Articles and Writings About the Technique:
Who’s movement is it anyway?
Funny the things people say. I’d been thinking recently about the title of this blog. Is it “mykleintechniqueobsession”? or should it be “mymahlertechniqueobsession”?? And then yesterday, someone said to me
well you know that it’s all Bartenieff Fundamentals???
Well yes, I was aware of the influence, because Barbara has referenced particular exercises as being Irmgard Bartenieff’s. And I think it is true to say that when people study, they generally find themselves learning stuff from others, and Bartenieff was a hugely influential figure in the field of movement. But I must admit, there was a slight implication that BF had been hijacked and renamed, which I found very strange and slightly protectionist.
What is in a name? An awful lot. It doffs a cap in the direction of the person responsible for the increased volume of knowledge around a particular area of study. And it is important to acknowledge the progression of ideas through time and people. It becomes a heritage – but for this heritage to be of value, it needs to be understood and passed on to others. Kept alive and relevant.
In our hunger for our next installment, it is easy to forget that the handling of the inheritance is as important as what is being doled out. And how knowledge is passed on from one person to another is crucial. This passing on of the baton needs to come with the blessing of new possibility, for it to be a truly generous gift.
“Well, you see, there are many possibilities!…”
Irmgard Bartenieff got it right there.
In her book, Making Connections, Peggy Hackney says
I want to give work that has been totally fluid a bit more substance momentarily
and that is where her book is so valuable. She does just that, in a clear and accessible way, that immediately extends the work – by inviting new possibility. And the work goes on, all over the world, in different forms, because of the very nature of this work itself. It doesn’t belong to any one person, it belongs to all of us and we will make sense of it as we will. You can’t propose the concept of “infinite possibility” and then expect to put a cap on it or even attempt to control what happens next. It is all Laban’s fault. The themes proposed through this work are both personal and universal simultaneously, and that is why they feels so relevant to so many people.
And I am loving being part of this world of possibility, learning about the body and how it moves, with Barbara Mahler. She manages this fusion of personal and universal so well. In her work, she is developing a language that is very reduced, that guides people through a process of learning that operates on so many different levels. The simplicity of her direction, repeated almost verbatim in each class, has a sophistication that I am only just starting to appreciate. So people of very different levels of understanding can work alongside each other and gain just as much from each class. The clarity of her direction has different significance to different people, depending on their own level of understanding and experience. One direction, so many possibilities. Who wants to control that?
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