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SPIRALARTS in Pitzhanger Park – 2.6.24

Dave, Bryony, Miu and Miriam

A small group, but a really lovely sunny day and an inspiring session, as usual!
WARM UP – I led a freeing and opening warm up, we then shared various movement ideas,
including some Japanese spiral movements from Miu and some movements focused around the
face and eyes from Miriam.
TREE DANCE – we explored the idea of favourite trees with words and movements:
Bryony – Birch
Dave – Oak
Miriam
Miu – Olive
CHOREOGRAPHY – we then went over all the choreography for the opening of our repertoire,
Tree dance, Kata and Linden Tree. It looked very beautiful and powerful in the open air and
sunshine.
CLOSE DOWN
Dave led a gentle close down
TEA AND CAKES – with Miu and Jo!

SPIRALARTS SESSION IN NATURE – 5.5.24

Bryony, Dave, David Phelops, Cressida and James, (Ella and Sam), Celia, Miu, Bea, Michaela

Venue:  THE ANKERWYCKE YEW (over 2,000 years old) AND OLD PRIORY

We are aiming to have regular sessions working in Nature to inspire and energise our work.

WARM UP/PREPARATION

We all met by the ancient Yew, an amazing old tree, huge, with a strong atmosphere around it. It is very sculptural  with a full girth and spreading branches, full of twist and turns, deep colours, representing wisdom of a long and ancient witness to history.

We gathered in a circle in front of the tree, David P led us in some breath and vocal work and we all led some freeform vocals!

I began the physical warm up, focusing on grounding, the relationship between roots, trunk and branches and spiral moves that seemed very appropriate. Each member of the group then led their own choice of movement and we all followed.

We decided to move as other people were wanting to come and see and admire the old tree.

THE PRIORY

An old site with just a few walls of different heights, shapes and nooks and crannies. Everyone melded into part of the wall of their choice, slowly, through improvisation, emerging from the wall and moving as they felt. James improvised on Cello, sitting into a corner of the wall. Cressida improvised on violin sitting on a higher ledge.

It was beautiful. Celia thought it would be good to develop some solo dances of dancers emerging from the nooks in the wall……I agreed, we should develop this another time.

TREES

We walked further into the woodland and found a clearing. We decided to work on the ‘Trees’ song David had brought to the previous session. James, Cressida and Miu fixed the music to a tree and played, David led the singing and the rest of us formed a semi circle creating some instant folksy group choreography while singing. Great!

We attracted some attention from a dog and his owner, the dog liked the singing and joined in, but was scared of the open standing cello case, Cress ‘killed’ it by lying it down and all was well!

I wonder how we could use both versions of this song from the previous week and this one in natural surroundings, maybe one version on film, the other live….?

CLOSE DOWN

We walked back to the Ankerwycke Tree and formed a circle again. I led some quiet movement – Ten Shu – from Heaven to Earth and vice versa. I added Thich Nhat Hanh’s words to each movement:

“In/Out, Deep/Slow’ Calm/Ease, Smile/Release, Present Moment/Perfect or Wonderful Moment.

Some of us then gathered at the Staines Brewery for a drink, chat and there happened to be some very good live jazz playing!

Thank you to Celia for suggesting this beautiful place, we aim to go back and do some more sessions there, possibly on a week day when there are fewer people around.

Bryony

SPIRALARTS SESSION AT OPEN EALING – 28.4.24

Attending:

Miu, Rosalie, David Phelops, Dave H, Pam Chase

THEMES – Consolidating Opening ‘Trees’ section, Developing ‘Sea’, Choreographing ‘Singing in the Rain’ suitable for audience

Each session there is a different creative alchemy, depending who is there and which arts are represented. This was a very focused and productive session, full of creativity and arts fusion.

As always we began with a warm up/preparation, this session was inspired by the Tango music of The Romano Viazzani Ensemble, which we had seen live the previous week on recommendation from David P.  A regular warm up including some of our Spiral moves, shared by everyone.

TREES/FOREST

We went over the opening of our repertoire, focusing the individual movements with three or four words and teaching and remembering the moves for the ‘Kata’, also incorporating Bibi’s poem. We used the music recorded on our trip to the forest near Cressida and James in the autumn, when we did this piece in the natural environment with live music from them.

We then worked on The Linden Tree, featuring Rosalie singing, while we settled and refined the choreography for the background group.

TRANSITION

Miu played piano (solo piano , no movement) as a transition to:

‘TREES’ Music by Fiona Lander, words by Walter De La Mare

 A more uplifting and beautiful song David P brought in –

David sang while Miu played piano and Rosalie joined in the singing – very beautiful

An idea that the group could again form as silent trees like the opening forest, during this song with 2 dancers as children chasing each other and playing in the forest.

SINGING IN THE RAIN

A popular song everyone knows, I felt would be good as an audience participation piece, both singing and dancing.  I taught the choreography initially on chairs, leading to free form on the instrumental passage, coming back to the chairs at the end.

CLOSE DOWN

We finished by repeating some of the warm up stretches and spiral moves to the Tango music, which David P filmed to show his friend who runs the group.

The session felt very good, we are beginning to consolidate a wealth of material.

Finally off to Cafe Zee for tea, coffee, cake and chat!

Bryony

SPIRALARTS SESSION AT OPEN EALING 17.3.24
Bryony. Dave. Liz. David Phelops. Marc. Miriam. Ruby. Miu.

THEME 1 – WATER/THE SEA
THEME 2 – INTEGRATION OF MUSICIANS IN THE ACTION

Ruby was filming.

Another inspiring session.
We began with a warm up/preparation as usual to open up physically and integrate as a group. We
focused on ‘fluidity’ in preparation for working on our ‘seascape’ – everyone contributed their own
moves. I then taught some movement motifs that could be used later in the piece.
We worked with the idea of Sea starting small and building, following the music (Miu improvising
on piano) We placed the piano in centre of room with the group interconnected behind the piano,
facing the pianist and softly following her moves around the piano. The music built and on a strong
chord the group broke away from each other, moving individually but working with the motifs we
explored in the warm up.
We felt it would be a good idea too have David P as Poseidon, possibly with a drum as a still point
amidst all the movement. Maybe behind on a higher level?
I think this piece could do with some group choreography to balance the improvisation.
We allowed time to discussion
We finished again with David P and Singing In the Rain, developing what we did the previous time
and all learning and joining in the singing and dancing, this time introducing an umbrella!
We all agreed this could be a good audience participation piece.
We finished with a close down and went to the cafe to start structuring the whole idea for
performance and integration with film.


Bryony Williams

Group Session Sunday 11th February 2024, 1-4 pm

Open Ealing Arts Centre

Marc, Dave, Miriam, Sarah, Jo, Miu, Bryony

Theme 1: Water 

Theme 2: Integration of the musicians into the action

Another unique and lovely session, the creative alchemy between these artists never ceases to surprise, energise and amaze. There is a real joy and freedom in working creatively and collaboratively. 

As always we began with a physical warm up with everyone joining in, led by Bryony, based around the movement and qualities of water. We worked with fluidity, turbulence and stillness, exploring waves and spirals. Each person in the group added their own ‘water’ movement.

We also did some mirroring exercises, reflecting each others movement.

Again no vocal warm up, as no one to lead it.

Marc then played a piece of Ravel to us, a boat on the ocean.  First we listened then improvised freely and individually to embody the music.

We then formed a linked group, joining little fingers, behind him and mirrored the movement of the pianist as he played.

Miu then took over at the piano and improvised to a general theme of a trickle of water building into a river, into an ocean….

The group formed a line behind her putting hands on the shoulders of the person in front, the first person had their hands on Miu’s shoulders and followed her movement, which was reflected through the line. A music led experiment, which worked well, but we thought there needed to be more shape and stillness incorporated in the group movement to contrast the fluidity.

There was some discussion as to how it felt for the musicians to have the music embodied in this way so close to them.

The group then repeated the exercise linked by only one arm, which gave more freedom of movement, but was less connected and less effective.

After a break, Miu produced a little hand held keyboard, with a tube and mouthpiece, a fascinating and unusual instrument which she played beautifully while we improvised movement to It.

Jo then followed playing a recorder, becoming a pied piper with everyone following her.

Finally we changed the mood and began choreographing the song ‘Singing in the Rain’, some light relief which everyone enjoyed. We began posed in chairs around the room and used the chairs as our dancing partners, sharing some fun choreography. Ultimately we hope it will be sung live by David with an umbrella in his arm, a choreographed piece that could be used for audience participation.

We finished with a quiet ‘close down’ led by Dave.

It is an important part of the way we work to ensure a good preparation at the beginning and quiet breath and movement at the end.

Bryony Williams

12.2.2024 

Group Meeting Sunday 14th January, 1-4 pm at Open Ealing Arts Centre
Bryony, Dave, Liz, Bibi, David Phelops, Rosalie, Miriam, India
(problems on railways kept others away)
Theme: Lake and Sea – water
Every session we have seems to be a spontaneous adventure, loosely based around a theme, all
depending on the alchemy of those present. Sometimes dance/movement is more prominent,
sometimes music and sometimes singing and poetry.
Each session is a unique and creative experience!
All sessions begin with a movement warm up to engage the bodies and unify the group. This
included the beginning of a dance/kata composed of spiral moves created by members of the
group, a work in progress, integrated by Bryony. No time for vocal warm up this session.

James sent a recording of one of his compositions ‘Dialika’, a river in the desert in Mali (Marimba,
Celeste, Double Bass) a beautiful meditative piece. We worked with Liz and Bryony as a Grecian
style waterfall backdrop of choreographed movement with Tibetan Water Bowls, three others
formed a triangle around us, reflecting our moves, then mirroring each other. Celia, will become
centrepiece of this scenario, but was not there at this session.
Next we worked with Bibi who had written a wonderful poem inspired by the sea, “I watched the
waves….” the rest of the group improvised movement to her words. We decided to leave this
mainly improvised with an agreed shape/structure. Bibi should be the “Luna Lady who plays with the water…”
Finally we changed mood completely and danced and sang to a medley of Swing songs sung
brilliantly by David P, good fun and energetic. We agreed they need to be choreographed (chorus
line?) and could be used for some audience participation. They are a good balance for our
programme.
I am always in awe of the ease of creativity, spontaneity and generosity of everyone in this group, it is heartwarming.
It was great to have India Dillon there for the first time, she is doing a wonderful job building a
following, setting up crowd funding and dealing with social media in the most artistic and creative way. We are grateful.
Bryony Williams
17. 1. 2024