TUNING UP FROM THE Inside, Out / by Kiersten Nash

For the first 20 minutes of Physical Training, half of us closed our eyes and allowed Rachel Lehrer to guide us into the unknown, while the other half watched.

Physical Training Workshop: Warm Up. Parsons The New School for Design. New York, NY, 2012. Photos courtesy of Jason Rupert.

It was a risk to begin the workshop with an exercise that required such vulnerability, but it worked! I was astounded at individual's ability to roll with it, to embrace the adventure. Seriously for the most part, people really enjoyed the process! I attribute this result to the following:

Finding the Familiar within the Unfamiliar  I reserved a studio on the 12th floor of the building for our workshop rather than our classroom. Not surprisingly, the change of environment dramatically shifted the individual and collective dynamics. The formal elements of the studio—a flat open space with tall ceilings and natural light flooding in through large windows—was a huge contrast to our classroom—a traditional stadium style lecture hall with fixed seating, no windows, and fairly awful florescent lighting. Finally, we were all standing on one level where we could move about freely and look one another in the eye. Within this unfamiliar architecture, we, as individuals in the DSB studio, became the familiar. Consequently, the new space contributed to our physical and psychological capacity to collectively step into the unknown of authentic movement. Searching for the familiar within the unfamiliar seems like and innate response that could be leveraged in a variety of ways to either increase, decrease, or challenge adaptive capacities. tbc...

Simultaneously vulnerable and secure  Both Rachel and I were excited about the workshop. We'd dedicated a considerable amount of time to planning, knew what we intended to accomplish with this warm-up exercise, and yet had no idea how it might unfold in action. We were excited. Not anxious. Confident that what we were offering was valuable but inherently vulnerable considering this was entirely unfamiliar territory.