This workshop was on Saturday 29 July; part of Contact meets Contemporary 2017.
Jörg Hassmann excitedly introduced this workshop as one which he had conceived at this year’s festival.
Initially, he introduces weight giving and sharing through our pelvis to our partner who is on the floor: exploring the relation of our feet on the floor and the weight given to our partner; putting a hand on the floor in front of us to support our weight but not behind us; and reaching forward with our hands to counter-balance. He emphasises that the partners are in a dialogue and that feedback from the receiving partner assists the dancing!
I find this exercise difficult – the temptation to put your hands behind you and bear part of your weight rather in front of you is too great! Don’t do that says Joerg! Reaching forward with your hands to counterbalance – as in other CI sequences like ‘goat and shepherd’ – helps alot. I wonder about emphasising this learning with a third person meeting your finger-tips as you reach forward thus encouraging counterbalancing. But that would require a trio.
Joerg asks: how do we stay in communication with our partner when giving and receiving weight; how can we stay stable and to keep moving and dancing? Joerg says “The core idea of contact – in my understanding – is to challenge the system – the balance – to keep it moving. Whenever we have a fixed static there’s something in the dance dying.”
Joerg demonstrates an exercise with ‘the four footer’ – when our partner is dancing on all fours – they are on their hands and knees like a four footed animal (also know as table or bench position) and we are giving weight to them. It’s ‘mid-level’ work he says.
Joerg dances with Tanja Striezel as the ‘four footer’. He slides his pelvis, and changes its position while dancing to alter weight giving. He shows weight pouring and dynamic movements without explanation – it is enough without further examination he says. Showing is enough.
You can read more about Joerg Hassmann’s work in contact improvisation and dance here: https://joerghassmann.wordpress.com/
[Videos: Joerg Hassmann teaching CI Essentials at Contact meets Contemporary (July 2017) by Andrew Wood]