Dear TSU members,
On November 11, the TSU will be hosting a free performance workshop with David McIntosh, a frequent collaborator of SFU's DD Kugler and a co-artistic director of the Vancouver dance/theatre company battery opera (http://www.batteryopera.com/). Starting at 10:30am, David will lead a 3-hour workshop on the fundamentals of the company's training, "Sui Ji Ying Bian," which can be translated as "Follow gauge respond transform," or "follow lead borrow use." Their core training is based in the martial arts forms bagua and Systema which have been adapted by David and co-artistic director Lee Su-Feh into their own performance and aesthetic practice.
This workshop is a unique opportunity, as it precedes David's new show M/HOTEL, a site-specific piece staged in a room at the Holiday Inn on Howe St (it runs from November 22-December 10). Attendees of the workshop who also choose to attend the performance will have the unique experience of learning the basics of the training, and then seeing how the company implements it in performance (the workshop is free, but you have to pay for your own ticket to the show!). I, along with many members of Kugler's spring dramaturgy course, got to see an early version of the piece in the spring, and I highly recommend any attendees, and any performance students, to check it out (http://www.batteryopera.com/motel/). David also plans to use the workshop as a chance to develop his new performance project, "whatever that may be."
The workshop will take place in room 4270. It will involve bare feet, physicality, and large sticks. According to David, "the class will involve sweating, repeating, text, fear, excitement and some boredom." To register, e-mail me, Conor (firstname.lastname@example.org), and include your full name, program and year, e-mail, and phone number (in case there are any changes). There is no cost to attend. Please only register if you are absolutely CERTAIN you want to/can attend, as I am hoping this class will fill up. If you register and realize you can't make it, please let me know right away so we can find a replacement. It is open firstly to all TSU members and theatre students, with at least two spots reserved for other FCAT members. If there is room, I will also open it up to SCA alumni.
I'm personally a big fan of David's and battery opera's work, and am really looking forward to introducing him to our current group of performance students. It's a great chance to become acquainted with a local professional artist who makes unusual, challenging, and very compelling work. I hope to see you there.
TSU VP External, 5th Year Performance Major
School for Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser University
Here is a more detailed and eloquent class description from David himself:
1.The Body in Performance
uses simple martial arts derived drills and concepts to explore the
body in performance. I look to martial arts for it’s lessons in the
expression of a body governed by physics as well as by human
relationships. Simple drills progress into rudimentary choreography
that can then become a shared language for improvisation, which in
turn become the starting point for discussions about the aesthetics
and function of an improvised performance. What is the function of a
body performing in a defined space? What is our capacity to carry
content while interacting with our environment? These have been
questions I have taken into many creative processes and teaching
situations, and they continue to reward me with new insights and
My work with battery opera has always engaged the improvising body in
performance. From the larger ensemble proscenium works like Spektator
and [storm], to my more intimate site specific works like M/HOTEL
and “Lives were around me.”, I have always trained and directed my
performers to improvise within an interactive matrix of content, form
and event. By working with the martial arts as a basis for training,
battery opera has joined a long tradition of dialogue between martial
arts and performance forms – for example, Chinese martial arts and
Beijing Opera, Pencak Silat and South-East Asian dance and theatre. In
battery opera, however, this dialogue takes place within a
contemporary, post-colonial matrix that is cognizant of the interplay
between art, power, politics and history. In this context, codified
shape and form have given way to values and principles about how the
body engages with space, time and the audience.
or more simply
2.*Systema for Sissies. Bogus *Bagua . *Martial Arts (my way)
*Note: in this class you will not learn any of these forms that I have
cribbed from over the years. You will be engaged to explore my take on
these life arts and the concept of Sui Ji Ying Bian, both as a
performance functionality guide and as a basis for developing a (my)
performance aesthetic. The class will involve sweating, repeating,
text, fear, excitement and some boredom.
The class will also serve as the development process for my next
performance work, whatever that may be.
Sui Ji Ying Bian can be translated as: Follow gauge respond transform,
or follow lead borrow use.
"act according to circumstances"
Nicholas will be keeping you up to date on current events, auditions, shows, and more through this page. We'll be keeping you posted.