Day 7 studio 703 real/empty

Wang mei with her dancers day 7wang mei day 7


wang mei rocking day 7

Wang mei has decided  to perform in the work, so now there are 5 performers.

I watch a run of a small section, to music. Dancers are sitting on the floor facing front, swaying slightly, forward and back.  I am caught by the concentration, the stillness within the movement, a contained attention to detail, the ability to be empty and full simultaneously.  The minute changes in gesture, for instance one dancer’s change of direction, or an extended rocking that takes a dancer onto his back, becomes magnified, almost a shock.  I am pulled in.

The run through lasts maybe 1 minute.  Then they gather round the video recording, to watch this short section several times, discussing details, shifts in the material.  The attention to detail is astonishing. I am looking at the micro made macro.  I am reminded of that movie about the life of ants, when a blade of grass becomes a tree, and we are looking into a tiny world enlarged.

I sense a collective working together, although Wang mei has the final decisions, different dancers step out to direct material and all the creative discussions and changes are discussed as a group.

I gather that they discussing real and empty.

I am fascinated watching the group work out the subtle differences in a single gesture.  Lifting themselves on their hands, legs straight out in front, they rock sideways in rhythm. The difference between a sharp rocking movement and a swinging rocking movement is discussed at length. The swinging rocking movement is required. They watch each other to perfect this.

Later – after the marathon next door, I come in and slow down.

Five bodies are sitting, facing the mirror, knee tapping and sliding backwards on the floor.

Qier explains to me a little of Wang mei’s working process. For Wang mei, when one dancer is communicating with another, this is reality. If you are working alone you are empty. I interpret this as a play between bein in the world relationally and focusing inwards when alone. Wang mei seeks a co-operation between everybody. Every movement must be comfortable for each person; if one person is uncomfortable then the movement will be changed. Each dancer has a different movement, yet they work together in unison, so each person can see the other do his/her movement. They are working with an inside awareness as well as the outside image, to come into together differently in unison.

I need a deeper understanding of her methods. I arrange to interview Wang mei tomorrow at 5pm.

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