Propositions for the Verge ~
William Forsythe’s Choreographic Objects

by Erin Manning

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Take One – Counterpoint algorithm, Eidos: Telos Part 3 (William Forsythe, 1995). [1]

Proposition: Effect an orientation shift. Shift the relationship of your torso to the floor by 90 degrees moving through plié. Take the shape or path of the movement and translate it through your body so that it happens in another area of your body.

Proposition: Drop a Curve. Take any point on your body and, guided by the skeletal-muscular mechanics inherent in the body’s position, drop that point to its logical conclusion following a curved path. Reconfigure the body or set it in motion in a way that varies from the original sequence.

Proposition: Unfold with Inclination Extension. Create a line between elbow and hand. Extend that line by leaving your forearm where it is in space and manoevering your body to create a straight line between shoulder and hand.

It Starts from Any Point

In Forsythe’s choreographic practice, propositions play a central role. They elicit action in an environment of change in which choreography is a multiplying ecology governed by the specificity of a co-constituting environment. "Choreography’s manifold incarnations are a perfect ecology of idea-logics; they do not insist on a single path to form-of-thought and persist in the hope of being without enduring" (Forsythe, 2008: 5). Direction by exception, choreography develops in the incipiency of the in-between, spurred by tendencies that waver between the rekindling of habit and the tweaking of a contrast which beckons the new. Choreographic practice invents from what does not seem feasible, creating through the vectors of experimentation.

Choreography is not dance. It is a mistake to assign choreography to a specific human body. Bodies do not conform: they always exceed their composition. "Choreography and dancing are two distinct and very different practices" (Forsythe, 2008: 5). Choreography sets the stage for an ecology of movement events. It delimits the infinity of movement, subtracting from the realm of opportunity to create a singular vocabulary for change.

Forsythe asks: "is it possible for choreography to generate autonomous expressions of its principals, a choreographic object, without the body?" (Forsythe, 2008: 5). Choreography happens everywhere, all the time. The setting up of a room for the enjoyment of a household involves the creation of a movement constellation. It crafts opportunities for moving-through, creates invitations for sitting-with, provides incentive for getting-there-first. It forecasts an ideal place-taking: the perfect chair, the best view, the closest comfort. And it creates opportunities for difference: you can walk around the chair, dance on the couch, sleep under the television. Chances are, though, that your movements will take the space-as-is for granted, that you will return to the comfort of the position you prefer each time, that in time you will realize there are whole areas of the room you never really attend to. Habits set in. Even the cat is always in the same place. The space moves you in a way that does not force you to think. [2]

Such everyday choreographies highlight autonomous expressions of movement in the making, but are not necessarily creative of new opportunities. In a habitual environment, contrast is generally understated: the status-quo tends to delimit the range of potential experience. Creative autonomous opportunities are more likely to happen when an event alters how you experience space. You may decide to paint the room, taking out the furniture, only to realize that the orientation you’ve always taken in the space is not the most interesting one. It’s not the objects that have kept you from attending to spacetimes of creation in this particular environment. It’s that you forgot that objects have a life, that they create space. And that how the space moves you is synonymous with the eventness of its objects. In redecorating the room, perhaps you begin to pay more attention to how the objects create space, not simply how they configure an already existing spacetime of experience. Objects are not stable: they forecast the time of an event. " The choreographic object: a model of potential transition from one state to another in any space imaginable" (Forsythe, 2008: 6).

From Object to Objectile

Forsythes’s choreographic process creates conditions for events. When an object becomes the attractor for the event, it in-gathers the event toward the object’s dynamic capacity for reconfiguring spacetimes of composition. Forsythe’s choreographic objects tend to find one of their points of departure in the form of an everyday object: a balloon, a piece of cardboard, a castle. These “objects” are always part of an evolving ecosystem in Forsythe’s work. They extend beyond their objectness to become ecologies for complex environments that propose dynamic constellations of space, time and movement. These “objects” are in fact propositions co-constituted by the environments they make possible. They urge participation. Through the objects, spacetime takes on a resonance, a singularity: it becomes bouncy, it floats, it shadows. The object becomes a missile for experience that inflects a given spacetime with a spirit of experimentation. We could call these objects ‘choreographic objectiles’ to bring to them the sense of incipient movement their dynamic participation within the relational environment calls forth.

The objectile is like a cue for the resolution of an experience. It is what drives the experience to its final form. For this to happen, Forsythe cannot use just any object. The object has to be immanent to the event and active in its unfolding. It has to call forth participation in a way that is at once enticing and unthreatening. It has to give the object to the experience in a way that is slightly off from what we might expect. The object cannot be predictable in the environment and yet it has to be familiar enough to draw us in. Choreographic objects are an affordance that provokes a singular taking-form: the conjunctive force for the activity of relation.


Choreographic objects activate an environment for movement experimentation. The idea is to create an atmosphere that slightly tweaks the time of everyday movement, inviting it to tend toward the time of the event. Participants who enter The White Bouncy Castle [3] are not only transformed into ‘bouncing balls’ [4] generating a playfulness that inflects the environment, they also become participants in time of a different order: the time of experimentation.

Figure 1. White Bouncy Castle

The experience of experimentation calls forth the time of the event. The participants move because they are moved to do so, their attention aroused, their awareness tweaked, their engagement with the spacetime of the event altering the atmosphere of the space. White Bouncy Castle is more than a large platform for jumping: it effects a microperceptible change in the feeling of time, shifting the everydayness of time passing from the foregrounded measured time of habitual movement toward the durational time of play.

Choreographic objects provoke this time-slip in large part because they bring to the fore the role objects play in experience. Objects always resonate with pastness. The everyday objects Forsythe proposes for experimentation exist in an ecology of previous experience. Encountering a familiar object as a proposition for an experimental environment stimulates this experience of pastness even as it activates, in play, a tendency toward the new.

Experience is drawn forth by a pastness of the present. This pastness of the present is specious: it feels like the present even though it is already passing. When we actually perceive this pastness as the present in experience, Alfred North Whitehead calls it non-sensuous perception. This does not mean that we can only perceive through the mirage of what once was. It means that we are continually (roughly every half-second) experiencing a time-slip of experience that fields our current perceptions. [5] We perceive not from sense to sense, but from relation to relation. “The present moment is constituted by the influx of the other into that self-identity which is the continued life of the immediate past within the immediacy of the present” (Whitehead, 1933: 181). It is not the past as such or the object as such we perceive in the here-and-now. It is the activity of relation between different thresholds of spacetime. It is the object from the past in the configuration of the present. The then-with.

This is how the choreographic object works. Think of entering a room replete with mirrors that look like tables, reflecting a bright red floor (The Defenders, Part 2, 2008). [6] You enter the space perhaps a little nervously – events that demand participation can be stressful. You move cautiously, aware of your approach. Then, through the corner of your eye, you catch a different quality of movement: someone is having fun! You half turn your attention to the quality of ‘having fun’ and before you know it, your posture has shifted. You’re tending toward the fun. This movement-with becomes the initiating gesture toward the time of the event the choreographic object proposes. You suddenly no longer feel the pressure of a demand: if you did, you wouldn’t be so quick to move. You feel the event’s proposition. The proposition is felt as an invitation to experiment within the bounds of an ecology of practice that itself makes time felt. The choreographic object does this by bringing together the pastness of experience the objects evoke within the new constellation of event time. When an object no longer seems to be quite what you thought it was and the experience of time no longer feels as linear, it’s because the event is beginning to take over. No longer as concerned with your ‘self’, you are now experiencing the potential of the future mixed in with the resonance of the past: a futurity of pastness in the present. Play.

Figure 2 The Defenders (Part 2)

This experience is specious: it takes us into the time-slip of the event. This speciousness has a quality of fabulation: it enervates us toward the paradox of time and incites us to invent with time. [7] Choreographic objects draw us into this speciousness by infiltrating our experience with the verge of this doubling. If these were merely stable objects inhabiting already-constituted space, they wouldn’t have such a hold on us. We would walk right by them. They would exist in a predictable time. As it is, they exist in the between of a proposition and its eventness, inciting the participant to invent through them, to move with the experimentation of the propositon’s unfolding into the time of movement.

The speciousness of the present is due to the disjunction between experience and the consciousness of experience. What we experience as now is already being infested with a new ‘now’, this new now already slightly altering the experience of the last experience of now. Choreographic objects draw out this paradox of the linearity of measured time versus the duration of experiential time. “The practically cognized present is no knife-edge, but a saddle-back, with a certain breadth of its own on which we sit perched, and from which we look in two directions into time” (James, 1890: 609). The time-slip the choreographic object makes felt calls forth the additive and the subtractive aspect of experience. The time of the event is experienced as more-than what was before even as it is less-than what it could have been. Future and past entwined in a fabulous experience of the not-quite-now.

The Law of Contrast

Every conception of the new is the actualisation of a contrast. For Whitehead, contrast is a conduit to creativity. What the proposition calls for is not a newness as something never before invented, but a set of conditions that tweak experience in the making. Propositions are lures. They are a form of potential that alters the experiential vectorization of an actual occasion. A proposition is not something added to an occasion. It is how an occasion for experience holds within its potential the dynamics of singularity. This singularity is what Whitehead calls “a lure for feeling.” Propositions that incite creativity lure difference into the pact of their unfolding through the tweaking of the occasion. This tweaking brings about the resolution of potentiality and actuality while leaving a trace of the virtual nonetheless. This is the subtraction in the addition, the more-than less-than of experience.

A proposition changes the terms of the relation, bringing them into new configurations. When Forsythe proposes: “drop a curve,” what he means is “reconfigure the habit, move through contrast.” If you tend to drop through your side, creating a curve from hip to shoulder, begin there. But go elsewhere with it. Put eyes in the back of your head and find yourself curving from back to knee. You might mistake this for a simple demand. You might think it’s an option. Do this or do that.

This is not the case. Whitehead’s concept of the proposition does not find its voice in an already-conceived language. “Spoken language,” Whitehead warns, “is merely a series of squeaks” (Whitehead, 1978: 264). Language by itself means little. “The vagueness of verbal statement is such that the same form of words is taken to represent a whole set of allied propositions of various grades of abstractness” (1978: 193). When language moves us, it is because it operates in relation, becoming-propositional. A proposition can unfold in language, but not as an additive to an already-stable matrix of denotation. Propositions alter the ground of active relations between language, affect and gesture (to name a few), intensifying, attenuating, inhibiting, transmuting not meaning as such, but the affective force of the time-slip of experience.

This time-slip of experience, felt as ‘now’ because contrasted from ‘then’, is propositional when experience registers as feeling. You can curve all you want, but only when you curve in a way that transforms how you move will the curve have become a proposition for a moving body. As Whitehead repeats: “the proposition constitutes what the feeling has felt” (Whitehead, 1978: 186).

For a feeling to feel, contrast must be registered: “admission of the selected elements in the lure, as felt contraries, primarily generates purpose” (Whitehead, 1938: 188). This registering is not necessarily conscious. “A felt “contrary” is consciousness in germ” (1938: 188). Consciousness is on the verge of registering the feeling felt when the now and the now become differentiable. “Our sense of time, like other senses, seems subject to the law of contrast” (James, 1890: 618). Even the experience of the living room holds contrast in germ in a readyness to activate the habit of the everyday. Contrast underlies every here and now.

Contrast is akin to creative advance. To have felt a body developing beyond what you thought a body could do is to know-feel its differing. This differing is stimulated by a movement-generating proposition, now alive on the nexus of the embodiment of lived experience. From actual to potential, from occasion to nexus of experience, propositions are potentials for future feeling.

A proposition elicits a pattern that envelops the occasion into a potential for contrast. This contrast is not a contrast between two already-givens. It is contrast awakened from within the potential of the occasion. A proposition is never general and thus never proposes a general state of affairs. Drop a curve! is aimed at the specificity of a configuring body, a body becoming cognizant of the potential of curving matter-form. It creates a contrast in an ecological sense: the body positions spacetime differently, fielding the curving of spacetime in a new way. The contrast is felt through the creation of a new sensation which now permeates the atmosphere which is body/spacetime/movement. Propositions alter the affective tonality of the event, their participation in the event akin to an immanent inclination in the conditions of its emergence (Whitehead, 1978: 194). A choreographic proposition is a new concept for choreography because it “alter[s] the temporal condition of the ideas incumbent in the acts” (Forsythe, 2008: 7). The ideas incumbent in the acts are the immanent conditions for novelty. They are the idea-logics of the movements of thought that call forth the choreographic articulation. Ideas are eco-logical. To repeat: they “do not insist on a single path to form-of-thought” (2008: 5). They propose not an outcome in itself, but a contrast. This contrast tweaks a persistent dynamic. The proposition moves us.

From Time to Time

Propositions bridge the specious time of the present, extending the experience of the here-and-now beyond its culmination toward the experiencing of its effects. The specificity and singularity of propositions is not a gathering into the time-slip of the half-second. It is the active experience of event time.

Go back to the curve. Say you’re dancing it. You are now on stage, performing Eidos:Telos. You move the movement as it comes, drawn in by choreographic principles, folding through propositions. Suddenly the movement curves you. You experience a strange déjà-vu. But it’s not a déjà-vu – it’s a déjà-felt. This déjà-felt is not a returning to the past. It is a re-experiencing in the present. You can’t quite put your finger on what you’re feeling, or even where you’ve felt it before. But you know you’re dancing the dance – the movement is moving you with the resonance of having-been danced, as though this movement had passed through you before. This déjà-felt is an experience of the uncanniness of the doubling of experiential time where time is actively in the now of the before and the will have become of the same now. You are not dancing in the past. You are dancing the past’s feeling doubling with the present feeling. You are dancing two spacetimes at once, moving the between. This is the time of the event, neither here nor there: dancing the interval.

A proposition creates the conditions for tapping into this intensive interval of the between. It inflects the occasion, creating a relational matrix that transforms the singular elements into a network of potential. It creates an appetite for experience within the event itself. It is neither true nor false. It is absolutely what it becomes. And this becoming is a cut. A proposition moves through the occasion provoking an in-gathering of intensities toward unfolding that are moulded by the enabling constraints of the event’s composition. These enabling constraints are not rules as much as active parameters carving out an atmosphere for the event’s potential realization.

The time of the event is propositional. Propositions are alive in the relational now of experience even as they extend beyond their nowness to participate in occasions to come. They are renewable as qualities for relational experience, even as they are singular in their present iteration. Propositions vacillate between actual and virtual time. On the one hand, their effects are felt in the specious present’s “vaguely vanishing backward and forward fringe” (James, 1890: 613). On the other, they make felt the uncanniness of experience’s thresholds: “A succession of feelings, in and of itself, is not a feeling of succession” (1890: 628). Through the proposition, we feel the force of the clinching of the event as the nowness of the with-then of experience. [8]
Unsustainable Time

Time is unsustainable. Forsythe explains:

I am inclined to believe that because we are bodies and possess perceptive mechanisms we also have time. I suspect our ability to construct time is predicated on the manner in which the body integrates its perceptions and upon the action necessary to generate these perceptions. The characteristic I would most associate with bodily time is the unsustainable. Nothing in the body can be sustained indefinitely. [Interview, 2008]

What is unsustainable is the experience of time in-itself. To manage this unsustainability, we tend to approach event-time as though it could be parceled out in manageable quantities of distinct presents, pasts or futures. But despite our best efforts, event-time remains unsustainable. Event-time is a miring in the multiplicity of now –  the now that has passed, the now that is passing and the now that will have been, each phase of nowness contributing to the occasion at hand. To be in-time is to experience the uncanniness of being with the past in the future toward the present. Time as duration is unmeasurable, unknowable as such, unsustainable in experience.

Experiential time is always time of the event. Outside the event, there is no experience of lived time: potential contrasts have not yet gelled into actualization. Here, time is durational in the purest sense: virtual plenitude. When the event takes form, the signature of an actualizing event-time emerges that sets time-as-now in motion. This time-signature [9] situates the event in a specious present. The difference between time in everyday life-events and time as activated through choreographic objects is simply the quality of making felt the time of the occasion for the taking time of experiencing the now. Amidst the time collisions of everyday, the taking-time for the now is often backgrounded. By foregrounding the singular time of the event, choreographic objects make time for experimentation.

Quantifiable time operates through the has-been of experience in the mode of time counted. Event-time is the feltness of experience in the time-slip of the now. The difference: one is measured after the fact, one is felt in the nowness of lived experience. Choreography works with both. Quantifying the time of a movement allows for repetition, the setting into sequence of a measurable component of movement technique. The paradox: the repetition will always be a re-creation in-time. Each repetition of a movement sequence will requalify the time of the event: the repetition will activate a new time-signature for the movement’s duration. Every return to the same will be a return to difference, a spiralling deviation into the multiplying time-slip that activates the now in the midst of many thens. No choreography is actually made to measure.

Forsythe writes: “Bodies in dance are time machines, time is the exquisite product of the dancing body” (Forsythe, 2008: 111). In Forsythe’s work, time-machines often stand-in as propositions for generating movement. Using both quantitative methods (clocks, watches, metronomes) and qualitiative devices (varying the volume and melody of a voice while counting, altering the duration and rhythms of the counts), Forsythe plays with the double time of movement. Working this way foregrounds both the additive and the subtractive aspect of movement: quantifiable time measures the spacetime of performance, creating a platform for repetition; qualitative time extrudes movement’s duration, creating an ecology of movement, space and time for lived experience. Foregrounding this doubling of future-pastness in alternate modes of counting time adds consistency to the experience and perception of moving. To move is to feel-with the varying velocities of time’s multiple rhythms. Time, moving us, moving time.

A perception is not propelled by a subject who exists outside the occasion. Perception is not the perception of something: it does not stand outside an event already-constituted. A perception – or prehension, in Whitehead’s vocabulary – is the activity that propels into relation that which will become an occasion. It is the actualizing becoming-eventness of catching in the passing the coincidence of matter-form that is always less-than and more-than an object-as-such. It is less-than because prehended is only that aspect of the relation which provokes this singular actual occasion. It is more-than because the relationality inherent in the prehension calls forth more than the it-ness of the object as such. Addition and subtraction in the same perceiving movement. Then the subject emerges, not a perceiving subject, but a subjectile that culminates through the eventness of the perception’s concrescence into an actualized form. Whitehead calls this subjective form. [10] What culminates is the merging of virtual microevents into an occasion for experience. This occasion for experience takes time even as it makes time: it contributes to experience even as it continues to resonate through the virtual nexus of its emergence and completion.

Nik Hafner, a former dancer for the Frankfurt Ballet, discusses the overlapping use of metric and durational time in Forsythe’s choreographic process: “In William Forsythe’s pieces, we continuously find people or objects that mark time and remind us of the time-duration of their structures: watches, counters, step-makers” (Hafner, 2004: 133). What strikes Hafner is that despite the use of many instruments for quantifiable measure, Forsythe’s interest seems to lie less in the measurability of time (and the body’s coordination to that measure) than in “events that are, given their timely complexity, unreproducible” (2004: 135). Forsythe’s experimentation with the time of movement is diagrammatic. Rather than simply treating quantified time as the organising node for choreography’s expression, he urges his dancers to become flexible in different time zones. He suggests, for instance, that they create diagrams for the superimposition of different experiences of time, both measured and durational. These diagrams can begin with something as simple as a schedule that corresponds to “precise spaces on the stage as well as further information about the kind of height-level (low/middle/high) of the improvisation” to end up as multi-layered drawings and foldings that convey how measure and duration coexist in the activity of creating bodies of time (2004:136).

Diagrams for Dance

For Forsythe’s dancers, diagrams are generative propositions for the activation of folds of time at the intersection of duration and measure. A diagrammatic approach is useful for registering the complexity of co-constitutive spacetimes of experience and expression. Dana Casperson, long-standing dancer with the Frankfurt Ballet and the Forsythe Company explains: “Bill’s dancing is extremely complex and organic, and the key to understanding how to do his choreography lies in figuring out which points on his body are initiating movement and which are responding to the initiation” (Casperson, 2000: 27). These quick transitions between micromovements are like “refractions [of] light bounding between surfaces” (2000: 27).

Capturing the bounce is an event in itself. This is where diagrams come in. Casperson and Hafner both write of Forsythe’s ALIE/N A(CTION) Part 1 (1992) as an example of a piece that necessitates the crafting of a diagrammatic proposition.
Here, we have an example of diagrammatic praxis. [11]

We took sheets of transparent paper, drew shapes on them, and cut geometric forms into them which we folded back to create a 3D surface that could reveal surfaces underneath. We layered this on top of the book page, a flattened projection of the Laban cube, and a computer generated list of times organized into geometric shapes (created by David Kern and Bill). Then we photocopied it. We then drew simple geometric forms onto these copies and repeated the whole process until we had a layered document. We used this document first to generate movement (Casperson, 2000:  28, image below p. 29)

Figure 3 Diagram for ALIE/N A(C)TION [12]

Diagrammatic praxis works with ontogenetic prearticulations of co-existent tendencies overlapping toward the creation of new vectors. [13] In the case of the process of creating diagrams for movement exploration, these ontogenetic tendencies are also biogrammatic: of the becoming-body. [14] Sher Doruff explains: “the biogrammatic is synergetic with what might be called diagrammatic praxis and can be considered ontogenetic to performing arts practice as it emphasizes the experience of practice becoming perception through differential relations” (Doruff, 2008: 16).

Diagrammatic propositions invest in what Gilles Deleuze, following Michel Foucault, calls the “thought of the outside.” This concept of the outside must not be placed in a dichotomous relation with a putative inside. The outside refers to forces “that we might understand as the roiling and threatening forces of chaos” (Deleuze, 1986: 43). The outside is the force field of potential from which actual occasions are subtracted, the more-than of the less-than of lived experience. The Frankfurt Ballet’s diagrammatic propositions capture the prearticulations of these forces, flirting with their potential, activating choreographic practice toward the as yet unthought-for-experimentation. The diagrams are not descriptive of a process to be followed. They are transductive: they call forth jumps in register, inciting new processes at each juncture – from writing to movement, from fold to flight. Folding techniques for the paper do not simply translate into folding techniques for the body. They create potential biograms – affective openings for the transformation of a body in process. To do this, the diagrammatic fold itself must first take on resonance, find its experiential force within the composition at hand. Through a tight interweaving of divergent forms of process, what ensues is the individuation of a becoming-event spurred by the superimposition of paper-times and movement-folds transduced into the unfolding biogram of movement composition.

A technique used by the Forsythe ballet to bring into expression the transduction of processes for making time in dance takes the form of what Hafner calls the “step-maker”. Step-makers take part in many of Forsythe’s choreographies. Their role is to initiate or comment on “the changing velocity and dynamics of the piece” (Hafner, 2004: 137). Choreographic tempo is gauged by the step-maker’s movement such that the piece itself becomes imbued with their rhythms, affecting the felt duration of movement-time for the rest of the dancers. Step-maker: dancing proposition for the transduction from measure to duration, from time-counting to time-texturing.

Diagrammatic propositions paired with choreographic predispositions result in the creation of a complex spacetime of experience that in itself cannot be mapped. “The resulting structure has a time complexity that […] could not have been created by any one person, the many simple parts having recombined in unforeseeable ways because of innumerable decisions made by the many involved” (Casperson, 2000: 34). I would push this even further, suggesting that what is emergent in the Forsythe Company’s work is not a complex map of decisions but a biogrammatic cartography of incipient tendencies taking form. These are not decisions in the standard sense of being willed by the dancer. [15] They are activating cuts immanent to the process of making movement, each of which foregrounds contrasting outcomes. They are the eventness of tendencies concrescing in the timeslip of the new, spurred into invention by the ecology of the dance itself.

The Speed of Movement

Nik Hafner describes a practice session with Forsythe: Hafner is working on a jump he feels isn’t working. He thinks he has the timing wrong. Forsythe suggests that it “isn’t the speed of the movement itself, but its stopping, the arrival, the reaching of the new position” that is at stake (Hafner, 2004: 138). Still, the movement continues to be missing something. Bill tries a different tact, explaining that “the end of the movement is not a real stopping”, suggesting to Hafner that to execute the movement successfully, he should continue “to think the movement after the so-called Stop, that I should let the movement slowly endlessly grow” (2004: 138).

Movement never stops. Every movement resonates with its incipient preacceleration and its potential surplus or remainder, active in a contagion of speeds and slownesses. A ‘first’ movement is not ‘the beginning’. It is the activation of a differing velocity. Take a dynamic jump. Your preparation for the movement already carries within its posture the movement leading up to it and the immanent complexity of all the potential movement articulations activating your corpuscular universe. Most of these tendencies will fall away when you jump – the specificity of the movement at hand requires that only jump-derivative configurations of proprioceptive, muscular and thought processes be active. These jump-specific preaccelerations will incite the materialization of a fusing-together of jump potential before you actually leave the ground: you will already experience an inclination to move – a virtual interval on the verge of actualization – that sets the stage for the displacement to take place. [16] In this inclination toward jumping – the jump’s preacceleration – there will already be a feeling of shifting ground as well as a pre-feeling of a landing site (Arakawa and Gins, 2002). This landing site is less a point in space than what Deleuze calls a ‘decisive turn’ (Deleuze, 1988: 27). You are jumping not toward an actual site. You are preaccelerating into an evolution of site that immanently alters the very quality of taking off. The jump is less a jump-as-such than a dynamic co-experiencing of varying velocities in preacceleration and extension.

To jump successfully is to jump-through the singularity of jumping experience. It is to invite the thinking-feeling Forsythe emphasizes – the thought of the movement endlessly growing after it ends – into the movement even before the displacement through space has taken form. To jump well is to move-through velocities too quick to know. It is to move-with the durational process of the time of movement as event. The jump-as-such – displacement through space - never represents the totality of our experience. We live the jump-event. From incipient movement to incipient movement with the experience of velocity in between, the jump cannot be felt in-time.

“Bill spends a lot of training time teaching us about the quality of different speeds and instructing us on the change of tempo as felt in our bodies” (Hafner, 2004: 139). To feel time is not only about timing. Timing is an organizational factor of any choreography, and especially of the relation between choreography and stagecraft. But there is much beyond timing that exploits the rhythms active in the transitions between micromovements in the making and movement taking form. In an attempt to accentuate the microeventness of movement-time, Forsythe sounds the movement:

when Bill himself dances during practice, he often translates the movement vocally into a kind of wordless singing, in order to assist us not only in visually showing the smallest change in tempo and movement dynamic through his body, but also underscoring it acoustically (Hafner, 2004: 140).

Forsythe sings the rhythm of movement taking form, making experiential the folds of what cannot be perceived as such. These folds of micromovements are virtual contributions on the verge of actual movement. No actual taking-form of movement could occur without an infinity of micromovements active in the preacceleration and the deployment of a singular movement’s form-taking. Micromovements are akin to the unsustainable in time – impossible to grasp and maintain – yet absolutely key to how movement resolves itself as a taking-form. When he sings movement, what Forsythe is sounding is not a body dancing a particular movement, but the speed of lived folding. Folding-through is what moves the sounding.

Movement-time is the event cluster of a gathering into experience of the time-slip of measurable time and the durational experience of micromoving. Each movement is a line of flight caught in the between of imperceptible micromovements and actual movement taking form. How a movement develops depends on the how of its micromovements’ ingressions into the taking form of the time of the event. Micromovements make all the difference. Take a line: elbow-shoulder. This line could be drawn as a vector, or could be a curve inflected toward an inclination. Experimenting with it is to discover not only different opportunities for lines and curves and angles, but to sense the almost-perceptible microperceptions of difference in kind.

[T]he determination of each “line” involves a sort of contradiction in which apparently diverse facts are grouped according to their natural affinities, drawn together according to their articulation. But, on the other hand, we push each line beyond the turn, to the point where it goes beyond our own experience… (Deleuze, 1988: 27).

When we move beyond our own experience, when we sound out the in-between, we are treading into the unsustainable arena of microperception. We can get lost here. If we do, no singularity of movement will result. The singularity of movement resides not in the actualization of a movement’s micromovements as such but in the manner in which micromovements contribute to the movement’s taking form. The decisive turn through which a constellation of micromovements congeal into a singularity might come when the line elbow-shoulder takes on velocity and we feel a newness of experience through the contrast of habit and difference. When our body is no longer a containor for movement but a force for the transduction of movement. To experiment with this beyond of experience where movement singularities are emergent is to invent-with a becoming-body. “When we have benefited in experience from a gleam which shows us a line of articulation, all that remains is to extend it beyond experience” (Deleuze, 1988: 27;translation modified). The decisive turn of the extension beyond experience is the point of inflexion where line becomes curve and proposition becomes movement.

As an audience, we also experience movement’s contrast more than its taking-form. When the dancer raises her arm, we see not the raising but the having-been raised, and even then, if it was quick, we are not quite sure: was it really an arm raised or was it a jump? We feel the resonance of the microexpressions of movement in the creation of difference. This experience of contrast is felt through the perception of how the echo of a remainder that is the incipience of the movement passing wells into the singularity of the next event. At dancing’s best, this verging on the new is felt intensively, transforming a series of steps into an ecology of experience. If captivated, we become participants in event-time.

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