Metronome and Melodic Lines: Confluences of the Word and the Move in Solo Studio-Based Movement Improvisatory Practice

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This article introduces and analyses two approaches to experiencing and interpreting confluences of the spoken word and movement when training or performing solo movement improvisation. The first is Metronome – a training strategy invented by two of my earliest improvisation teachers, Peter Trotman and Andrew Morrish – in which there is a deliberate coming together of speaking and moving. The second is Melodic Lines – a training or loose performance score that I have developed – in which spoken language emerges from sensation. Sondra Fraleigh’s comments on the ‘fragmented “umms” and “ahhhs”, pauses and detours’ that she notes in everyday speech open a useful perspective on the way in which Metronome encourages uninhibited production of words in synchronicity with movement. A consideration of dance ethnographer Deidre Sklar’s views on linguistic meaning – articulated in terms of the ‘somatic reverberations’ of words and her proposition that it is possible to ‘bid words to participate in the somatic schema they represent’ – frames my consideration of Melodic Lines as a strategy in which words are experienced as embodied knowledge. These approaches are further contextualized within the related improvisatory discourses of Keith Johnstone, Ruth Zaporah, Miranda Tufnell and Chris Crickmay.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-66
Number of pages16
JournalChoreographic Practices
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2017


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