Naomi Morris

Summer Recess at Swindon Dance 29th August 2006 – 1st September 2006. The athletics of intimacy/Body Mind Centering/Contact Improvisation by K.J. Holmes.

K J Holmes inspired me. As well as experiencing life as a dancer she has delved into many other art forms such as poetry and music. I relate to her experience of exploring methods of expression and creativity. I too, although in comparison am only just beginning my quest, have tried and tested many ways of expressing myself.

Improvisation, for me, is a very valuable way to tune into and understand the way my mind works creatively. I find the process of letting go and allowing natural responses intriguing. To learn and carry out BMC theory in K.J.’s class was fascinating. Compared to Skinner Releasing technique which I am more familiar with, I found that BMC focuses on the science of motion rather then the poetic freedom of dance. Although I have a fair idea of the anatomical structure of the body I have never really visualised what actually occurs within the systems of the muscles, the nerves and the fluids when the body is moving. I am used to using images of internal landscapes and found thinking, for example, about fluid flowing up and down the spinal cord quite difficult at first but gradually began to understand and enjoy this part of the class.

I also had not previously considered the evolution behind the human body and that role of movement as a critical factor in the way it developed over time. Although I found some of the theory a little confusing (as did others in the group, who questioned a few aspects), a lot of what K.J. explained made me think. One aspect that I found interesting was the suggestion that the naval is the body’s former mouth; the place where we receive nourishment during the first stages of life inside the womb. This was related to the anatomy of a starfish which has five appendages with the mouth at the center of its body. Naval radiation is the movement pattern derived from this concept and is practiced as part of BMC. Other movement patterns have been collected by studying the movement of animals which are thought to explain the evolution of living beings.

Before doing this course I had only briefly experienced contact improvisation. K.J. started this part of the course at a very basic level which was ideal for me. As the week progressed I got to know more people in the group and enjoyed experimenting with weight and then attempted lifting. This was challenging. I will take away what I learnt from K.J. and experiment with this further.

K.J. is visiting Oxford (where I am based) to do a one day workshop and I’m looking forward to taking part. Since the Summer Recess at Swindon Dance I have been fortunate to have been selected to take part in a two week project in Oxford which has been commissioned by the Oxford Dance Forum and Pegasus Theatre. This is a choreographic commission for eight Oxford based dancers to create a piece under the direction of Gill.