As addendum to yesterday’s post, I note my focus there is largely on prepared work: Choreographed work, scripted work, pieces that have undergone weeks or months of study and preparation.
Though physical and dance improvisation benefits and connects more when following a narrative, I expect it to be more nebulous: It derives largely from intuition, observation, reaction and stream of consciousness, and to hen that into demands for a narrative can stifle that work into submission.
Yes, in theatrical and comedic improv players are taught and expected to establish and develop characters, relationships, setting, a narrative built around objectives… and that may frequently be too much to ask of a physical or dance improviser playing in a short piece, or within an installation where performers are expected to create constantly over the course of several hours. It’s great when such work can find narratives, but narratives aren’t expected or demanded in that forum.
However, when performers have time to build a piece and audiences are expected to pay full price to see that piece, the expectations are higher. They should be higher.