Moving Into Language is an approach to acting created specifically for trained dancers; taking what they know & understand so deeply about their bodies and using that as the foundation for their acting explorations. Dancers learn how to use movement as a launching pad for building character, unlocking a scene and arriving at a unique interpretation of spoken material. They gain greater access to their voice by seeing it as simply a natural progression of a scene’s physical expression. They acquire the tools to independently prepare a scene/monologue so they can arrive at an audition or rehearsal creatively full & ready to play. Moving into Language has been taught at Gibney, Peridance, Dance Device Lab and BEMOVING.
Classes begin with a series of physical improvisations aimed at tapping into the dancer’s impulses and at generating a sense of freedom & play in their initial experience of the text. The dancer is released from any pressure to perform the words and encouraged to discover the world that exists around the words. They learn how to inhabit a character’s circumstances & point-of-view, and how to place that character within the dynamics of a scene.
Based on the discoveries made through these improvisations, we progress towards creating a score for the text. This represents the dancer’s interpretation of the material, an amalgamation of the discoveries they made in earlier lessons and the choices they’d like to make now to solidify their unique performance of the material. We then practice how to “play” this roadmap, while allowing new impulses, as well as feelings/emotions/opinions, to arise. These early lessons encompass the essential first steps of the acting process by taking a dancer through a period of exploration and invention, then into a conscious process of selection and refinement, and back into a state of discovery as unconscious reactions/feelings arise at the time of performance.
With this method of working established, we finish by looking at how to apply these tools to a wide variety of material. We’ll explore the humanity and immediacy in more heightened texts, as well as the fullness and complexity in very stripped-down naturalism. Dancers also have the opportunity to bring in audition material, poetry, pieces of their own writing or texts that they’d like use in their choreographic work.
All the material described above is broken down into three essential components; Exploring, Interpreting and Playing. Workshops can focus on a single component, or take students through all three stages over a longer period of time.
"I cannot wait to take Charlotte's workshops again. Instead of feeling like I was starting from zero, Charlotte gave me the tools to approach text using the physical intelligence that I already had as a dancer. This enriched my practice as a performer on the whole and made me want to dare greater when jumping into a new room! Charlotte's way of working on text also gave me so much information about my body. I was excited about making movement material afterwards from a different perspective. And using my voice became such a thrill!" ~ Arika Yamada, dancer with Goteborg Opera
"Training with Charlotte has been an absolute godsend! She encourages you to be unrelentingly creative in how you approach material, which has helped me grow in all facets of my artistic life and allowed me to find a new sense of agency over my choices and my contributions." ~ Mark Osmundsen, dancer with Company XIV
METHODOLOGY & MOTIVATION
What is your teaching philosophy? I approach acting for dancers from the fundamental belief that a trained dancer has a profound connection to the extremes of the human experience, and can learn to express them through language with incredible sensitivity and vividness. As dancers, we are trained in size, expansiveness and exaggeration, as well as in specificity and simplicity. We can evoke feelings through the most complex and distorted of movements, or through the power, precision and articulation of a single gesture. As we move into acting, we must exploit this capacity to express SIZE to fuel our creativity and then learn how to contain our choices within the bounds of normalcy (walking, talking, sitting). So that within, we are full; while on the outside, we are relaxed and vulnerable.
Why do you teach? Teaching provides me with an opportunity to synthesize the knowledge that I have collected through a wide variety of experiences and to crystalize the through-lines that have become the foundations of my personal creative practice. Sharing these explorations with my students reminds me why I fell in love with what I do, and the glorious moments of growth and discovery that a life in the arts can offer. I teach because it is an opportunity to play; for my students to play with ideas and concepts that are presented strictly for the sake of discovery and growth, never for perfection or achievement. And for us to play together as we seek to reconnect to an infinite sense of possibility.