[-empyre-] my contribution

Amos Hetz amos.hetz at mac.com
Thu Oct 6 00:35:42 EST 2011

Dear Johannes,
After a long short struggle I managed  to scribble some words.
I am sending it here in an open form, and as an attachment as well,
as I do not know what is the right procedure.
take care.

Dear Johannes, dear friends,
Before writing some notes for our topics, I feel the need to add some sentences to my bio. I am an artist, a dancer who compose his dances through using the Eshkol-Wachman Movement-Notaion (EWMN) an israeli invention (1958). This system describes the human motion within geometric method. As such one can analyze the humans movement expression, and animals behavior as well. EWMN is giving us the possibility to see dance as part of the wonderful vast movement phenomena.
My experience with the EWMN brought me to establish a movement department in the Jerusalem academy for music and dance. Since 1972 I am working with "Tnu'ot" dance ensemble, preforming my written dances. At 1989 I started the Room Dances Festival - a chamber dance festival, to forward dances created through notations or any kind of scores, the whole scope from composed to the open improvisation. Few years later I started a new form of dance, when I design the score and each dancer is composing his/her own part, and creating a dance composed by the performers. Along the last ten years I introduced it with dancers/creatures in Israel and in Europe.

Slowing down is part of an early thought in the modern western movement  culture. It was introduced already in the 19th. century, known as the Fechner-Weber law, claiming that the smaller the stimulation the bigger is the sensation.  One of the first to apply it was  Elsa Gindler (1885-1961) the german movement educator reformer. At the mid of the 20th. Century, Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984) applied it in his teachings , as well as  more systems included slowing down with different accents: Mable Todd (1880-1956) Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen and others. Yet the connection to the art of movement – dance, is not yet integrated.  From Isadora Duncen (1877-1927) attempts has been done to get dance connected to the basics of the human movement, but to these days a lot of dance education is done in an old fashion ways. Not real education' but just conditioning, very much like training animals in the circus. It is still surprising that it can happen hundred years after Freud (1856-1939) discovered the importance of the unconscious in the  human being behavior. Ignoring the individual body-mind, and with printing the body movement language, fixing also the aesthetic views and not letting the individual to find a personal way to the movement world. Although already Laban (1879-1958) offer a new ways for dance education, and insisted on the need for a written language, and created a dance notation where one could record dance, and as such express the gestures in different speeds. The American dancer Erich Hawkins (1909-1994) applied the Meble Todd method in his dances, teaching his dancers way to include the knowledge of anatomy while learning his dances, he  claimed that using the images of the human skeleton improve the execution of each dancer and helping the process of integrating it to his/her own body-mind reactions. Watching his group dances one could see that the dancers archived a common language yet without loosing their individuality. In the middle of the fifties we find the wonderful contribution to the somatic dance education through the contact improvisation. A development of the American dancer Steve Paxton. Paxton stressed the power the gravity and the momentum playing when two moving bodies are moving while touching each other, shifting the weight, acting and reacting and learning their movement by trail and error, exploring and expending their movement world.    
I am claiming here that learning to move we needs to respect human being as a unique individual. Exploring our gestures, new and old we  need to preform it  different speeds, from regular-habitual  to slow it down to the point of only vibration an inner movement. Or accelerating the gesture to wide speed range as well. Listen that each speed the body-mind is organized and perceived the movement differently, different feelings, recognizing the new experience. 
Last word goes to the art of movement - DANCE as well as movement GAMES are based on unspoken contract between the PERFORMER and the AUDIENCE. The two agree to stay alert, to be consciously active during the whole performance. One is active PREFORMING, the other WATCHING actively. (This ideal is far from the reality neither in the theater hall, nor at the  dance schools.  In both cases less attentions is given to the act of active observation. Both groups performers and audience need to accept consciously the terms of the contract, otherwise slowing down will be only a self indulging act. (which happen so often while in improvising in public).   

Amos Hetz


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