Ph.D. Calling Sunday, March 23, 2014
ALPHABET POEM Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Blue Sunday, September 23, 2012
ON VALUES Learned Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Point,point,line... Tuesday, October 26, 2010
My first day with Ms. Myra Beltran proved to be a real opener to the world of Contemporary dance. More than I have expected it to be, dance composition has taken a higher plane than just the dynamics one needs to learn. The technique class was an agonizing starter that made me love the floor and realize that the dancer needs to embrace his basic space- the floor or the ground. Finding one’s center and making it the source of all movements make everything easy. Yes, this was easier said than done. I have learned this in our Modern Dance class but there’s a time to rekindle and relish every bit of the feeling again.
Laban cube taught me the basic of going from one point to another and finishing it into a LINE without compromising the process. Every choreographer, I believe, should go back to these essentials. True to what Ms. Beltran has said, a lot of movement and meaning can be drawn if a choreographer views the space from the outside. As complex as it is, breaking down a movement into simpler basic unit helped me understand the origin of many movements. A choreographer must now learn to either break it or add an entirely different one to suit his theme or story.
Another lesson that squeezed my grey matter was complementing both the movement of the upper part of the body with that of the lower one and vice versa. It taught me that every part of the body must help to bring out the story. My first attempt of presenting what I painstakingly thought of giving a story with my lower faculties was, I presumed, ineffective but completing it later with the upper body gave me the relief that my message went through.
My first day was promising with hopes of bringing me from point to point and finally into coherent LINES that dance composition encompass. I expect that more is to come and I am thankful for having learned this from such a brilliant dance teacher, Myra Beltran. What a great Day 1 it was….
Points to line to others
Rather than just carving the space from point to a line and going crosswise in Laban, Day 2 allowed us to go further, freer... Now we can please ourselves to move our hips, shoulders and even elbows to form arches and curves. Ms. Beltran calls this “O-ing” and “U-ing” and as the name implies, points can go in the shapes of these two letters. We now learned to use that residual movement, for which Ms. Beltran repeatedly emphasizes, to make a more sensible, organic one. The migration to another point creates smooth strokes now, like a painter brushing on a bigger canvas of space.
From exhausting all possibilities of movement, we were taught to transfer it now to another body- the Partnering. This duo in composition gave substance to how bodies receive and react to another. I have never thought partnering in contemporary dance creates such natural moves. I now learn how it greatly differs from a classical duet. Nothing is put on, nothing artificial.
The two-day learning blew everyone down physically. The minds were still willing but the bodies and faces cannot deny the trace of exhaustion. Yet Ms. Beltran has proven to be a real sensible teacher. Through the words that came out from her, I still managed to jot down some lines worthy of contemplation. Our last activity for the day though bargained to be continued on the following day still dripped some pulpier juices to savor. Ideas like “any movement created or thought of by a choreographer is his own discourse or point of view” was well understood. Nothing is right or wrong but there is such thing as logical or illogical movements. What makes a movement ugly or wrong lies in the INTENTION of the choreographer.
Another day closes, points coming out to be stronger for a curious lookout to Day 3.
Points to Viewpoint
Day 3 has offered a more fulfilling journey, for I have fathomed not only what contemporary dance really is all about but what Myra Beltran’s philosophy stand for. The lectures she gave from Day 1 slid into a tangible hold to deepen our understanding. Quite a turn of event, a new dimension of her persona surfaced. Her philosophy lingered and stood by what she preached since Day 1. Everything is almost boxed now ready for a surprise to anyone who dares open it. “I love CHAOS in Dance” leaked out from her mouth. She said this in a tone like somebody admitting guilt but her eyes pictured a different thing. She responded and defended herself when I personally asked her how. Myra Beltran has indeed proven herself to win the battle- a bit Duncanic, I believe. She avered that dance should be a complete narration of the entire being, a world of its OWN.-complete. It should NOT be in the beauty and perfection of the form that one should look into but the sheer intention of the choreographer/dancer where the true essence lies.
Day 3 activity of interpreting everyday gestures was not that easy to grasp. I had my brains figured it out long before I realized what I chose as an everyday thing was difficult to explore. One great about Ms. Beltran is that she trusts every one of us that we could figure it out to the very last fibers of our ability. We all have memories in our bodies that are just waiting again to be used. Encouragingly puts in her idea was more likely a better alternative, I registered. I became visual in taking in the lectures. From her correcting each piece of work, I deemed my own as “I-could-have-done-better”.
Viewing other works has presented a fresh option for learning. Ms. Myra gave us the taste of setting our minds “en contemporaine”. Truly sharpening our eyes to details, indeed, is not an easy task for choreographers.
Our day ended late. Ms Beltran gave us an assignment of working on our A-phrase. “I want you to use up and explore everything with just a single grain of rice” was her instructions. I wondered whether I can carry on the tasks but the light on the other end is brighter now. I can’t wait for tomorrow.
Flipping points to different plane
Day 4 of exploration was done bigger now. Using all other tools ranging from Laban cube to points, curves and circles and throwing it on another plane, we advanced. I thought the end of exploration was there but I was mistaken. One can go back and pick up those “thrown” movements by avoiding the same line or point. Composition indeed has no boundaries only limitations that choreographers put into.
We made dizzying floor combinations. Yes, circles were today’s theme movement in our technique class. From doing combos in floors, Myra brought it up without losing the circles, either inside the body or out in space. I have noticed my own body churning something out of Ms. Beltran’s fresh vocabularies in the afternoon. They were still raw and not as relaxed and founded as Ms. Beltran execute it.
The A phrase is now given a new dimension either by putting in a faceless, non-mimetic, emotion or tracing back what has been thrown and start a new one. Infusing emotions and letting body parts speak it was a difficult task. It is so surprising that phrases can bud from the basic A phrase.
Choreographers do need to “sing out” their phrase. Phrases are like musical fugue, according to Ms. Beltran. One just needs to listen. The rhythm will now help in developing a similar phrase. Our dynamic teacher helped each one of us figure out this brain bursting chore by putting in her comments and one-of-a-kind suggestions.
Our day ended with us thronging around Ms. Myra. Though she had the lesson completed, we sought her comments to further our tasks of improving. I don’t know whether I was doing this to please her or myself but I was sure of discontentment. The following day according to her would be synthesizing everything. I hope and pray that I may do it satisfactorily.
The Point of Bursting
Day 5 came with less enthusiasm. The hope of having ALL of these come to a head with the purpose is much stronger now. My lower back complained tremendously that I need to hush it for a while. Unmindful of what the teacher would say, I slumped on the sidestage wishing she would realize that its 12 o’clock already and we need to break. Ms. Myra must have forgotten the science of overusing specific muscle groups. I was quite furious already of us needing to repeat combinations over and over again. Not when Ms. Beltran admittingly said she crammed us that I admired her and understood. That, I believe, was the process really of making a dance, draining out all possible explorations.
Reviewing everything from Day 1 was a torture. Ms.Beltran has planned that we are going to perform it in the final night. Not only that, I have learned that those mini-exercises we did have to be regurgitated on that same night. I could not remember what I did. Was this the “picking up again of the exploded points we’ve thrown” that she’s telling us ? only now on a bigger scale? I wonder.
My solo came out with ease. Ms. Beltran was satisfied with what I presented at first only that I need to add 16 counts which I thought of was the reverse of my pattern. Not until I had performed twice have I learned that an ending was necessary. It was that time that I really wished I was younger. Only if my body were that of a twenty year-old could I have given more. But I guess, the idea was there and I know I have done the task.
Programming the culmination for Sunday was another scare. I really could not make sense of her ideas. But Ms. Beltran is herself. My trust in her is more than my trust in my body to perform. I cleared away from the rest of the group during dinner break, wondering as I set off for home. I leave that for tomorrow for I have had enough for the day.
Just when the chicken was ready for the oven, my exploratory urge fortified. I managed to come up with fresher movements on the very performance. I was amazed and happy about myself. Not thinking about it and just letting my body go created a different flavor to the recipe. The optional olives and the extra cheese in Myra Beltran’s Chicken Galantina must have done it.
In the morning of the Day 7, we toiled still in perfecting the Techique class presentation, which needed everybody’s synchronicity. Ms. Myra urged us to "place" our body first in any movement. That was the only time I realized the need to do that. In this workshop, I learned that the choreographer needs to experience the movement first before giving it out to the dancer. Only the choreographer could learn more about his movement from his very own exploration. I knew now of Ms. Beltran’s reason of letting us do our very own compositions. The 7 days have given me sustained sore muscles, wounds, bruises on feet, knees, elbows, shoulders and not to mention my hips when I slumped doing my solo but my heart was full of endearing moments of learning.
Ms. Myra Beltran has changed me and my entire outlook in DANCE. No amount of words of gratitude, I know, could equate the amount of love, patience, and perseverance she has put into her chicken recipe. Now it’s being served, anyone can have a bite.
Arnel Francis V. Morales
MULIHOK Dancemakers Laboratory
Workshop #2 w/ Myra Beltran
October 25-31, 2010
The Big Night Tuesday, October 5, 2010
A big night of big REFLECTION
The MKD Big Night is a conglomerated school activity with the intention of joining the P.E. and Humanities Nights into one purposeful event. In believing that LEARNING transgresses the four walls of a classroom and a measure of innumerable angles of intelligences, it has metamorphosed into more than what is EXPECTED- the students stepping into the mold of MATURITY in such a short period of time.
Basic performing arts discipline are enmeshed with the textbook knowledge that students have drawn through the course of study, exhaustingly realizing the value of believing in oneself- that there is something everyone can SHARE. Leadership skills are fine-tuned, abilities in script-writing and delivery are augmented. Added to that, raw gifts for stage designing, managing, costume making and even to the higher end of directing are tapped, developed into serious considerations.
In support, the faculty has proven to be sure-fire of the entertainment vitamin. Their willingness to bond with students makes this experience unique and something the students would treasure. Finally, the thing that ices everything into one sensible and palatable presentation is the THEME – the big, sturdy thread that sews together ALL the performances into one coherent whole.
Now, it has been my fourth attempt of handling such one-of-a-kind, self-humbling responsibility. My promise to keep this legacy burning till it simmers into a tradition is a dream. The world outside the student may step into after school is the REAL labyrinth of life. My wish is for them to realize the importance of each DAY of learning, each bit of EXPERIENCE that may happen only once but can be valued for a lifetime.
Prof. Arnel Francis V. Morales
Humanities Teacher/MKD Big Night Director
( MKD stands for Mindanao Kokusai Daigaku, a Japanese language majoring college in Davao City)
Posted by arnel francis at 7:20 PM