Under the Direction of Amy Yopp Sullivan
The BodyMind Performance Laboratory and the Traveling Innovation Lab (TIL) at Stony Brook University join together to provide a creative laboratory for art making, educational initiatives and research activity. Dedicated to explorations of bodymind performance, physical intelligence, movement systems, dance theatre, and body awareness, the space is home to numerous interdisciplinary efforts. These interdisciplinary initiatives have included working groups of professional scientists, cognitive psychologists, leaders in industry and business, inventors in technology, creators in the arts, dedicated educators and seasoned medical professionals.
By gathering leaders in the fields of education, performance, technology, filmmaking, movement, health science, psychology and the arts, we hope to find unoccupied territories for interdisciplinary thinking that inspire people to action. By building partnerships that offer an expansive view of creativity and collaboration, we plan to uncover and develop new dynamic approaches for productivity built from creativity and collaboration. The goals include educational reform, industry enhancement and the examination of bodymind connections for interdisciplinary research and authentic artmaking.
During 2012-13, the laboratory is focused on mind body training and performance skills built from "Critical Movement and the Babel Technique©", designed by Sullivan.
TIL (The Traveling Innovation Lab) brings applications, techniques and collaborative innovations to education, research, business, technology and healthcare environments. For Further information contact: Amy Yopp Sullivan at Alice.Sullivan@stonybrook.edu
What is Critical Movement and The Babel Technique© ?
In the context of mind body training, the practice of Critical Movement© is dependent upon adaptable neural connections ready and capable of rewiring in order to meet the demands and challenges of a living, thinking, moving, speaking body. The Babel Technique© offers a combination of sensory vocal and motor skills to heighten mind body connections. It is proposed that Critical Movement© will emerge from the vocal physical and sensory practice of the Babel Technique©. The process involves freeing the voice to make a myriad of creative sounds in order to reestablish interconnectivity and expression through acts of serious and restorative play. The technique was first devised by Sullivan in 1996 while creating the dance theatre work “The Gossips.” It has been applied in workshops and to other performance work throughout the past 15 years, including "When the Sea Dies" performed at Staller Center for the Arts in 2007 and "Jete Ba Ba" performed as part of a Choreographer's Showing at Dance Theatre Workshop in 2008. The technique was named in July of 2012; and is currently being constructed and tested through workshops, presentations, research and performances to discover interdisciplinary applications and designs for technology, health care environments, therapeutic needs, leadership training and numerous other areas.
Most recently, two new dance theatre works, "The Table Where We Met" and "Alone Together" were created in the lab in 2012-13. "Alone Together" was part of performance and research presentations at the "Minding the Body" CUNY conference in NYC (March 2013), "The Futures of the Cognitive Humanities" at Bangor University in Wales, UK (April, 2013), The Northeast American College Dance Festival (March 2013), and the upcoming National Dance Educators Organization conference in Miami (October 2013). The training techniques have also been used in the "Body Mind Performance for Leadership Training" course at Stony Brook University, part of the Undergraduate College of Leadership and Service offerings to freshmen. In addition, the lab will travel to the Cancer Center at Stony Brook Medical Center in July 2013, to work with Critical Movement© with cancer patients.
Dancers are often trained in silence, ready to embody the complexities of thought and action without voice or vocal projections. Concern about a learned disconnect associated with dance training took an unexpected turn in 2006 when a dancer in rehearsal stated, “I no longer know how to dance when I have to speak.” The Babel Technique© was designed from critical thinking and intellectual standards of clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breath, logic, significance and fairness. The technique establishes connections of speaking with moving, thinking, sensing, and feeling (Feldenkrais), builds from Space Harmony (Laban) and reflects an authentic wholeness, which is being named Critical Movement©.
The experiments in performance were reported to transform university students, who described their work as it gained boldness, built new perspectives, increased depth, and sensation, challenged the way they thought and offered new ways of thinking, and discovered the kind of release, faith, trust and confidence that changed how they approached performance. A short film describes two choreographic works by Sullivan that explore the impact of these techniques: the dance theatre work “The Table Where We Met” and a constructed performance “Alone Together”. What is discovered is an increased animation and interconnection of mind and body. Both works were built through the Babel Technique© and formed into dance theatre choreography. Theoretical webs for Babel Technique© stand on the shoulders of vocal and physical cultures from around the world, experiments and research in language and movement, dance experiments in vocal choreography (Forsythe, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui & Damien Jalet), experiments with text and dance since the 1960s, physical theatre and developments from non-dancers and pedestrian movers who have found their own way into these areas.
It is proposed that the practice of the verbal/physical language in Critical Movement and the Babel Technique©, will diminish sensory soma amnesia (Hanna) and can contribute to restoring the memory of innate connections, influencing the practice of self-efficacy, affecting how one inhabits knowledge, and contributing to renewed personal health and well-being. It is proposed that the Babel Technique© may awaken a host of dormant interconnections within the human being, resulting in interdisciplinary applications throughout education, research, technology, performance and health care environments. Research and studies are being constructed to explore the effects of Critical Movement and the Babel Technique© within a host of contexts and environments across disciplines.
For further information about the BodyMind Performance Laboratory and the Traveling Innovation Lab (TIL), contact: Amy Yopp Sullivan at Alice.Sullivan@stonybrook.edu