Trace | Improvisation Project

Trace: Playing with/out Memory

Vida L. Midgelow

A solo improvised dance work with live mixed sound and video material.

Revealing its’ own making, Midgelow speaks from and of her experience as the improvisation unfolds, such that being in the moment and reflection, knowing and unknowing combine.

A post-performance talk discussing the nature of improvisation, scores, practice as research and the making of Trace: playing with/out memory follows the performance.

Voice (a retracing)
By Vida L Midgelow and Tom Williams

Beginning as an exploration of improvisational dance practices Voice (a retracing) has become a layered exchange of moving image, sound and written text. As the ghostly figure of dance artist Vida L Midgelow shifts, slides and blurs, the words “I am starting to forget” scroll across the screen, and, in the complex sound-score created by Tom Williams, words, sibilants and vocal utterances are heard – “DDDDDear Dear Practice c c c c c……” . In this intersection of movement, image and word a visual/sonic landscape emerges that (re)presents improvised dance and treads (un)known paths to test different routes. For Voice (a retracing) embodies a collection of conceptual ideas and creative processes that expand the discourses of dance improvisation and electroacoustic music.
Focusing on notions of time, memory, (dis)appearance and pleasure the video reframes ‘in the moment’ acts of dancing, and is edited to echo and reveal the experiential and embodied nature of improvised dance: “Uncurling in time and space” – “I have lost myself”.

Based in somatic practices, this video (re)presents dance improvisation as a critical mode in which knowings are understood to be embodied, and are elaborated through particularized strategies and forms. This is a reflexive practice that echoes the important task of phenomenology. Thereby the dance / video practice seeks not to so much to depict, or represent, or describe experience, but rather to catch experience in the act of making the world available. The aim thereby, of this dance practice as phenomenology, reframed by video/sound, is to draw an audiences attention to experiences and knowings in the making.

Dream like, the deliberately partial and elusive Voice (a retracing) provides new insights into the movement research practice that is improvisation. We might say that the work gives voice to the utterances of a diffused and disparate presence: “listen.. there is nothing… but wait… dear dancer/ dear practice” – “Shifting, sliding, tracing routes, finding pathways” in an effluence of articulations, where fragments of words and ideas tumble, stumble forth.

For a full exposition:

Trace: Improvisation in a box

Uncovering the experiential and ontological features of solo dance improvisation, this creative collection points towards the ephemeral and playful nature of improvising.

Focusing on notions of memory, (dis)appearance, nomadism and pleasure, TRACE documents the underlying concepts of improvisation through a series of correspondence between a dancer and her practice, alongside training tasks and scores for improvisation. The box contents combine creative acts and poetic writing to enter the discourses of improvisation and documentation. Further, articulating and instructing, the reader is encouraged to take up the act of dancing, for it is only through the doing that an embodied understanding emerges.

Of interest to students, teachers and professional practitioners in the performing arts

Creative inspiration and training materials

Insightful and poetic articulation of dance improvisation practices

Beautifully designed

December 2007
Various items in paper back + DVD
Fully illustrated throughout
Published by Artfully Bound

Box contents:
Preface (300 x 420mm, flat sheet)

10 scores for improvisation
(85 x 70mm, 11 double-sided cards)

A workbook for improvisers
(110 x 140mm, pp40)

A series of letters
(190 x 135mm, pp36)

DVD: improvisation for screen
(32 mins duration – suitable for
PAL DVD, PC and Macintosh)

Conceived, written and performed by Vida L Midgelow
Video by Tim Halliday, Dissolve Ltd.


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