Gaga (not the lady)

April 23, 2013

A few years ago I fell in love with Gaga. The dance technique. It's a vocabulary and approach to movement invented by an Israeli choreographer, Ohad Naharin. The movement style appealed to me because it lends itself to so many movement possibilities-- stomping, shaking, stretching-- rather than more traditional modern dance technique. If you want to see some dance magic, go check out New York company Gallim Dance's youtube page. They're a Gaga-based company. It's breathtaking.

About six months ago I started taking the occasional Gaga workshop at TU dance in St. Paul. The class consists entirely of instructor-led improvisation. We work in a room with the mirrors covered up, and there are no distractions. There's nowhere to go but inside your body, jumping from smooth movement led with the hips to jerky movement that's initiated in the hands. The instructors words push me to move in an entirely new way, as if a stranger is temporarily inhabiting my body.

Gaga class was one of the few things that gave me the impulse to start making a dance. Suddenly I felt all these ideas brewing, and the capability to do something with them. Which is a great reminder-- getting into the analytic side of my brain rarely leads to creative fabulousness. Moving does. My body is where the ideas and breakthroughs reside. It can happen from a walk, some yoga, or Gaga class. I'm trying to remember that as I sit here puzzling over my dance, list in hand.

[Gaga class is not just for dance folk! It's designed for anyone, and if you're an physical theater maker, an improvisor, an actor, a musician, or just trying to work through creative blocks, I highly recommend it.]


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