Talking Improvisation with Sophie Arstall

IMG_1507Dancing in Space - a response to listening (performed at UCA Farnham)

Dancer Sophie Arstall on Improvising in Dancing in Space:

As I improvise I enter into a feeling sense, my vision drops back, further back, into my head, between my ears (this is what it feels like). There is a sense of 3 dimensionality and receptivity all over the body, my body becomes increasingly permeable and there is less of a distinction between my physical mass and the space. I remain open to read the space, the action around me and to act upon the signals or images that I receive in a way that fits each space – the mood, tone, people that inhabit that space.

This is very important as each space you enter into is different, you have to feel the space on all levels in order to comment on it in a way that is non-intrusive but that at the same time offers something else to the space. It is always a negotiation (which we talked about a lot) between listening to what is there and pushing things a bit in order to perhaps suggest new ways of being or seeing things.

I often asked the question in my head ‘what does the space need?’ and as the days and spaces progressed this became an important question to explore. If you go charging into a space with no sensitivity to what is there then the space (environment, contents and structure) will not support you, it will be stubborn and it will resist.


Dancing in Space was a series of Improvised Performance devised by The Dance Movement as part of the Creative Residency Programme hosted by University of Creative Arts (UCA), Farnham campus. It was delivered in collaboration with Digital Film and Screen Arts Course Leader, Rosie Gunn and performed on site in April 2014.


Originally written and posted June 18, 2014