Richard Cilli on One Body One Career and Countertechnique
From Accumulation to Common Ground and touring ANTI—GRAVITY to SPRING Utrecht it has been a big year for Richard Cilli at Chunky Move. To celebrate the arrival of One Body One Career to the studios, we spoke to Richard Cilli about his own experiences as a previous participant of One Body One Career last year and his journey with Countertechnique.
“I had seen the dancers in Chunky Move dance in this amazing way. Countertechnique was allowing them to move in incredible ways with such ease. There was definitely something they knew that I didn’t. What was this magical secret?”
How did you discover Countertechnique?
I was at a point in my career where I felt I needed to deepen my knowledge about technique and look at dance from a new perspective. I had seen the dancers in Chunky Move dance in this amazing way. Countertechnique was allowing them to move in incredible ways with such ease. There was definitely something they knew that I didn’t. What was this magical secret?
I heard that One Body, One Career was an amazing course through a few friends in the industry, so I did myself a favour and registered. It was one of the best decisions of my life!
You participated in One Body One Career in 2017, what was that experience like?
One Body, One Career was a huge turning point for my career. It represented a time where I got to put everything on hold and examine and reassess my beliefs about my body, my self and dancing in general.
It’s such an amazing vibe, so many people come from all over the world to spend time understanding their dancing bodies. There’s so much sweat and joy in the room. There are technique classes, sessions exploring the Countertechnique toolbox and Alexander Technique, plus workshops on duo, creative process, and mastering the finer points of the technique.
The experience for me was a bit of a body and mind overhaul. It’s a safe space in which you have permission to be vulnerable, to experiment, to experience your body in a different way than you perceive it.
How has the way you move differed from before you practiced Countertechnique to now?
My idea of dancing before was that there was a core that must be braced in order to allow other body parts to move around it. I believed that dancing was hard, and required a lot of effort. Now if I want my body to move in one direction, I send another body part in the opposite direction just before I move, in order to create dynamic balance. This means I have less unnecessary tension in my body, and it’s more available to movement. I’m more resilient in the face of injury, and I generally worry less because there’s no right or wrong, just different.
Any favourite tools or bits of knowledge you have gained from One Body One Career you would like to share?
I learned so much! One of the important ones is that because dance only happens in the moment, the focus in Countertechnique is to remain in the process of doing rather than trying to achieve some spectacular destination. Because in deciding how something must be, you are also closing yourself off to so many other options. Countertechnique gives you tools to stay open to the moment.
Countertechnique also puts you in control. Once you understand how to engage with the idea it is very simple. I allow my body to expand into the space around me, and all I have to do is (counter) direct my energy as I go.
If you are able to observe yourself without judgment, all you have to do is choose what you want to do about your situation, one choice at a time, moment by moment, and enjoy!
Are you an intermediate level dancer and would like an introduction to Countertechnique yourself? Our Intermediate Countertechnique six-week series starts 16 July, you can sign up here.
Learn more about Countertechnique here.