A few words about the workshop by José Vidal:
My work is intimately influenced by my yoga and meditation practice. The main interest for me is for the performers to achieve a meditative state that will sharpen their perception at deep levels. I need the structure to come alive during the execution: rather than repetition, I want it to be an unrepeatable event.
In order to induce these states, I primarily work with breathing as subtle mobility, integrating body synaesthesia through various dimensions of touch: the respiratory touch, the touch of the performer’s own body, the touch of other bodies and of the environment as a body conversing sensitively in the experience of presence.
Breath, state and rhythm
I work with raising awareness both of our physical, emotional and mental state and of our own breathing at the moment life is breathed into the structure being built through the respiratory experience. The underlying idea is to be able to tune up from that point in order to synchronise our breathing cycles with ourselves and with the cycles of the rest of the group. This process allows perception to be sharpened and deepened with practice, transforming the work group into a single body which organises itself rhythmically. In this manner, a collective intelligence emerges in relation to decision-making for both individual and group mobility. A constant rhythmic dialogue unfolds which is free within the strict parameters imposed by the structure, and demands that the group works as a unified whole. This endows the execution with a beauty that is related to the truly organic processes of the body, projecting it onto the aesthetic and style of the dance. As a preliminary workout, I conduct technical exercises which relate to the way we physically connect with the self and with the Other; they allow the body to predispose itself towards a research experience which evolves into a collective language, though one that remains within the peculiarity of each dancer.
The bottle game
This game stems from the observation of the body work in sports that utilize an object and from the need to rouse alertness and spur a transformation of the performers’ action and movement guidelines or habits. This will allow them to rid themselves of stereotyped habits and responses in their body work. For the game, a plastic bottle of a certain weight (containing water) is launched into circulation and received as the participants activate their bodies in constant movement. The dancers “pass” the bottle to one another, employing various mobilities. It is a dynamic exercise which requires the participants to remain constantly alert and available. It has different levels: from the most basic, as when the bottle is launched from a fixed point to another place or person also fixed in space, and progresses in speed and complexity, which is generated by the addition of gradual restrictions on the response or through requesting different tasks (jumping, rotating, plunging to the floor to catch the bottle, etc.), thus placing greater demands on the participants in terms of their physical skill and reflexive response. This response is instantaneous: it takes place without a preceding process of the intellect. Again, the game demands a state of presence in the here and now at this instant and throughout the exercise; it facilitates freedom from physical as well as psychological patterns (fears) in the face of a creative task or the performance structure itself.