Ingo Reulecke is a dancer, choreographer and dance teacher who is also an extremely active performer in the Berlin improvisation scene. He will be performing in the 2ND INTERNATIONAL ACTION THEATER AND PHYSICAL IMPROVISATION FESTIVAL, with Streugut, an ensemble with Sten Rudstrom, Martin Clausen, Zufit Simon and Alexander Frangenheim which, in their own words, “slams together” movement, speech, voice and a musical instrument.
Ingo answered my questions on the train on his way to Göttingen, where he was teaching an intensive at the EasterImproFestival. Here are the highlights. The full version will be available soon under “inspirations and thoughts” (as soon as I manage to sort out my relationship with wordpress a little bit more successfully).
M.F – Improvisation? Instant composition? Real-time composition? What is the difference?
I.R. – I´d say improvisation is the basis of it all. We improvise all the time and everywhere. For example, cooking is at least to some degrees improvised. The question is how much conscious we are about what we are doing.
Instant composition deals exactly with the consciousness of following the process of creation and deciding in the moment. Even if I´m not so much sure how much it is about deciding or whether something else is deciding about what is happening. Let’s call it intuition, which is taking over the deciding moment and being in charge of the instant composition.
In terms of real time composition it becomes for me tricky. I´d say that the artists who call their stuff real-time composition aim to create even more in the moment. In terms of contemporary music, where this term comes from, microtonality tends to be used.
M.F. – When thinking about improvisation, spontaneity is a word that easily comes to mind. How do you see its interplay with its counterpart, inhibition?
I.R. – I have the impression that inhibition can be a part of spontaneity. I believe that somebody who is for example trained in Alexander Technique, which is a somatic practice which deals a lot with inhibition, can use inhibition very spontaneously in the moment of creation. So it might become one of the tools which is coming with fluidity into the improvisation game. In the situation of being in state of open flow impulses are coming up all the time. That’s maybe what we call spontaneity. Now comes the question of what we are putting into our specific playing in time and space.
How do we drive our energy throughout the different moments, when do we hold it back or change its level?
Here it quickly becomes very complex and it’s really difficult to stay on top of it. I guess something else is happening which isn´t a clear cognitive knowing. It might be a mixture of our conditioning in the arts and in life, I mean aesthetical on the one hand and as a human being that has grown up in very specific circumstances.
I believe also in a larger picture beside our small little field of possibilities which is already endless. If I think of something bigger which we, as human beings, are a part of, it becomes even more challenging, almost overwhelming. If we see the interconnectiveness of the whole universe, then I would dare to think that everything we are doing is related and in connection to a bigger realm. The question is how much we are able to plug into this bigger field of interconnectiveness.
M.F. – What does an improvised performance offer the audience that a set show doesn’t?
I.R. – Exactly what I tried to describe before. An open minded and maybe involved audience becomes a part of the performance, at least to some degrees. It depends on their awareness and state of being plugged into the moment. What I’m describing is definitely a part of every performance but, still, I´d say that it’s more important in instant composition, since the creation is really happening in the moment and the audience is part of this process by knowing that it can go wrong at any moment.
This situation of being all together in the moment of creation can be felt and sensed, which makes it unique. From my point of view, there is a huge difference between this and a pre-prepared show. I’d say that representation lacks authenticity and that’s another important issue that we can perceive. Even with the best actors who are trained tremendously well to reproduce well and freshly it will remain a reproduction.
M.F. – Tell me about your preparation or training as an improviser.
I.R. – A big part is working regularly on my open-mindedness and training the issue of being in the moment. This can be a lot of different things. Indeed almost everything can become a trigger for preparation. It depends on how much I´m able to be where I am.
Therefore, my main practice is meditation and different forms of yoga to tune in. I´m still training dance to focus on this part and have it easily available without having to think about it. Also the voice work is becoming a bigger part of my daily explorations. It took me many decades before I was able to accept this idea. In the beginning I had the idea that dance was a silent art form and that I was supposed to make as little noise as possible.
I regularly meet people to have improvised sessions in order to exchange. I often meet new people I don´t know in that sense. And people with whom I’ve worked with before. Improvising pretty much regularly is another part of my practice.
I try to write as well. As a kind of tuning in, and letting the mind free in a kind of flow state, it seems to be very beneficial.
M.F. – When performing, what do you give and what do you get?
I.R. – For me the best thing is not to try to give anything. Because that might already predetermine my state of being towards wanting. Whenever I reach a state of openness and listening to the moment with a great amount of trust
it’s an amazing experience which comes towards me without me having to grab hold of it.
In this state I can also perceive the audience with their different states, which I can allow to become one of the choices taken into consideration for the creation in the moment. So it’s very much a circular process.
In general I mostly enjoy the process of creation in the moment. It can be very much joyful and in the better cases an easy-going process of being tuned in.
M.F. – As a member of an audience, what engages you?
I.R. – Watching the openness and choice-making process of the performers interests me a lot. Being able to follow the process and become continuously aware of the growing improvisation in terms of time.
It’s very much different to watch dancers and musicians in one show. Since they usually approach the work very differently. How much they match each other in the midst of the performance or where it isn´t going together. For my taste, failure is just as interesting as something working out. Exchanging with audience members and performers as well about the different states of perception, about what they did or saw is also very interesting and in general different.
I get the impression of participating in quite an existentialist exchange.
Ingo Reulecke will be performing with Streugut on May 10th as part of the program for the 2ND INTERNATIONAL ACTION THEATER AND PHYSICAL IMPROVISATION FESTIVAL taking place in Berlin between May 6th and 12th. More information at http://www.actiontheaterberlin.com
More information about Ingo Reulecke at http://www.ingoreulecke.de