From the Rehearsal Room Part Three

We sat down with Common Ground performers Richard Cilli & Tara Jade Samaya to hear about the preparation process in rehearsals.

Tell us a bit more about the preparation process involved in performing in a duet piece?

Richard: Well it’s been a real learning curve for me to work through the lens of Countertechnique, particularly how to partner in Countertechnique in that before this I would have bashed out the steps and just gone ‘those are the steps and this is where it is, you have to be here, I have to be there’. This requires a lot more listening to yourself and listening to the other body simultaneously, while both achieving what you need to be doing choreographically.

The real point of difference with Anouk’s work is that you are thoroughly within the process, you have a curiosity with a certain part of the process as you’re doing it, instead of creating an outward image or a finished product for someone you’re a detective in the moment, really listening to what you can see with your body.

Tara: It has been really nice working with someone who hasn’t worked with Anouk that is this mature and comes to it with this much history because Anouk’s and my pursuits have to be more lateral to find a way to work with someone from a different background. There’s no knowing, so what’s possible it’s become quite open, which is really nice and refreshing and Richard’s a really good dancer.

Choreographic processes are different depending on each piece, what are the usual features of Anouk’s creative process?

Tara: I feel like my body does things and releases into a space that I actually don’t know what it looks like. It is less about form and more about the pursuit of coordinating sort of things and directing and ongoing listening of what’s happening, what information am I getting, where am I, what am I doing? This type of checking in. There are many spirals and finding comfort and working in rotations again. I grew up with classical ballet, and in my professional years over the last ten years, I haven’t used my rotation as a major thing through contemporary dance, but I have had the facility to do it again with Countertechnique. It’s given me more range and facility and I definitely feel like I dance bigger and more ‘horizontally’. I can take space with ease and what else? I can’t walk at the end of the day, I’m like a fluid body that is totally happy and stimulated.

Richard: The tank is empty.

Tara: I find it hard to even read or write, yeah the tank is pretty empty. You just kind of try to get up that hill and come back to the basis of some of the Countertechnique theories in its simplest form. I often feel like I become friends with exhaustion, which is something that I do in every one of her works, meet that place and greet it in a new way.

Richard, what have you found to be the most challenging elements of the process?

Richard: For me, the shift towards maintaining, even in performance, to stay in a curiosity mindset and not to be replicating exactly how you did it the time before. It requires a lot of openness, it feels at first a little scary because you are sort of jumping off the cliff a little bit, not forcing everything to happen the same way every time. It at first feels like it could be that there’s more chance for failure, but that only happens if you are coming at it with fear. So it’s been really great because I have had Tara with me encouraging me to take those risks.

There’s a big thing in dance where its like ‘this is the correct way’, where there are actually a lot of incorrect ways, which is also why I love dancing because everything is valid. There are many ways to do it. And this is like for me learning a new language, and I love learning new languages. It’s really exciting, it is a whole new grammar.

Tara: Yes we’ve had lots of Richard’s languages (laughs?), he even sang an Icelandic song, and a dying dialect of Italian and a German opera song, in a two-part harmony. We did a three part harmony at some point. There is a lot we have covered in terms of Richard’s love for language’s.  

Richard: What’s great about the process is that with Anouk, the spirit of investigation is so broad, you’ll do anything, sing, eat, speak. The gold is found in the most unlikely of spaces.

Tara: Everything is an offer.

What’s been the best moment in the studios so far?

Tara: Some of my favourite moments this week has been Anouk getting up and demonstrating, and she doesn’t prepare you. We’ve started rehearsals and it’s not like ok let’s go, she’ll just start doing something and it’s really… she’s quite a unique mover and she doesn’t consider, just stays with the process of doing something and she hasn’t told you what it is, it’s really informative, but it’s quite hard to put into words, that’s been really entertaining. Also, her basically licking the new tarquette.

Richard: The times in improvisation when something really uncannily comes out and unexpectedly and just really really lands amazingly.

Common Ground is presented at Chunky Move Studio from 26 April – 5 May. Book now here.