Background

C O R E M O T I O N

Workshop

Daria Faïn’s C O R E  M O T I O N workshop offers two foundations of her movement and performance approach. INNER STRUCTURE uses QiGong principles to strengthen the body, open energy centers, and develop understanding of the structural alignment of the body and its relation to gravity. CONTEMPLATIVE ACTION is a guided exploration of the correlation between organs, emotions, sensory perception, energy and intellect. Taking place in winter, the underlining of the course will be the water element related the kidneys and to “life force”. Bring images, objects, or text that evokes the water element for you, and a notebook. Students will also be transmitted movement scores from her current creative process of her new piece Landing Sites.

This project is supported by the GPS/Global Practice Sharing program of Movement Research with funding from the Trust for Mutual Understanding, also by HUPSUP, Croatian Association of Contemporary Dance Pedagogues and Zagreb Dance Center in Croatia.

 

TEACHING STATEMENT and PHILOSOPHY

Overview:

My teaching focuses in the understanding of the INNER STRUCTURE of the body and the complex interplay between all systems (nervous, vascular, digestive, endocrine, emotional and psychological) of the body/mind. This training supports the entire internal developmental process—from an initial concept, intuition or vision through the desire to find a performative language.

Teaching Experience and background:

I have developed this unique training for dancers and performers over years of making my own works as a dancer, choreographer and improvisational artist. The practice of Chi Kung (cultivating energy) that has been the most influential to my teaching is the system taught by Mantak Chia . I've done this work with developmentally disabled, mentally ill and deaf-blind individuals as well with professional performers and specialists in somatic practices, psychology and neuroscience.

My research of the body and movement has brought me to the study of architecture, neuroscience, linguistics and psychology. It has compelled me to travel form Europe to India, and ultimately to the United States. It has led me to Chi Kung and the Martial Arts. My work is the result of a deep exploration of the dynamic between three cultures: European / Asian / American.

My approach to teaching has three major levels. These levels are essential to each other. They comprise a system that students can gradually integrate for their own purposes and visions. I aim to provide dancers with 1- the essential principles in which the body can generate and store energy for sustaining and nourishing the developing individual; 2- A framework that supports an intuitive exploration of the dynamic between internal and external kinesthesia; 3- A broad cultural context that can feed critical and analytical reflection.

 

LEVEL 1 (STRUCTURAL ALIGNMENT)

This part of my training focuses on the structure (skeleton and tendons) of the body. The foundation of the structural focus is the alignment of the body and its relation to gravity. These principles are put into practice by means of a system of exercises. These excises include deep release of the abdominal and visceral area with breathing and a simple succession of postures that allow the practitioner to progressively let go of extra tensions and activate the energy centers.

As a result of this practice:

- The tendons and psoas muscle soften and strengthen, enhancing an ease of connection between head, neck, back and limbs.

- The nervous system relaxes and the individual can access the core of the body as well as the energy centers, gradually generating a sense of buoyancy.

Once the student has understood the structural principles of these exercise, they can be easily applied to any kind of movement or situation.

 

LEVEL 2 (INTUITIVE EXPLORATION BETWEEN INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL) 

I have developed a framework for forming an intuitive and individual understanding of the correlation between the organs, senses, emotions, and our orientation in the space that surrounds us. This framework provides a powerful tool for improvisation and composition.

This part of the training takes the student into a deep exploration of the links between one’s most intimate perception of self, others, and the environment. It is an efficient tool for helping performers understand impetus and initiation of movement. I believe that the understanding of this initiation of movement is key for avoiding patterns that can, in the long run, create injuries or "stylization-versus-artistic-intention" conflicts. For me, developing the freedom to initiate movement from a great range of possibilities allows a performer to boundlessly expand her/his artistic vision. Students will learn to discern how movement is initiated from kinesthesia, energetics, and emotions; and how to navigate these discernments in order to create a language of their own that serves their vision.

 

LEVEL 3 (CROSS-DISCIPLINARY AND CULTURAL DIVERSITY)

The third level focuses on contextualizing the creation of work within a cultural awareness. For me, the act of dancing is a form of thinking that has its own logic. Within this logic the attuned dancer becomes a vector for the embodiment of our time. To create relevant work it is essential to understand how it takes place in a historical continuum, not only within one’s native culture but also in relation to the history of other cultures. In order to create choreography I find it necessary to draw upon developments, events and disciplines outside the restrictive frame of dance. I believe it is vital for young artists to be curious and to cultivate their curiosities by being exposed to diversity. Discussion is an important part of my teaching. I believe that the externalization of an experience begins by searching for its articulation. I encourage a cross-disciplinary fluency. This is crucial for ‘internal alchemy’ as I practice it. I find it helpful to cast the most internal experience into a contrastive context or culture in a way that reveals the experience in a new light. For instance, activating T-cells with Chi Kung, linking emotion, movement and phonation to hormonal secretion, considering the "livingness" of a performance in relation to the cognitive science of Francisco Varela, finding what it means to be before an audience on stage by reading the phenomenology of Merleau-Ponty, or deepening one’s sense of orientation in space by spending time in an architectural work by Le Corbusier, Renzo Piano, Steven Holl or Samuel Mockbee.

While living in Europe, I taught in universities where we were engaged students from the architecture, visual arts and performance departments at once. I would love to call together this form of exchange once again, as it always proved to be extremely fruitful. As a choreographer I am a deeply committed collaborator. This collaborative aspect is essential to my work. For the past fifteen years I have collaborated the American poet-architect Robert Kocik. Together we have generated texts, expositions, installations, buildings, sets, performance series, conferences, choreographies (of course), and new aesthetic science called The Prosodic Body.

 

SUMMARY

The combination of these three approaches creates a structural and intuitive approach for making choreographic and performance works. This approach focuses in on the way in which one inhabits one’s body, as it constantly zooms out to view one’s situation in the total cultural landscape. It is a reflection on the ways we inhabit our bodies through movement and voice. It provides an awareness of the dynamic between energy that is stored and energy that is spent (crucial for survival), whether the energy is physical, intellectual, emotional or spiritual. With this approach the students learn how to develop their connection to the core body and to trust their choices. My training is integrative-- involving research in a panoply of disciplines and cultures, stressing the importance of reading, writing and speaking in understanding oneself as a vector of our times, fusing past and future in one’s very works.

As a teacher I am deeply committed to the creation of a Space of Possibilities for the people I work with.


 

Daria Fain

DARIA FAIN 

EDUCATION AND INFLUENCES:

Daria Faïn is an acclaimed New York director and choreographer originally from Antibes, France. Her work fuses her European cultural background with three decades of practice in Asian philosophies of the body, American dance training as well ancient Greek theater. From this diverse background, Faïn has developed a unique movement and performance approach. She studied the classical Indian dance form Bharatha Natyam for five years in Paris with Amala Devi and in Madras, India with Swarnamuckie (State dancer of Tamil Nadu, 1982). In India she also studied the co-relationship between this classical form of dance and temple architecture. She was deeply influenced by her work with the Butoh-based artist Min Tanaka. With a grant from the French Ministry of Culture she studied at the Graham School in NYC from 1984 to1986. She has been certified in the Alexander Technique since 1991, and has been an instructor of the Universal Healing Tao (Mantak Chia Chinese Chi Kung University) since 2001 and studies Martial Arts with Master Allen Frank from 2007-2010. Faïn has also extensively researched the reciprocal influence between architecture and human behavior, and has given lectures on Swiss-born architect and urbanist Le Corbusier. Over the years Faïn’s choreographic research has led her to work with people with mental illness, the developmentally disabled, and blind-deaf individuals, leading to a complex understanding of the body as a endless resource of knowledge.

PERFORMANCES:

Over the course of her career, Faïn she has presented 17 evening-length performances and numerous other short works, installations, durational performance and improvisations. She founded, designed, and built the multidisciplinary arts center and performance space Atelier Trigon with architect/poet Robert Kocik in Paris in 1990, and served as its Artistic Director from 1990-1994. In 2006, with Robert Kocik, Faïn co-founded The Prosodic Body: a new field of research that explores language as sound, embodiment and utmost expression. In 2008 they also co-founded The Commons Choir, a core and variable cast of roughly 30 singers, actors, composers and people

In New York, Faïn's work has been presented and commissioned: by BRIC Arts | Media House (AIR 2015-2017), Gibney Dance (2014), The Poet's House and River to River Festival (2014), New York Live Arts (2013), Dance Theater Worksop (2011), Danspace Project (2006, 2008, 2010), The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (2008, 2010, 2014), The Kitchen (1996, 2004), Movement Research (1996, 2001, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010), The Rubin Museum (2008) and The 92nd Street Y (2001).

AWARDS – GRANTS - COMMISSIONS

In 1979, Faïn received the Cultural Ministry Award from the Concours Internationale de Choregraphie de Bagnolet (France). In 1986 she received a special fellowship from the French Ministry of Urbanism’s Architecture Research Section. She has been awarded numerous grants from the French Ministry of Culture (1984-1986-1994). She has also received a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts (1994, 2008). Faïn’s work has been commissioned by the Foundation Cartier (Paris - 1996), the Ecole de Beaux Arts (Paris - 1996), and Marseille Objectif Danse (Marseille, France 2001 - 2004). In 2008 her Projects: THE EXTENT TO WHICH, THE PERINEUM: An Anechoic Darkroom, and The Commons Choir received funding from: Hip Up Foundation (Belgium), American Music Center: Live Music for Dance, New York State Cultural Affairs, James E Robison Foundation and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. For E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E, a piece commitioned by New York Live Arts 2012-13 her company, The Commons Choir, received funding from the Mertz Gilmore Fondation, New York Foundation for the Arts: BUILD Grant and the James E. Robison Foundation. Ms. Faïn was a Movement Research AIR in 2008-2010. The Commons Choir was Artists-In-Residence at BRIC Arts Media from 2015 to 2017 where mayday heyday parfait was premiered in the Ballroom Theater. Faïn is a Gibney DiP Artist In Residence through 2018. In 2016, Faïn and her partner poet Robert Kocik (co-founder of The Commons Choir) received the New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. The Commons Choir also received support for mayday heyday parfait from New Music USA, New York State Council of the Arts, the HipUP Foundation (Belgium) and a three-month residency from Exploring the Metropolis.

TEACHING

Faïn has been a faculty member at Movement Research since 2005, and she has taught master classes and workshops at institutions across the United States, including The New School (2015), Harvard University (2011), Trisha Brown Studio (2008), New York University (1999, 2001, 2010, 2015), Tulane University (1998), Adelphi University, Rutgers University (2010), Cooper Union (1986), and Sarah Lawrence College (2009).

Faïn has also taught at Independent Dance in London and Tanzfabric in Berlin (2017).

Faïn has developped her independent teaching practice since 2000 and has trained many professional dancers and choreographers. She now runs her own certification program in New York.

In Europe Faïn has taught at the University of Architecture Unit Paris 8 (1987), and at the Technische Universität in Berlin (1988).

WRITING

Her writing has frequently been published in the Movement Research Performance Journal.

www.dariafain.net

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