Dance is a transparent form of communication and an act of communion.
Translating Presence aims to build a practice that enables performers, movers and people to achieve authenticity in the way they relate to their moving bodies, decisions and to one another.
In the class we aim to align our mind with our perceptions in order to be present in our somatic experience of reality, translating our wholeness through different contexts so that we can unlock new meanings and let go of structures that are no longer useful, just as a concept acquires a slightly different meaning when translated into another language.
We practice to allow our body to talk to us and to explore ways to listen to it.
To guide us through kinetic energy that shifts our awareness from one context to another, translating our presence in order to access an authentic source of creativity and be fully honest in our interactions.
This training distances itself from approaches related to the idea of (re)production, and helps the participant to enquire what dynamic presence means for them instead.
Through somatic explorations which derive from improvisational structures as well as set movement patterns, participants are encouraged to establish an attitude towards mental and physical training that germinates from a place of acceptance, surrendering and listening.
We therefore encourage a healthy and trustful relationship to our moving selves, in which we feel safe to take risks and explore our edges.
In the midst of hierarchical dynamics and heteronormative contexts in dance, where certain beheaviors (such as being competitive, submissive, ambitious, self-sacrificing) and aspects (having a certain body-type, right skin colour) are considered the only way to a so-called "successful" path in this art form, I found myself to have fallen into a place of creative sterility, in need of a substantial shift presented necessary to keep my integrity as an artist and to keep a rich and playful approach to my own moving body, quiet mind and creative self.
Having perpetuated a performative practice that derives from a traditional dance education, which follows a linear and virtuosic path and is primarily product-oriented, I felt compelled to develop a different perspective in movement training taking my own personal experience as a departure point and developing a method that is less harmful, more inclusive and sustainable.
Whether working with improvisational tools or set movement patterns, this class is a context which allows us to move away from the idea of form as a final objective and indulges in the power of intention instead.
Some of the guiding questions are as follows:
What are the various tools and approaches to access in order to perpetuate sustainable creativity and joy for moving?
How can we still approach a given choreographic material and translate it into an opportunity for self-exploration and self-growth?
How can we guide our body and be guided at the same time, in a continuous fertile exchange that enriches our movement experience?
How can we find and support each other in this process, with openness and gentleness, while harvesting energy that inspires us to explore our edges and play with them?
Translating Presence is structured yet adaptable in its formats according to the participants’ experiences and needs.
From open level to professional movers, the applied exercises and tasks will be tailored correspondingly.
Age: 16+ (up to 100)
Duration: 90 min
The session starts with a guided physical warm up. It consists of repetitive patterns and accessible improvisational tools that allows us to check-in with our bodies, and to heighten and refine our perceptions and responsiveness. Followed by the next 60 minutes, we apply the heightened state of presence onto choreographed movements. With a particular focus on coordination, responsiveness and musicality.
Some of the institutions where Melissa shared her practice:
• Modern Dans Topluğu Istanbul (TR)
• Mimar Sinan Üniversitesi (TR)
• Akbank Sanat Istanbul (TR)
• Nritarutya Dance Studio Bangalore (IN)
• Shiamak Davar Institute for Performing Arts (IN)
• Çıplak Ayaklar Kumpanıyası (TR)
• Pure Space Istanbul (TR)
• Élever Contatto Danza Cormons (IT)
• Center Stage Pesaro (IT)
• Dance4 Nottingham (UK)
• New York University Abu Dhabi (AE)