This year, PCF is working with local performance duo slowdanger to bring you slowdanger physical integration (SPI). This may be unlike other workshop performers are used to seeing, so PCF Education Director Brian Gray put together this Q&A with Taylor and Anna of slowdanger.
Brian Gray: What would you say is the philosophy or guiding principle(s) behind your art?
slowdanger: slowdanger is one body amassed of multiple bodies in space. Through our work as slowdanger we desire to create non-hierarchal systems for performance and collaboration through horizontal power systems. This is displayed in how we create material, a world is built through sound, movement, lighting, costuming, etc. No one part is more important than the next and we would feel the void of absent material. We desire to build malleable creative processes that allow us to shape shift and adapt to a variety of opportunities, including but not limited to building performance work, directing a music video, scoring a play, and movement consulting actors.
BG: What role does improvisation play in your work?
slowdanger: Improvisation is the essence of our creative process. We use it to examine ourselves and how we relate to space, time, memory, politics and identity. We believe that improvisation can be incredibly healing to our mind, as it allows for us to move through a non-verbal language, as well as our bodies, as we can move into an intuitive space where the body’s own intelligence steps forward. We are obsessed with moments of transformation. Durational improvisational practice allows us to enter our subconscious mind then re-emerge and use our conscious brain to decipher and select from what passed through our bodies.
BG: What are some benefits for improvisors who take your workshop?
slowdanger: Physical communication is our most universal method of correspondence. Through our workshop you will play with textures, qualities, and ways of relating that can be used to develop really absurd and specific characters to take into your work. We also focus on a state of mind that allows you to listen to your body, space, and impulses. This type of workshop muffles the self judgmental voice in the mind and highness ones kinesthetic voice.
BG: Many in our community create new work, and I am inspired by the breadth of collaborations in your bio. Can you talk a bit about the process you use to create work with other artists?
slowdanger: In creation with other artists we build personal relationships with each other, getting to know, more deeply, each other’s visions and intentions behind our respective practices. It is incredibly important for the collection or artist to understand why they are drawn to one another and what they value in what each has to offer. We never want to feel like we are shoving a narrative on another’s body that did not come out of a consensual creative process. We approach new collaborations with a strong sense of our own skill set, a clear mind free of preconceived expectation and openness to let go and grow. Always be in the practice of learning.
BG: What is one piece of advice you would pass onto newer artists?
slowdanger: It is never too late or too early to start taking risks or putting yourself out there. Give yourself ample time and space to really go off the deep end and not worry about what is ‘good, bad, or interesting’. Rather, start simply, build a process and see where it takes you. Feed and tend your process like a garden.
Thank you for taking the time to share these great insights!