Performer Feedback:

DIPTIK Questionnaire.
During your experience with DIPTIK for the R&D in July 2014 and the creation period in December 2014:

1. What expectations did you have about combining music and dance within the same performer, or dancer-musician, for this the project? 

Performer 1
I expected an opportunity to explore dancing and making music simultaneously. I hoped to observe in myself and others through this by improvising both practices, then develop a language or process for doing this type of activity. Also to formulate a new concept and statement for a work through this activity.

Performer 2
I think I had quite high expectations about this project because I always wanted to try to combine dance and music within the same performer so I was really excited about doing it. But I didn’t really thought about how it would be possible so it was really like going into the unknown.

Performer 3
I assumed that every cast member would be well trained/versed in both dance and music and that we would all participate in the creation and performance of both art forms.

Summary: 
Wanted to explore the act of doing both at the same time, to understand how to do it, to work out a process and develop a piece which had a new statement with this new activity in a collaborative way with professionals in both fields.

  

2. Did the project live up to your expectations and if not, why?

Performer 1 
While the project touched on my expectations, I feel like it was taken more in the direction of physical theatre. I can only guess that this was perhaps because myself and the co-founder of DIPTIK had less recent dance training and the directors wanted a level playing field through minimalism.  Also perhaps to relate back to the more historic examples of interdisciplinary performance art. I don’t think enough time was spent utilising everyone’s specialised talents to their full potential.

Performer 2
I was a bit disappointed about how the project went through in the end because I think we didn’t really manage to combine music and dance within the same performer. The work we did during the R&D was really interesting because we were exchanging a lot on how dancers and musicians were relating to their art and how to transfer that to the other art form, but in the performance I don’t think we really manage that interaction.

Performer 3
Unfortunately not, as it morphed more into an abstract exploration of movement and sound, rather than a practical exploration and collaboration of dance and music.

Summary:
The piece felt more like physical theatre than dance and music. The process was more of an abstract exploration. While the parallels and interactions between art forms were explored, this didn’t get developed enough in a practical or collaborative sense and was not conveyed clearly in the final piece.

 

3. Based on the final performance, how would you rate the quality of sound and movement as a company of performers? (please highlight one)

                         Poor                                                                                                                                                Excellent

Sound                    1               2               3               4               5               6               7               8               9               10

Movement            1               2               3               4               5               6               7               8               9               10

Summary: 
Average quality of sound 4.6 out of 10; average quality of movement 5.6 out of 10.

 

4. Please feel free to comment or elaborate on your above ratings if you wish 

Performer 1
I feel that the body percussion, voice and bells were used too much,  especially considering we had decided against obtaining further vocal coaching. We could have limited and refined the exact percussive sounds we were making so to achieve a higher level of quality and intent.

 Performer 2
Sound: there was very little sound in the end, and not a lot of ideas. I think the musical ideas could have been developed much more.

Movement: the quality of the movement was quite good, but I missed some parts with real choreography/real dance.

Overall, the project was a lot about acting for me, more than dancing or playing, which made both not essential to the piece.

Performer 3
I just feel like there wasn’t enough of either art form in the piece. I personally didn’t really feel like I used any of my training or skills in the performance.

Summary:
The sound was too sparse and underdeveloped. Considering vocal training was not obtained there was too much use of voice which brought the quality of sound down. The body percussion and bell technique could have been refined to a higher standard. Movement was more developed and in parts was of a high quality but this was too infrequent. Therefore both sound and movement lacked substance overall and acting skills were used more than music and dance skills.

 

5. What do think was the strongest part of the project? 

Performer 1
I think the opening sequence and the final sections were the most powerful

Performer 2 
The last part, on[e] [performer] was improvising and being trapped through the stands worked really well in my opinion.

Performer 3
I thought the form and structure of the work worked really well in the end.

Summary:
The form and structure of the work was one of the strongest points. The strongest sections of the work in terms of vision and statement were the opening sequence - starting with everyone standing behind one music stand through to the champion pose, and the “dance” sequence where one performer danced a choreographed sequence while being manipulated and finally trapped by music stands.

 

 6. What do you think was the weakest part of the project?

Performer 1
Performing from the score

Performer 2
The silences were too long for me. Also, for a piece based on interaction between music and dance, I felt a bit disappointed that so much of the piece was through silence.

Performer 3
The content, I really think everybody could have danced/played/sung more.

Summary:
The weaknesses were that the content of the work was too restricted, there was not enough of a range of intensity in the art forms demonstrated. Other weak points were the depth and refinement of interpretations from the score and the strategic silences were too long.

 

As a dancer-musician,

7. what did you observe about yourself when making sound and movement simultaneously?

 Performer 1
There was one cell from the score that enabled me to play the bass clarinet and move simultaneously. This cell stood out as having a contrasting character that the directors thought did not quite go with the rest of the piece as it was developing so it was not included in the final work. Observations from when I practiced this cell were that it did immediately reminded me of  how I felt when playing parts of The Little Harlequin which I had looked at previously. It also reminded me of a time when I played in a marching band and had to perform simple choreography while playing a melody I had previously learnt. This feeling I can equate to patting myself on the head with one hand and rubbing my stomach with the other. The sense that even though I knew how to play the music alone as written and conversely tap my feet as written, putting them both together was an entirely new sensation. On this occasion I had to learn each bar at a time, taking both notes and feet simultaneously in a composite rhythm to be able to learn the cell and have it enter my muscle memory correctly so that this action could be repeated. As this cell was not chosen by the directors in the end I feel I didn’t get to explore this new practice enough to make any further observations.

Performer 2
I found it quite easier than I thought actually, but because we were quite free. I just discovered many new ways to make sounds, and just being more conscious about the movement made for it.

Performer 3
Again, I don’t feel like that’s what I actually did and I think this is because we simply didn’t have enough time to workshop and explore such options.

Summary:
One performer found a heightened awareness of movement when creating sound and as well as new ways of producing sounds. One performer did not feel she ever actually created sound and movement simultaneously – perhaps outside the obvious “sound is movement” notion – and wanted more time to explore the possibilities.

 

 8. what processes or methods did you personally develop, if any, for creating sound and movement simultaneously?

Performer 1
In the bass clarinet/feet cell, the foot line was constant and an accompaniment. I therefore practiced separately with my feet. Next I slowed the tempo down and added the melodic line piece by piece to line it up in my muscle memory until I knew exactly how it felt to do both at the same time. I then slowly increased the tempo as I became more and more comfortable with doing both simultaneously.

Performer 2 
I don’t think I developed a process for any of it, it was still a lot of trying and experimenting I think.

Performer 3
I kind of worked on ideas that I have been developing throughout my own career in regards to dance music collaboration, but I didn’t really have time to think about and work on new ideas.

 

9. by the end of the project, how confident did you feel performing as a dancer-musician?

 Performer 1
I felt that I performed mostly as a physical theatre performer and I only played the clarinet and bass clarinet briefly on their own in the traditional way. I would not say I definitively performed as a dancer-musician.

Performer 2 
Because the movement made while playing were quite basic, it was all fine to perform them. It is more on the acting part that I wasn’t confident because I never trained that way.

Performer 3
To be honest, I wasn’t feeling confident or sure before the performance, although as I reflected afterwards and watched the footage I felt a lot better and I do think we made a worthwhile statement. 

Summary:
One performer did not feel as though he could identify as a dancer-musician for the purposes of this work. Another said that she was comfortable with the sound and movement as it was basic but she was not confident with the element of acting which she had no prior training in. The third performer was not confident at all before the piece however after seeing the video footage afterwards felt it was better than anticipated and that the piece did have a worthwhile statement.

 

13. Did you feel you needed any extra support or training for this project and if so, in what areas?

 Performer 1
I felt I needed more movement training for this project. Also more practice in improvisation and creating sound and movement simultaneously.

Performer 2 
I think I would have needed more acting training for that project. As a musician, we never really think about this side, maybe dancers do it more, but just having some “presence” on the stage without doing much was quite hard for me.

Performer 3
I just think the project would have benefited from more time, in order for the dancers especially to workshop their musical skills more.

Summary:
Overall between the three performers they felt more movement, music, acting and improvising training was needed, as well as dancer-musician training – whatever that may be – and that more time was needed for developing these skills.