MOVEMENT AND IMPROVISATION
Creator/ Movement Yogi
Luc started dancing at the age of 10 and graduated from the Royal Ballet School in Antwerp.His career progressed from traditional classical ballet to contemporary dance. He met Ohad Naharin in 2001 and joined Batsheva Dance Company in 2002 as a dancer and became Rehearsal Manager in 2005 until 2020.From early on he was drawn to the Eastern models of thinking, such as through Krishnamurti, Daoism, Buddhism, Advaita, Qigong.He studied and trained Chinese martial arts and Dayan Qigong of the Kunlun Mountain with Michael Tse whilst living in the UK, Tibetan Buddhism in the lineage of Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche through Shambhala and Dharma Ocean and worked with the nondual direct path teachings propagated by Rupert Spira, Ellen Emmet, Francis Lucille and Greg Goode.
For him, dance and movement are both a celebration of and a contemplation into, the nature of reality.Luc currently lives in Antwerpen Belgium. He choreographs and teaches workshops on movement and improvisation. He teaches at Hasadna in Tel Aviv and NOD in Torino.
He also offers pragmatic ballet classes tailored for contemporary dancers.
DA-ME is the culmination of 40 years of dance informed by 25 years of meditation and qigong.
After a long journey of classical training, slowly finding its way to more contemporary ways of thinking and working, I met Ohad Naharin in 2001.
This was a major turning point for me, as I started his movement methodology called Gaga from then onwards.
Parallel to that, I kept on delving into meditation, particularly how it came through Tibetan Buddhism. In particular, the tantric inspired teachings of Mudra Space Awareness and Maitri Space Awareness and Five Buddha Families as taught by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and Irini Rockwell. Further insights came to me through some of the yogas found in Kashmir Shaivism when meeting Ellen Emmet and Rupert Spira.
At some point, it became very obvious to me that the body we conceive of and imagine is totally different from the one we directly experience.
Even though I had been working and thinking about body and movement for a very long time in various so-called somatic disciplines, just as any dancer would, it dawned upon me that I had mostly been thinking and imagining something that had no real experiential basis.
This triggered an on-going investigation into the nature of our experience in which everything that I had been taking for granted had to be scrutinised.
I realized that at best language could only point towards what is true, or it could dismantle false concepts. However, it would never be able to convey a totally accurate description of reality even though words are made out of reality themselves.
At worst language could reinforce deep held beliefs and their corresponding feelings.
I needed the best model possible to speak about our experience. The initial outcome of that question was to create a view and vocabulary that is more in line with our somatic experience and a set of tasks and exercises that would help people improvise and help them discover the ever-present potential possibilities arising in the experience.
Dance is unique among the arts since all realms of experience are explored, which is the mind, the body and the world.
A story about what is and the intensity of experience when it is no longer relieved nor repressed.
The composition involves the continuity of discontinuity.
Conceived for Batsheva Creates Online.
Cast Chiaki Horita Hani Sirkis Kyle Scheurich Ben Green Amalia Smith Music Pablo's Eye - Ahead of Us
Singing Improvisation Amalia Smith
Text and Editing Luc Jacobs
An exploration of intensity and chaos through the use of movement and voice. Dancers Chiaki Horita. Amalia Smith, Kyle Scheurich, Ben Green, Hani Sirkis. Choreography and music by Luc Jacobs.
Filmed on 13 July 2019 7pm.
Created for the Batsheva Workshop 2019.
Created for the Batsheva Workshop 'Mess'Danced by Maayan Sheinfeld, Amaila Smith, Ben GreenMusic by John FruscianteLights by Yoav BarelFilmed on 19OCT17 2 pm by Luc Jacobs
Solo created for Yaara Moses, for the occasion of the Batsheva Workshop 2012. Music by The Chromatics. Filmed on 30 May 2012
Created for the Batsheva Workshop in 2007. I felt inspired to create something slightly cheap, trashy and ridiculous and somehow to present it in a sophisticated way. The sounds used in the soundtrack correspond to numbers, the numbers themselves belong to my personal life like credit cards, birthday and so forth. The movements in the work also correspond to these numbers. This system had little value apart from giving me a parameter to work in and from. I used Yaara Moses as my dancer and Ohad Fishoff was responsible for the recording and editing of the music. Amichy Bikowski was responsible for the video recording
Created for the Batsheva Workshop called ‘Another Day’ in 2014.Born from the interaction with Bobbi Jene Smith, the work evolved itself around the distilling of movement and intensification of emotion … My on-going question how form is inseparable from content; and how form does not need to represent anything else than what it is.I am interested in how the organisation of movement in space can invoke a particular quality of energy; and how art, as far as I am concerned, could create an opening or possibilities in our mind, beyond the mere level of entertainment or distraction.At some point, I became intrigued by having her face the back and attempted to remain, more or less, faithful to that idea.I believe this has to do with my ongoing relationship to space.During the process I found myself creating movement very close to the wall. In other words, intensifying space by working with some kind of claustrophobia.
Choreographed for the Batsheva Workshop 'Plaza' in September 2013.Danced by Bobbi Jene Smith, Stephi Amurao and Maayan Sheinfeld.
The work concerns itself with the possibilities of expressing and intensifying space. There is an attempt to cut away any psychological/ physical messes, or otherwise.The sound is used to provoke anticipation.
Music by Luc Jacobs
Filmed on 28 September 2013 by Luc Jacobs
An exploration of space, intensification, form and energy.The approach taken is that things don't express anything other than themselves. In other words, things, events, experience have a richer, more vast and powerful meaning than the commentary and associations we impose on them.By working with elements such as form, direction, placement etc we possibly create a gateway for experience beyond concept to take place.Danced by Maayan Sheinfeld and Bret Easterling.Music by David Lang. Text and voice by Rupert Spira.
Music editing by Luc JacobsLights by Avi Yona Bueno.Filmed on 16 June 2016 by Luc Jacobs.Created for the annual Batsheva Dance Company Workshop called ' Spare'.
LEGS & BRAINS
A small dance work I created for the Batsheva Dance Co. workshop in 2008 for two dancers. The piece plays with elements of trashy-ness, clownish-ness, speed, energy and is to some extent inspired by the jump dance style of dancing that had previously emerged in Belgium. The dancers are Caroline Boussard and Yaara Moses. The music is by Shitmat. Filmed by Amichy Bikowski.
Created for the Batsheva Workshop 2006. The work consists of 2 parts. In the first part, I got carried away by the complexities of a mathematical system that could provide an interesting way to present the material. The result was kind of an organised chaos that provided further inspiration to work with. The tension between the bodies in space and the speed in the sense of busyness of the section altogether became my main interest. I felt a need to balance the first half with a warmer second part in which we could get to know the dancers better and where my main focus became the choreography rather than purely composition and the alchemy of the elements. The tacky yet elegant costumes tied the work very much together and suggested a means to experience the work on different levels. The dancers are Caroline Boussard, Rachael Osborne, Adi Zlatin, Leo Lerus, Guy Shomroni. The work was filmed and edited by Amichy Bikowski.
I felt I wanted to experiment with presenting material in a chopped and jagged way, deliberately go for abrupt transitions without losing a sense of continuity. I suppose it was kind of a reaction to a need we often feel to smooth out our lives into a comfortable and continuous state of being. My interest went into playing with under and overstatement in terms of material and to find coherency between sensuality and clownishness. Dancers are Caroline Boussard, Rachael Osborne and Guy Shomroni. The work was recreated and extended for the Bern Ballet in 2005.
CELEBRATION OF THE LION
Originally created for Batsheva 's workshop, the work got commisioned by the Gvanim Festival in Israel where it became extended. Again performed by Yaara Moses.
WHEN FACED WITH THE DRAGON, KISS HIM ON THE MOUTH
Created for the Batsheva Workshop in 2009. Originally intended as a massive group piece based on the idea of circumambulation. I wanted to create a kind of mad energy in the space. The work finally turned out as a more modest and square unison for 4 girls. Once I committed to using Nina Simone 's 'Thandewye', my interest went into exploring the tension between the voice and the instruments, then to oscillate between them and to play with the infinite shades of grey between the two, so to speak. I used a lot of repetitive movements, again to evoke a certain kind of obsessiveness and passion and the actual number of repetitions and where to place them became crucial to me. Sometimes the movements pushing the music, at other times the music pushing the choreography. I was hoping to manifest a heightened, almost haunting energy through the work and to present a kind of un-negotiable experience to the viewer as if taking a cold shower or putting your hand in a fire. In these kinds of situations, there remains little room to manipulate your experience. This is a wide angle recording from a central viewpoint, somewhat boring and so I hope to put together a more edited version to get a better viewing of the superb execution of the dancers. The cast consisted of Adi Zlatin, Michal Sayfan, Bobbi Jene Smith and Iyar Elezra. Music is by Nina Simone. Filmed and edited by Amichy Bikowski.
Episode 2 in a series of conversations on life, movement, meditation and the stories we tell ourselves.
With Yael Benezer and Luc Jacobs.
Music William Byrd First Pavane and Galliard Performed by Glenn Gould
Editing Luc Jacobs.
Created for Batsheva Creates Online 2020
Episode 3 in a series of conversations on life, movement, meditation and the stories we tell ourselves.
Music GF Handel Performed by Glenn Gould
Editing Luc Jacobs
Episode 4 in a series of conversations on life, movement, meditation and the stories we tell ourselves.
With Yael Benezer and Luc Jacobs
Music Lito Barrientos Cumbia en Manor
Episode 5 in a series of conversations on life, movement, meditation and the stories we tell ourselves.
Music JS Bach performed by Glenn Gould
Episode 6 in a series of conversations on life, movement, meditation and the stories we tell ourselves.
Music Aekawa Kiyoshi Nagasaki Wa Kyou Mo Ame Datta
Episode 7 in a series of conversations on life, movement, meditation and the stories we tell ourselves.
Music Binaural beats
Episode 8 in a series of conversations on life, movement, meditation and the stories we tell ourselves.
Music Full Crate Big Booty Problem
IN CONVERSATION WITH SUHAEE ABRO
Episode 11 - When we move is a series of conversations based on movement, the body, art, dance, the heart, mind and life. Every Friday. With Luc Jacobs who taught us for a week or two during my course at Nuova Officina Della Danza. He was definitely someone I learnt a lot from during the time he spent with us in the dance studio in Torino, Italy as N.O.D students but this conversation has also been a very special one. Luc Jacobs studied Ballet and Gaga. He is an independent choreographer. Luc danced with the Royal Ballet of Flanders in Belgium, Deutsche Opera Berlin and Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo. In 2002, Luc joined the Carte Blanche and later that year Batsheva Dance Company. Since 2005 to 2020, Luc has been the rehearsal director of the Batsheva Dance Company. Luc has choreographed for the Batsheva dancers through the years.
HASADNA IMPROViSaTION SESSION
A glimpse in what might be going on in an improvisation session
The basic notion in this approach is that life, human beings, everything is totally perfect and whole.
Nothing needs to be added or subtracted. Every moment is self-fulfilling.
If this statement is true then we could also say that even adding on and subtracting off is totally legitimate in the ultimate sense.
There is a cosmic celebration or dance if you will, happening, happening for no one and caused by no one.
It is with this attitude that we will engage in improvisational movement
We will speak about our experience in five different ways, similar to how we could speak about water in terms of its clarity, wetness, coolness, fluidity and so forth.
The ground so to speak is space, as I call it.
In this case, not a physical space but a 'knowing' space. This knowing space is all-accommodating as it does not reject or hold on to anything. Within that space arises the activities of thinking or imagining, sensing and perceiving, which respectively becomes the mind, the body and the world.
From the point of view of a separate individual, this space could be frozen, turned into some kind of ignoring, or zoning out. Spacious people could either be super accommodating, but they could also be very non-caring or indifferent.
However when divested from the ‘mesh of me’ it is the simple openness and presence of our own being.
So space is related to a sense of being or presence, prior to anything else. We use the back or the spine in our body as an entry point into being.
Initially, we will engage in slowing ourselves down since in most cases the mind is habitually engaged and fascinated with the content of experience whilst totally overlooking the presence of their own being.
Then there is clarity in that being. Things are known clearly. We know our experience. We see sights, we hear sounds, we smell smells …
Our experience is known. There is clarity regardless of the object of our experience. A totally drunken state is not less clearly known than a revelation of God or the bite of a mosquito.
Again when this energy gets hijacked by ego or the apparent separate individual, it can express itself into rigidity, resentment, frustration, either hot or cold anger, perfectionism, obsessiveness about one's opinions and so on. The separation of me and other is intensified.
People with this energy are drawn to mathematics, order, abstract thinking, they can be good at resolving a crisis since can see the different viewpoints of parties involved.
When divested of ego it remains as the clarity of our own experience. It reveals itself as wisdom that sees the nature of our experience, it sees the details within the totality. It is the experience of peace.
I call it form. I relate it to the element water. Water can be very fluid, connecting. It could also be frozen or harden.
I associate it with head and shoulders, the colour blue, to the sense of seeing, to the season of winter.
Then our experience is all pervasive. It does not start somewhere and ends somewhere. We don't see or feel the end of our experience and see the beginning of a non-experience somewhere. We never had a non-experience. It is seamless, stable, trustworthy, ever-present, endless, indestructible, un-moving.
However, from ego’s point of view, through the filter of separation, it could express itself as pride or arrogance, when one becomes possessive of that abundance of being or alternatively as poverty, greed, addiction when one feels disconnected from that abundance. But in both cases, it relies on an apparent split from one's experience.
Once liberated from the illusory belief and feeling of separation it is experienced as wealth, abundance, generosity, equanimity, power, stability
I associate this energy with the element earth or feeling.
I associate it with the pelvis, lower abdomen, to rhythm, groove, to the season of autumn, sense of smell ...
Another quality of being is what I call love which I relate to the element and quality of fire.
Even though experience is all pervasive, our attention gets magnetized by highlights. Attention takes on the form of thinking, sensing and perceiving.
This energy has an unpredictable quality.
In romantic love, we often see this. Love flaring up or burning very brightly and then quickly smouldering to nothing.
Fire people typically can throw themselves into projects and then abandon them. They have short relationships. They have no problem to move on. They also feel unfulfilled and look constantly for completion through relationships and activities. They may have an obsession with pleasure of the senses.
When this energy is divested from the filter of ego it knows and what to accept and what to reject.
I associate this element with spring, direction of west, color red, with the heart or chest area.
The last element we speak about is action, which is about how we act, relate, behave in the world.
From the neurotic point of view this could mean rushing around with busyness, speediness but usually without any effectiveness. These type of people could often also appear to be lazy since they invent a lot of excuses and reasons not to do what they should be doing. This speediness is related to paranoia, jealousy, ambition, envy, control. The need for something to constantly happen.
However, from the awakened point of view, this energy is all accomplishing. It does what needs to be done according to the situation, whether that means waiting a hundred years or acting before thinking. One goes along with complete trust. Hope and fear no longer run our lives as before.
It is related to the movements of arms and legs, the element of wind, the colours green and black, the season of summer ...
The inspiration in this approach and model is informed by Tibetan Buddhism, In my case particularly by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche through his teaching on the Maitri Space Awareness, Five Buddha Families and the Mudra Space Awareness which he taught to performers. Additionally by some of the yoga found in Kashmir Shaivism and Non-Duality which I came in contact with through Rupert Spira, Francis Lucille, and Ellen Emmet, The type of investigations Greg Goode works with were also extremely helpful..
It accommodates the birth of babies and the collapsing of stars.
Improvisation Level 1
Here we are more concerned with being rather than doing. Through particular tasks and exercises, we get an experiential glimpse and understanding of our essential and inherent spacious, open quality of being, which I call space.
The space we are talking about is accommodation itself. It accommodates the most benevolent acts to the most despicable ones. It accommodates the birth of babies and the collapsing of stars, it accommodates plane crashes and butterflies. It is total infinite timeless freedom, it is capital yes to everything! There is nothing outside of it, it has no location, it does not last in time since it is beyond time. It is that which knows everything but can never be known itself.
It is what is.
We decide to take our stand as that itself, to which and in which all experience appears.
The by-product of this approach is an attitude of nonjudgment, openness, friendliness and curiosity to all experience that arises, regardless of the particular experience itself.
At this level, there is no need for something to happen and also no need for nothing to happen.
When adopting the point of view of awareness, which is not really a point of view, we begin to discover that empty open awareness is full at the same time. It is filled with the activity of thinking or imagining, sensing and perceiving which respectively we come to call mind, body and world.
We begin to see precisely the vast possibilities that constantly arise.
The emphasis at this level is about availability and relaxation, not as something we do but already are.
At this stage we do not disregard anything whatsoever, we adopt an attitude of taking inventory, of being totally directionless. Nothing is disregarded, not blockages, not bad moods, not tension ...
From that point of view, we do not need to concern our selves for example with letting go of tension, since that would be creating further tension.
Rather we deal with the one that is holding onto to tension. Initially, we get to know tension, then we become tension and discover it is space itself.
By aligning ourselves with inherent openness, tension undoes itself we could say.
We begin to appreciate form as the expression of space itself.
Improvisation Level 2
Out of the openness of our being, we are invited to take a closer look at the details of our experience. Particular tasks and exercises assist us to see clearly our form. Initially precision of form, but also the precision of mood, texture, location in space etc …
We begin to appreciate form as the expression of space itself. Form, in this case, being our physical form in physical space as well as the decisions, impulses, sensations, perceptions, inspirations that arise out and subside into space. Again, nothing is disregarded. Everything has the right to its own existence. This allowing provides further clarity since we are willing to look at everything free from interpretation and free of the need to change anything. We leave everything exactly as it is. No need means no need to change anything and at the same time no need to not change anything.
It starts to dawn upon us that improvisation is not something we do, but is simply happening.
This particular energy or element of form, as I will also call them, which is the way we relate to our experience, is suited to the scientist, somebody who is organized, orderly, precise, often more busy with detail rather than totality.
I relate it to cold and the season of winter, to flow as well as tension. Think of Bach, clean lines, logic, peace but also aggression when this energy is experienced from ego's point of view.
The emphasis here is on clarity and precision, researching the details that arise in the totality of improvisation.
We start to get a sense of the sheer abundance of things.
Improvisation Level 3
When seeing clearly the details in the totality of our experience, greater appreciation and further intimacy starts to develop. We no longer simply see the details, but we start to smell them as well, so to speak. We start to get a sense of the sheer abundance of everything. The exercises on this level invite us to go beyond the approach of the scientist. The separation between what we are and what arises in our improvisation starts to collapse. In other words, we begin to tune into the abundance of movement and their richness.
To help along this discovery we work with instructions such as exaggeration, quantity, positive arrogance, groove, power, texture, rhythm, repetition, earthiness etc
We look closer at feeling and sensing. We use various movement concepts to help us discover different qualities with which to hold or move the body.
We use ways to intensify the energy of feeling or earth so these aspects can become more obvious.
This work we engage in, can at times unearth and expose painful feelings.
For example, as I mentioned before in the introduction this energy, in its neurotic understanding it could be experienced as arrogance, pride, greed, addictions, melancholia ...
In other words, we can get either possessive of our wealth or disconnected from it.
Think of being in the presence of somebody who totally invades your space even though the room might be empty. Think of Polish dinners, of falling in a pool of honey. Imagine a mountain of gold pouring in all directions. It is about having more and more. It could be thinking of the next scoop of ice cream whilst you are still busy with the current scoop. It is about spreading, occupying, accumulating, repetition, opulence, This is the energy of addiction as well as generosity.
If you tend to be a shy person, or you have some problem being in the centre of attention then obviously it could bring up some resistance or other emotional upheavals.
Both student and teacher need to be sensitive to what is going on.
There needs to space, safety, openness to allow these intensities to pass through. The safest way generally is to always provide space, to create a situation wherein the student can experience her or himself from the safe environment of space.
It is passion constantly and totally consuming itself.
Improvisation Level 4
Having tasted the infinite richness in ourselves we find the separation between the openness and availability of being and the stuff that arises in it, has totally collapsed.
We could say that sensation, which we previously called body, has merged into perception, which we used to call the world. Having realized this wealth we can afford to be picky. Even the smallest gestures can provide us with total satisfaction. It is essentially the feeling of love in the body.
The emphasis here is on intimacy with form and feeling, and bringing our experience closer than close so to speak.
In this level we employ tasks related to delicateness, subtlety, sophistication, unpredictability, magnetizing our movements totally into awareness. Imagine having a love affair with every aspect of your experience.
It is passion constantly and totally consuming itself.
From the viewpoint of an apparent individual, this could very well be the most unsatisfactory element since the movement or energy is about finding completion and wholeness. So in a way, it is looking for its own death. When longing has achieved its goal, there is a momentary collapse. A phew, but then soon after often some confusion, some kind of restlessness ... So now what? There is almost a disbelief that sets in, asking ... so this is it? This what I wanted for so long? So the desire is more about wanting than having. Furthermore, what we get is never what we expect. The peace and satisfaction we get are at best temporary. Artists are run by this energy. Think of communication, seduction, warmth. This energy is selective. It is about quality rather than quantity.
We can afford to be totally outrageous, subtle, speedy, surgical ... we simply go along.
Improvisation Level 5
Having gone through the previous levels there is an unwavering confidence in oneself. Actions become appropriate according to the situation and context.
We already stopped being concerned with loss or gain of our credentials, so we can afford to be totally outrageous, subtle, speedy, surgical etc … We simply go along with what the situation requires.
In this stage, we no longer double check, measure, strategize or engineer anything.
It is total spontaneity put into action.
The emphasis in this level contains tasks related to speed, use of arms and legs, spontaneity …
We could say that space is the ground in which, and out of which everything appears from.
We speak about these levels purely for pedagogic purposes.
In actual experience, they are inseparable and happen all at once. Albeit in different intensities and proportions. We could say that each element contains all the others
But space is the ground in which, and out of which everything appears from.
They are the coloured activity of, within and on, a cosmic white screen, or to use Rupert Spira’s favourite metaphor, it is the movie on the screen.
What is spoken about here could equally be applied to choreography, composition, one's personal relationships, architecture, photography, decoration ...
For example, to intensify or highlight space, I would recommend using form. If one wants to occupy space I would go for feeling.To energize space use action. If you want to magnetize use love.
People express some elements stronger than others. Simply by watching somebody dance, you can often tell which elements run strong in them.. Sometimes people present themselves as a different element to who they are. Some elements are more learned, others are more innate. Sometimes we can have a habit of defending ourselves in a particular element, or we relate to our spouses in one element. It is a very dynamic situation.
One can get a feel for these elements as one observes how people move, dress, behave, speak.
We can not step out of these elements. We also don't want to, since that would be like throwing the baby out with the bath water.
In terms of movement, dance or improvisation we could say that any state of mind or body can be given shape. Everything has the right to have its own life and existence.
Meaning the purpose of feelings and sensations is to be felt and sensed.
Ordinarily, we tend to reject stuff before it is properly understood or felt.
In this approach, we start by experiencing creation rather than trying to create an experience.
We allow and love every thought, sensation and perception. We give everything the permission to have its life, even though nothing needs our permission and exists despite the person, which is a revolutionary attitude that enables a true transformation. We start to notice that most our lives we possibly have been not much more than a reaction to another reaction, a thought about another thought. It is both unbelievable and totally obvious.
It feels like such a gigantically sad joke that you can't help to burst out into roaring laughter!
© 2018 Photo credit Hilla Marcelle Kook