On the verge between dance and theatre. Maria Chiara de’ Nobili

I am Maria Chiara de’ Nobili, freelance dancer and choreographer working in Dresden. Thanks to DIS-TANZ-SOLO I get the chance to dig deeper into my artistic interests.  Since April I am researching on the intersections of dancing and acting practices to develop a personal artistic language nourishing my choreographic aesthetics, and combining movement, spoken word, voice, and physical expressions. Said artistic language should result in an original choreographic toolbox, implanting acting practices in the choreographic research. In fact, I believe that acting training is essential as it enriches the expressive tools of a dancer’s body. Then which tools could be transformed and adapted from both dance and theatre to develop a personal artistic language?

Being a dancer/choreographer I had to start by getting a closer view of acted theatre. To do so, I read about famous theatre practitioners/directors such as Konstantin Stanislavsky, Samuel Beckett, Bertolt Brecht, Sanford Meisner, Keith Johnstone and others. By reading Meisner and Stanislavsky I discovered that the actor must play the role in its absolute emotional truth and most genuine psychological depth, going through a process of self-transformation, breaking the obstructing patterns of habits to do so. Through readings such as “Impro (Improvisation and the Theatre)” from Keith Johnstone I got more familiar with the improvisation tools/methods given to actors at the beginning of a creative process to help them generate characters and relationships.
In addition I had to acquire practical experience on acted-theatre and its methods. That is why I started training as an actress with Frédéric Coupet.

In 2000, Frédéric trained to the evolved method of Stanislavsky, used by Ariane Mnouchkine, among others. During our sessions I took the role of the actor and let him lead me through acting improvisation exercises aimed at character generation and the development of trust between actor and director. We started from the body and its motion in space to then develop intentions, specific situations and characters. In the end, we had built up a repertoire of theatre improvisations. The next research step will be to involve dancers/actors to question and analyze all new discoveries. The research result shall allow performers to get easier access to multidisciplinary creative processes and aesthetics, ideally making it easier for them to store necessary information such as their characters’ intention, attitude, personality, and physicality. Furthermore, it would represent an important base for individual growth by supporting me as a choreographer and director for all upcoming creations.

1 Response

  1. Very exciting!
    I came into dance through physical theatre and I feel that my work oscillates between them. I ask myself when do I need more of the one or more of the other.
    Looking forward to reading more about your findings!

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