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An Open Field : Improvisation as Critical Research Practice

Simon Rose

& Ingo Reulecke


16:30 - 18:00



Improvisation as Critical Research Practice

30 min long improvised performance, followed by a talk and discussion.

The concern in this performance 'An Open Field' is for a responsive process that remains alive to each day’s difference - rather than fixed output, or product. Performance is one point of the reflexive research cycle that reflects on the entire context of performance. Interdisciplinarity a means of questioning our practice and that of the other. How is this achieved? In performance, improvisation in dance and music finds a meeting in the theme of openness: allowing for the other in improvisation, considering ‘the other’s intentions to be as important as your own’ (John Butcher in Rose 2017) imbues the approach. Implicitly recognising difference through its developing structures the activity forms the arrival of two tributaries of activity and thought, from very different sources. ‘An Open Field’ invites the question: how critical is openness?

'These moments of shared space and time tend to occur more often with musicians than with dancers ... what takes place is not described or discussed in advance… We are immersing ourselves, together, in a zone of openness, an open field. ....The idea of shared space, in which we are paying attention, together, is really important. The space is working for us and this supports the outcome of the improvisation’. (Rose, Reulecke 2020)

Baritone Saxophone: Simon Rose
Dance: Ingo Reulecke
Photo Credit: Cristina Marx/Photomusix 2020

The talk and discussion 'Interdisciplinary Improvisation as Critical Research Practice' is moderated by Thomas Kampe. Rose's and Reulecke's reflexive, interdisciplinary research will be discussed here in terms of developing criticality in somatic practice. In their collaborative research project the interdisciplinary paradigm created an opportunity through which disciplinary knowledge becomes opened for ‘the other’ and tacit assumptions exposed and questioned. Here, improvisation as an essentially social practice forms the exchange that presents as: embodied response, inclusivity, collaboration, creativity, within the particular temporal dimension of creating in the course of performance. Building upon further improvisation research these themes become linked with ideas of identity, empowerment, and self-assertion (Rose 2017; Lipsitz 1998; Lewis 1996; Fischlin et al. 2013). Themes of interdisciplinary improvisation are discussed in relation to the concern for social and political change.

Simon Rose is a researcher, author and freelance musician from London living in Berlin. His recent book is ‘The lived experience of improvisation: in music, learning and life’ (2017). Rose’s Best Practice Research Scholarship (2003 BPRS teaching) developed new insights into the relation between ‘permanently excluded’ school pupils and the uses of improvisation in teaching. His subsequent research and analysis deepened understanding of the relation between improvisation in arts and its potential for learning contexts (Middlesex University, MA, 2008; Glasgow Caledonian University, PhD, 2012). With Deniz Peters he was a co-investigator with the ‘Emotion and improvisation’ research project (FWF 2014-19) (presenting in conferences in Norway, Germany, Austria and Romania). And co-investigator at Sonic Arts Research Centre, Belfast, ‘Just Improvisation: Enriching child protection law through musical techniques, discourses and pedagogies’ (AHRC 2015-17). Rose is a busy saxophonist and involved in numerous collaborations. He increasingly works in interdisciplinary settings: with dancers, visual artists, performance artists and others. Rose’s early drama training (Dartington College of Arts) led to professional work in theatre-in-education - touring schools, prisons and hospitals in the UK. Since 2005 Rose has acted as visiting lecturer and researcher at universities in Europe and U.S.A.

Ingo Reulecke studied choreography at Ernst Busch Hochschule Berlin after completing his training in contemporary dance. 1998 German Tanzplattform in Munich with “Eklipse”. International Dance Festival NRW with “Sheik Yerbouti”. International Beckett-Festival Berlin with “Gesellschaft 1”, Stardust Festival Stockholm. 2004 a collaboration with Lukas Matthaei for „Winterreisen“ , and the collaboration with Katarina Eriksson in Stockholm ( Moderna Dansteatern ). 2006 first price in the theatre festival "vorort" Münster with "diminuendo 2". 2007 co-production with director Lukas Matthaei for Forum Freies Theater in Düsseldorf, " unsere Tage wie Schatten". 2008 artistic director for the „Dance Media Academy“ at Kunstfest Weimar. 2009 cooperation with Iranian director Ayat Najafi for „Lady Teheran“. 2012 ́Urbanscape` site specific installation in cooperation with Lukas Matthaei. 2012 -2014 `Bauhaus Tanzen` (Tanzfond Erbe Project) at Bauhaus Dessau. Since 2016 collaboration with Simon Rose in various projects, performances and a written text. Reulecke is a professor of choreography at HZT Berlin and was head of the dance department at Ernst Busch Hochschule Berlin (2005 - 2013) . From 2006 until 2013 he was director of the co-operative Dance Education Centre Berlin. He performs regularly, employing instant composition, with different musicians in diverse settings.

Photo Credits:
Portrait Rose - © Cristina Marx / Photomusix 2020
Portrait Reulecke & Performance © Roberto Duarte

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