By Laila Fatimi
Elyssa Berg and I have been honored to do our senior internship with Monkeyhouse! Today being our first day, we were fortunate enough to start a very interesting improvisation exercise. In the first exercise we were given, one person was blindfolded and the other had to control the movement of the one blindfolded. Having your sense of vision taken away during a partnering exercise, only leaves you focusing on your sense of touch.
Improv Exercise #1
While being blindfolded, I was able to observe things that are harder to recognize while not blindfolded. At different times I felt we were in sync with each others movement, in the way Elyssa (non-blindfolded) was creating our movement. We were moving like one. At other times I felt we were not in sync, and almost more aggressive in the way we were not moving with each other. While blind folded, I felt like I was totally out of control. Naturally, I tried to fight that (which never helps), so I let go and let Elyssa just take control of our movement.
Improv Exercise #2- Similar to the first exercise, the only difference is that the one blindfolded is now leading.
Leading with the inability to see, means that Elyssa and I always had to be connected to each other. If you are not, you can lose the person you are trying to move. I also felt that we spent more time on the floor this time. I think this may be because more of our weight was connected to the same thing, making it easier for us to locate and move the other person.
Improv Exercise #3- Similar to the second exercise, but now the person being moved has to react more to how the blindfolded person is moving them.This exercise, I believe, was the hardest out of all the exercises. Elyssa reacted more to the way I was moving her, making it harder to stay connected. And at some points, It was difficult to even find her (Since I was still blindfolded).
This exercise forced me to think about the types of skills dancers need while partnering; learning to let go and not think or worry about what the next move is going to be. This can be applied in our daily lives as well. The longer and harder you hold on to something, the less control you have over it. I also recognized, that while partnering we needed to stay connected to each other to make our movement flow. The second we detached from one another, our movement had stopped flowing.