MemoryDance is a practice that seeks to connect the mover’s attention and senses to a memory of a specific location they’ve experienced in their past. Born out of a curiosity as to whether past immersion in landscapes can have a lasting influence on physicality it has become a peaceful, joyful improvisation practice. During Melbourne's extended lockdown myself, Alexandra Dobson, Jazmyn Carter, Rachel Mackie and Erin O'Rourke developed a weekly MemoryDance practice over zoom. It allowed us to experience momentary escapes to other places and, in that capacity, it was a wonderful practice for our wellbeing.
MemoryDance does not generate large, virtuosic movement but rather - in the stillness of the body - the mind actively re-examines sensations experienced in a past place. The smallest, subtlest gestures of an eyebrow or finger tip are full of honesty, conviction and experience. It is a wonderful attention-training practice that filters into daily life; drawing attention to small details of our environments as we move through them.
Whenever I stand back and watch the dancers conjure and explore their memories of landscapes I am so moved and enthralled by their movements. Currently, MemoryDance is mostly a practice of investigation, curiosity and wellbeing. Following Inhabitance VI - a work-in-progress showing of 'MemoryDance as a mode of performing' at Out of Bounds (facilitated by Lucy Guerin Inc. & Temperance Hall) - I have become more curious about its potential to feed into performative works - choreographically and as a mode of performative attention.
Moments from a zoom practice.
You are invited to play the above audio recording of a MemoryDance practice conducted over zoom during Melbourne's lockdown in August 2021. It is a sample of how we begin and move through the beginning of the practice. It starts with a moment of grounding and then begins to encourage exploration of your chosen place. There is never a right or wrong and never a pressure to move, or to stay still. It is about coaxing your senses to remember what they experienced in this location and then to re-explore that place in whatever way you'd like. It is best done with your eyes closed, so do be careful if you don't have much space. This recording is only an excerpt of a longer practice so it doesn't include an instruction to stop.
You can choose whether to allow the audio to prompt physical responses, or, you can remain sitting, standing or laying still, just listening. There are pauses between prompts to allow you to explore.