Creative Tasks


Why not begin by playing with Balance. After exploring individual positions of balance and off or luxury balance, try balancing in pairs. See how many ways you can use your partner to keep yourself upright. Balance does not have to be standing up only. How many positions of balance  can you discover where your feet are not on the floor?

Understanding balance is critical before you engage with Acrobatics. In our film we suggest some basic acrobatics balances; why not create your own in groups of three or five?

All actors need to be aware, of their own body, the space they are in and others in that space. Watch Awareness and find ways to explore your own kinesphere before engaging with others. How does your and their movement change if you make it a fictional space – a crowded taxi rank, a bustling market, a huge but busy beach?

For another approach, find 3 images of people, perhaps from real life rather than the theatre or circus. Watch our film Images to give you some guidance on how to build up action and movement sequences starting from a picture. Where and when are your pictures from? What can you tell about those pictured from their physicality? If you start to move as them, how do you feel? How can you combine your actions with others’?

Exercise 1: Balance

This film shows an inverted balance in pairs followed by movement sequences exploring Eugenio Barba’s notion of luxury balance.

Further reading:
Barba, Eugenio. 1995. ‘Chapter 3: Recurring Principles’, in The Paper Canoe: A Guide to Theatre Anthropology (London: Routledge) pp. 13–35.

Barba, Eugenio, & Nicola Savarese. 2006. The Secret Art of the Performer: a Dictionary of Theatre Anthropology, sec. ed. (London: Routledge).

Exercise 2: Acrobatics

This film demonstrates the value of doing basic acrobatic balances, using three exercises; jump onto the back, the ‘titanic’ life and handstand on the thighs.

Further reading:

Allain, Paul. (ed.) 2012. Andrei Droznin’s physical actor training: A Russian masterclass, DVD & booklet (Abingdon: Routledge).

Droznin, Andrei. 2017. Physical Actor training: What Shall I do with the Body they Gave Me?, (Oxon & New York: Routledge).

Gordon, Mel. 2002. ‘Meyerhold’s Biomechanics’, in Phillip B. Zarrilli. (ed.) Acting (Re)Considered: a Theoretical and Practical Guide, sec. ed. (London: Routledge) pp. 106–128.

Exercise 3: Awareness

This film uses a 360° sphere exercise in which the trainees draw lines in space, individually and then in pairs.

Further reading:
Loui, Annie. 2009. The Physical Actor (Oxon & New York: Routledge).

Oida, Yoshi, & Lorna Marshall. 1997. The Invisible Actor (Oxon & New York: Routledge).

Richards, Thomas. 1997. The Edge-Point of Performance (Documentation Series of The Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski: Pontedera).

Zarrilli, Phillip B. 2009, ‘Chapter 2: Beginning with the Breath’, in Psychophysical Acting: An Intercultural Approach to Stanislavski (London: Routledge), pp. 22–40.

Exercise 4: Images

This film shows how the trainees can utilize visual images such as paintings as a starting point to develop an individual score of actions, potentially leading to characterisation and then performance.

Further reading:
Carreri, Roberta. 2014. ‘Chapter 22: Judith’, in On Training and Performance: Traces of an Odin Teatret Actress (London: Routledge), pp. 110–17.

Tufnell, Miranda, & Chris Crickmay. 1993. Body Space Image: notes towards improvisation and performance (London: Dance Books).

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