Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Learning in The Field

A learning experience at The Field DC last night.  Fieldwork is a 10 week process where we show our works to the other participants and receive feedback.  This particular session has been very juicy for myself.  Consisting of twelve artists, primarily dance, but also three writers,  all of whom are committed to developing their work.  Besides the value of the feedback offered along guidelines that sidestep like and dislike and address what the piece(s) elicited in the audience, just being within a creative community brings an energy to each of us.

Last night I planned to show two works.  The first piece I have shown there twice now, and generally can play through.  The second piece came out four weeks ago; has been shown three times and continues to challenge both my left hand and my ability to sustain the rhythm.  My executions of this piece has increased dramatically  but still needs work.  Arriving at The Field to a smallish group last night I learned that I'd be able to show twice if desired.  Why not, I knew that a good learning experience would unfold.

The first piece began well, and as I approached the middle I became fascinated with the shape of my left hand on the fretboard. Wondering does it all look like that when I play this piece.  Then I noticed an old habit had arrived in my right hand. Two much attention was being pulled into my use of the hands and I lost my place in the most challenging section of the piece.  Somehow I made it through, but the piece was disrupted in it's build of intensity and notes were flubbed.  At one point my playing fell apart, but I dove back in.  Not a good sign as this was the piece that I "knew."

Early on in Turning the Wheel, I transitioned to a section and began playing the wrong melody.  What to do - improvise.  I did  and somehow negotiated my way back to the piece.  I'm not sure if the audience noticed this, and I forgot about it until I returned home.  This act of improvisation within a "serious mistake" was a vital learning experience.  As I recalled this, what I had been describing to myself as a rough night, turned into a good night. 

Others showed their work and then we moved to the actual performing theater of Dance Place where our works in progress showing will be next month.  I took the opportunity to "walk" onto the stage in this setting.  Again I got overly concerned about what my hands were doing and faltered in performing both pieces.  Fortunately this is exactly what The Field is for.  A time and space to work and discover what is and what is not working in a new piece, in myself,  and in performance.  Valuable, oh so very valuable. 

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