The ability to improvise, to be creative with one another, is an essential part of performance practice for the contemporary, creative musician and dancer, without which we are lost. Improvisation’s implementation can vary enormously, from a delineated tool towards choreographic/compositional ends, to being an end in itself for performance. However, improvisation, broadly construed, remains under acknowledged and, surprisingly, little understood beyond style.
This essay sets out to describe processes of improvisation by means of an exchange between dancer Ingo Reulecke and musician Simon Rose. Since 2015 the pair have performed through shared improvisation in dance and music (IDM) in numerous contexts: as a duo, in small groups, in large ensembles. Together they have also co-taught, facilitated workshops and presented themes of this work at conferences. Here, Reulecke and Rose discuss the nature of shared improvisation in dance and music. Themes that arise are: the background of IDM and the respective scenes, the nature of collaboration, diversity in creativity, the ways of understanding improvisation as professional practice, open improvisation, an approach to research, bodies, listening and awareness, and strategies in IDM. The essay continues by broadening the discussion of IDM as an inter-disciplinary activity that can become better understood as a more holistic, trans-disciplinary process of in-depth, embodied learning.
The essay is intended for practitioners, students of dance and music, researchers, teachers, and for those interested in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary processes.