Connecting to performance through nature. By exploring a series of devising techniques, in what way does the performers’ engagement with elements of nature impact their presence?
While elements of nature are acknowledged to alter performers’ presence, the precise relationship is not fully understood. Here, through a series of devising techniques, the impact of nature on a performer’s presence has been investigated to generate an appreciation of the influence of natural landscape on the performers experience, delivery of movements and storytelling. The research was informed of the work of practitioners Anna Halprin, Pina Bausch and Jane Bennet to determine the positive and negative influences of nature on performers. A practice based research methodology, taking the form of five solo workshops that documented the outcomes through video recordings and reflection was used. The first four workshops explored the incorporation of elements of nature in movement based rehearsals. After each workshop, I reflected on the progression of the research in order to inform the evolving process feeding into the next workshop. The fifth, final workshop combined the collected findings to determine methods to facilitate a positive impact on a performer. The analysis showed when devising movement using elements of nature, space forms an elementary relationship to a performer that may alter presence by: - (1) evoking positive memories, (2) encouraging daring movements and (3) connecting space, mind and body as a supportive vessel for dance. Collectively these findings show that when the performer works collaboratively with the environment, there is an enhanced connection with the space and a strengthened presence which improves performance.