I started writing this in the previous post and then realized that it was essentially digressing from the original intent of the post. So it deserves its own entry. ;)
Part of my process for developing a piece is that, once I've decided on music for a performance, I listen to the music back to back [so on repeat] for at least one hour each day for a while. Sometimes the music will pop in my head and I'll see moves or even feel my body moving on its own. I call that 'dancing to residual music'. It's whatever you remember from that part of music and is making you move. Through listening to the music so much, I start hearing additional beats, sounds, accents that are not the first ones that I picked on. Oftentimes, it will modify my understanding of the music. I also will (if I can) take a little break from listening to it so much (like a week or two) and then restart... giving myself that break helps break the pattern and preconceived notions about the music and make me dig even deeper in the music.
I discovered how highly useful it was to record a few sessions of me doing improv when I was working on Becoming Insane. I quickly saw some moves that were cool and I wanted to keep... and others that made me cringe... and some that were okay but needed a little oomphing up.
It was also extremely interesting to see how, while I was technically in synch with the music (I mean, I WAS following the beat), it turns out that, when I saw it on the videocamera, it was too fast. That was a revelation. That's probably what I do on a regular basis that makes everyone (including me) think that I should go slower.
The specific example was that, in the beginning of Becoming Insane, I start with hand floreos with the right arm moving up, intended to be flamenco-inspired; the first time, I did them every 2 beats, which, again, was technically correct. But when I saw that segment, it was waaaaaaaaay too fast and didn't have the drama that flamenco hands have... so I slowed the hand floreos down to every 4 beats. HUGE difference.
The elements that generally made me cringe were the fast ones. It was evident that, when it goes fast, I actually not only put speed in the movement but more power (i.e., put more force in it)... which is not necessarily a good idea. So I played with that, actually: sometimes increasing the speed of a movement but keeping the move 'soft' or adding more oomph/strength in the move but keeping the speed as is. It makes for a huge difference.
Given that I'm not exactly petite, if I put too much strength into a move, it unfortunately deforms it through too much rippling. So I have to be cautious about that at all times.
So I'll be interested in seeing how the improv to the new piece I'm working on will match (or not) what I have in my head. Definitely, I'm learning a lot through recording improv.
I just bought some mirrors b/c we needed some for the Tempest workshop so I will finally also have mirrors big enough to watch myself while I practice.
I have no idea why it took me so long to take the plunge and purchase silly mirrors and a video camera when they are such great tools to learn from... part of it may have been that I was scared of what I would see. ;) But I think that it will help me reach the higher level that I've been coveting for a while. ;)