Charlie Morrissey, live in the studio, shares recorded excerpts from and reflections on Skype conversations with Lisa Nelson, in part as they relate to touch, which was the theme of the 2016 Crossing Borders programme.
Charlie contextualised the talk in his own words:
I met Lisa Nelson in Vermont USA in 1992 while working with Steve Paxton. Alongside subsequent working sessions with Steve, Lisa was working with Image Lab –a group including Karen Nelson, Scott Smith and K. J. Holmes exploring Tuning Scores. Watching these sessions, and occasionally participating as an active observer were my first experiences of this work. In later years, I began to attend workshops, group sessions and to engage more deeply with the tuning scores in a number of meetings across Europe as well as exploring the scores in my own work and in meetings with others including Gill Clarke, Scott Smith, Henry Montes and Katye Coe. The work initially blew my mind in so many great ways – it brought attention to the act of perception in a way that simultaneously expanded the world of movement and performance to me, and overwhelmed me in what appeared to be the vastness of it’s potential. The ongoing conversation with this work has been a constant reference point for my research and interests in exploring movement, teaching and performance making.
With the Tuning Scores, Lisa has created a way for a group of people to come together and explore the activity of composing in space in a non-hierarchical context. Everyone comes as they are with their own tastes and histories and the players learn from each other through the activity of watching and doing.
Touch seems to be a key factor in Lisa’s work and has been central to my own – a way to connect to myself, to the world, and others in it through action. I find information in touch – the things I touch and the things that touch me, and I enjoy exploring touch as an expanded sense – one which seems to apply to other senses. Touch allows me to work with substance in a particular way – to find what is substantial in seeing and being seen, in listening, in my proprioceptive and interoceptive sensing of the world, and in my relationship with others and the environments I move through.
This talk was part of Crossing Borders 2016 and was presented in partnership with London Contemporary Dance School.
Lisa Nelson is a dance-maker, improvisational performer, and collaborative artist who has been exploring the role of the senses in the performance and observation of movement since the early ’70s. Stemming from her work with video and dance, she developed an approach to spontaneous composition and performance she calls Tuning Scores. She performs, teaches and creates dances in diverse spaces on many continents, and maintains long-term collaborations with other artists, including Steve Paxton, Daniel Lepkoff, Cathy Weis, Scott Smith, and Image Lab–a Tuning Score performance ensemble. Her writings have been published by Nouvelles de danse, Contact Quarterly, Writings on Dance, ballettanz, MovementResearch.org Critical Correspondance, and sarma.be/oralsite. She has co-edited Contact Quarterly dance and improvisation journal since 1977 and received a NY Bessie award in 1987 and an Alpert Award in the Arts in 2002. She lives in Vermont, USA.
Charlie Morrissey is a director/choreographer, performer, teacher, and researcher, and has been working in the field of performance across the UK and internationally for 25 years. He creates large and small-scale site-specific and theatre and gallery based performance work in diverse contexts and locations; organises and collaborates in a variety of performance research projects; and performs and collaborates in the work of other performance makers. He has significant and ongoing working relationships with Steve Paxton, Siobhan Davies, Lisa Nelson, Kirstie Simson, Scott Smith, Katye Coe, Katie Duck and many others.
Recent and upcoming projects include I am a Robot – a solo at the Hayward Gallery, London; Preparation – a performance with Katye Coe and philosopher Alva Noë and artist Graeme Miller performed at Sadlers Wells, London; Table of Contents with Siobhan Davies Dance in Vienna; Test Pieces with Rosemary Butcher in Berlin; On Off – a solo performed at Tanzwerkstatt Europa in Munich; a commission from Siobhan Davies Dance, and a new commission from Joint Adventures with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra. Charlie also continues his teaching internationally.