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Text, Rhythm, Action!
New Priorities in Historically Informed Performance
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Renaissance courtiers spent several hours each day training as swordsmen: to perform the emotions of early opera and Shakespeare’s theatre, we should experience the physical and mental conditioning that such training brings. More
The recitative of the first operas was not ‘free’ but rhythmic and dramatic, with a certain cool nonchalance: think of Ella Fitzgerald singing Shakespeare. More
Historical stagecraft is much more than just Baroque Gesture: it is full-body Action with the poise of a painting, the flow of a dancer and the power of a swordsman. More
Through collaboratories with historical dancers, swordmasters, performers, and experts in Alexander and Feldenkrais techniques, we are on the brink of establishing what might be quite a new connection, uniting the period concept of Pneuma - the mystic breath of passionate performance, and the divine breath of creation( think of Michelangelo’s “God creating Adam”) - with pneuma as the active substance in a body-network of proprioception, communication and energy. The concept could be compared to oriental Chi, but we are assembling evidence for it in Early Modern western Europe.
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