The project title “Leaning on A Horse Asking for Directions” is the name for the beginning of a basic form in BaGuaZhang (BGZ), a Chinese martial art form related to TaiChiQuan. The form was developed from Daoist monks, who did walking meditation/prayer in circular patterns. Today’s martial form retains this essence, and also a philosophical relationship to the I-Ching/the Book of Changes.
One of its major training tenants is to start with “Listening Hands,” which stresses mobility and constant change. This latter movement concept embodies four terms – touch, stick, connect and following – each of which corresponds to ideas in Contact Improvisation (CI). CI is a dance technique that uses points of improvised physical contact and momentum between two people drive a visceral, athletic and energized relational interplay.
Three sets of “Leaning on A Horse Asking for Directions” duets are using BGZ and CI as source material for S3D film research:
1. BGZ two-person practice form named 64 Palms based on two-person circular “walks”, executing a call and response interplay and rapid-fire movement. The whole body employs smooth coiling and uncoiling actions, utilizing hand techniques and dynamic footwork. The circular stepping pattern also builds up centripetal force, allowing the practitioner to maneuver quickly around an opponent. (add Chinese terms/characters)
2. Choreographed duet derived from the BGZ two-person practice. The offensive/defensive interplay between the two will be broadening physically as well as spatially.
3. Improvised movement duet between BGZ/CI practitioner and master CI practitioner utilizing different sets of strategies (Listening Hands and CI) and questioning the rules of both forms.