Space Harmony
——an exploration of dance, space and body

by Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh
[ The background ]
In the recent history, dance material objects relating to the productions such as backdrop and costumes were exhibited in museums and galleries. But how do performing artists think outside of a typical exhibiting display? Is there a possibility to show trace of the performer or of the dance moves?

The "Space Harmony" project contains an installation, a live performance in a gallery space. It brought together two spatial partners. Motion of an installation is connected to bodily actions. The installation dances. And dancers are part of the sculptural concept, the ‘dance partners’. 

During the performance, dance and installation are equally important, independent and mutually responsive fragments of a larger whole.

The role of installation is not to become a part of the stage design, but to remain as a dance partner constantly sending invitations to curious minds and wondering hands.

The live performance takes place in Darat al Funun which is a cultural centre surrounded by a garden and the ruins of a Byzantine church in the heart Amman, Jordan.​​​​​​​
The project initiated in 2017.
[ The process ]

​​​​​​​The first production meeting (09/25/2018)
Duration: 90 minutes
Participant: Ren, Abd, Anas, Susan, Omar, Daniel, Rashmi, Shahed, Raneem
Location: House of Dreaming - بيت الاحلام
It started with an opening circle. Artistic director Abd gave a brief introduction of the project. 

Dance & Gallery
Dance has entered the museums and exhibitions spaces more and more, not as entertainment or a one off event, but rather as the object exhibited.

The living performing body, which is always in the here and now seems to be clashing with things collected and well-labeled in a museum or gallery space. 

Dance is transience. It is a physical tradition that passes from one to another. Does it belong in a museum or gallery? 

Dance & Space Harmony
​​​​​​​After six-month research on Laban’s Space harmony and re-constructing one of the space harmony scales, the project initiated. It is an attempt to study the natural movements and geometricized them, in looking for a new scale and explore the “harmonic” three-dimensional human movement patterns.

Dance & Chestahedron
The Chestahedron, named after artist Frank Chester, is a geometrical form associated with the human heart and the earth. Inspired through Rudolf Steiner’s planetary seals and capitals of the pillars in the first Goetheanum, the California artist, sculptor and geometer, Frank Chester, started his journey looking for the three-dimensional, seven-sided form exist that might also demonstrate the harmonic nature of a platonic solid.

Not being satisfied with existing seven-sided models, Frank Chester began to experiment: with clay, string, straws, wire, paper, soap bubbles, and all manner of forms. After many failures he discovered, in the year 2000, while artistically playing, an entirely new, never-before seen geometric figure that demonstrates a remarkable correlation to the form and functioning of the human heart. He called his discovery the “Chestahedron”.
By bringing movement, which is a tool of both creating and understanding space, to an organized and structured form, this project is a study of the movement of the body in space based on structures and geometric projections. Moving and balancing in the entirely new and heart-like geometric figure, Chestahedron, will help us to answer these questions: ​​​​​​​
First movement experiment with chestahedron
[ The rehearsals ]​​​​​​​
The first practice session (09/29/2018)
Duration: 180 minutes
Participant: Ren, Abd, Anas, Susan, Omar, Daniel, Rashmi, Raneem, Natalie, Mariana
Location: House of Dreaming - بيت الاحلام
It started with an opening circle followed by awareness exercise with chestahedron. Subsequently, a movement exercise with symmetry took place ( Symmetry is when two or more parts are identical after a flip, slide or turn. The simplest type of Symmetry is "Reflection" or "Mirror" Symmetry).
Following movement exercise with symmetry, participants experiment with a pair of 50 cm wooden sticks explore improvisation, formation, space and shape.
During the experiment, two equilateral triangle (in which all three sides are equal) formations were created by 3 participants.

During the experiment, varies abstract shape formations were created.
Development from the first practice session
1. Symmetry & geometry, a geometric shape or object is symmetric if it can be divided into two or more identical pieces that are arranged in an organized fashion. 

Types of Symmetry
2. Project keywords: inclusive, experimental, interactive, playful, geometry, living architecture, dynamic body, kinesthetic experience

Project key exercise: Dance & Geometry, Dance with Chestahedron, Dance & Gallery Space, Improvisation VS Choreography
​​​​​​​The second practice session (10/02/2018)
Duration: 180 minutes
Participant: Ren, Abd, Anas, Susan, Omar, Rashmi, Shahed, Raneem, Natalie, Mariana
Location: House of Dreaming - بيت الاحلام
It started with an opening circle followed by awareness exercise with chestahedron.

Exercise 1: Individual exploration focusing on levels (Chestahedron does not spin.)
Levels: Dance artist and theorist Rudolf believed there were three 'types' of dancers (or movers generally). Those who enjoy moving in the High Level, such as leaping and springing off the ground. Those who enjoy moving in the Central (Middle) Level, their bodies leading with more sensuous movement. And those who enjoy moving in the Deep (Low) Level [...], who prefer more earth-bound movements.
Exercise 2:  Hop-in-hop-out exercise (without touching the chestahedron)

The exercise include individual and group exercise focusing on space and movement awareness. Chestahedron spins from slow to fast.

Exercise 3:  Hop-on-hop-off exercise (while three participants are balancing with rotating chestahedron)
The exercise includes individual and group exercise focusing on momentum, force, torque, balance and rotation. 
*Momentum is the magnitude of an object's momentum gives an indication of how hard it is to bring it to a stop. *Force is a push, characterized by a magnitude (how hard) and a direction. 
*Torque is the "Off center" force(s) which can cause something to spin. 
Participants studied how are the forces of their movement affecting the rotation of chestahedron. Chestahedron spins from slow to fast.

Exercise 4: Group exercise focusing on shapes and formations at different levels.

Exercise 5: Group exercise focusing on rotational symmetric poses and movements.
Exercise 6: Group exercise focusing on increasing and decreasing the speed of rotation of chestahedron with various movements.

Development from the second practice session
1. Among the 8 movers, 
3 enjoy moving in the High Level. 
2 enjoy moving in the Central (Middle) Level. 
3 enjoy moving in the Deep (Low) Level [...], who prefer more earth-bound movements.
2. Chestahedron has 7 surfaces (consisting of 4 triangles and 3 quadrilaterals), 7 points and 12 edges. Participants dance aligning with chestrahedron. This is about understanding the geometry of the heptahedron through the geometry of our own system.
3.Dance & Physics
Through movement experiments with force and momentum, movers experienced that the harder they push, more rapidly the momentum changes; the longer they push, the greater the total change in momentum. While moving with chestahedron, if movers push on the chestahedron, they can change its speed and/or its direction of movement. 

Through movement experiments with torque and rotation, movers experienced that the harder they push, the more quickly chestahedron spins up. And the further from the spin axis they apply the forces used to generate the torque, the more quickly chestahedron spins up. During a hop-on-hop-off exercise, a group of three movers experimented with forces that cause spin axis to wobble. It was an interesting comparison study of rigid-object (chestaheron) and objects that change shape (movers). The resistance of movers to change in their motion changes with time. 

Through movement experiment with balance and rotation, movers experienced that when they are still, if there is enough force, if causes momentum to change and they might fall; if there is enough torque, they might tip over. This experiment helps movers to find their gravity centers. Therefore, they can balance around this point. While move with chestahedron, movers are constantly searching for the center of gravity of the rigid-object and the moving bodies as a whole which is very often changing. To maintain balance while dance with a rotating chestahedron, movers often shift foot or hand to move contact area, sometime adjust arms/legs/torso to move. Movers experimented with shifting center of gravity to maintain dynamic (but not static) balance.

Size, density and rotation speed (What determines the rotation speed?) 
Two variables with the greatest effect to rotation are the size and density 
1.the larger radius and the slower rotation (3 movers move from inside to outside of the chestathedron) 
2.the higher densities the quicker rotation (3 movers move from outside to inside of the chestathedron)​​​​​​​
The third practice session (10/03/2018)
Duration: 180 minutes
Participant: Ren, Abd, Anas, Susan, Omar, Rashmi, Raneem, Natalie, Shahed, Daniel, Mariana
Location: House of Dreaming - بيت الاحلام
It started with an opening circle followed by a warm-up exercise with Natalie. Subsequently, participants experiment with a pair of 70 cm metal sticks focus on improvisation, contact improvisation, changing partnering, domino effect, levels, formation, 2D shape, 3D shape and symmetry.

During the experiment, one equilateral triangle (in which all three sides are equal) formations were created by 9 participants.
During the experiment, a tetrahedron formation was created by 3 participants. A square pyramid formation was created by 4 participants. A cube formation was created by 6 participants. Through dance, participants frequently transform the tetrahedron into square pyramid, the square pyramid into cube. 
​​​​​​​The Fourth practice session (10/06/2018)
Duration: 120 minutes
Participant: Abd, Anas, Rashmi, Raneem, Natalie, Shahed, Daniel, Mariana
Location: House of Dreaming - بيت الاحلام

Development from the fourth practice session
“Bodies in urban spaces” 
Willi Dorner's imaginative art project 'bodies in urban spaces' takes its audiences on a walk through the urban landscape. Groups of dancers, climbers and performers wearing brightly colored clothes run through busy malls and high streets and cram themselves into doorways, alcoves and any gap they can find in public buildings.

"Body cartography"
It is a project that engages with the vital materiality of human bodies to create live performance that facilitates a re-enchantment of embodiment, relationship, and presence. Dance maker, somatic movement therapist and cultural producer Olive Bieringa and artist Otto Ramstad have been collaborating as BodyCartography Project for the past twenty years. A practice focused on “audiencing” is evolved. This practice focuses on generating audience engagement to support the viewing of contemporary live work.

Inspired by Dorner’s colourful body sculptures and Olive Bieringa and Otto Ramstad’s body cartography project, participants expand their exploration of movement and space to the art gallery where the installation is situated. A guided movement experiences of 15-20 minutes is given to the audiences in the gallery examining the body’s relation to space and architecture.

​​​​​​​The Fifth practice session (10/09/2018)
Duration: 180 minutes
Participant: Ren, Abd, Anas, Susan, Omar, Rashmi, Shahed, Raneem, Natalie 
Location: The Dream House

Dance composition development Part 1 ( 9 minutes )
​​​​​​​The Sixth practice session (10/09/2018)
Duration: 180 minutes
Participant: Ren, Abd, Anas, Susan, Omar, Rashmi, Shahed, Raneem, Natalie, Mariana 
Location: House of Dreaming - بيت الاحلام
​​​​​​The Seventh practice session (10/13/2018)
Duration: 180 minutes
Participant: Ren, Abd, Anas, Susan, Omar,  Shahed, Raneem, Natalie, Mariana 
Location: House of Dreaming - بيت الاحلام
Dance composition development Part 2 ( 9 minutes )
​​​​​​​The Eighth practice session (10/16/2018)
Duration: 160 minutes
Participant: Ren, Abd, Anas, Susan, Omar, Rashmi, Shahed,  Natalie, Mariana 
Location: Darat al Funun

Exercise 1: Body Cartography (Dance composition Part 1, step 2)
Exercise 2: Shape formation (Dance composition Part 1, step 6)
Exercise 3: Dance in Chestahedron (Dance composition Part 2, step 7)
​​​​​​​The Ninth practice session (10/17/2018)
Duration: 160 minutes
Participant: Ren, Abd, Anas, Susan, Rashmi, Shahed,  Natalie, Mariana 
Location: Darat al Funun

Exercise 1: Body Cartography (Dance composition Part 1, step 14)
Exercise 2:  Square Pyramid Formation (Dance composition Part 1, step 15)
Exercise 3: Dance in Chestahedron 

​​​​​​​The Tenth practice session (10/20/2018)
Duration: 160 minutes
Participant: Ren, Abd, Anas, Susan, Rashmi, Shahed,  Natalie, Mariana 
Location: Darat al Funun

Final Rehearsal (with film-maker | videographer Mohammed Zakaria, Deemah Dee, Mohammad Ali)
[ The performance ]
(10/24/2018) 
Producer: Studio 8
Artistic director: Abdul Hadi Nahleh
Artistic Director: Xiaoman Ren
Choreographer: Anas Nahleh
Performers: Natalie Salsa' Omar Hasanain Susan Bainter Baghdadi Daniel Issa Mariana Al Tamimi Rashmi Yeolekar Shahed Jallad Raneem Nahhas

Location: Darat al Funun
Duration: 17 Minutes ( from 19:30 to 19: 47 )
Opening of the third Exhibition of Darat al Funun - The Khalid Shoman Foundation 30th Anniversary Celebration​​​​​​​
[ The workshop ]
(11/10/2018) 
Facilitator: Abdul Hadi Nahleh, Xiaoman Ren, Anas Nahleh
Duration: 120 Minutes ( from 16:00 to 18:00)
Participant: 20-30
The workshop started with a brief introduction of the project followed by a series of exercises with chestahedron.
[ Movement graffiti experiment ] 
(15/11/2018 - 16/11/2018)
This is an experiment in kinetic painting.

Studio 8 in collaboration with Ukrainian visual artist Jony Plachita incorporated graffiti painting, movement and choreography in the chestahedron. Merging motion and visual art, Jony left a permanent trace of his physical movements in the form of colorful symmetrical shapes and patterns. 
Space Harmony
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Space Harmony

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