Rianne Svelnis:  daily reflections

Rianne Svelnis: daily reflections

Way Out West (WOW) is an annual intensive in Vancouver offering in-depth somatic study through daily classes based on the exploration of multiple physical systems, including technique,  improvisation, experiential anatomy, performance, and yoga. WOW 2013  is in session this week, led by MascallDance Artistic Director Jennifer Mascall.   We welcome four  guest TALK contributors – Jennifer Hamman, Ashley Johnson, Elysse Cheadle and Rianne Svelnis, all currently in the WOW studio, special thanks to Willis Wong for the drawings.   Rianne Svelnis provided us some samples of her notes:


“The heart is a double helix.”


“In performance, focus more on the state or quality of movement than on gesture.”



I have questions.  I am thinking about what is an impulse? What are  the differences between reaction and impulse?  Can an impulse be to stay still? 

Jennifer was talking about how structures from our own internal systems can be much needed models for community work;  She used the example of the blood system.

How do we train the imagination?


Erin 2


How to be honest in reactions/actions?  If you are tired, go to sleep! 

What is awareness without sensation?

Effort vs. effortlessness.

How to dance “home”?

Class 126

How to bring internal awareness to interpersonal relationships?

 By Jennifer’s definition,  embodiment requires that you can express (she said “speak”) from there.



Erin 3


.Class 141


  • Class 261
  • Favorite quotes from Jennifer:



  • “The school of improvisation is about whetting your desire again and again and again.”



  • “Anytime we can we have to pull the wool from our own eyes.”



  • “The spirit is a permeable membrane (like the cell)”



  • “Explore vs. Improvise”



  • “The audience is smarter than the performer.”



erin 4



“The role of the artist is to be the conscious of society – they don’t want us, but that is our work.”

“Be the master of your own imagination.”

“In creation, just keep whetting your interest.”

Understanding the world inside my own body helps me understand the world around me, gives me a new lense.


“Shedding light on the dark, shameful, vulnerable, discovering terra incognita, not “out there” but “in here” – this is radical work.”


Join the conversation at WOW and stay tuned for more TALK  from Rianne Svelnis and colleagues.


Drawings by Willis Wong