1st instalment of salzburg

February 7, 2009

End of the 1st day and relaxing in comfy hotel with Otto asleep! saw 2 shows today – ETS – BEEST from holland – Katrina Brown originally from UK – (2 – 4 years) and Al di La by Tam teatro Musica from Italy (1.5 – 4 years).  both v interesting particularly from the point of view of ‘engaging the children’ or ‘interaction/participation’  which is what i am foucssing on. What i found especially interesting was the lack of direct eye contact between performer and child. at first i thought i wasn’t going to like ETS BEEST at all. it was a dance piece with a large white paper across the hall floor whith the children sat around the edges.  There was a percussive musician who created every sound with his voice and 1 dancer – Katrina.  the dancer didn’t get direct eye contact at all with the children but moved around the paper according to the rythmn/sound from the vocalist. at certain points she would draw around herself or make markings according to the sound.  i noted that Otto was captivated!!!! after a while i realised that it was quite deliberate to not directly engage the children and professor Hanny from berlin put it most succinctly by saying; ‘she is trying to get the children to focus on the form rather than direct communication.’  And it was obvisous that some children related to the form more than others – to be expected i suppose.

there was a gorgeous little boy approx 3, who was v curious, he sat on the paper v early and i wondered how the dancer would engage with him?  She danced over him and made abridge over him then moved away – i thought it a shame that she didn’t continue with this interaction as i found it fascinating to watch and the little boy was v open to it.  he was one of t he first to then pick up some of the charcoal to draw on the paper.  the children were subtley encouraged to do so after the ‘performance’ and it was interesting to see how they then marked the paper.  the vocalist continued to improvise – some children danced, some drew, some played and some disappeared!  I particualrly liked 1 moment when a little girl wandered around the outside of the space and the dancer offered her some charcoal around her back, if she had offeredit directly i don’t think the girl would have taken it, but as it was from behind her back, she came over and took it , then drew off the paper on the floor. I loved to see the kids and some parents with black smudged faces and socks! cleaning it off became another shared activity!  it is the kind of approach to making work for this age group that i wouldn’t have considered, so it was great to see something so far removed from my own practice.

anyway more later on the 2nd show!!!! good night for now!

One comment

  1. Thanks for an excellent insight Natasha. You mentioned in an email that you saw Bach a Sable, which I also loved when I saw it last year – incredibly beautiful and sensitive as with much of Theatre de la Guimbarde’s work. I wondered how much of this and your comments above was to do with the actors’ own skill and openness to young children’s worlds?

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