Pantomime – Method learned by Stef L. in Mexico

Stef Langmans from Cirkus In Beweging (Leuven, Belgium) presents a new method he’s learned during his mobility project in Mexico:

One example of a new skill and method of working on that skill that I learned is pantomime. I never really worked on this subject before, although it leans very close to the subject of circus-theater which I love to use for creative exercises in my own lessons. One extra reason why I like to take out this method and subject is that it overcame one of the biggest difficulties I experienced during the project: the language barrier. Within the field of pantomime, and especially in this exercise, you don’t need words to get understanding or meaning from each other.

In the class I participated in, we started focusing on a small point or dot within the room. The method started out with first imagining to take the small point or dot in between the tip of two fingers, take it out of its place, observe it closely while holding it between your fingers and then just throw it away. After repeating this exercise a few times the scope of it expanded. Now we not only had to take and observe the dot, but we also could stretch is out and make it elastic. During this transformation we kept on observing the form and movement of that what we held between our fingers. After this we started to transform the dot even more, giving it a geometric shape that we could manipulate between our hands and within the space we were in. We could move it by turning, twisting, pushing, holding,… the geometric form we made. After this we even could start using it, for example to lean on or put your face against the form or whatever we could imagine doing with it. After using and manipulating it we always would reduce it into a little dot again and throw it away, so we could start over again.

After this exercise we had had to pair up and work together. One started again by taking the dot and making a geometric figure with it, but then the second one took over the form and started to transform it to his own imagination. In this way the form was transformed, manipulated and passed on between 2 persons a few times. During this exchange and interaction we had to observe each other and the form closely and intensely in order to pass it on in the right way. This exercise build up further and we could change the form in any way we could think of, which created more and more possibilities for the way how to exchange the from between the 2 persons. In the final stage of the exercise we also had add meaning to the form and start to use it as a utensil and enact the movement that made it clear to the other what was represented. Once the other found out what it was, he had to take it as the object that he thought it was and transform it by a few adjustments into another utensil and act it out for the other. This final exercise went on for a long time because the possibilities were endless. It finished again by reducing it into the little dot of point that it started from.