Saturday, March 06, 2010
Here's how it works:
Gaga is a new way of gaining knowledge and self awareness through your body. Gaga is a new way for learning and strengthening your body, adding flexibility, stamina and agility while lightening the senses and imagination. Gaga raises awareness of physical weaknesses, awakens numb areas, exposes physical fixations and offers ways for their elimination. Gaga elevates instinctive motion, links conscious and subconscious movement. Gaga is an experience of freedom and pleasure. In a simple way, a pleasant place, comfortable close, accompanied by music, every person with himself and others.
Apparently, in preparing for the current Broadway production of The Miracle Worker, the actor playing Helen was coached by a professional purveyor of Gaga. Says the Gaga coach:
“For scenes like that we have to help Abby’s body find a new way of being — the way she moves, the way she sits, the way she reacts to Annie — so that the audience will not feel so familiar with the ways that Abby’s Helen acts and reacts,” Ms. Sher said. “Abby, Kate [Whoriskey, the play’s director] and I want the audience to feel that Helen could do something unpredictable, wild or scary at any moment.”
The blogger at Dancing Perfectly Free (linked to above) describes what they did in the Gaga workshop:
We started standing in silence, finding multi-dimensionality in the chest in order to breathe more freely while gently shifting our weight from one leg to the other. Some of the prompts and instructions included: finding quivers at the center of your body and allowing them to move outward to your limbs, back, neck, and even to your voice; melting into the floor and then moving as if you’re standing, but using the floor’s gravity; lifting your bones away from your flesh; sensing a cloud around your body while feeling the earth below your feet; imagining a pool of water in your stomach and a pole that connects your arms by running through your chest.
Gaga is not the only movement discipline to come out of Israel of interest with actors. Feldenkrais is a very powerful modality, comparable to the Alexander technique. It was created by Moshe Feldenkrais, who was a phyicist and a Judo master. There is also the martial art Krav Maga. Martial arts are fantastic ways for actors to develop strength, responsiveness, agility, focus, and groundedness.