PROCESS // Massimiliano Balduzzi: Physical Training for Performers (Video #3)

 

VIDEO #3: "Third Sequence"

 

This is the third of six new video documents of Massimiliano Balduzzi's solo physical training for performers. These videos document a research in solo physical training developed by Massimiliano Balduzzi over more than fifteen years. In them, Balduzzi is shown practicing a sequence of exercises/actions, integrating floor work and impulses/isolations, and finally putting all of these elements together in a session of "open work."

 

The videos were shot in February 2013 by Ben Spatz and Manuel de la Portilla at CAVE home of LEIMAY in Brooklyn, and edited by Spatz. Each video will be accompanied by a short text, which has been edited and redacted by Spatz from an extended interview with Balduzzi that took place on March 15th. In addition to being hosted by conectom and Vimeo, these video documents will also become part of the Routledge Performance Archive, an online database of multimedia performance materials intended for scholarly research.

 

For more information on Balduzzi's work, visit the website: www.massimilianobalduzzi.com.

 

Ben Spatz

 

 

 

TEXT #3: "Research"

by Massimiliano Balduzzi

 

I was young, in my early twenties, when we started to create the training. My body was different at that time. Today I wouldn’t be able to do the same acrobatics. I wouldn’t even be interested. My body has changed. I’m still active, but it’s definitely a different body.

With Anne, it was really a research. “Okay, let’s get into the room—there were five or six of us—and let’s discover different ways to walk, different ways to go to the floor, different ways to jump.” And we were searching for hours, many days, until we would get something. “Okay, his jump is interesting.” It was a long process of discovering an exercise and then formalizing it. Let’s say, you go down to the floor with your head. Where is the principle? Where is the source of that movement? How does the spine work? Put all of that into a shape that can be passed along, that I can give to someone else. Notice how another person approaches the same exercise. Then we tried to put two exercises together, and then three. We learned that we could build a sequence of six exercise/actions, or ten, and work with rhythms. A very slow rhythm, a very fast rhythm, the opposition between the two. Any rhythm is possible except for your normal rhythm, the rhythm you have in your life. And then, let’s work with a theme. “You are in a forest.” Or: “It’s very cold.” Do the whole sequence for five minutes, for ten minutes, for an hour, with this theme and your associations.

The associations were never revealed. Anne was really clear in that. I never ask the performer, or the students who work with me, to reveal their internal world. Not that I’m closed to talking with them if they need to, but definitely, during the work, in front of others, we don’t talk about the associations. However: If I don’t see the action, it means that the association is not strong enough, or is not present, or is “consumed” because it’s been used too much. Or the actor is distracted.

I don’t know exactly what made Anne decide to create, to invite us to create our own exercises. But I remember, those were exactly the words she was using: “We are going to create our own training.” So these exercises are new, we created them. But at the same time, I think that everyone can see different sources in them. Nothing is entirely new. For example, when you see the jump, with the legs coming up to the chest. I saw a soccer player doing that. There are many sources of inspiration, such as the martial arts and other Eastern disciplines. There is one exercise called the “chevalier” or “knight,” which comes from my Balinese dance training. Anne had kathakali experience, yoga experience. I had experience with acrobatics. I value that kind of training for a performer. A martial art, or anything that goes deep in repetition. At the same time, we were thinking about what it means to be a performer. There are specific traditions of training for performers as well. But there was something else: the searching itself. The desire to create a training that serves you and what you want to do. You discover what you want to do while you are searching for your training. The quest, the process, searching—was in itself the goal.

 

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