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Rehearsal Log: Beau

The Blue Road is a multi-year project that delves into modes of performance practice. This project began as an improvisational practice using 45 body landmarks to guide new movement pathways, with plans to develop this physical research into an evening length work.

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Excerpts 2020


The original prompt for the solo exploration:  Follow the initiations below to create unexpected physical pathways. Shifts of weight, locomotion, direction and level changes are at your discretion.  Pause frequently to recall where you have been. Breathing keeps the traveling gentle. This deep diving into the tracks of movement leads us in, keep that burrowing but also keep looking out too (internal commitment + external engagement). Work through the list until you lose interest. Start over if desired.  

I went back to this prompt in an open and non-judgmental way, moving from one initiation point to the next. It felt like burrowing, and was more satisfying than any of our recent investigations… made me wonder if we are trying too hard. The complexity that we add is admirable and has given us a refined skill set, but I'm starting to wonder if it is stifling.  I wonder what a version that dances through the original prompt over and over again would feel like: Work through the list until you lose interest. Start over if desired.


I felt something that was coming up in rehearsal this weekend together, something about leaning into the impasse rather than skirting around it. When I move away from a trouble spot it always felt forced or inauthentic, but when the next landmark took me further into the knot then it was most satisfying.  Heat Moon has "axioms of the blue road" peppered through the text.  Maybe this can guide us in our further shaping…  Blue Road Axioms:  Ball Rolling, Jorge Suerat, Wafting, Noticing, Wringing, Isolated Floor, Moving the ground


Trouble starting and unfocused working- reminds me of the rainy days for Least Heat Moon- No vista or interesting story, just canned foods and solitude. There is something ordinary in it all… You always talk about the magic of dailiness, or something like that.


Benoit shared his new sound with us today. I started on the floor with the sound, hearing found sounds of the forest - which reminded me strongly of our film, and being in the woods by Stockton with the brook running and the crunch of  leaves. Beniot’s sound is so spacious- allows me to wander, not quite guiding myself in any particular direction. Like all good blue highways rambles I discovered what I think are gems of new understanding:  I started thinking of each landmark not as a landmark but what it is - right, left, left side of rib cage, pelvic floor, etc. I realized that I normally just move to the general area for each landmark, and for some of the joints tune into their particular action, but rarely do I consider their function, what they do for the body.  I think this is important to the score:  the right ear hears! the diaphragm breaths! the left SI is tension between the sacrum and pelvis! the left clavicle is three dimensional, and a joint, and delicate!


Excerpts 2018


I found that I was shifting between ways of accessing the landmarks, sometimes hitting them directly like dart to board, sometimes slowly accessing them through new pathways in the body, other times taking a superficial or outward path around the body. 

I find that the space to explore is important right now, maybe because I’m a little removed from my dancing body and still on vacation, in the beach body. But why does that have to feel different? Can’t I dance in my beach body?


Things that came up — the shape of bone, murky land, spongy, restrictive surfaces and hardness that gets eroded over time like what happens in cave formation, and fog keeps recurring.


Separated the seven tracks into 3, approximately 7-minute chunks:  For #1, I started with my eyes closed, sensing each landmark and making my way with extreme consideration through the body.  This way my warm up, and I kept my eyes closed nearly the entire time. When I did open my eyes, I maintained the internal logic that I had established, the clear mining of each pathway.  This was a felt experience.  For #2, I wanted to move more through space, so added the intention that each landmark would help me locomote. The quickness of this version forced me to shortcut certain pathways, to drop them mid stream which felt exciting.  For #3, I actively started shaping the vocabulary, creating more recognizable dance shapes and transitions.  This was designed, crafted. Overall, I like each of these three versions and their permutations.

Can my attention to all of the details of the movement be so refined that even the large, fast, and strong be sensorially acute? Can my qualitative range grow without diminishing my internal perceptions of pathways, patterns, and points of initiation?  The value of this seems to be inside the continuing, the repetition is the reward.

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