Workshop: Physical Improvisation

Physical Improvisation

Sandra Paola López Ramírez, Dance Faculty
University of Texas at El Paso, Texas, USA

Mindy Grossberg, Program Coordinator
ArtStreet, USA

Holly Maiz
Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

Linda Rodeck
Tabula Rasa Studio, New Mexico, USA

Improvisation is about listening—whether you are doing solo work, partner or ensemble work. Action Theater (AT) training gives us the task to Notice, Experience and Respond. In this workshop we will draw from this training modality to investigate the following questions: How do we listen in improvisation? What does listening mean in solo and group improvisational work? How do we fine tune the quality of our listening? How do we listen with our entire body and respond from that same place? How do we continue to listen to ourselves, while also building an improvisation with others? How can this activity be a vehicle for moving across borders into liminal zones of connection and creativity? In our practice not only is the individual body a site for learning, but the larger body made out of our collective interaction is a field of play that offers endless emergence of insight. This process is focused on the relational activity of improvising, focusing on how we are doing what we are doing, rather than on what it is we are creating. This powerful shift from content to activity awakens in the improviser an insatiable curiosity to discover what the ensemble, as an entity, can create. All levels and abilities are welcome.

Sandra Paola López Ramírez (BFA, EdM) is a latinoamericana dancemaker, improviser and performance activist. Her community-based interdisciplinary work plays with gender, identity, and sociality, and it has taken her through the US, Colombia, Brazil, Cyprus, France, Canada and Mexico. Since moving to the United States from her native Colombia in 2004, she has developed her practice to integrate her creative process and her community organizing efforts. Driven by her commitment to social transformation, Sandra Paola co-founded and directs the Institute for Improvisation and Social Action (ImprovISA) – an organization empowering diverse populations to develop through performance and improvisation in the U.S.-Mexico border. She is currently dance faculty at the University of Texas at El Paso and is completing her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts with a Performance Creation concentration at Goddard College.

Mindy Grossberg is the Program Coordinator for ArtStreet, a community art studio and a program of Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless. For over twenty years, Mindy has combined her belief in community building and collaborative art-making to guide her socially-engaged work. Along with her Masters in Community Social Work and her own art making practice, she has studied Action Theater (AT) for over 12 years and has been teaching this form of physical improvisation for over three years. Because art making helps break down boundaries both within and between individuals, Mindy believes that creativity in all forms is a necessary component toward social change.She is currently investigating how physical improvisation can support the dismantling of these barriers.

Holly Maiz, MA, DTR is an improvisational performance artist and teacher. She has an MA in Somatic Psychology, is a Registered Dance/Movement Therapist and a Certified Action Theater Teacher. Holly began dancing as a youngster, studying Ballet and later, Modern Dance. Her BS in Dance is from UW Madison, where she studied with A. A. Leath (improvisational movement) and Claudia Melrose (Nikolais Technique). As a teen, Holly became interested in Eastern philosophy and Zen. She began meditation practice and noticed that both improvisation and meditation emphasize direct experience. This interest led her to Naropa, a Buddhist-inspired University that integrates eastern wisdom studies with traditional western arts and scholarship. While at Naropa, she met Ruth Zaporah, founder of Action Theater. The play and work of zen koan and improvisational physical theater continues many years later. Holly teaches and performs throughout the US. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Linda Rodeck is a performance artist, writer, and teacher. She improvises nationally and internationally in solo and collaboration. For the past fifteen years, she has studied with and performed with master improviser, Ruth Zaporah and the International Action Theater Ensemble. Linda regularly teaches the techniques of Depth Improvisation and Action Theater at the Tabula Rasa Studio in New Mexico.

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