[CP]3 - Insights from Lauren Catellani

CP3 - Lauren Catellani

Since April 2022 I have been participating in [CP]3, a distance learning program run by Dance Nucleus in Singapore with financial support from STRUT. This year there are 22 participants from across Asia connecting weekly on zoom with industry professionals to learn, discuss and develop critical praxes in contemporary choreography and performance making.

We started off the course by introducing ourselves, our practice and the project we would be working on over the course of [CP]3. Daniel Kok, the artistic director of Dance Nucleus  mentored us this first week, reinforcing how to define practice and undertake research effectively. I will be working on a research project exploring mapping and notation as a choreographic practice, with a particular interest in making process visible in performance. I have enjoyed having multiple chances to introduce myself to different mentors and practice defining what I’m researching as it shifts over time. Finding ways to clearly express something that is in process is usually very difficult, however it is becoming easier with opportunities to practice and see how other artists approach it.

So far we have completed three modules, the first led by Pichet Klunchun (Bangkok), who took us through his process of ‘re-mapping traditions’. This practice involves looking at ways to transcribe dance, ideas, values and histories from one body to another. Focussing on the 59 fundamental movements of Thai traditional dance he has created a process that breaks each movement down into a series of diagrams. These diagrams are then translated as a way to open up creative possibilities and ultimately create a new contemporary vocabulary. We were given the task of creating our own maps from work we have created and then giving these maps to someone working in a different field to translate. It was interesting to see how this detailed process of mapping was able to capture the ephemeral nature of dance in a way that allowed it to be translated and transformed into something else completely.

The second module was led by Nanako Nakajimo (Kyoto) and focussed on dance dramaturgy - specifically the interweaving of different Asian and Euro-American dramaturges. The process was directly related to a collaboration between Nanako and Yvonne Rainer, where the US choreographers work Trio A was performed in Japan, however interpreters translated and reconstructed the original material for the local audiences. We were instructed to recreate this process by bringing in our own cases or stories of cultural conflict in relation to our individual projects and in small groups we discussed and found connections between these stories, coming up with ways to deal with these problems in an arts context.

Choreographer Eisa Jocson (Manilla) led the third module taking us through her catalog of work and dance research which heavily focuses on body politics, specifically in relation to her study of movement vocabularies found throughout the Philippines. Each work involves a rigorous and sustained process of observation and participation in order to embody each different subject of study, including pole dancers, macho dancers, performers at Disneyland etc. We were given a movement workshop in macho dancing and engaged in discussions about how multiple narratives can accumulate into a body and how the body can become an undefined subject open to re-inscription.

There are 5 more modules to complete over the next 5 months as well as support, development and presentations of our in-progress projects. We are working towards creating workbooks that document our learnings throughout the modules as well as the process of research and creating our new work. It is interesting to be documenting and noticing how each of the modules is feeding into or informing my practice in different ways. I am finding myself directly incorporating some of the processes or techniques into my work such as Pichet’s mapping techniques or just thinking and analysing my practice in new ways. Specifically I have been interrogating the notion of research and how this can inform my artistic process. I have been focussed on the process of forming ideas, hypothesising, analysing and then drawing new conclusions, which has helped me to express and understand what I am working on more clearly at all stages of the process.

I am excited to continue learning and being in dialogue with all of the artists and mentors from across Asia and looking forward to sharing the work that will come from these 7 months of being engaged with arts practice.