Guest post from Assistant Professor of Acting, Kerrie Seymour:

“I was so excited when I heard about Susan’s project. I mentioned to her that I often have wanted to use art pieces as a jumping-off point for movement work with my acting students. Susan and I then began a conversation about how some of our acting students here at Clemson could become a part of Tempos: Muse and Motion. And that is how the Viewpoints experiment was born.

Viewpoints is an approach to movement that was originally developed in the 70s by Mary Overlie, a choreographer. The Viewpoints were later expanded upon by theatrical pioneers Anne Bogart and Tina Landau, who took this dance-based approach and created a new vocabulary for actors and directors in the theatre.

There are a variety of Viewpoints that can be explored and used to create stage compositions, a physical language and an expressive world. There are Viewpoints of Space, Shape and Time, and among the Viewpoints of time is the Viewpoint of Tempo. This Viewpoint, as you might imagine, immediately jumped into my mind when I heard the title of Susan’s exhibit.

I told Susan about the Viewpoints, specifically Tempo (which simply means how fast or slow something happens in space). I wondered what would happen if a group of students gathered together to examine one of the pieces in Tempos: Muse and Motion, listened to the pace of piece’s assigned tempo on a metronome and took all of that information to create a physical, theatrical response to the artwork.

Using the gallery space, the students and I gathered to examine three different pieces. As we looked at the pieces, students reacted with different ideas, emotional reactions, and sometimes even with a sense of story. We began doing some open Viewpoints (moving through space with regard to spatial relationships with each other and the architecture of the space) and then added in the tempo assigned to the piece of art we were exploring. It was remarkable how the tempo set by the metronome informed each movement experiment we conducted. Each time, though the experiment kept things quite open to the interpretation of each individual mover and viewer, it was fascinating how relationship and story would emerge through the movement, the tempo and the relationship between the actors and the space.

This was a tremendous opportunity for our students who often approach much of their theatre work very literally and linearly. Through this kind of exploration, using art as source material instead of a script, our students were able to unlock their imaginations and creativity in a novel and rich way.”

Thursday Recap

Thursday’s performance was wonderful and different from Tuesday night.  We were pleased as punch to have our own Brooks Center director Lillian “Mickey” Harder break in our “new to us” Steinway which found home in the lobby.  Here’s the performance recap:

Performing Art Theatre students
Jonathan Bull
Julia Dingle
Sims Hall
Sophia Shapiro
Preston Taylor Stone

MOVEMENT:

  • Where are all the People? By Jessie Helmrich
  • Tempo term: Lento – slowly

PIANO:

  • Arioso by Bach
  • Untitled by Hilary Siber
  • Tempo term: Largo – broadly

MOVEMENT:

  • Sway by Laken Bridges
  • Tempo term: Andante – at a walking pace

PIANO:

  • Prelude in C Major by Bach
  • Tree of Windows by Elizabeth Smith
  • Tempo term: Andantino – slightly faster than andante
  • Medley of old pop tunes that her mother played
  • Smile by Nina Kawar
  • Tempo term: Allegro – fast, quickly and bright

MOVEMENT:

  • Untitled 3 by Alexandra Giannell
    Tempo term: Presto – extremely fast

Tuesday Recap

It was so wonderful to have students and faculty participate in this moving exhibit.  The performers on Tuesday night were:

Clemson University Trio
Kelly Moran, oboe
Dan Fetterolf, violin
Tanner Myers, cello

Performing Art Theatre students:

Jonathan Bull
Julia Dingle
Sims Hall
Sophia Shapiro
Preston Taylor Stone

Here is a recap of the performance:

TRIO:

  • Handel’s Trio Sonata in E Minor (first and third movements)
  • Shifting Views by David Gerhard
  • Tempo term: Grave – slow and solemn

MOVEMENT:

  • Where are all the People? By Jessie Helmrich
  • Tempo term: Lento – slowly
  • Sway by Laken Bridget
  • Tempo term: Andante – at a walking pace

TRIO:

  • Mozart Trio in C Major (first movement)
  • Overfishing by Chi-Chen Lee
  • Tempo term: Moderato – moderately
  • Levin’s LEAF Waltz
  • Alavon #11 by Aubree Ross
  • Tempo term: Vivace – lively and brisk

MOVEMENT:

  • Untitled 3 by Alexandra Giannell
  • Tempo term: Presto – extremely fast

 

 

It’s TONIGHT!!

The first “Music and Motion” performance art is tonight!  I really hope you have a chance to drop in between 6:30-7:30pm.  The Clemson University Trio, featuring Kelly Moran on oboe, Dan Fetterolf on violin, and Tanner Myers on cello, will be performing 3 pieces: 

Handel’s Trio Sonata in E Minor (first and third movements)

Mozart Trio in C Major (first movement)

Levin’s LEAF Waltz (composed by our own CU Symphony Orchestra director, Andrew Levin!)

You also don’t want to miss Kerrie Seymour’s acting students while they do an exercise in theatrical  movement in response to the artwork.

Hope to see you there!

Ideas

It’s funny how you can have an idea, and it remains just an idea.  And then, just because of a conversation, the idea starts to become a reality.  This is exactly how the whole “muse and motion” element of this exhibit came about.  I started telling Kerrie Seymour, Assistant Professor at Clemson University, that I had applied for acceptance into the Staff Development Program at Clemson, and that my life-long dream was to embrace the artist within me by creating art and visiting more art galleries.  She shared my enthusiasm, and said she would accompany me.  We started talking about the experience and serenity of entering a gallery, and how it transforms us to a peaceful place.  We talked about the ideas of merging art and music and theatre, and I discovered I was not the only one who had this vision.  It was definitely Kerrie’s encouragement that gave me the courage to mention this to the Lee Gallery Director, and my little idea actually started to become a reality.

Why “Muse and Motion” for a title to an art show, and this blog?

Avid appreciators of art probably know how to view an exhibit, how to get the most out of it. For me, this is a new concept. I wanted to be able to immerse myself in a piece of art, let it speak to me. Really take my time. That’s a hard thing to do nowadays. Even when I schedule myself some time to go see an exhibit, I’m aware of the time, how long I look at each piece. The longer I look, the more I notice – the more I wonder about the artist, and the creative thought process that went into creating the art. So I wanted visitors to take their time, to muse over what they are viewing. To let the mind wander where it may.
When I realized I had the opportunity to coordinate an exhibit right here in the building I work in, I got really excited! And since it happens to be in a performing arts center, I thought, why not give the opportunity for some expressive freedom? Let there be music playing, but not just any music, thoughtful music, to go with the theme of the exhibit. And you know, sometimes you just feel like moving. I’m really excited that some theatre students will be doing an exercise in movement in response to the art, and some musicians will be performing music too. I can hardly wait!