Theory and Practice

Action Theater™

Improvisation Practice




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Action Theater™ promotes the discovery of new forms of expression, choreographic skills, a stronger understanding of space use and better listening.

Its main work mode is physical:
the physical body and feelings that are contained inside. The training helps performers expand their physical forms and inhabit those forms with humanity.

Working solo and with partners,
the practice crafts ensemble architecture and composition. It functions on two levels: building performance skills and serving as source work for the creation of set pieces.

Action Theater™ Helps Create Richer Material:
When creating material, thoughts occur inside of actions while the actions are taking place. These thoughts are energetic parts of each moment, similar to kinesthetic sensation. And they can steal from the moment or add to it. If the improviser blocks these thoughts, then the improvisation stiffens and breaks down. If on the other hand, the performer greets these thoughts and incorporates them, the improvisation takes off.

By bringing awareness to actions' interior
, Action Theater™ leads the performer back into the body, broadens the range and quality of movement. It helps develop a unique and idiosyncratic vocabulary, frees the individual and brings each performer to a fresh, new relationship with their movement.
In Action Theater™, actions and responses are limited to specific areas so performers open to the unknown, break free of fear and embrace the unfamiliar. For example, a simple Action Theater™ score only permits performers to walk, run or stand still.

The movement vocabulary
is specifically limited. This restriction slows down the "need" to produce "interesting" movement and places the focus on location, direction, timing and energy flow. It promotes sensing/feeling the group's form and balancing that with personal desire.

Creating New Movement with Improvisation
to improvise skillfully one must be aware of the responses that are available within each given moment. This kind of awareness takes practice, dis-covering and saying yes to what arises from the body and mind. If the performer doesn't know herself, hasn't investigated her quirks and desires, she will lose track of form and content.

When the performer is seduced by form, she loses her awareness. Who is she when she is doing this particular movement? How does she feel? When she is seduced by content, spatial use will decline, the particular qualities of movement will be lost, and the body may be forgotten.

What kinesthetic sensation triggers the feeling state that triggers the action that triggers the kinesthetic sensation? How and when does this cycle occur and where does awareness enter?
sten rudstrom improvisation workshops