During the last years that refer to my training within the pedagogy of dance, I wondered about a question that although it seems absurd I think is something that during the rest of my career is always valid to do and refers to: what is the technique? Although this question is complex to answer within the academic field, intersectionally little by little it has been answered especially in the current moment of physical and emotional maturity in which I find myself.
From a personal point of view during my youth I had specifically considered that technical improvement was linked to concepts that are related to perfection, mastery, control and precision. Aspects that helped my body to be domesticated and subdued in relation to the work demanded by institutions such as schools and dance companies. Specifically, I spent about 20 years fulfilling the requirements of these institutions, directly and indirectly, with concrete techniques and ideologies that were related to classical ballet and also to modern dance in the Graham technique, institutions that were based on the previous precepts. Thus, along this path I added to my training history methods such as Yoga and Pilates, both in their different modalities; but when I look back on these were added only to reinforce these precepts, they were not as a main axis of training.
It is until finally I stop working in the last dance company that suddenly my practice is truncated, first of all I stop the obligatory and regular attendance to the training, I stop training in those two axes, and I begin to give a little more priority to Pilates and Yoga; so during that time is that I form myself as a Pilates teacher, being one of my current jobs within a professional center in the city of Barcelona, Spain. However, during these years a different way of analyzing what happens in my body is detonated, since the information I learned or the self-knowledge I achieved with these methods previously over time has been dissolved, perhaps by the simple aspect that I have considered them as paths already traced, being methodological processes that my body already knows or recognizes.
Related to my migratory process, in my arrival to Spain, I stopped practicing in any technique, my attention was focused on the study of Dance Movement Therapy (DMT) within the academic context of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), and that at times I reflect and yes, DMT is not a technique, but now I see it as an alternative to my record in training. An alternative path that is clearly framed in my preconceptions about the technique, but that process allowed me to experience the existence of another type of practice in a specific context, where the infinity of information referred not only to kinestetic aspects, but also to emotional and psychological, as well as personal as collective. Being things that previously I did not question myself and that I did not contemplate in my practice.
When I entered the Superior Dance Conservatory (CSD) to study the specialty of Dance Pedagogy, other new possibilities are opened that change the course of my body practice and my way of conceiving the technique. And one of the most significant has been the immersion I was able to do in Flamenco. Within this field (in an exceptional way), many possibilities were opened because both the teacher and the group I joined promoted and accompanied me to the opening of my conceptions about error, disorientation, frustration and ignorance. During the last two years Flamenco changed the paradigm of what is for me today the technique, I could experience what it is to exchange information and embody the practice from another place. Previously this last section was not considered within my history, but now I believe that it is really located very much within my way of feeling and seeing my body in relation to movement, space and all information I receive and give today.
During my time at DOCH School of Dance and Circus , I have opened possibilities to choose different styles within the modules that make up the Dance Trainning course, with all the intention I have chosen those styles, from which I had previously moved away during the last two years. Now my vision has been refreshed, because now I experience classes from another perspective, a pedagogical perspective. Where my body is the constant laboratory of experimentation, which before was inclined to perfect itself and to go only to a possible and correct way; today it seeks to experiment, to find relationships, to find new information. Even in information and instructions already known to my body, what I have sought is to re-interpret them, expand my vocabulary to name them in other ways. I have also sought now to obtain another ability to synthesize information through drawing, a kind of cartographies of sensations that happen in my body with certain sensations, perhaps I could dare to say my ability to experience dance is even more abstract, which I explain.
Within my practice during this previous and subsequent time, I have found an expanded way of being able to capture the information that is handled during the practice session; that information is captured and later studied, I observe it, I relate it as more aspects, with more knowledge. It is possible that I can get away from what in essence the professor or the technique indicate, but at the moment I begin to trust that it is necessary for me to open that channel. In the level of maturity in which I find myself I do not intend to follow any aesthetic parameter, I seek to investigate and provide information of what happens in my body, I do not intend to formulate a method, I do not want to teach from where I have been taught. I value all the information from my teachers in my career as a dancer, but absolutely everything is questionable, even what I myself am saying and experiencing now. I can find that perhaps this strategy that has developed my practice has been the result of part of the immersion in education in another language other than my own, be it English or Swedish. It has therefore led me to seek to translate in another way, it has led me to synthesize the information from another site and allow me above all to document what happens in my daily practice, without having to name from my knowledge.
I find that this has developed its own way of relating all the information I find in the movement to transfer it to different styles, that is, while I practice a contemporary class with Anna Grip the information is translated into classical ballet practice with Joakim Stephenson, what happens in an improvisation class with Lisa Jambell can be transferred to a contemporary class with Ulrika Berg; but at the same time it can be that the memories of my previous teachers come, but under a new reinterpretation to enrich what is happening in me.
Figure 1: Internal movement of the pelvis during class with Ulrika Berg
As a conclusion to the interview with Lemon, what’s important to me now: is the information. It is important that the richness of the bodies and their sensitivities, as well as their ways of thinking about what they experience is shared. With Lemon I connect in a very interesting way on the rescue of non-Western dance practices, where the conception of the body changes the place of paradigms on training and technique. For me it is that it decentralizes them and puts the attention elsewhere that is not unique, that is holistic, that is a global attention. For me it is what I am currently trying to experience, that my practice is global. That’s why from the beginning of my reflection I exchange the title of training for that of practices, for the fact that I don’t want to continue with a Cartesian perspective of the body/mind. If for so long I have continued dancing, is it because surely something exists in dance and my body that is indivisible? And I always want to experience that indivisible.
Bales, M. & Nettl-Fio, R. (2008) “Trainning stories: Ralph Lemon from interview with Rebecca Nettl-Fio ” from The body eclectic. Envolving Practices in Dance Trainning. Edited by Universtity of Illinois. Press: Urbana and Chicago.(s. 219-224).