The Art of Hosting

For our Art of Hosting, I designed a 45 theatre exercise that helps people to understand and embody the Five/Six breaths.  Here is the design, based on Augusto Boal's work and inspired by working with Alyssa Schwartz in New York:


Walking exercises based on the five breaths.


Undifferentiated energy


Begin by just walking.  Normal walking around in the space. No talking, not contact, no eye contact (1 min)


Crossing the threshold of longing


Choose a part of your body and pay attention to it as you walk.  elbow, right leg, left shoulder. some mechanical part.  Notice what it is doing.  Notice how it moves consistently.  What does it do all the time.  What does it do randomly.  Requires very subtle awareness here to notice what's happening, especially at regular speed.  


Imagine being led by a rope attached to a part of your body. 


Slow down and make the motion of that one body part bigger.


With the awareness of that one body part, keep walking


Cultivating the call


Notice the body part in others.  Notice how the rope is pulling them.  What are their similar parts doing?  How do they appear different? 


First breath: Calling. 


Now as you walk, just make eye contact with others.  Nothing major, just a quick glance.  Begin to see that others are out there seeing you too.  See if you can change people by the way you look at them.  Notice how you change as people look at you.  No talking.



Second breath: Clarity


Slow down.  This time when you make contact with someone, stop and notice them.  Stand in front of each other for a moment.  Acknowledge each other and move on.  Notice what it feels like to meet, to be in each other's presence and to leave.


Meet each other again now and match gestures.  Maybe begin with a bow, improvise one gesture together and mirror each other, bow again and leave.  Find another partner.  Notice when your're leading, notice when you're following.  Enter a space and try to co-create a gesture with a partner in a leadersless way 


Pay attention to your body, the other body and the space between you.  Notice how each meeting feels different inside you.  Very subtle.


Third breath: invitation and design


As you walk make contact with someone, invite them to join you.  Hold hands, touch shoulders, walk together for a moment in contact.  Then break and find another partner.  Be especially conscious of inviting someone to join you, the way an elegant older couple enters a formal dining room together. Who is taking who, who is leading who?  Switch roles between lead and follow.  Cocreate without leading or following. 


Fourth breath: meeting


Play some games here.  Start with numbers.  I call out "four" and people get into groups of four, five or whatever, joining, leaving, inclusion and exclusion.  Play assassin.  Finish with silent Stop/Go as a way of seeing emergent structure in place.  Keep walking.


Fifth breath: harvest and action


Keep walking.  watch another person, and follow them.  Imitate their way of walking, pick up one characteristic of their walking style and cultivate it.  Stop and silently teach it to someone else.  Exchange what you have learned.  Carry on. Make a gesture that comes from you anchor. 


Back to walking. Think about what you have learned, what parts of your body have been engaged over the last while.  Feel them.  When you move remember the gestures you shared with others.  Remember the movements you made and how you felt.  Pick one of those gestures that is linked to a feeling you want to sustain.  Emphasize it or perform the gesture while you are walking.


As you do this begin to notice what others are doing.  Copy and integrate gestures that align with yours, that make sense and that help you to sustain more of the feeling you want to sustain.


Now let's do this for a while and see if one gesture emerges.




Walk normally keeping as much awareness of the system as you can.  Focus on your own body.  In time the whole group will slow down as if someone is dialling us down through numbers from five to four to three to zero.  When we reach zero just stop.  Breathe.  Close your eyes. Think about what you have learned about the relationship between body and energy, about the tangibles of structure and the intangibles of space.  How you have changed.  When you are ready.  Head off to journal, reflect, take a break, get some tea.  Meet us upstairs at 10:15.








Views: 312

© 2024   Created by Rowan.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service