Thursday, June 14, 2012

Elaine Summers (145)

-Dance for Carola, 1962-

"Elaine Summers has two identities: a respected choreographer coming out of the Judson Dance Theater and a highly influential teacher of Kinetic Awareness, a system permitting an extraordinary range of movement that has been studied by many people in the performing arts" 
 (Ann-Sargent Wooster The Drama Review DANCE/MOVEMENT ISSUE VOL 24 #4)

Elaine Summers describes  in her article "Bio-kinetic Tension:Loving tension, because with out tension there is no movement; without movement there is no life," how she cares for 'her' tension and how dancers should care for theirs:

Loving My Tension: Or How To Care For Your Tension I love my tension so I give it lots of Vitamin B, especially B 12 and Folic Acid. I listen for proprioceptive signals to balance calcium and protein for the energy to flow through my muscles and be able to confidently release and give me the most movement for the least tension. I ought to treat my adrenaline system better but I do love that one cup of coffee. I give it lots of chances to be intense, fast, stretch, contract, expand, articulate, extend, release, relax, collapse and respond. It is always greedy for movement so my tension loves to dance, swim, wiggle & squiggle. We need to move every muscle, every joint often without pain, as a way to stay healthy. As a choreographer I want dancers to understand and experience the full scale of all the elements of their tension. Dancers need safety through alignment and flexibility and an understanding of their own bodies. They need to explore and experience the totality and the edges of their own dance. I love a dancers' vocabulary to include the intelligent development of high extensions, long extensions, responsiveness in improvisation, endurance, daring, leaps, falls and to have experiential confidence in the pre-thought swiftness of their reflexes. 

©Elaine Summers

For more about Elaine Summers' Kinetic Awareness Center, and upcoming courses there, follow the link:

For more about Elaine Summers, follow the link

For videos by Elaine Summers, visit the youtube channel here.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sheila Chandra (144)

Sheila writes in the "Weaving My Ancestors Voices" statement:

'The voice is the first and ultimate instrument – it is the one means of expression used by every culture. Although different instruments often have relationships with each other across the continents, they come in different forms, they are played differently... but the voice remains biologically the same across all people. The means by which it is used, the sounds different peoples choose to emulate, is fascinating. The voice is connected to your blood supply! Because of this biological relationship, it is always going to be closer to your instinct, your soul and your emotion – rather than your intellect. The spirit of my ancestors is more accessible to me via the voice – it links into all cultures throughout time. 

I was born and brought up in England by my Indian family, and growing up I felt a great gap – an absence of roots and a context in which to place myself. In England I was surrounded by cultural stereotypes and images of the 'English rose' and knew I was never going to be like that. I was always an obsessive singer and when my adult voice developed, it was in a low register. In most Western traditions it is felt a woman's voice needs to be high but, to my great relief, I discovered that in the Asian tradition it is quite acceptable for a woman to have either a high or low range. My vocal technique developed from there with an instinctive interest in ornamentation. I then found something which was 'home' – and for me music is home. That is where I express my intention most accurately. 

Sheila Chandra