta® World English Dictionary © 1999

The atmosphere in the studio is vibrant, active, full of creative input, from Kerry, photographers, observers, dancers and translator.

Kerry returns to the quartet, to see the material.

The task has been misunderstood; they have been working in pairs rather than as a group of four.

Kerry explains again. I should see just one fall, one rotation, on flight, one catch. There is one action and it does not matter who does it, but you work as a group.

That is a lift, not a flight.

Even if I am over there, I am always watching!

Kerry is happy with the atmosphere in the studio, everybody working. I sense it too. This is not just about a discipline and a shared creative focus. When dancers are scattered, working in different pockets of the space like this, highly energized, they simulate the desired structure of the choreography, as different layers of material and focus happening simultaneously.  So the dancers begin to live the style and the process becomes the choreography.


We are going for a marathon. 30 minutes of new material. And Kerry is going to work fast! She begins by talking with the translator, explaining certain terms that she is going to use with the dancers, so the translator is ready to translate fast.

You will say the word after me quickly, and then they respond quickly. So I will say, catch, drag, and fall. I will say: one person is the pencil, and another person is going to draw with them, draw in space. I will say ‘find the sky’, limbs — connect and rotate. I will say the floor, the ceiling, and behind, (which is not about turning their backs, but about being aware of something behind them). I will say up and down, backwards and forwards, ‘move your heart sideways’,  ‘filling ribcage with air’, sternum, elbow, change facing, lift, a lift that changes position in space. I will say point as in point at something with a body part.

I want the dancers to make decisions without talking, I want their bodies to answer, to go immediately, to get quicker at making decisions, I am going to direct them with an instruction, I would like you to instruct back loudly, so it goes: English, Chinese, body, English, Chinese body, English Chinese body’ so they don’t have time for thinking.  We are working with ‘back changing’. I will keep going back to the beginning. Make a phrase, remember it, go back to the beginning, repeat, add on, remember, go back to beginning, repeat, add on, remember and back to the beginning. I would like you to be urgent and focused for 30 minutes.  We need to be really clear so we can direct them. We are going to label each dancer as A, B, C and I shall refer to the dancers by these letters.

The translator asks – what is ‘connect’?

Kerry demonstrates two limbs connecting.

Try to be instinctive, not planned. I will lead, but you be there.

Kerry is riding high, well in control and directing with style.

All of this is then explained to the dancers.

We are not talking; we are solving the task without talking. For 30 minutes, we don’t have water, we don’t look at our phones, we don’t go home, 30 minutes of an urgent energy…

Kerry divides group into two trios, Wang lei, Sun rui, Wang yabin and Weifeng, Wu shuai, Zhao zhibo.  Each trio is given a piece of paper with 6 written numbers.

Label yourself A, B or C in your group.

Have water before we start.

The 30-minute marathon begins.

I find myself carried into the marathon as a writer, attempting to catch what happens, staying in the moment, forgetting to breathe, no pause to think, just writing. And it went something like this (I have included some commentary although this could be extracted to get a better sense of the rhythm of the work):

No more talking.

A have a look at your piece of paper.  Use B as a pencil, quick.  C punctuate a point behind you and change direction.  Go. Draw, not like a rag doll, be clear.  C find a point behind and change direction.

Dancers are somewhat dazed; the process is slowed down because of translation.  Like Kerry has bundled them all into a train and the doors have closed. They are off but they don’t know where they are going.

From the beginning.  Once more. Draw, point behind, change direction.

Now C is going to lift B, to change space.

From beginning, and draw, and lift and change space.

No walking, think of a way to get there.

From the beginning, draw, you lift, change space.

From the beginning. Draw, approach, change space.

All look at 2nd letter.  Draw your 2nd letter with your elbows.

From the beginning.

You draw, approach, lift and take space and elbows.

Once more from the beginning. Quick.

Draw, lift, go, elbow.

B & C lift A and change facing.  Don’t talk, do.  This should be a lift.

From beginning, and elbow and lift, change direction.

Kerry demands faster connections between figures.

From the beginning.

And draw, lift, change space, elbow, approach, lift.

C draws with A.

I feel an excitement rising, as I did yesterday at the Great Wall, crowded up against the stone wall, trying to get through a small gap, with thousands of people behind me pushing, like time is ending, like 9am rush hour at Victoria station, like those dreams where you are running very fast and not getting anywhere!!

And draw, and elbow, and lift, change space, and draw and sternum.

Once more.

C get into the lift quicker.

C fall on A and B, A and B catch C.  Go!

A and B drag C.

The scaffolders are back outside, balancing on the bars, no harnesses, hanging nets.

The dancers are safe with their falling, no risk taken. Do they know how to fall?  No time to teach them, no experience of contact impro. They stay safe, falling back with arms outstretched; to be caught almost before the fall begins.

From the beginning.

Draw, lift, change space, draw elbow, lift two people, change space, draw, fall drag.

From the beginning.

B draw the 4th number, using C.  A move your heart sideways and fill ribcage with air.

Kerry demonstrates nothing, all is verbally transferred.

From the beginning. Weifeng –get out quickly.

Lets go.

Dancers are shocked out of patterns, out of careful placing of arms and legs, jump started into movement as task.

Draw, lift, travel the lift, go go go, draw with the elbow, lift, readdress space, and draw, and fall, drag, rotate, draw.

I need to see you fall first then catch, not just catch.

From the beginning, here we go. Keep with it guys.

Kerry is shouting, dancers are looking dazed! But they are with her.

From here A, B & C, show me something up and down, backwards and forwards. Go.

Nothing happens, dancers seem stilted. Kerry demonstrates, translator joins in.

Let me see it.

Its up, you go down, you go backwards, you go forwards and it’s gone. Fast.

From the beginning.

Draw, lift change space, elbow, into lift and change space and draw and fall, drag and go, draw, up, down, backwards and forwards.

Have a moment to think about it, you can talk for one minute.

From the beginning.

Look at the 5th number. A is going to draw number on floor, B on ceiling, C behind you.

So it goes, up down, back forward, 5th number.

Lets go from the falling.  Fall, drag and draw and up, down, back forward and it draws.

A and C connect limbs and rotate. It can be small, connect, rotate. B find the sky.

Lets go from up, and down, are you ready?

And up, down, back, forwards, draw a number, connect, rotate, find the sky.

Then, as a trio, change places.

From the beginning.

Keep going; keep working on it, no water. Only two more events to go.

A solo — 6th number.

2nd time through, C stops you.

B rests.

B uses C as pencil.

I have a solo, I have a stop, and I have a drawing.

When C uses B, A steps away.

From the beginning.

Draw, lift, travel, travel, big elbow, lift, rotate, draw nice and clean, fall, drag and you draw and you go up, down, you draw.  Connect and rotate, find the sky, change places, solo, duet, and step away.

Lets go from the 6th number.

Last thing – A falls, B & C catch, drag.

From the beginning.

From the beginning.

We have the material!

I see two trios, completely different, yet created from similar instructions — verbal unison, visual difference.

I go next door to Wang mei and calm down!

I come back to a run through of sections 1 & 2.

The order today:

Wan lei entrance and solo.

Wang lei and Weifeng’s duet.

Two duets – quartet adding new material today (drop, rotate, flight, catch)

Men traveling feet phrase.

Women and men feet and arms phrase.

Yabin solo

Weifeng walking into duet with Sun rui + Yabin solo

Wu shuai solo + yabin solo

Sun rui solo

Zhibo and Sun rui’s duet – music slows.

2nd section

Walk down, line.

Kerry’s duets, unison

Sun rui solo

Into marathon trios from today, new material.

Break into weifeng’s solo.

Back to marathon, new material.

Wu shuai & weifeng’s duet.

Pause – gap in material, to be filled.

Men’s floor material with women unison duet.

The material and structure are nearly complete. 5 days to go.

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