AN INVITATION TO PEDAGOGUES FROM AMY RUSSELL…
This invitation is dedicated to those who love the theatre of the classroom, who revel in the vivid, unconventional and truthful performance that arises from the art of pedagogy.
AN ART FORM…
A “pedagogue” is literally a guide – one who navigates and accompanies the development of another’s learning experience. The process is transformational and immensely creative - and because it is relational - it is mutual.
This pedagogy, which we refer to as “Embodied Poetics,” is a new iteration of a lineage of teachings synthesized by Jacques Lecoq.
Tributaries to this lineage are the work of Jacques Copeau and Suzanne Bing, the disciplines of mime and pantomime, and the masked theatre traditions of Europe: Greek tragedy, Commedia dell’Arte, bouffon and clown.
Jacques Lecoq synthesized these influences with groundbreaking creativity and potency, and distilled their ethos. This is a pedagogy of creation in which life itself, life-as-movement, is the ultimate point of reference. Lecoq summarized this ethos - tout bouge… everything moves.
Lecoq referred to the two years of the pedagogy as two voyages. The first voyage is towards life-as-movement and is based on mimesis. The second voyage is towards art, a distillation of life’s movements into meaning.
Each voyage has similar elements of praxis:
- Movement work: immersive, then analytical, then applicable
- Improvisation work: closely related to the movement work, a discovery of movement in theatrical forms
- Devised work: pedagogically structured to cohere with the first two, occurring in non-hierarchical, undifferentiated creative ensembles through which the participant discovers their happiest role in theatrical creation as well as their own theatre, the “theatre of the future”.
In parallel, the praxis of the LEM (Laboratoire de l’Étude de Mouvement – Laboratory for the Study of Movement) structures movement into objects. This work is literally the “masking” of movement, creating what Lecoq referred to as “portable architecture”. The resulting objects can be seen as masks, scenographies, second bodies or puppets, but never “costumes” or “props”.
Our team assembles experts in these pedagogic practices. By dint of teaching experience and our own creative work, we have each arrived at a point of reflection on this pedagogy which enables us not only to train initiates, but also those who are or would become pedagogues themselves.
I am the lead guide of both voyages. I trained with M. Lecoq as a pedagogic student in his third, pedagogic year, and I subsequently founded and co-founded threes schools based on this pedagogic structure. My colleagues accompany and complement every step of the course with their own areas of expertise:
- Movement analysis
- Écriture - the writing that derives from physical improvisation, the text itself being the trace of this movement
- The LEM which we call “the Laboratory for Embodied Space”
Additionally, we explore:
The movement of Voice
Playfulness and Flow, which prepare the ground for improvisation
The putting-into-movement of existing text
The study of the dynamics of creative groups, Group Process
In weekly Pedagogic Seminars, the theory of the pedagogy, derived from direct and immersive experience during the week, is analyzed and discussed so that training pedagogues understand what the themes of the pedagogy are designed to bring to light. As M. Lecoq once said to his pedagogic students, “Anyone can give a student a theme, but what will they say to the student afterwards?”
A MOVEMENT OF THEATRE ARTISTS FOR A THEATRE OF MOVEMENT
In training in the pedagogy of Embodied Poetics, you join a global community of practitioners who are – perhaps increasingly – aware that life and art can’t be held separate. Movement, which characterizes us as individuals and in which we play different roles, also unites us. We invite you to join our movement…