Tuesday, 18 July 2017

COMPOSURE - article in The Dancer-Citizen

"Composure is an improvised dance practice which challenges common modes of choreography and performance. ..."

Please visit online, open-access journal The Dancer-Citizen for a reflection on our Auckland 12-hour improvisation!

Photo: Rawyn Whyte

Friday, 19 May 2017

COMPOSURE - Sun 21 May

Please join us again for an afternoon of improvising!

COMPOSURE - Fri 17 March: Photos

Our time in Dunedin was so rich!

we meet kind / generous / engaging people
we created thoughtful / wild / interactive movement material
we discussed / questioned / challenged our practice
we explored / shared / developed our methods of working

below are photos from Justin Spiers

Tuesday, 7 March 2017


We will be sharing our practice in Dunedin next week!
Please come anytime and join in any way you like! XX

Monday, 6 March 2017

COMPOSURE - Sat 25 Feb: Review

Here is a review of Composureoriginally published on Theatreview



Leah Carrell and Ben Mitchell
at Samoa House TAP Studio, Auckland
25 Feb 2017
[12 hours]
Reviewed by Sarah Knox, 25 Feb 2017

Facilitated by Leah Carrell and Ben Mitchell, Composure engages recent Unitec graduates Jasmine Donald, Reece Adams, Omea Geary, Elle Farrar and Sione Fatua in an ongoing, improvised, community movement practice.
The context of Samoa House seems stimulating and suitable for a movement practice rather than a dance rehearsal. I feel at ease and my expectations of what I might observe are less dictated by the space than they might be in a dance studio. I arrive one hour into the 12 hour improvisation. It is not a performance, but rather, an exploration of movement provocations that is open to observers to witness the initial stages of how dances are made, and to observe how movement collaborators work together. We are also invited to influence what we experience either by selecting pre-set ideas for exploration, proposing new ones, or by joining in ourselves by way of movement or discussion.
The ‘shifters’ (dancers) give each other verbal directions, instructions and provocations to begin, develop, change or end improvised choreographic tasks. At times requests are to shift tone or dynamics, change spatial formations, to swap members of the group in or out, or to switch to a new task. Some ideas are theatrical, whimsical or childlike, others are more sophisticated, robust and heavy. Ideas flow and morph and are occasionally scrapped by a “reset”. Moments of solo, duet, trio, and group work last from a few seconds to longer portions of an hour. The shifters give and receive direction simultaneously. Nothing goes on too long, each idea is allowed to reach its depth or end before new ideas are presented.

The agency of the dancers is clear, with no ‘choreographer’, they all fill the roles of dancer, leader, follower, facilitator, collaborator. The decision-making is at times observable, the uncertainty clear as each shifter works hard to receive, listen, understand and influence the direction of the improvisations. At other moments, they seamlessly move together, attuned to each others’ impulses. There is also a compliance to the job present, in that the shifters are obviously committed to exploring each idea presented without judgment or preconceived engagement. Further there exists no attachment to ideas, they simply are explored and then allowed to pass.

The beauty of Composure really is in the humanness and authenticity of the practice in its broadest encounter. On arrival, I am greeted personally by the dancers who are either watching their peers or as they exit sections of the improvisation. There is a warm and welcoming energy, that is also secure and confident.

It is important work these practitioners are doing to develop their practice and hence develop career pathways; but I am also prompted to ponder how this practice serves to provide an alternative perspective about the relationship between the creation of choreography and time limitations to others within our professional dance community. The depth of attention and exploration within an ongoing durational practice, such as this, might positively inform the speed and ease with which we can work to create set choreographic works in shorter time frames in other contexts. There is a strong subtext of creating community also, and a serious lack of ego.

You have until 11pm this evening (Saturday 25 February) to pop in to experience Composure. Otherwise, follow on Facebook and their blog for information about how their work progresses.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

COMPOSURE - Sat 25 Feb: Photos

our 12-hour improvisation was:
crazy / wild / creative / immersive / fun / tiring / interesting / collaborative / directional / directionless

 learning / making / doing / dancing / talking /
endurance / commitment / fight / challenge / drive / strive

below are a few images from our day
taken by Raewyn Whyte

Thursday, 23 February 2017

COMPOSURE - Part III Session 26

This is our last session before our 12-hour improvisation event so we
-worked out some logistics
-set up the space
-planned our food
-organised clothing colours
-practiced a live-feed video [check in to our Composure Facebook page from 3pm on Saturday to engage with our improvisation practice!]

-wrote notes on how our audience can engage tomorrow:

We want you to;
-offer an idea for us to create movement with
-join us as a shifter (dancer) in creating the improvisation
-take on the role of shaper and direct/lead an improvisation
-investigate, with us, our methods of working and creating
-play an instrument and we can improvise together
-change the music!
-observe: sit and watch it all unfold!
-call RESET when you want the improv to end

-engage in our discussion about making dance; what decisions do we make inside an improvisation / how do we make dance work / how do we view dance work / in what ways do we engage in performance as an audience member / how can we explore that audience-performer relationship
-take photos: tag us -  Facebook: ‘Composure’ or Instagram: #composureproject
-write / reflect / ask questions on the paper provided at the end of the room
-connect on our blog composureproject.blogspot.co.nz

Join us for a few minutes or stay for an hour or two or 12. Return later to see our progress!

We began with a face-off
Led to two duets
OG shaped: EF&SF go with the music, LC&JD go against the music
LC&JD narrated SF&RA duet

RESET: we have developed a new tool
RESET is a word that clears the space.
-anyone of us can use it, if we feel that the improv has come to an end, if we feel that the improv is going nowhere, if we just need to start on a new idea!
-audience can use RESET too
-if we hear RESET, we all stop and physically leave the space. While other directions can be interpreted however we want, reset is one that we all do it! we can then re-gather and start a fresh improv or someone from audience can offer idea.

During the second improv OG, as shaper, gave an offer that didn't work. We reacted. We explained our reaction. We offered SF (who was watching) an opportunity for us to re-do the ending. We re-did the ending.
We are open/honest in our failings. We test an alternative possibility. We learn from our decisions.

We are really excited for our 12-hour improvisation tomorrow! 11am - 11pm at the Samoa House Studio. We would love if you join us -at any time, and in any way! XX