a non-interpretive approach to dreams as a movement resource


1) to support awareness of overlays between dreamtime and daytime

2) to strengthen the memory for movements from dreams; movement recall

3) to choose three movements from dreams to choreograph a ritual
for triggering the expression of essences and forces innate to the dream,
the dreamtime, the dreambody; dreams as a movement resource

by Antero Alli

WEDNESDAY NIGHTS, 8-10pm: THE DREAM COUNCIL (the languaging)

OCT. 15 through DEC. 20, 2000, Berkeley CA

THE DREAMING RITES (dance studio) Sunday Nights. This dreaming lab is the most vertically-oriented and the least group interactive of any paratheatrical lab I’ve participated in. The approach to dreams here is decidedly non-interpretive and kinetic. Rather than pursue any search for meaning, these rituals are designed and presented to "prime" the physical/emotional bodies for greater receptivity to the innate essences, forces and purposes inside the dream/dreambody/dreamtime itself. The goal: to amplify the overlay between dreamtime and daytime as a portal for initiatic ritual. Initiation to the dream. Neither workshop, class, performance nor video-mediated product, this paratheatrical experiment remains devoted to accessing dreamtime sources for the purpose of animating movement and evoking spiritual presence.

THE DREAM COUNCIL (director’s home) Wednesday Nights. The non-interpretive spirit embodied in the dreaming rites continues here with the sharing of stories, struggles, skills and insights unearthed in the rituals, our dream recall and the dreams themselves. We all realize the unique and somewhat strange nature of what we are attempting to accomplish and find solace in the dream council, which provides a forum for languaging our emerging perceptions. Here we can try new ways of thinking and talking about dreams. This can be especially useful when it minimizes the psychological projection of meaning that tends to trivialize the innate power and autonomy of the dreams themselves. What is the true purpose of dreaming ? Perhaps, only the dream itself can show us this. If our dreams are attempting to communicate with us, a certain humility may be required to listen and to respond truthfully.

A Certain Type of Dream Recall
When dreams are remembered, we recall images -- of faces, scenarios, dramas, fragments of action -- and for the way we feel about whatever dream was occuring. There is also a kind of memory attached to the meaning or the search for meaning in dreams. Though all these functions of memory are important, another kind of dream recall is required for the dreaming ritual and that is the recollection of an individual movement that can be replicated by yourself upon awakening the next morning.

The Dream Movements
What exactly is a "dream movement" ? It is often smaller than you think (and maybe even smaller than you CAN think). The turn of a head, the sway of a limb, the sudden hop into the air. Once you find a movement you can personally perform after waking, practice it throughout the day as whim or intention dictates. Do it without embellishment; practice this movement as close to the way you remembered it happening in the dream itself. This commitment to authenticity helps to contain the power in the dream movement itself; the more authentic the movement, the more power contained therein. To begin building the dreaming ritual cycle, you will need to recall and to practice three movements.

NOTE: These three movements do not have to be from the same dream. They can also originate anywhere in the dream, performed by anything or anybody other than yourself. They just have to originate within the larger scope of the dreamtime, the dreaming, the dream itself.

The Dreaming Ritual Cycle

the mechanical stages
The first stage of building the dreaming ritual is mechanical. Practice the three movements separately until each is second nature, memorized by the body, in the body; this kinetic memory will eventually inform the basis of a choreography with its own innate style, rhythms and tensions. After all three movements are physically memorized, choose any one of them to initiate the ritual cycle. Blend the end of movement #1 with the beginning of either one of the other two movements until they form a larger single motion. Practice this two-part motion until it's physically memorized. Add the final third movement by blending the end of movement #2 with the start of movement #3. Commit this three-part movement to kinetic memory. After this is accomplished, blend the end of movement #3 with the beginning of movement #1 to form a movement loop. Practice this movement loop until it becomes second nature. Allow for the expression of whatever rhythms and energies result from the synergy of this loop. Practice this three-part loop until it begins to express its own choreography. Do not embellish this or attempt to direct it but allow space for the design and the forces innate to this loop to express themselves.

the fluid, charged stages
To enter the fluid stage, we undergo a physical warm-up period of at least thirty minutes prior to doing the dreaming ritual itself. The overall objective we strive to achieve in this physical warm-up is: FEELING THE BODY DEEPLY. Meeting this central physical need supports the sense of physical safety and confidence for summoning the forces innate to dreambody and the dreamtime into physical expression. The purpose of physical warming up before charging the ritual is stabilization.

Note: The paratheatrical physical warm-up structure used in this lab, as well as, key ritual techniques can be reviewed at: paratheatrical overview

After a physical warm-up, a certain internal adjustment is necessary. Without it, this dreaming ritual remains mechanical. This adjustment is made in a standing position I call NO-FORM (refer to the above link) and calls for any adjustment that renders profound internal receptivity or intimacy with Void or emptiness. A small area on the floor before us is designated to the dreaming ritual. Standing outside this area, we enter NO-FORM and project the existing conditions of the dreamtime into this dreaming zone. From the NO-FORM state, we step into this dreaming zone and allow the qualities therein to move and shape us from within. As we are filled with these dreaming forces and essences, we begin the ritual movement cycle while simultaneously allowing the dreaming to guide us. We continue this until we feel done. Then, step outside the circle and return to NO-FORM; let go of the dreaming.




Dreaming ritual journal by Antero Alli