Today is May Day, also known as International Workers Day, so I thought I’d post about a session of Maispiel, (May Play) (1933), a movement choir by Martin Gleisner. I’m working from the score that is posted online as part of the Knust Collection at the Centre National de la Danse in Pantin, France.
This movement is from the very introduction of Maispiel. It is steppy, with cyclical arm movements over back-and-forth steps, accompanied by level changes and body tilts. Feels a bit like pretending you’re a train.
A few things about Martin Gleisner:
- He worked with Rudolf Laban in Weimar Germany on Movement Choirs
- In the 1920′s he also worked on voice choirs for workers’ groups
- He was Jewish and fled Germany in the 1930s
- After that he continued to choreograph socialist mass dances and distanced himself from the Laban school
- He wrote Tanz Fur Alle, in 1928; it has a really neat cover as you can see here:
This won’t be the last update on Maispiel. I’ve started a company to house mass-performance projects called Group Action Flash Mobs, and I’m collecting names of folks interested in joining a Maispiel sometime this summer. Sign up at www.groupactionflashmob.com.
Ok, I am generally not a football fan in any way, but I can’t help but be interested in this. The new OSU Football Coach, Urban Meyer, just sent an email to the entire OSU student body with a link to a youtube video. In it, he announces a new tradition: “quick cals”. These are a serious of claps, vocalizations, and hand gestures, practiced in a low, bent-torso, wide-legged stance to be performed by the Buckeyes team and ALL fans exactly 23 minutes before each game start time.
Other than that the ‘wave’ has always been one of the only redeeming factors of sporting events for me, I’ve avoided thinking too much about how the world of sports and my own interests in mass movement culture are connected. But this really catches my interest. It is going to be remarkable; the Horseshoe (OSU Stadium) holds more than 100,000 people, and I can imagine others watching around the city joining in through their various screens. (By the way, I once lived there, in the shoe, in a windowless dorm underneath the stands, fighting through the already drunk football crowds each saturday morning to head to my dance rehearsals!) I can imagine the sense of belonging, and of excitement, that participating in these vigorous and forceful movements will produce in the participants. I find it exciting to think about the way a group performing this way together could gel, and perhaps a bit nervous about what the performance might make possible for this group.
The Buckeyes are such an incredibly important social, economic and cultural force here in this area. It is important to almost everyone that they do well. Surely this new tradition is seen as a way to bolster fan loyalty and enrich fan identity. Here is the arena in popular culture where bodies are brought out of hiding, acknowledged a little more actively for their role in producing culture. There is so much more that could be written about this “quick cal” routine and its potential for social formation, a comparison of this to other mass gestural routines and their accompanying cultural traits, or an analysis of the movements in the “quick cal” in terms of Laban Movement Analysis, or about the growing use of video as a system for communicating movement to masses of people, as a “score”, in my book. . . but I haven’t got time. So I will pose a question. The first Buckeyes Game is this Saturday, September 1, 2012. Will you ‘Quick Cal’?
As for me, I’m on the fence.
I did a winter solstice Labyrinth Walk at the Chadwick Arboretum at OSU.
It was dark, and the labyrinth was lit with candles in paper bags. My son wore light-up shoes which were remarkable in the darkness.
I was particularly interested in the corporate, performative aspect of this exercise – there was a whole group of strangers, and with no training, we all walked the labyrinth together. The labyrinth itself served as the simple score for our ‘performance’. There is talk that the turning motions balance the left and right brain function. So what was this shared experience of walking and turning producing for us corporately? At times, we would encounter each other headfirst going different directions on the same narrow path; there were no instructions, and we had to improvise. The system broke down; what did this breakdown offer to us as a group? Laughter, and responsiveness, and disorder, are my immediate thoughts.
Also, I kept being unsure that I was still on the path. In the dark, with the narrow twists and turns of the labyrinth, it was hard to trust that I was really “going anywhere” at times.
Interestingly, I came across another one the very next week. On Christmas eve I did this chamomile labyrinth with my son.
I’d like to learn more about these labyrinths, and maybe create one of my own.
This is a bulgarian group I don’t know a lot about; I’ve just been watching some of their stuff on youtube. They go by the name “The White Brotherhood” which is hopefully referring to white clothes and not race, and dance around in a field in Bulgaria.
An exciting choreographer and good buddy, Maree Remalia, just launched her fun new website, created in cahootz with Michael Morris and Rashana Smith.
http://www.merrygogo.com/ playfully archives Maree’s brainstorms, rehearsal processes, finished works and many forms of documentation, including some notation and writing by Rachael Riggs-Leyva and myself concerning her work for a bunch of men, “Penetrating and Permeating”. I don’t usually make recommendations, but here’s an exception. I really enjoy Maree’s work and this site, and hope you will enjoy it too.