Britton, John (2007) Movement improvisation in psychophysical training. In: Impro Continuums 2007, Royal Welsh School of Music and Drama. (Unpublished)

Improvisation-based training provides both structures and metaphors for performers to explore individually and collectively, developing both expressive and communicative capacities.

My recent research has been into the developing of psychophysical training strategies. The core of this training is individual, duet, small and whole group physical improvisation, based round a series of interlocking concepts: energy, impulse, structure, pleasure, complicity, concentration.

These improvisational structures illuminate to the performer his/her physical and concentrational habits, and enable her/him to find creative and developmental ways of exploiting/altering those habits.

The training allows participants to address fundamental concerns:

∑ How do I allow myself to be observed?

∑ How do I inhabit/trust my creative process?

∑ How do I negotiate between the flow of impulse and the necessity for structure?

∑ How can I be both familiar and surprising to myself?

As improvisation supposes that outcomes will remain unknowable until they are achieved, the performer is free to inhabit a terrain of creative process and to develop their capacity to enjoy the unexpected.

Improvisation-based training requires the performer to focus on the unfolding of creative process in the present moment. Trust in present-time requires an unwavering faith in her/his capacity to meet, understand and absorb the unexpected lurking in the unconsidered future. It requires a relinquishing of fear and of attempts to control the future. This relinquishing frees performers to exist in their present – to become present, to exude presence.

Improvisation offers performers a guided structure through which to build the capacity (physical and attitudinal) necessary to this uncritical and fearless acceptance of the unexpected in live performance.

In this paper I will talk about how improvisation-based training serves performers and directors who work in fixed (non-improvised) forms as well as in improvisation - encouraging performers to retain an improvisatory freshness when recreating fixed outcomes and enhancing the sense of performance as an immediate and present event.

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