Sunday, 22 July 2012

That Tribal Connection

Improv is special.

Anyone who regularly immerses themselves in it will know exactly what I'm talking about here. It isn't just something you DO; it's something you FEEL. Now dancing choreo can of course be great fun. You can get on really well with your fellow dancers, bond really closely, do stuff together, have a whale of a time on that dance floor, communicate really well whilst you're dancing. But the connection you get when you really give yourself up to improv IS different.

Of course, it doesn't necessarily happen JUST because you're improvising. It's possible to improv more - I hesitate to say mechanically - but that's the closest I can get. And that can be great fun; following one another's moves, having a good laugh together, jumping up to different tracks. But it still isn't the same thing as when you let your mind and body really 'sink' into the improv. Kind of 'deep improv' for want of a better word.

(If you have never felt that true improv connection you may well be arguing with me now! It's hard to explain if you've never experienced it. But trust me, it IS a completely different feeling!)

Paulette Rees-Denis of Gypsy Caravan talks about that 'Collective Soul', about that connection and shared consciousness, that being completely and utterly there in that moment with your fellow dancers. Feeling, moving, responding as one. And that's it in a nutshell. A Collective Soul.



Last night Sarah and I danced improv together at a hafla.We rocked it out to 'SuperMassive Black Hole' and boy did we have fun .... a few seconds of an arranged entrance then into improv for the rest of the song ..... cascades, straight improv, pulling out our favourite moves and having a blast. Feeling that tribal connection!

Then it happened ... last lead change, Sarah stepped forward. Arabic with a twist and suddenly her arms were up and she was spinning round. And I was right there with her. Not a second's hesitation - spinning as one! This isn't a transition we normally do, but there wasn't any conscious thought or analysis on my part. It just happened spontaneously, perfectly. And it was magic! It was true improv.

So if it wasn't conscious how did it happen?

There wasn't a cue - arms going up can mean a few things so that wasn't it! Quite simply, it was tribal connection. It does happen a lot when we dance - but this was a perfect example. We'd been connecting all through the song and dance together a lot together (and with Jan) and so there is a shared, unspoken understanding. We dance close together too - so as Sarah started to turn I'm sure my subconscious must have picked up on the first little muscle movement, the tiniest weight shift. And that moment, that going into a spontaneous spin together, just like that, encapsulates what improv is all about.

Improv IS special.

And yes, Tribal Rocks!!

Until next time, happy dancing!

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