Early on in our planning process with Moon, we decided to use minimal text in our communication with the audience during the performance event. Our aim was try to carry the choreographic process through with a set of symbols instead. These symbols would have a specific meaning for the dancers and help them develop their movement material. The audience would select these symbols for the dancers, becoming collaborators in the creative process.
In our quest to find the ‘right’ icons to represent certain spatial and dynamic elements, such as changing directions, travelling in a straight line, light or flickery, proved to be more difficult than expected. We invited dancers to select icons according to their associations. We soon realised that each person selected icons according to their personal associations and there were very few correlations between two people’s interpretation.
The only useful thing we learned from this research task was that most animal shapes could be used to represent space and dynamics. This is probably because animals often inhabit specific space, and a have certain quality to their movement, such as strong flowing movements deep in the sea, fluttery and erratic movements in the air. Animal icons, therefore, became the base for our selection of symbols for the first two interactions with the audience, which was further complemented with other symbols.
The icons to represent structural aspects, such as solo, duet, contact work, small group and unison – on the other hand – are based on the number of items on the symbol.
We will test these symbols during our first public beta next week. As we are not explaining these icons to the audience beforehand, I hope they will intrigue the audience to ‘solve the puzzle’ as part of the performance event. I am also curious to see whether we can create associations amongst the audience that will make them feel right for the purpose.