Easing back into the saddle

My academic career here at VCU has now officially begun, as has my extracurricular duties.  The first mainstage show of the year, Dead Man’s Cellphone, will include fight choreography by yours truly, and I’ll be fight captain for the second mainstage show, Les Liaisons Dangereuse. Been ages since I did smallsword- haven’t ever used it in a show, actually, just done SAFD certifications, renewals, and a few workshop classes with it.  Haven’t done any olympic-style fencing in ages either – probably about 8 or 9 years now.  Good to get in touch with some of that body language again.  Biking to school with a pair of smallswords in a bag on my back is a new challenge as well, although perhaps good practice- for all I know, the next show I work on will involve longswords and spears.

Info on those shows will be available in due time at the Theatre VCU website; the poster for Dead Man’s Cellphone is already up.  They still haven’t announced the third show, but chances are good if it involves stage combat, I’ll be involved.

Among the courses I’m TAing this semester is Sophomore Movement.  As someone who fully intends to be a movement theatre specialist and instructor, this is definitely something I’m paying attention to and thinking about; as with almost all movement courses I’ve seen, this one is taught by someone with a dance background, and is heavily dance biased.  Patti does a great job tying it in to acting, but it still leaves me pondering… if I’m going to teach a movement class some day, how would it be different?  Will I need to do something completely different to make it my own, or will I need to reconcile with the dance-y ness of it all (I’ve done a bit of dance, I’m comfortable doing dance, I just haven’t ever lead dance or had things that rooted in dance before) and learn to do it as it’s been done?

Does anyone out there have experience teaching or taking movement classes that were taught by people who were not, first and foremost, dancers?  What were they like?

I think for actors there’s many paths to take that will lead to the same general point we’re all aiming for; where they learn to use their bodies as expressive instruments, as visually arresting, powerful and functional structures, making informed choices about their stance, movement, and physical interactions.  However, I think it’s best if you get a balance of rhythm and music based, emotive exercises and more pragmatic, this is how your body works and why task-oriented bodily use- the difference between dancers and martial artists.  I’m not saying everyone should be a martial artist, any more than I’m saying everyone should be a dancer (although frankly I think anyone in acting really ought to try a little of both, at the very least!).  But I can see that I have many types of interesting barriers yet to overcome, both in terms of finding my path, and broadening it.

I’ve filed the paperwork and mailed the check to reinstate Fight Designer, LLC as a now Virginia-based corporation.  Still need to do some other things before it’s fully functioning (open a business account, formalize some of the financial arrangements, rent a storage unit and move everything over there in a more organized manner for ready access, etc) but it’s begun, at least.  If anyone with experience in business management, finance, contracts, etc is interested in volunteering to help me figure some things out or to look over my paperwork some time, that’d be much appreciated.

Finally, there’s also been a flurry of activity on JourneyQuest, a web series I did a little work on last Spring in Seattle with the old Dead Gentlemen posse.  There’s a trailer online now, and they have a release date for the first episode.

I make a brief appearance in the trailer around 1:39, green prosthetic nose and all.


One Comment

  1. Posted September 7, 2010 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    I teach Stage Movement at Metro regularly–usually one or two out of 20 are dancers. So usually I have the class structured so we do bare bones basics in the beginning (making sure it’s good conditioning too, so the experienced folks appreciate it too), and gradually up the challenges. The first unit we do is period movement, so that tends to be an equalizer as well.

One Trackback

  1. By Bonzuko » Links of Note on September 7, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    […] fellow stage combat blog Them’s Fightin’ Words. Mr. Inouye has embarked on the wonderful journey that is graduate school, and has asked a question about it there. https://fightdesigner.wordpress.com/2010/09/07/easing-back-into-the-saddle/#comment-95 […]

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