Observation about Space, Time, Energy
We all know that dance is happening in space and time, just like everything in our world. Energy is the third element that is essential in dance. It is sometimes also defined as strength, which I don’t like for several reasons. Strength highlights one side of the coin stronger than the other. Energy in comparison is either the state your muscles are in while moving or the texture you are moving through.
I realized that in most dance classes these three parameters are often mentioned but not often actually practiced in a separated form to really create understanding about them. They are part of the terminology of dance but never clearly defined. Everyone has his own vage idea about these words. I started to develop some tasks to practice the parameters individually. It is not possible to eliminate them fully since all of the parameters are always apparent. What is possible is to unify them so they don’t change and in this way they are partly eliminated.
If we define all three parameters we have eight possible combinations, which Rudolf Laban described as thrusting, pushing, wringing, sliding, floating, fluttering, dapping and whipping. Even if you change one parameter slightly you create a totally new quality.
Each parameter can be looked at in a few different ways. Space for example could be 1. the actual size of the body so whether you make yourself small or large, 2. the size of the movement which means the movement will be short/long, opening/closing, or 3. the use of the space which then also implies combinations such as symmetrical/asymetrical, direct/indirect, hight/low, horizontal/diagonal. Also the in-between spaces are part of the space. There are in-between spaces in relation to a partner, to own body parts and to specific points in the room.
Time is more precise. Here we talk about speed – fast/slow, but there is also immediate/gradual, everything in between the two extremes and pause, which is an important part of dance.
Energy as I mentioned earlier is complex. It can mean tension/relaxation, hard/soft, heavyness/lightness, dynamic/static and many other combinations.
In this video I eliminated two of the parameters to highlight the third. By eliminating I mean equalizing. I cannot NOT use them but I can make them as invisible as possible.
Space means here the size of the movement, speed, the speed of the movement and energy, the texture I am moving through and as a result the tension of the muscles.