Reflections on meaningful collaboration

Jaka Skapin (Musical Director for the CID Project) reflects on the first session of the project

by Jaka Skapin

Jaka Skapin (Musical Director for the CID Project) reflects on the first session of the project

Reaching Into The Dance Circle 

As a musical accompanist, it often feels that what I’m doing and providing is as an enabler – I should be as supportive and flexible as possible. Often from behind a piano this creates a one way stream of energy that can sometimes feel separative, no matter how joyous the music and the present moment are. Even from a physical perspective, the musician is usually on the outside line of the dance circle, which might also mean that she/he is on the outside line of the action / focus / community 

This might sound negative but is is definitely something I’ve been thinking about after our first session, and for all the good reasons! I think it’s great to explore the hidden edges of community dance and music work in an interdisciplinary setting and have the opportunity to ask questions that usually would not have been asked. In this way, we can truly understand the needs and relationship between all the collaborators that met, meet and will be meeting on the studio floor. 

When thinking about inclusivity of feeling and physical involvement between the dance and the music, the first thing that comes to mind is set-up and intention. In this particular case we have the pleasure of working in a spacious studio which allowed us to position the three musicians (drums, vocals, guitar – “band”) closer to the centre of the space on an imagined stage while the dancers filled the area that would usually be reserved for the audience. This created a semi-performance setting and really blended the distinction between the sessions’s presentation and class nature. 

Secondly, the project’s main creative tool is freedom of individuality versus collective group work – unison and community against individual improvisation. The improvisation allows the music to fully sprout from the moment and more directly affect, support and work with the group. From showcasing participant’s names to narrating the actions and possible intentions, it felt like the sound was fully merging with the flow of the workshop and managed to provide even more support and drive than usual. The crispness and freshness of the sung words as well as the harmonic and rhythmical underpinning served as the perfect bed for exploration that I have never seen it before.

Wider, deeper and braver, well done everyone!