Moved by Voice
with Irena Tomažin
>> The voice has many bodies, the body has many voices. If you have a text, but no melody, then you just need to sustain the silence - to listen to it as long as it's needed for a mumbling to become a rhythm, a melody to seduce you, until it bites your body and hits your heart. To hear yourself you need to be brave.
During this week we will work on the voice through the body to let it resonate when we sing, to let it carry our voice. We will arrive to our voice through physical exercises such as working with the diaphragm to develop stamina of our breath, massaging the body and positioning it to listen to the stream of emotions while opening the body resonators. The first part of each day includes warming up the body individually, followed by work in couples or groups. By tracing the body movements through improvisational tasks we explore how movement and voice are connected, how they follow and complement each other. Through improvisation we can unravel our personal voice identities that offer mirrors in which we can reflect upon our own strengths and fragilities. By listening closely we can get to know more deeply not only ourselves, but also our own voice material, expressions and songs. Working with breathing and deep relaxation, we resonate with and listen to our voice, arriving to our own rhythms and melodies which we organically carry within us. This experimentation with sound will make space for different facets and stories to emerge and be amplified within the shared space. By moving the space with our own voices, we will gain the sensation of how we can touch our surroundings and the other through sound.
Each day we will finish the work session with individual and group singing. During the week we will work on an old folk tune , most probably from the Slavic oral tradition. Just by singing the song - as simple as singing can be - we will learn the patience and receptivity of receiving from the song rather than doing the song. The song has already existed for many decades, so the work is more about being open to the song and listening to what it can teach us about ourselves.
>> Irena Z. Tomažin is a Slovenian performer, choreographer and a voice teacher. The (heart)core of her work is the voice in its various existence. Starting out her dance education from the urge to move and release inner tensions and inspirations, her performance practice has since then shifted towards the investigation around the embodied voice. Her voice work is always physical, connected with body, gesture/dance and space, but at the same time is very oriented towards the sound textures of the voice. Her practice manifests in the form of thoughts, songs, spoken word events and experimental concerts, as well as through directing dance and theatre work. Sometimes it rises from the encounter and collaboration with other artists, other times from being alone, making space for listening to what is outside and inside.
In the last 20 years, next to collaborating with other artists and performing in different dance and theatre productions, Irena has created a series of voice and movement solos, duets and group pieces: Hitchcock’s Metamorphoses with composer Mitja Reichenberg (2001), Caprice (2005) , Caprice (re)lapsed (2006), Like a raindrop into the mouth of silence (2008), Out of discord with Berlin based dancer Josephine Evrard (2010), Taste of silence always resonates (2012). The latter was awarded from audience and jury for the prize of best performance on the International Gibanica Festival/Ljubljana. In 2015 she created the audio-visual installation Faces of voices / noise, which later developed into the dance solo Body of Voice. Her last piece Moved by voice (2017) is a quartet for four women, and further investigates the multifaceted aspects of voice and body. Whatever she has created till now feels somehow unfinished, and opens up more questions and directions of research that she keeps investigating. Next to creating her own work, Irena has collaborated with directors and choreographers as Tino Sehgal, Christian Kesten, Anne Hirth, Matej Matejka, Maja Delak, Mala Kline, Mathieu Copeland, Josephine Evrad, Janez Janša/Emil Hrvatin, Dragan Živadinov, Bara Kolenc, among others.
As an experimental voice artist Irena is involved in the European scene of improvised music and has ongoing collaborations with some of the world's most renowned sound improvisers (Michael Zerang, Okkyung Lee, Christof Kurcmann, Seijiro Murajama, Xavier Charles, Lee Patterson, Liz Allbee, Ilya Belorukov, Tomaž Grom, Jonas Kocher, Gudenz Badrutt, Orchestra 33 1/3 and with composer Matej Bonin). She has released two solo albums Crying Games and Taste of Silence and a duo album Ljubljana-Wien with Christof Kurzmann. Irena is as well a member of the cult electronic-industrial band Borghesia and has released two albums with them: And Man Created God and Proti Kapitulaciji.
As a teacher, Irena shares her work regularly teaching workshops in Europe, having taught in many international festivals and venues in France, Germany, England, Switzerland, Sweden, Belgium, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Italy, Hungary, Poland, Austria, Japan, Lebanon, Iran, Greece, Bosnia, Slovakia, and US.
Photo Credits: Micheal Rowsome, Tomaz Santl, Nada Zgank, Rocio Marano