Voice as body, text and music

Intensive with Irena Tomažin

Feb 19 – Feb 23


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.

We will also explore working with a given text, approaching it as an acoustic composition, letting the embodiment of its form to lead us to sing with it, or to purely speak it. By approaching the text musically we can achieve different interpretations of it and give shape to a voice character, an improvised tune or a dance/movement sequence. Please bring a short text with you, it can be an excerpt from a theater play, a piece of prose, a poem or just a few sentences of your choice. 

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 Tomažin

Irena Tomažin is a dancer, voice and movement performer and Philosophy postgraduate based near Ljubljana, Slovenia. Off the record, Irena is obsessed with the body and its many voices. These obsessions manifest themselves in the form of thoughts, songs, spoken word events and experimental concerts, as well as through directing dance and theatre work. Sometimes they rise from the encounter and collaboration with other artists, othertimes from being alone, making space for listeningto what is outside and inside of her. 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. 

In the last ten 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 and duets: Hitchcock’s Metamorphoses with composer Mitja Reichenberg, Caprice (2005) , Caprice (re)lapsed (2006), Like a raindrop into the mouth of silence (2008), Out of discord with 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 Gibanica Festival/Ljubljana. Whatever she has created till now feels somehow unfinished, and opens up more questions and directions of research that she keeps investigating. 

As a live vocalist, Irena collaborates a.o. with sound producer Aldo Ivančič, with whom she released in 2011 the album Crying Games, while singing in Ivančič´sbands Bast Kolektiv and Borghesia. As an experimental voice artist she is involved in the european scene of improvised music and has ongoing collaborations with some of the world's most renowed improvisers. She has performed in many international festivals and venues in the US, France, Germany, Switzerland, Serbia, Hungary, Poland, Austria, releasing the albums That which happens is itself dripping red with Marko Karlovčec (2009, Botanic Records) and Ljubljana – Wien with Christof Kurzmann (2013,  L'innomable). Since 2006 she tours regularly with her experimental voice concert ‘iT'. Her last movement solo Body of Voice (2015) is a continuation of the research of the video installation »Faces of Voices«, in which she began to listen to the voice as an assemblage of sounds and noises, rather than as a human expression. As a teacher, Irena shares her work regularly teaching workshops in Europe.





Photo Credits: Micheal Rowsome, Tomaz Santl, Nada Zgank