Workshop: Dancing Nervous Systems
The Workshop has been organized in collaboration with independent organizations like E.D.C. Ostend or TDF Ghent and part-time arts schools such as DKO Conservatory Ghent and Bruges. Klaas is also active in higher education institutes such as KASK, Ghent and the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp. Masterclasses were hosted by international dance festivals such as Festival Aperto, Como (Italy), Camping CNDC, Paris (France), TDP dance, Cork (Ireland), Ibsen Laboratoria, Habana (Cuba).
Dancing Nervous Systems is a somatic dance practice held together by its intriguing inquiry of movement through the experience of expanding awareness of sensations. Such an experiential perspective is based on the principle that sensations are ways of penetrating and gaining insights into our activities and ourselves. In the workshop, we focus on expanding awareness in improvisation to increase movement vocabularies and choreographic agency, we thus explore our consciousness and awareness of decision-making when training and composing.
In Dancing Nervous System we investigate bodily centeredness, mindfulness, and other idealizations of cognition and embodiment through dancing. Nervous Systems is a practice that strives to gain knowledge on dance building further on movement studies such as Feldenkreis Method, Bartennief Fundamental, and Body-Mind-Centering. This helps us to to broaden our understanding of what repercussions concepts such as centeredness, balance, control, and mindfulness have on embodiment in dance improvisation, and allows us to explore different forms of cognition in dance such as doubt, insecurity, thinking through moving, etc.
The structure of a workshop is three-fold: 1. environment (awareness), 2. embodiment (self-awareness), 3. shared time/composition (aesthetics). It starts with creating together a fictional territory that functions as a safe place in which to experiment with physical sensations, imaginations in real time and space. It is a necessary agreement among participants that helps them to fully explore dance as actions and through scores in a non-judgmental way. The second part, continues with the host introducing the physiological issues of sensing/sensitivity. In this constellation of the practice, the participants listen to the host while comfortably lying down on the floor with their eyes closed, imagining and exploring the body systems in an introspective dance. The third, and final stage of the workshop engages with open scores that integrate the notion of the visualization in group tasks for improvisation and instant composition.
In Nervous Systems, the human nervous systems are neither fast nor direct enough to consciously grasp, contain, or direct the improvised dancing in its high-speed transformations. This does not exclude the reporting activity of Nervous Systems. storytelling and the recollecting of experience are considered good ways of supporting and motivating us to further explore and reflect on what escapes our attention in dancing. However, every session we experiment with alternative feedback models that do not alter the medium, try to follow the principles and rhythm of improvised dance in our moments of reflection or evaluation of processes.