Art, being one of the methods for realizing the space of our existence,
together with religion and science, has got its special means.
Art, without disregarding other methods' virtues and at the same time
employing their achievements in its own findings, deals with categories
that are not easy to substantiate rationally: Living flow, love, beauty,
Not claiming this theory to be the only possible one, in the present
work we shall try to outline some views and methods that at one time or
another served as initial points for the Chamber Dance Theater Studio activities.
You may regard this text as an invitation to the journey.
When we are born on earth, we inherit a lot of instructions. They,
in more or less detail, regulate the way we should think, feel or act in
one situation or another. The people around us who hand down to us their
experience, which can be called "the world in description", evidently
care about our survival. So the instructions are both valuable and limited.
Necessity of our physical existence does not explain all the questions,
and death, which is inevitable, reminds us of that.
This makes us think over the possibility of expanding our own mind
with the purpose of reaching some higher levels -- with vistas that we
are sometimes only vaguely aware of.
The 20th century which was dominated by the idea of "Heaven on
Earth", frequently found itself in ambiguous situations. Science,
technology, rational sociology based on the long chain of logical reasons,
seemingly irrefutable, put into motion monstrous mechanisms and processes
resulting in unforeseen world-scale wars, crisis of ecology, socialist
revolutions followed by inescapable rise of totalitarianism, and at last
-- in such state of being which is now more and more frequently called
Without profound and detailed analysis of all those phenomena, we may
note that the starting point in one or other activity was its author's
certitude in its excellence. Every thesis, in its turn, insisted on the
superiority of some separate phenomenon of the overall existence. Exclusiveness
of a separate person, a separate class of society, a separate social-economic
formation and, ultimately, of a human being as "the King of Nature"
Art, mirroring social interests and at the same time being the method
of studying the conditioning regularities, is capable of either modeling
some already known form of world-perception, or proposing an entirely new
This is one of the examples of simple mirroring: When the absolutist
state was strengthened, and endless internecine wars were considered highly
inadequate, classicist tragedy became one of the most important theater
genres. The hero in it, overcoming his internal struggle and suppressing
personal weakness, died in the name of public duty, glorifying the name
of his monarch and his state. Somewhat later, when extremely rigid systems
of state with their exhausting social ritual got to be seen as inadequate
again, romanticism becomes one of the most popular styles, where the hero
challenges social conventions.
This fact reflects the regularities of any social or creative development.
Any rigid dominant exists only for a limited period of time, after which
it is replaced by another one, which is often opposite to the first, and
the next one eventually replaces it too.
One of the peculiar points of this canon of change is the transitional
period, when we get rather discrepant feelings, waiting eagerly for some
fresh wind and watchfully -- for some, yet unknown future. After that,
the winning dominant captures all our attention, and we forget that feeling
of newness and uncertainty between the change of scenery, when we are aware
of the breath of emptiness. Normally, this period is rather short -- just
a strange interval between two long acts.
One of the peculiarities of our mind is the bias towards the rigid
orthodox direction, and even though the evolution proves the limited character
of any such dogmata inevitably restoring to life their opposite and equally
rigid ones, -- even though any discourse about day owing its existence
to night, about socialism being replaced by democracy, in its turn, being
pregnant with fascism, about classicism being the father of romanticism,
-- in short, even though any such discourse concerning duality and relativity
of any phenomenon is banal enough, -- it is rather difficult to overcome
this inclination to dogma. We prefer rather to exist on one side of the
coin only, especially when all our existence can be habitually described,
than to go through the terrible loss of ground under our feet anew, when
our ill-fated coin turns its other face to us.
The realization of those two points, that is the inclination of our
existence and consciousness towards rigid and limited direction, on the
one hand, and the presence of immanent relativity in it, on the other,
opens up some amazing perspectives before us, especially in the sphere
of art. Those are: deepening of the rigid dominant, uncovering the controversial
elements immanent to it, considering its separate parts as potentially
completed structures taken in themselves; possibility of structuring the
dominant vertically and horizontally; combination of several dominants
in one work of art; search for harmony in seemingly controversial points
of view, every one of them being just a necessary component, far from being
exclusive; etc. The possibility of regarding emptiness, or world without
forms, as the fundamental principle of all phenomena is implied by any
of these perspectives. And the last but not the least: such practice prepares
the transition of mind beyond the phenomenal.
The term "Dance of Emptiness" serves to unite those two elements
-- necessity of form and acknowledged possibility of existence beyond form.
The emergence of ballet, customarily called "classic", caused
some changes in plastic arts based on folk and ritual dance. Relations
with an audience were altered: In folk dance there were no spectators,
anyone wishing could take part in the show; also, there was no specially
prepared stage, performance took place in natural scenery, but in the professional
classic dance it was not so anymore. Now the spectator became the supreme
judge, and the structure of performance now became organized so as to allow
maximum convenience for viewing the action. The techniques of performance
also changed, as now the important point was not the self-sufficiency of
feelings but the means assisting in the expression of performers' feelings
simply for the spectators' understanding, and those feelings were defined
by the performance scheme, too. As the last word was always reserved for
the spectators of a certain circle, it provided the special set of rules:
Choice of plots and scenery; division into main and minor characters; certain
poses and stagings, expressing climaxes of corresponding feelings and situations;
time allotted for certain actions, which was not defined verbally, but
the spectator intuitively felt it and approved of the performer by means
of applause or hurried him up by means of boos; the same response applied
to the quality of performance. Being very sensitive to the public requirements,
the theater obediently changed themes, plots, interpretations by shifting
some characters into the spotlight and others into shadows, or employing
the techniques of genre it idealized some and ridiculed others. One of
the main motifs was "the man as the center of the universe",
and after the main character's death or triumph, or after the loving couple's
long-expected reunion the plot was exhausted, and the curtain fell.
A spectator came to the theater to confirm his own world-view, and
he got it in the majority of cases. The theater always balanced on the
edge of profound understanding and popularity, and the former often became
prey to the latter.
At the same time in developing certain aspects, the theater discovered
the new, either randomly or consciously, logically developing the dominant
and discovering implicit possibilities. The transition of the theater into
the sphere of the professional opened up new perspectives: to provide possibly
complete interpretation of the action; to add various colors to the emotional
perception of scenes by manipulating scenery, costumes and lights; to provide
different interpretations of the same plots, revealing a multiplicity of
variants in the production.
Also, bearing the quality of "the thing in itself", the theater
revealed new opportunities for the performer's own self-knowledge and self-realization.
In this case, it is expressed by the complex marvelously worked-out and
uncovering the body geometry and the presentation of some new aspects of
that geometry. The same applies to music composers, theater directors,
artists and others able to perceive new horizons in their work.
And undoubtedly, remaining the central figure in the theater, a talented
performer with the help of precise technique and inspiration was able to
invoke the instants when highly indefinable ideas -- such as love, beauty
or death -- became indisputably real, by that very fact striking a blow
at pre-conditioned thinking in its very heart. Seeing an actor play, the
spectator feels life breathing, feels its beauty and fatality -- and at
the same time, he feels the presence of something immutable, that strain
of the eternal appearing from somewhere within the fragile human figure.
Emergence of modern dance which marked a kind of revolution in classic
ballet, provoked intense controversy. It seemed to be a reaction to the
feeling of uncertainty, or emptiness, appearing when an absolute monopolist
had to retreat before the onslaught of an impostor. Beyond that struggle
there loomed the recognition of immense opportunities for which the framework
of any direction was too restrictive. Those opportunities were in fact
too all-embracing for any finite structure.
In a due course, the modern dance worked out its own canons which became
also classics themselves. Perhaps it should be noted here that the purpose
of the present work is not by any means an analysis in detail -- when speaking
of some individual direction's aspects we underline only the differences.
Modern dance also achieved some change in its relation to audiences. Choreographers
actually altered the geometry of dance as if to put to doubt the spectator's
opinion finality. Many stagings were organized frontally, with performers
constantly moving between wings, thus creating the feeling or actual flow,
the major part of which remained as if behind the scenes, and the spectator
was presented only with a glimpse of it. The performing techniques changed
as well: Turned-out training of classic dance was replaced by parallel
feet, there appeared more geometric arm movements, providing different
conditions for the overall physicality and plastics. Those techniques served
to funnel the main flow of energy into different body centers. The plot
altered as well. Now in most cases it represented an atmosphere, sequence
of movements, or some emotion actualized in detail. It can be said that
action or situation serving merely as one link of a long chain in classic
ballet, here became the subject of independent consideration. A fragment
taken separately became enlarged and developed into a completed picture,
revealing harmony and integral evolution. The scenery also changed: It
frequently suggested open space without any particular details. The segregation
of main and minor characters disappeared: All dancers now were equal participants
in the action. The time reserved to some or other movement or dance was
also different. In short, the dominant structure changed, but the essence
of art remained.
One of the ballets directed by Paul Taylor, the modern dance classicist,
features a group of participants who perform a sequence of repetitive movements,
and the scenery looks like a space on some beach. From the point of view
of the plot, those movements seem monotonous and the time provided for
their performance seems too long without any visible reason. But then a
real understanding comes that the movements themselves are at the same
time both plot and form of expression, when easy athletic movements of
the participants performing long leaps and catches very swiftly and rhythmically
hypnotize one, when abstract scenery is regarded as a small part of enormous
space in which human shapes seem to be weightless and strikingly free,
-- then there appears an amazing feeling of beauty and concord expressed
with purely American optimism and dynamics. The breath of emptiness seems
to be beckoning, and cloudless vistas unfurl -- if one does not think about
the huge effort spent on the production.
In another Paul Taylor's ballet entitled "Three Epitaphs",
the action reminds one of a prolonged funeral procession. Strange humanoid
creatures in tight black uniforms decorated with shards of mirror, randomly
wander around the stage, now slower, now faster, they disappear in the
wings, they stagger and collide, and the aim of their journey seems long
lost. But the somewhat eccentric music of Negro funeral marches and the
graceful irony of actors create the mood of infectious laughter -- man
easily laughs at his own finale. However, there are some who take "Three
Epitaphs" as a profoundly sad performance.
Combining various points of view is one of the 20th century's art principles.
The art of Salvador Dali that combines classic techniques of painting with
irrational subjects, and modern music that combines classic modes, folk
tunes, Negro rhythms and synthesized sounds, as well as other examples,
too numerous to be cited here, outline this tendency. Perhaps, the synthesis
of different schools and points of view immanent to the 20th century art
reveals the perspective possible for future politics and sociology, lately
much spoken about.
But man's awareness of his place in the overall flow of life, not only
earthly but cosmic as well, requires much hard work, rejection of his favorite
dogmata, including his mania for self-centeredness. This hard work also
lies in wait for an artist wishing to unite extremities in one work and
to model some situation unfolding along many coordinate axes simultaneously.
The Dance of Emptiness is reality, the comprehension and realization
of which are far from being a simple entertainment.
The Chamber Dance Theater studio, while trying to base its work on
the other methods' achievements, at the same time creates its own rules
of structure. The relation of the Studio to its audience can be called
the "absence of a defined address". The performance action takes
place on stage as in classic ballet, but it is not turned to the audience;
There is an element of self-sufficiency in the actors' play but few in
the audience can take part in the action, as is possible in folk dance
or modern happening. Moreover, the motif of the flow fragmentation characteristic
of modern dance is absent. The "absence of a defined address"
does not mean the absence of an address at all but it signifies the opportunity
for a wider field of vision in which the audience is but one of the sections.
Such a performance can be seen from different points --- from above, from
behind, from any of the sides, it is addressed to all of the space and,
being a reflection of the Dance of Emptiness, from this emptiness it takes
the impetus to further action and returns this impetus into itself again.
The stagings have an all-around perspective, and the actors try to employ
all parts of the stage, including the floor and the space overhead -- during
certain moments simultaneously.
The relation to the audience has always been a complicated matter in
the practice of the theater. On the one hand, the presence of people in
great numbers inspires actors when the audience likes the performance,
and cools them when it does not happen, and without an audience of any
kind the existence of the theater itself becomes hardly relevant. The Studio
solved the problem in its own way. The "absence of a defined address"
is the condition when any action on stage turns into a rehearsal, during
which the presence of the audience adds substantially to the overall feeling
but is not in any way defining. Thus, any rehearsal becomes a seif-sufficient
event. There are times when the Studio disappears from public view completely
for rather long periods, and every one of them creates opportunity for
some emerging quality.
In its work, the Studio does not use any pre-planned solutions as in
a play or a libretto. In this the confidence can be traced, that the event
taking place on stage has roots deeper than any author's text, and the
theater itself is capable of organizing that event without any literary
intermediary. Besides, an author's text sometimes hides the danger of subjective
reflection. The text can be supposed to contain objectively existing structures.
There is more direct and more difficult way to create the conditions under
which a given structure can be comprehended and expressed by the company
of actors directly, without complicated and equivocal verbal description.
But the absence of a libretto does not mean that the Studio considers
some plotless structure. Every Studio's production has its own plot --
to the extent that spectators are sometimes at a loss to explain what they
have just seen: A pantomime, a logic equation, some variations on the modern
dance, a dramatic ballet, etc. Still, the most adequate name seems to be
"the Dance of Emptiness", requiring some specific techniques
One of them is called "the living flow". It presupposes such
properties as fluctuation, variability, intermittent evolution, and all
the means employed in the performance should correspond to that requirement.
The stage itself is one of the most important elements of action and
the necessary component of the momentary flow; if the action takes place
on some substantially different stage, something must be changed in the
flow movement itself.
The same applies to the props: They should not be objects with predetermined
functions but living elements of living flow -- moving, flowing and changeable.
This is the reason for the absence of scenery. It is replaced by a
black cabinet and light show, paid special attention to. If scenery is
included into the total fluctuation, it would become too complicated technically
to make hundreds of scenery changes in the course of one performance.
There are no fixed genre characteristics in the Studio performances,
because any genre is a double structure, at the same time expressing objective
reality and the author's attitude to it. The more evident the genre pattern,
the weaker the flavor of a real event in it, and the stronger the author's
bias. Such a perspective seems rather ambiguous.
To continue the list of irrelevant features, it should be noted that
there are no characters in the Studio performances -- in the sense of classic
ballet; Neither is the group constituted of equal participants as in folk
or modern dance.
Any number of actors taking part in the performance, consider the situation
of one person only. To describe the basis of such a method the following
should be noted. Firstly, man is the major mystery to us. Secondly, how
can you understand two persons, twenty or five billion without understanding
only one? Thirdly, the structure of all people is basically the same. The
idea of humanity as a mosaic of absolutely unique personalities leads to
the inevitable and endless struggle in which every separate person or group
of persons will fight for this dogma. And at last, there are some grounds
to state that man is the model of the universe, and the comprehension of
one person will deepen our knowledge of the world at large.
Those points are not, in any way, shocking but place the problem into
the system of actual consideration instead of the sphere of intellectual
theory, bringing to light some additional questions.
Agreeing that man is the model of the universe, we face some difficulties
because both the man and his surrounding world are complicated enough,
and there are a lot of methods for their comprehension. Astronomy, physics,
biology, medicine, social sciences -- all of them go their own ways: Which
one is the most perfect? To avoid confusion, we shall have to discern basic
principles and individual manifestations of some method or other, that
fulfil its purpose.
One of the auxiliary disciplines in the Studio's work is numerology.
The series of numbers from one to nine contains basic meaning, as any number
outside of it is but a combination of those basic structures. So, the self-sufficient
structure hides a nine in itself, and the unfolded nine shows that the
process is exhausted in any given direction.
Consequently, the human mind contains nine vertical structures organized
in the body. As it is normally identified as three main centers -- physical,
emotional and rational, it can be concluded that every one of them has
its own physical, emotional and intellectual spheres. Thus, every center
has its own energy, emotions, memory, thinking, etc., allowing those centers
to produce independent work simultaneously.
As there exists the fundamental principle of the whole phenomenal universe,
serving as the ultimate point of all our journeys in space and time, this
fundamental principle, conditionally called "emptiness", is the
reason for all our activity. In other words, everything we do is in reaction
to the emptiness' call or the realization of its impulses.
If this be the case, how can we explain the difference between people?
If we all are but a reflection of the same, if the reflection has the identical
structure, why do we all not present one long line of identical twins?
This is not so, namely because each center refracts, reflects or distorts
the emptiness impetus in its own way. Combination of different reflections
with a rather wide, but not infinite, scope comprises that seeming stability
in the flow of eternal making, which is called "the individuality".
The concurrence of our momentary balance leads to understanding, and the
failure to so concur leads to conflict.
Being the owners of those nine centers, we should unfold the whole
structure to allow the impulse to go through the totality of all possible
reflections, and only our impatience and preferences make us declare each
new turn the final point. We are, so to say, stuck at every floor without
learning how the whole building is constructed.
Unfolding of nine structures, in spite of its complexity, is but a
part of a far more extensive program that prepares us for the next stage
beyond the phenomenal. But even the realization of this part raises some
One of them is the horizontal structure inherent in every one of the
nine centers. It is characterized by the balance of two poles, or by the
opposition of active Yang and passive Yin, as it is described by the Chinese
philosophy. Depending on the momentary dominance of one or another principle,
any given center reflects certain quality; For instance, in the sphere
of the rational this leads to the wide variety of opinion, from "I
comprehend everything" to "I don't understand anything".
Every one of the nine centers has its own peculiar structure consisting
of different number of the components. So we have nine centers with different
geometries, multiplied by the balance of Yin and Yang.
Any impulse, going through the individual structure, is reflected in
that, rather complicated, system, rendering the momentary hieroglyph of
our perception. As a result, we obtain the complicated, flowing, changeable
impulse of emptiness, multiplied, structured, split and reflected. The
source reaches us through the prisms of many mirrors, every one of which
tells more about itself than the initial impetus.
If we use the expression "the Dance of Emptiness" here realizing
its conditionality, the same assumption can be made concerning "the
games of emptiness", hiding it from us. The emptiness seems to take
various measures to complicate our search for it. From time to time, we
feel like turning our back to it and get to some practical business, understanding
the enormous complexity of our quest. We have a lot of earthly troubles
as it is, and no reason to believe that "everything will take care
of itself some time". Anyway, this pragmatism does not seem to be
an alternative way out, but a catch. This is the trap we set for ourselves:
in this case we are caught by the evil infinity much loved by materialists
who cunningly prove that the purpose of our moving is the moving itself
-- the moving along orbits of eternally developing matter, when we ought
to run diligently, already knowing that there is no finish, and the only
end awaiting us is our tomb, and so our journey to the cemetery is indeed
our final long-distance round accompanied by triumphant chords.
Now some words about the music. One of the important components of
the Studio's work is the musical piece, subjects, rhythmics and instrumentation
of which allow to define what structure is being reflected in it. The sound
is the so-called "tanmatra" -- the sanhya philosophy
calls it the subtle basic element of one of the five physical energies,
namely the ether, or the akashi. A human body consists of five energies
-- ether, air, fire, water and earth. So the plastic expression of a musical
piece includes the whole specter of energies, thus creating the necessary
volume perceived by the five senses.
In different periods, the Studio turned to the works of various composers,
thus donating to the wide scope of different world-views: from Bach, Penderecki,
lves, Artyomov to Mahavishnu Orchestra, Pink Fioyd, Santana,
Tina Turner, Indian ragas, ritual music of the Tibetan Bon Po monasteries,
and so on. Also, there are some acts unaccompanied by music, when the performers
produce sound themselves -- various exclamations and speaking-in-tongues,
without any rational content.
Despite the fact that in each performance the inner space of only one
person is considered, a different number of actors is employed. This is
dictated by the structure of the rendered flow. The mere presence of a
certain number of performers on stage defines the situation. For instance,
one demonstrates only an external shape of a person or an event, but the
revealing of some internal polarity takes two. In its turn, the mutual
attraction in the two will unfold the whole specter of horizontal interpretations,
but the solution of the situation takes three. Six can consider the idea
closed in the strictly vital sphere, seven designate the transition into
the sphere of abstract thought, overcoming earthly pragmatism, and so on.
The finite development is expressed by nine, as it comprises maximal number
of fast-changing combinations: 8+1, 7+2, 5+4, 3x2+3, etc. Ten is 9+1, i.e.,
the completely solved situation plus a new manifestation. The correspondence
of males and females, expressing the Yin-Yang balance components, provides
for new aspects of each structure.
So, the level of a given idea or an energetic wave designs the number
of participants. An old anecdote about the children's play "Three
Little Pigs" being played by two actors in one provincial theater,
because the third one was happily drunk and slept somewhere in the wings,
is impossible in the Studio in principle. Two actors cannot resolve the
situation that takes three participants, even if they will say all the
lines of the third one and enter in his disguise. In this case, the performance
will be entitled "Two Little Pigs" and it ought to have another
plot and a different end. The normal theater practice when the same play
is performed by different number of actors in different troupes, depending
on the company possibilities, can also be very much doubted. Probably,
here we speak about quite different events and are misled by the same title
or the same names of author and composer.
Even though the emptiness is seen as an abstraction difficult to grasp,
when manifesting itself by means of finite structures, our present mind
sees it as the strictly limited flow. The whole range of changes within
and without us is but separate fragments of the endless dance of emptiness;
Trying to analyze or realize some or other of this dance's manifestations,
we are more and more grasping the idea of infinity behind all variable
and contradicting fragments.
The special attention in the Studio is paid to the ensemble. The group
of performers who act out the situation connected to the inner world of
one person, has to experience one common mood. Every actor in every second
on stage has to feel what the others do, playing his/her own part which
is always highly individual. As long as the situation can develop, reflecting
in different centers of the united structure, one participant (or the group
of them) acts oriented mainly at a certain center. Thus, the performers
are challenged with a rather complicated task, taking into consideration
that every one of them has his own nine, and in certain dances he/she should
consciously employ only some part of his own structure.
The choreographer further complicates this task by the staging, in
which the actors, who perform the series of intermittent movements, are
sometimes literally entwined, and only one faux pas is enough to disrupt
the whole flow; As this flow never has any fixed static staging, at every
instant disintegrating into several simultaneous actions in different parts
of the stage and in different rhythms, the performer is required to have
ultimate concentration -- as well as the spectator, if he or she wishes
to grasp the maximum of simultaneous flow offshoots.
Such an ensemble has one feature that can be called "the variable
leader". When the choreographer and the actors start to work on some
new production, they do not have any written libretto; Instead they have
the structure, some aspects of which are expressed in the musical score;
There is no separation of main and minor characters, and if in some of
the acts someone plays a more pronounced part (if we can say that indeed,
speaking of a complicated, fluctuating and interdependent ensemble), it
happens solely because this person in the given moment is more concentrated
and more open. If there is a leader in a particular set, it is the real
flow that chooses him or her. The lead in one performance does not necessarily
mean that it will be so in the next one.
This provides great opportunities for each performer: he/she is given
the chance of practical realization under the conditions of his/her self-development.
This means not only the guaranteed repertoire perspective, but also the
opportunity of improvisation in some already completed act.
The opinions on improvisation vary, but in this case it is far from
the performer's anarchy, which interferes with the overall movement and
other performers' actions. The majority of stagings, movements, postures
and body positions is regulated to the smallest detail, even though they
may seem spontaneous and unpredictable. In this case, the improvisation
means the intensity of the performer's own energy filling in the dance
pattern. Sometimes this intensity is so tangible that some isolated performer
suddenly finds himself or herself an explicate center existing within a
strict pattern, thus providing as if a brighter illumination for separate
threads of the overall flow and creating an illusion of the pattern change.
This kind of change, impossible to build in, reflects the breath of
emptiness in the form open to our senses.
The emptiness in search of which we wander, is present everywhere and
everywhen; at the same time, it is hidden by multiple and various patterns
of the world at large. There is an infinite number of ways leading to the
real knowledge, and "the Dance of Emptiness" is but one of them,
assisting in reaching out for this comprehension. The living flow principle
is one of the vital points of it. In its performances the Studio tries
to consider as many different manifestations of human mind as possible,
and the underlying condition is the intermittent fluctuation and variability
of these situations. Technically, this is expressed in the absence of any
dominant technique, pose, movement or staging. Any find, subjectively regarded
as more appealing, has equal rights to exist with any other.
This approach needs a certain rehearsal method. For the most part,
the Studio actors have no special choreographic background except their
work in the Studio itself, though as a rule, many of them have been previously
engaged in various movement disciplines, including the dance.
When working out various formal exercises, the choreographer always
starts with the actual presence of the performer. The main task is to bring
out the awareness, so the principle of consecutive acquaintance with one's
own body and, correspondingly, unfolding of implicate inner structure is
more preferable than any thoughtless drill -- employing certain discipline,
of course. The actor is a conscious unit, he/she should not become a victim
of techniques. He/she should be aware of his/her body's opportunities,
of his or her own movements, he/she should understand in what way some
plastics or other reveals a certain center. This awareness and realization
of it take time and consistent effort. But there is no other way.
The necessity for individuality is disclosed together with the ensemble
requirements. Only the performer, conscious of his/her personality and
realizing it, is capable of perceiving and expressing that, which here
is conditionally called "the impulse of emptiness". Otherwise,
turning the actors into his/her own clones, the choreographer not only
hinders their development but he/she finds himself or herself in the equivocal
position of narcissism, when he/she beholds only the multiple images of
himself or herself. If we add that this method is strained and false, such
a choreographer can be compared to a man looking at an unclear self-portrait
in a foggy and crooked mirror.
The living flow requires the performing technique, which is conditionally
called "the floating center". A person frequently prefers the
detailed realization of particular units in his own structure. There is
probably some sense in such practice, but when "the Dance of Emptiness"
is manifested, it becomes an obstacle. So it is important to underline
not the over stressed development of particular structures overbalancing
the rest, but the harmonious development of the whole complex.
When developing the "floating center" methodology, the Studio
in different periods of time employed various elements of classic ballet,
modern dance, break dancing, yoga, tai-chi chuan, etc., but all
this was far from mechanical compilation and was not reduced to the resulting
sum of the above. So any performer new to the company, not depending on
the methodology he/she had been trained in, experiences certain difficulties
in mastering the Studio techniques -- this applies both to the performers
with classic background and to those who have never danced before.
The term "Dance of Emptiness" points at the possibility of
substantiating either the premonition or the actual exit into some wider
regions of our mind. This sort of journey is neither a groundless fantasy,
nor a Sunday picnic.
Such journeys do not have any stable results in case of unconscious
glimpses, vaguely called the meditations, and become serious obstacles
in case of drug application -- the result is usually uncontrollable and
ruinous; The same can be said about any fanatically practiced methods with
the unclear meaning.
Starting on such a journey, we should be confident that after having
broken from the tight cage of pragmatic rationalism, we will not fall into
the exhausting underground of our own passions -- or that coming out into
wider areas we will be able to find our way back.
The sad examples of one of the most inventive dramatic theater reformers,
Antonin Artaud, and one of the genuinely great cancers of this century,
Vaclav Nizhinsky, who had to spend considerable parts of their lives in
psychiatric wards, is the warning, serious enough.
Taking on a journey, called here "the Dance of Emptiness",
we should take into consideration the enormous complexity of this step,
at the same time being aware that we do not have any alternative way; Sooner
or later we all inevitably find ourselves standing on the threshold.