Katie Duck has been investigating theater, dance and music with live performance for over 30 years. In her workshop, she takes a microscopic view on the role improvisation plays in a live performance combining her background in the performing arts with her curiosity for advances in brain studies, music and movement research.
I have taught all over the world. My workshop can be organised in institutions of art, theaters, festivals and freelance studios. Workshops are usually five days, four hours per day with no more than 25 students. I can do as little as one day if the space is only able to sustain this, however I do insist that workshops are at least three to four hour sessions. I can accept students from all performance art and music backgrounds. My only concern is that anyone who studies in my workshop has a deep interest in the material I will be sharing with the participants.
Music Theater Workshop (Xmas workshop and Improvisation summer course)
For musicians / actors / singers / dancers / text artists / performance artist
I have worked with music artists from various backgrounds, acoustic, electronic, jazz, traditional, modern music and punk, who share my passion for interdisciplinary real time performances. I have worked with directors, actors, vocalist, dancers, and physical theater artists from various backgrounds in companies, troupes, solo and ensembles. I have included text in my performances since the 70’s with an ear on how this can integrate musically as well as produce an objectified meaning of events. I have included the use of object in relationship to figure since my early work in Italy in the 80’s. These experiences are what I use to distinguish a Music Theater platform for interdisciplinary real time performances. I accept artists from all performance art and music backgrounds without prejudice concerning technical skills or esthetic boundaries.
I guide performers through physical exercises that highlight how the eyes and ears affect movement choices. I set up exercises for the musicians, text artists and vocalist during the physical work to challenge their ability to create “a band” while being aware that space is shifting with bodies involved. Musicians and performers can choose to change roles in these exercises at any given time. I extend the workshop towards improvisation sessions by setting a fictional front in the studio space and then declare this as a platform to choose pause, flow or exit. I highlight how the limit of these three choices can already provide the frame for a composition to take place, and that misunderstanding, coincidence, real time, interactivity, messiness, emotions, intuition, impulse and inspiration are basic in a creative process. These raw materials are integrated with the combined fact that everyone in the workshop group can make a choice. The improvisation sessions are given a delegated time frame with an option for the workshop group to shift, drop or lift the space at will. The practice of an individuals development of presence is a critical process in the workshop be it in music, text, movement, figure-object or vocals. I use games to set an example for building and dropping the tension in the music theater space by way of an individuals presence with an emphasis on states of mind in performance, such as vulnerability and expressionism. Choice is introduced to the workshop group as a composition reality but also how it allows for individuals to elect to participate in the performative or as a viewer and yet remain involved in the process. The aim is to gather the workshop group to recognize that, in a creative composition process, time is passing in different perceived speeds and that space is shifting in several dimensions at once. This awake fullness can promote individual performance presence, composition alertness and an appetite for creativity.
Every day we will practice and engage with all of the aspects available to us in t music theater platform. I will center on one area of study in lectures, practice, feedback and reflection each day; sonic – tension – body / music – body – text / music – object – figure
Improvisation for dancers Workshop
For dancers and movement artist
Katie guides the dancers and performers through physical exercises that highlight how the eyes and ears affect movement choices and developmental brain studies about “why we learn to walk”. She extends the workshop toward improvisation sessions by setting a fictional front in the studio space and then declaring this as a platform to choose pause, flow or exit. This platform highlights how the limit of these three choices can already provide the frame for a composition to take place, and that misunderstanding, coincidence, live time, interactivity, messiness, emotions, intuition and inspiration are basic materials in a creative process. These raw materials are integrated with the combined fact that everyone in the workshop group can make a choice. The improvisation sessions are given a delegated time frame with an option for the workshop group to shift, drop or lift the space at will. This shifting, dropping and lifting of the performance space places each individual in a position where they need to be to be fully awake or they will loose the thread of the creative composition activity in play. Choice is introduced to the workshop group as a composition reality but also as a means for individuals to elect to participate in the performative or as a viewer and yet remain involved in the process. The aim is to gather the workshop group to recognize that in a creative composition process, time is passing at different perceived speeds and that space is shifting in several dimensions at once. This awake fullness promotes individual performance presence and composition alertness.
Workshops can be booked in relationship to performance commissions and/or workshops can lead toward a performance with the student group if their is sufficient time given for the process.
Short text (lecture materials) from Katie’s workshop
Tell the brain to tell the mind to shut up – body obey me
Creativity is messy. Three choices arise out of the messiness; Pause Flow and Exit. Each of these choices are a mountain of study and each of these choices are shared in the space under the guidance of the performer/ artists relationship to their public.
It is abundantly clear when the artist choice has been closed down by solutions portrayed as “ideas”. Scrounging for authorship, these “ideas” place a filter between artist and public. Off with their heads, let the artists choose.
I am not interested in the moment, even though it does feel good. I am interested in the movement time and the fact that time is passing us by. Time moving is what we share with music, sound, sonic, public and most obviously “life”.
The performer/ dancer /actor/ musician needs to be the best listener in the theatre in order to read the sounds in a passing time. If you read the sounds in time you can write, reveal and give presence to a sonic body.
A fully awake body is rarely pedestrian. The body awake needs to be discovered and demands a discipline beyond everyday tasks. And yet when movement or dance does not respect the beauty of the body in pedestrian, I become uncomfortable.
How the body works, how we see a body, it is not so different then in how we feel about body. Anything less than feeling the body is like watching a dog trying to learn ballet.
The challenging reality is that we volunteer to get in front of people and then more crazy, in a live time composition. We respect that the public have paid the ticket to judge us. That it is their job is; to judge us. Certainly it is not our job to judge them or ourselves in this enormously ridiculous process of live time performance.
Naturally one is nervous and even frightened. Those emotions integrate with the act of volunteering to perform. in a most perfect way this combination creates a vulnerability and humility with every single artistic choice. If i am no longer nervous before a gig then something has gone terribly wrong.
There is a difference between seeing. looking and watching. A difference between hearing and listening. An artists chooses if they wish for a public to watch or to see – to hear or to listen.
I choose for the public to see and listen and do my best to gather a crowd in that quest. It doesn’t always work and it is never 100% of the public. But because I choose it, who I am as artists is clarified.
As a dancer, are you interested in a public watching or looking at your body? Or do you want the public to be reminded that they have a body?
In order to be bring an object into a performance space you need to fall in love. You need to fall in love with the object knowing that it will never love you back. It is similar to how music can effect the performer. With music, we actually fall into a delusional state of mind and believe that the music loves you back. It doesn’t and you do need to objectify these feelings in order to track how it is moving in time. But you do need to believe that the object loves you back. Even though, it doesn’t. Love gives the impression that the object is moving in time. that it is alive similar to music as object.
The combination of moving, seeing, hearing, feeling and deliberately volunteering to expose myself in front of an audience alters my perception of time, space and emotions. What I do for a living is an induced neuron madness.