I asked dance artists Helen and Maeve who performed in Becoming, to watch the film and let me know how they felt.
I asked them to include:
-Any bodily responses, any similarities to your experience while dancing
-Whether you find yourself on the screen work, that is if you recognise and feel yourself in what you see on screen
-Has the experience of this collaboration had any impact on you/your creative practice?
-What device did you want the film on, large screen TV/laptop/phone, etc
Meave’s reflections, Sent to me on 16 July 2023
After watching it, they [my reflections] came out as short statements and individual words as opposed to ‘prose’, as it were…
I feel I am watching and being.
I feel I am seeing and seen.
I am feeling and felt.
Silk, silt and speckles.
I am both in and looking in.
I see I am there but do not recall it. It is me but it could be anyone. And yet, it could not. It is me. I do not recall it because it is not a memory. It is a present experience – every time. The longer I watch, the more I sense myself.
Inside and outside.
Skin, muscle, skin, hair, matter, bone.
Curiosity and sensitivity.
I am here and I am there.
Eternal and ephemeral.
Second version she sent on 24 July 23:
1.Any bodily responses
- felt my body inclining towards the screen
- a lot of circular shifting of weight on the seat
- relaxation, exhalation with feeling of sinking into the chair and, particularly, releasing of tension in the shoulders. I noticed this as it does not often happen to me
- feeling of closed or heavy eyes but nothing related to being tired
2.Any similarities to your experience while dancing
- sense of a loss of time
- feeling of calm, akin to being underwater or, as we were encouraged in the dance, to ‘be water’
- with the closed/heavy eyes, I felt attention going inwards
3.Has the experience of this collaboration had any impact on you/your creative practice?
- prompted more trust in sensation. The fact that Zhenia allowed us to allow ourselves to sit into the movements, pace and feelings which emerged in every session built trust in one another but also trust in my own choices as a dancer
- established the idea of, ‘Do not imitate. Become’. This is currently provoking a big change not only in my movement but in how I conduct myself as an artist
4.And, what device did you watch the film on, large screen TV/laptop/phone, etc.
- on this occasion, I watched it on my laptop. It felt different being closer to and larger than the screen. In all screenings I attended, I sat at a distance and the visual (film) was always on a relatively big scale. On the laptop, it felt like I was looking in on the dance/dancers/encounter and hearing the sounds. On the big screen, it felt much more like being invited to walk into the world with the dance and dancers, and being bathed in the music
Helen Hall, Response to the film, Sent to me on 23 July 23
Watching at Golden Thread Gallery
First time I watched the film I was too far to see it, so this response is based on limited vision.
Glimpsing moments of returning to the moment. The dust, the floor, the skin. I realised after watching that I hadn’t returned to the ‘heat’. The heat that had been so important in the moment, the heat from the other body that I had been drawn to. Heat had been such a powerful presence in the moment… But I realised I hadn’t recalled it on this occasion. Later I heard someone say that they were cold in the building, and I considered how this had playing into my experience of the memory. I realised I also feel cold at that moment, and wondered had this stopped the memory of heat surfacing?
A presence of the sense of knowing there is more beyond what the audience see also arose. A feeling of having a different memory from what the audience will take away. Knowing that between the edits there was a longer flow of movement that exists in my knowledge. The edits, are, in a sense, snippets lifted from the flow, so in a sense, to me they are interrupting the memory of flow, pulling it apart. However, also understanding that for the audience, based on their responses, they still watched a ‘flowing’ sequence, they still felt a seamlessness.
A sense of calm, watching and being returned to the moment. . A sense of returning to the emotional feelings, rather than the physical ones.
Watching the film at home
A sense of returning to the memory of the moment. But also being drawn into the moment of the film, a new moment, a new experience. While remembering the feeling of skin, dust and connection to the other dancer, I was also present in watching as an outsider, an onlooker, as if I hadn’t been there. Because in a sense I hadn’t been there, in that viewpoint before. My memory is connected to a different viewpoint, but the film observes my memory and considers another presence.
A feeling of connection between the memory and the new watching experience, was the feeling of calm and immersion. Being immersed in the film and watching the flow of the shapes and bodies, but also remembering the feeling of presence and immersion in the moment, of being invested in the physical being and listening and responding to another body, through our skin. I was seeing this memory from a new viewpoint, but with the same feeling of immersion.
The film, with its moments of sometimes not knowing where one body stopped and another began, reflected the internal feeling when dancing, of feeling a contraction of bodies becoming more and more unclear as to where one stopped and the other began. This time, when watching at a good visual distance, I wasn’t aware of the sense of ‘editing’ that I mentioned above. It was more a sense of flow and continuum.