Taking a spot on the floor of the gymnasium, a musical soundscape fills my headphones. A voice instructs me to move clockwise through the space, then melt/quiver/float in quick succession. Other participants receive similar – or different – instructions in their headphones. Some read directions posted on the wall around the room. I become part of a dance where patterns coalesce, dissipate and re-form, and movement rises and falls, starts and stops.
Eminent dancer and choreographer Peggy Baker created the Flux concept to open dance up to people of all ages and abilities. She worked with students at Rosedale Heights School of the Arts and with the group Tangled Art + Disability to puzzle out what kinds of instructions would create the most interesting outcomes for both viewer and participant. Jacob Niedzwiecki created a mobile phone app that would deliver instructions to participants via earphones.
When I arrived at the event location during Nuit Blanche, Flux Delux was already in progress. I was fascinated to see the shapes and patterns shifting and changing as I watched. Diving into the action myself, I did several rounds of the “delux” version (listening via the app) and a couple just referencing the written prompts.
The first version had me focusing hard on performing the instructions as I heard them, and I was only incidentally connected to those surrounding me. Without the technology, I found myself less concerned with my “performance” and more interested in my relationship with others in the room.
Either way, I was fascinated with the visual, kinesthetic and interpersonal complexity created from these seemingly simple instructions.
Find out more about Flux Delux by checking out the Peggy Baker Dance Projects website here.