In the analytic space, in theatre and dance you can be transformed in a few minutes or even less by an emotion, or knotted chord of emotions that often have no overt connection with what is being said, seen, or heard. The motion in emotion translated as imagination of the body. The experience is often destabilising and part of the process of being in a situation, or relational field that’s moving you into new alignments, often prompting questions like “who’s here?” – or where am I/we, which are prior to notions of who am I? Discomfort has a way of urging us towards premature understanding. If we can keep in with the emotional texture (felt sense) without needing to understand it, there’s space for the unforeseen to enter (Wainwright and Bacon, 2007).
The above is a quote from an article I co-wrote about the work I do called Creative Focusing. This is a tool-kit approach to working with the ‘felt sense’, that sense in the body that we have when we know we know something but might not be able to remember it. Creative Focusing encourages us to stay with that ‘ah ha’ moment - the ‘felt sense’ - long enough to really get a sense of what is there before we move into language and meaning.
I work with dancers, actors, vocalists and fine artists – creative makers of all kinds – to unblock creative processes and to nurture the artist. The process can be alone or with a group, it can be for personal reasons or to develop art works, it can be as long or as short as you wish. Often a day of Creative Focusing with your company can be the catalyst to new ways of working or an hour alone can teach you the tools to incorporate Focusing into your daily life. I always begin with ‘I am interested to know more about what you do’ and only then begin work to deepen the felt experience. From this it becomes possible to find new ways to speak about what emerges.
Somewhere in-between the body moving/perceiving and the witness seeing/perceiving, if enough time and space are allowed, ‘felt experience’ can be articulated and then can be available to be ‘carried forward’ (Gendlin, 1996) into the language of one’s life (Bacon, 2007)
The focusing technique provided an impassioned model for feeding back on (my) artwork. It is a technique I prefer above all others, because I prefer to frame artistic expression as expression that generates communicative élan and reaction … Focusing could contribute to developing a totally different means of engaging with performance experience... and is a profound feedback tool for an artist (Yvon Bonenfant, extended vocalist and performance artist, 2006).