It’s already nearly a month into the creative process; time has flown by so quickly. Being a new dancer with ACE and new to Birmingham altogether it’s been quite an overwhelming experience. But having such a inspirational company dancing beside me, bringing amazing energy into the studio each day has made it all the easier.
From the get-go, we dived straight into the creation process, beginning our journey learning the exciting movement style of Akiko Kitamura, our choreographer. Just watching her dance is inspirational. For me it’s exciting to know that I am learning how to embody movement the way that she does.
Influenced by Martial Arts, Akiko’s style concentrates on the use of breath as well different amounts of tension in the body to execute movements with real contrasting dynamics. The idea of ON and OFF power; a relaxed body or what Akiko refers to as an empty body, in contrast with 100 percent full energy and power.
As well as discovering this to be a very efficient way of moving, it also shows a much wider dynamic range in your dancing. Movement becomes much more exciting to watch and perform as there’s always that element of surprise. Same as in Martial Arts there always needs to be that element of surprise in your attack to keep your opponent off guard.
Realisation soon kicked in however within the first week of the rehearsal process of how challenging her technique actually is. Nearly a month into the process and I feel like there is still so much more to grasp. As professional dancers you learn through vocational training stylised techniques, i.e. Ballet or Cunningham which becomes embedded in your movement patterns. Unconsciously or not you become use to holding your body in a certain way, pointing your feet or making familiar movement decisions. Through further experiences in your career you gain further specifics of how to move in a certain way. It’s always challenging taking that first step into a new process and letting go. Trusting in your abilities to retain what you already know and how you move to give your body that freedom to experience something completely new. Letting go of any preconceptions of what you think is right or wrong and allowing yourself to go into new territories. That’s what the rehearsal period is all about, and though we all go through this journey individually, your sharing your experience with your team which makes it all the more exciting and fun!
Every day brings something new. Everyday more information soaks in little by little. Yes it’s a challenge but for me this only makes the outcome more rewarding. The piece is slowly forming and I’m excited to see where the momentum takes us in the next few weeks.