WOW 2014 multi-disciplinary workshop for pop-up performance YEAR ONE
Welcome to Way Out West (WOW) , annual performance 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. This week, WOW 2014 is in session, led by MascallDance Artistic Director Jennifer Mascall.
For the first time this year, WOW has introduced a daily interdisciplinary workshop in ,collaborative practice led by Mascall (dance), Marcus Youssef (theatre), Stefan Smulovitz (music), Viviane Houle (voice), and Candelario Andrade (video).
L-R Candelario Andrade, Jennifer Mascall, Vivane Houle, Marcus Youssef, Stefan Smulovitz
The workshop leaders sent me some comments at the close of the week:
Viviane Houle (vocal work):
“I had one of my favourite teaching and learning experiences this past week with WOW. Discussions about inter-discipline collaboration, the participants’ huge energy and creative fearlessness putting new pieces together daily, the sharing between instructors, and the opening day art walk were some of the highlights for me. It was great to work with a group with such a broad range of art practices and backgrounds. I am always amazed at how much I learn from the students and other instructors. Thank you for the invitation to be part of this!”
Marcus Youssef (theatre):
“It’s been a real pleasure to work on the inaugural Interdiz Workshop with Mascall Dance. That’s partly because it’s been an opportunity to be in the room with so many serious collaborators from a variety of disciplines, and partly because I get to be exposed to the work of fellow workshop leaders’ brilliant work. Equally, though, it’s because I believe the future of live/performed art depends (literally) on our collective ability to bust out of stale terminologies that arbitrarily define the parameters of how we work, and with whom.”
Stefan Smulovitz (Music):
We all filter our perceptions through our own set of priorities. The wonderful thing about interdisciplinary collaboration is that you discover new ways of looking at the world. Working with a choreographer you learn first hand how someone expresses themselves through the body, theatre offers expression through actions and text, video through images. Of course, the challenge lies in navigating these priorities to create a work together that satisfies everyone’s curiosities and intentions. The communication can happen via speech as well as actions. As a composer, for example, sometimes it’s interesting to just replace a piece of music if you have a hunch that something else will work better. The most important things in collaboration are trust, generosity, and a mutually shared enthusiasm for the work you are creating.”
Candelario Andrade (video)
“Each day felt like a mini lab in interdisciplinary creation. This was a very fun week but at the same time it was full of creative challenges that most of the participants approached exploring the tools that we shared. From my point of view as a designer, it was fascinating to witness how sometimes they knew what tools to use and which tools were not needed.”
Jennifer Mascall (choreography)
“The interdiz workshop was a chance for 5 colleagues to share a space that was not deadline driven, and to see what each is thinking about with respect to passing on tips to others.
During the silent walk we remained in close proximity, staying within 15 feet. One of the major ways that movement meets other forms is through space and we wanted an environment to bridge into each other. The silence was useful, the proximity to each other was useful and the pack effect of 20 of us outside was powerful and full of imagery.
For the participants it is all about how to take instruction and remain interested, how to work with strangers and not give in to apathy and how to learn a lot by going along with everything. I think the trick is a Body Mind Centering(R) principle: to yield.
This year’s workshop was splendid. The dancers working through the technique class really began to understand and dance while training. The Anatomy class on the organs and their support of the endocrine system was a chance for the participants to actually experience the anatomy. And every day each class had a fresh drop- in that brought new energy into our midst. Yoga allowed us all to survive. Participants were able to regenerate and go home replenished, and able to take in the large amount of information they received throughout the day without being overwhelmed.”
STUDENT RESPONSE: Leslie Stark:
“Wow! What an adventure this week has been. From finding my pancreas to exploring the myriad of different ways of integrating dance, theatre, text, music, and voice into performance, it has been exceptional.
Jennifer’s technique class was a great way to start the day, and although it was challenging at first, and as the week progressed I began to understand the exercises on a deeper level, especially in connection with the experiential anatomy class. Experiential Anatomy was like nothing I’ve experienced before, taking us deeply into ourselves, our organs, and our endocrine system. The work in this class helped take my movement to a whole new level; it also went beyond dance and delved into self awareness, a way of being in the world that was truly transformational and has made me curious to pursue this further.
The interdiz workshops were fun, exciting, and inspiring. Working on groups with artists from very different backgrounds and approaches to performance provided us with the opportunity for experiential learning in the challenges, different approaches to, and various ways of shaping and engaging in collaborative art. Our workshop leaders were engaging, approachable, and supportive, and their expertise brought our work to a whole new level of excellence.
Although I was only able attend yoga at the end on one of the days, it also provided a great sense of closure and integration of the day’s learning through coming back into our bodies. All in all, it was an amazing week that was challenging, inspiring, fun, and powerfully moving. I left with a greater sense of myself as an artist, a whole new range of tools to tap into as a teacher, and some amazing connections to wonderful, inspiring people whom I was very grateful to have met through this program. Thank you so much, Jennifer, Andrea, and MascallDance for making this week truly amazing!”