Rehearsal 7_ 3.28.18

We’re really onto something here.

We rehearsed with a box this time to see if it would help give us options for setting the camera down. I don’t know that it made a huge difference, but we will try again. It’s hard to pay attention to new players when we’ve been building this so deeply.

Light is consuming my thoughts.

Moving forward, improvising with lighting is going to need to be a part of our training too.

We have one more rehearsal before our shoot. We have a ritual set up now, entering the space and getting right to work. This will be how we have our next rehearsal and will be how we proceed on shoot day.

I’m feeling unattached to making decisions about costume – I think because the choices we’ve made so far have ended up being interesting each time.

We still have questions about what would be the optimal space, but that is one reason that I’ll be taking the section we get from this piece into a feedback session. Hopefully this will give me information about how to proceed with this project.

The score is settled, from here we just work to get it deeper into our bodies.

I need to make a decision about camera and lighting for the shoot.

Looking forward….

Maya_H_1 from Logan Company on Vimeo.


Rehearsal 5_2.28.18

Meditation (ATTENTION)

Sitting/Seeing (SPACE)

Walking/Proximity/Movement (GEOMETRY)

Cameras in Play (FRAME)

We are working on addressing the issue of “in” and”out” and starting to break it down. The idea is to queer the space between being behind the camera and in front of the camera and making the entire happening a movement event worth seeing: the cameras represent a frame within a frame.

(I am also interested in queering the space of performance between us and an “audience” but that investigation comes later. Though Ariadne Mikou’s article on “Intermedial Encounters on the Screen” is beginning to inform this line of questioning for me already.)

Some ideas that are investigating which are helping us to soften the space between “in” and “out” for us are:

-What happens to bodies while holding the camera in a way that makes the shots useful for a film “product” and how do we incorporate these specific body needs into our composition instead of ignoring them? What is interesting about making these body needs a part of our score? Is it interesting? What kind of fluctuation of form, speed, and effort is needed in the room? Are the stipulations of the movement required by holding the camera inherently “out”-making? What would be required of us mentally or physically to make this designation less liminal?

-Interaction with the person holding the camera is key: not just interacting with them in reference to the camera frame, but interacting with their entire body: taking ATTENTION, SPACE, and GEOMETRY cues from them in the same way you would if they weren’t holding the camera.

-Claire brought up the concept of ‘cyborg-ing’ when holding the camera. We worked with this concept in mind which helped us to feel more connected to the camera, and helped those who were not holding the camera to sense the camera-holding-person’s body as still a part of the composition.

-Bringing back this idea of our vision as camera frames feels necessary right now. Thinking about composing GEOMETRICALLY and SPATIALLY for this many FRAMES reduces any nervousness or over-consciousness of the actual camera, as well as helps in creating this heightened state of awareness that I am hoping  to cultivate and portray.

Thinking about dancing is limiting.

The more we do this, the more I realize how important the approach to movement creation is for this project: there is a degree of cohesion that needs advancing. The word GEOMETRY is one way in, as well as the word SHAPE. Ideas brought up were thinking about grids and lanes, focusing on mirroring and complementing body angles we see with much of the creative element living within our sense of timing. 

Now that we’re getting a better idea of what this process requires, it’s time to start building a score. I think focusing on our consciousness of the “tech-y-ness” of the space is helpful, offers fodder: the connection to the cellular structure of our selves and the space creates a kind of a grid in and of itself and really affected our movement choices in an unusual way when we worked with it before.




Rehearsal 2_1.24.18

We set up two cameras to record from the beginning. We repeat what may be a ritual of sitting, breathing, finding ourselves in the space, slowly evolving into walking, and then into improvisation.

We focus our attention again, and more avidly, on space, distance, and pathway.

I think that enhancing our understanding of ourselves in space, how much we take up, and our distances, is one key to understanding this idea of the frame of the camera and its specific digital space.

We measure ourselves in space walking, moving, standing still.

We reflect on the cameras, on our improvisations, on our actual feelings currently in this space and time.

I think that this is also key to the process: as my interest is in removing the feeling of necessity of pretend that can be inherent in filmmaking: we pretend that we didn’t do this take 50 times in a row in order to get this shot the way we wanted it. This is a wonderful, purposeful way of filmmaking, of course, but I am interested in trying something else for this project. I am interested in the investigation of immediate craftsmanship, of momentary problem solving, and in how we can make those kinds of choices with a camera. Within this framework, it is not actually useful to do any pretending.

The camera is there. We do not pretend it isn’t. How does that feel different?

We are choreographing for the camera frame. We do not pretend that we aren’t. How does that feel different?

What possibilities are available to us when we are making ourselves available to what is actually in the room? What possibilities are not available to us for the same reasons?

We spent time considering our own vision as a frame. What are its limits? What can you see and what can’t you? We improvised, all considering our own visual frames as camera frames. We improvised with only two of us considering our visual frames as camera frames. We reflected on the differences.

Some reflections from this rehearsal process from all of us:

-Seeing with ‘camera vision’ does something distinctly different to my body. I started to make interesting choices about frame and movement and reveal. How and when did I want something to appear or disappear? How fast? At what angle? (KNL)
-With only 2 people as cameras, there was a disparity created between the group which was palpable. (KNL)
-Squares and lines (KM)
– the squareness of space?
-square frame
-Is inspiration coming from inside or from visual field (KM)
-When I am being a camera, I lose sight of all other cameras (KM)
-I think using vision in this way might slow time and action. Something about the speed of processing… (KM)
-Having the two non-human cameras in the space was important as a mover. It made me feel like I was making important decisions even though the human camera didn’t catch them. (BRJ)
-I’m interested in why this switch from being a camera to being a non-camera was less satisfying. Was it because my task was missing a piece that was added? Was it the desire to be interesting? (BRJ)
-I went from all these internal shifts of memory and emotion to very concetrated present moment sight oriented awareness. (CM)
-Touch changed, it was easy but not as sensitive. (CM)
-The practice got easier and then harder. My limbs became ways of adjusting scale or perspective. (CM)

For the first few weeks, we are throwing out all of the footage. I think this will contribute to a slow accumulation of ease with the feeling of the camera. Eventually we will begin to review footage in rehearsal time to discuss what we are seeing, what seems to be ‘working’ for us, whatever that means.


I dub this project ‘Maya’, hoping for the influences of Mayas Angelou, Deren, and Lin, in honor of poetry, frame, and landscape.

Maya is an investigation of improvisational filmmaking and the demystification of the making of dance films and the camera lens by incorporating the concept of the camera frame into the creative process from the very beginning. We ask questions about the philosophical nature of having the camera in the room. What does it feel like for something you’re doing to be recorded? Can we learn to use the camera frame as only a choreographic tool, demystifying any psychology we personally have attached to it, turning it into a frame, an opportunity, and not a matter of pretend? Can we train to compose within this frame immediately, the same way that we compose immediately through improvisation on a stage? Can we come to know this digital frame so well that it is just another form of space? What is it to bring forth our knowledge (make immediate choices from our embodied histories) through movement in the moment in the interest of the future (the film)? Can we consider all of this time in our bodies at once? What happens if we try?

This concept is becoming. We are developing it each minute and many of these ideas are wrong or bad or won’t work. I’m looking very much forward to the neurons we’ll gain by the failures we’ll experience.

“Indeed- you might ask yourself what it is that makes good improvisation.”
“Eschewing “product-hood” and resisting commodifications, improvisation emphasized presence and change.” (Vida Midgelow)

We calculate distances as if they referred to our own bodies”
“Any tool and its precise manipulation presupposes the space of the body.” (José Gil)

“The direction we take excludes things for us before we even get there.”
“Lines are both created by being followed and followed by being created.” (Sara Ahmed)

“When you see what you want, you’ll recognize it, but it won’t be entirely yours. It will belong to the material you’ve trusted.”
“Try breaking the rules on a ‘need to break the rules’ basis.”
“Nothing is ever wasted.”
“Choose people and trust them implicitly.” (Jonathan Burrows)

Rehearsal 1_ 1.17.18

Cameras are in the space from the start. We bring awareness to them. One only is running.

We name the cameras ‘Aye’ and ‘Bea’.

We four dancers take time to re-discuss the concept, hopes, and goals of this project. We sit in our bodies, breathe and notice ourselves in space. We open our eyes and consider how much room we take up. We walk and consider our relationship to space, our size, the distance between us and the walls, floor, ceiling, other bodies. This develops into a movement improvisation. We reflect on our improvisation, the feel of the camera frame on us: the yucks and the yums of this opening.

We do several more timed improvisations, relating to one another, considering the frame of the camera. We move the cameras to different parts of the space. We reflect on the difference between the feel of one camera and many and what it feels like when they are in different parts of the space.

What happens when we have the agency to move the cameras?

What happens when a camera is moved to focus on what we are doing?

From whence comes the instinct to make the decision to change the camera frame?

How much do you consider what you’re doing and how much do you consider what you are seeing?

Is the camera “downstage?”

What can we do that the camera can’t?

What can the camera do that we can’t?

What can we all do?